Was Jesus a Rebel? ~ BitterSweetLife

Friday, April 27, 2007

Was Jesus a Rebel?

Jesus didn't say, "Be revolutionaries." But in so many words, he said that very thing. Obedience to God in this world implies inevitable revolution--just not a kind that you achieve self-consciously by donating to the right causes and going organic.

Christ's revolution is subsumed by and in service to the will of God, the internal life of Christ operating inside our skin and bones. This is a revolution that flows out of the heart, not imposed by external opinions, which are so easily twisted so that they become the servants of self-righteousness.

On top of this, Christ's revolution has a progressive element in it so subversive that it undercuts the most wide-eyed radicalism you could find in, say, The Village. To be a part of Jesus' protest movement you have to start by waving a white flag. Over yourself. The stylish indignation and angry cynicism, you can just forget about it. You are the root of the problem. The sooner you can surrender your own black heart to God, the sooner he will start changing you, the sooner you will have the potential to really change anything else in the external world.

There is no denying that Jesus was a revolutionary. He just was a rebel of a different kind--a type so different, in fact, that it would be safer to simply call him God, because his revolution is about more than sweaty glaciers and caged chickens. It's universal, and he is turning the world upside down. He is not interested in adding spiritual backing to your agenda. But if you surrender yourself and all your causes to him, he might just have a use for you.

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Randy said...

Those thoughts really hit home with me as I have been listening to Rob Bell talk about XYZs. Just when he gets to the point that Jesus was a revolutionary he throws in a ton of stuff that is politicaly charged. Not to say that they aren't good points or anything...but just to say that following Jesus is harder than fighting global warming or what have you.

Ariel said...

I was having some similar thoughts when I wrote this, Randy. Something in Blue Like Jazz set me off, when a character says, "When I realized Jesus was a revolutionary like me, I decided I could follow him" (my paraphrase). Kind of like what you're saying--I admire the intent behind the words, but Jesus was his own man. Other causes are subservient.

JoeC said...

Enjoyed your post. I agree, not only was Jesus political rebel, he was a bonafide political AND social dissident.

Ariel said...

Thanks for the kind words, Joe. However, you definitely don't "agree," as evidenced by your post.

When the historical Jesus becomes the Jesus that a bunch of us materialists made up in a brain storming session, we all lose.


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife