Which Jesus Do You Follow - The Historical One or the American One?
Updated: Mar 11, 2020
Beloved tribe, we live in an era where divides are deepening, and that great chasm called RACE undergirds tham all. Some experts call it America's "original sin."
The soul of this nation quakes with the violence of its inception, and it is deep in the birthing pains of trying to break free.
It is impossible to underestimate how critical is the era in which we are living. We are each faced - both individually and collectively - with a choice. We can continue with business as usual, which reinforces the evil of inequity that is a cancer rotting in our bones. A cancer that will eventually result in the death of the democracy that the United States was born to foster.
Or we can choose to acquaint ourselves with the Savior we say we serve, and take our cues from his example. The same Savior actively stood against the marginalizing, oppressing, and 'othering' of those on the fringes of society.
The One who hung on a cross like a scandalous criminal because He made misfits and outcasts the heroes of his stories. Because he challenged the sociopolitical status quo of His day. He elevated those that the system denigrated. And did so while claiming to be God, hence putting the stamp of God’s character on such resistance.
Mainstream Evangelical Christianity says the only reason He was killed is because He claimed to be God. This is reading OUT the revolutionary nature of our radical Messiah.
He existed in a sociopolitical landscape we fail to recognize and thus READ OUT the profound implications for how our faith MUST impact our engagement with the inequity that surrounds us.
Quite frankly, our modern day Christian faith hardly resembles the one He modeled.
It was His resistance that cost Him his life, not JUST His claim to deity.
The vast majority of modern day Christians have never been exposed to these truths. We've never read the Bible, especially the Gospels, through this lens. We've inherited a sterile, anemic, near-sighted Christianity; a Christ interested only individual holiness as it relates to morality.
However, the Jesus of the Gospels was intimately acquainted with the grief of oppression and the suffering of injustice. God chose to break into history as a marginalized (Jewish) man living in a colonized land, and chose to die an innocent but convicted, mocked, criminalized pauper.
That is how our God chose enter and exit human history.
Furthermore, the way He commanded His ministry and His relationships spoke directly to the social, political, and power dynamics in which He lived.
As we seek to navigate living out our Christ-following faith in this present era, our choices must be informed by how He lived out His faith in His present era.
Which begs the question: Which Jesus are we actually following? The historical one, or the American one?
For many of us, there is a desire to be exposed to the truth of scripture through this lens, but we are not sure what avenue to take to do so.
For this reason, I have taken my life's work and condensed it into an 8 week online course called Jesus and Justice: The Heart of Reconciliation.
It integrates three main lenses to weave together a theology and worldview that represents the God of Jesus:
An in-depth, clear Biblical framework for race, justice, equality, and true, Gospel-centered reconciliation.
A trauma-informed understanding of the impact of a racialized society on our mental health.
A survey of the history of race. How, when, and why the concept of race was carefully, strategically constructed and the impact it has on our society today.
As we walk through the course, we will begin identifying and healing the distortions to our identity brought on by living in a racialized society and will be equipped as Gospel-centered agents of change.
This will likely be the last time I teach the class live and space is limited to keep the group small.
Please click here for more information.