Sunday, May 25, 2014

Peace and Stewardship

A friend of mine (thank you, Karen) from church sent me the link to this article about Jesus today. It more or less dovetailed with what our topic of discussion was this morning during adult religious ed. In short, to understand the historical Jesus is to understand that he was a non-violent person dedicated to the service of others. And to be his follower, we must be the same. And once you grasp this, it's perfectly clear why Christianity has failed. As G. K. Chesterton observed some time ago: "Christianity has not failed, it's just never been tried." It would revolutionize the entire globe if it ever were tried, but though I believe in my bones that this is what the practice of Christianity really is, I despair of even creeping a little closer to the standard myself.

Here's the heart of the article right here, carved out of it word for word:
The first great challenge to Christian faith in the future is the abandonment of the ways of violence and war. Love, peace and kindness must become synonymous with Christian faith.
The second challenge involves the ownership of property. This is a key to understanding the teachings of Jesus, who lived in a time and place of economic disparity. Jesus advocated a new celebration of the Year of Jubilee, which, according to the Bible, is the time when property and possessions were to be returned to the Temple priests for redistribution among the tribes of Israel. This massive redistribution was to take place every 50 years (though it never actually did).
Yet, there is no way we can avoid the clear Bible standard of limitation of private ownership — of land in particular and wealth in general. That was also the view of Jesus.
By Bible standards, today’s wealth gap between the rich and the poor is so enormous that it is a complete affront to the professed beliefs of those who are wealthy and claim to be followers of Jesus. The standard is clear: We are to be stewards of wealth, not owners.
It's really interesting that the heart of Christianity is not about sorrow for sin and obedience to law. In fact, to try and meet these two great challenges would require the breaking of numerous laws. If Christians ever began practicing Christianity, there would not be enough cops to contain us, enough jails to keep us off the streets.

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