It’s been awhile since I blogged. I blame finals and increasing demands on my teaching for that. However, two non-related readings yesterday have prompted me to drop my research and grading. If you are not a Christian, I’d urge you to read–I’m not going to shove my religion down your throat. If you are a Christian, I’d urge you to read–I’m not going to make fun of my religion in your face. Whew. Now that we’ve gotten that cleared away, let’s discuss the two things I read:
Yesterday, my lovely friend CH, whom I met while working on my MA in Literature, posted a piece on Facebook about certain Christian Conservative politicians using Jesus as an example of small government. If you have not read this piece from NPR, I’d urge you to do so immediately: http://www.npr.org/2012/04/16/150568478/christian-conservatives-poverty-not-government-business?sc=fb&cc=fp
While C and her partner were bantering about economics, I wrote, “My guess? Jesus is not amused.” While meaning to be slightly facetious, I seriously think that people who are sincere about their faith in God should not use His name for their own gains. I hold to that belief, which is why I am suspicious of politicians of any political standing who are quick to trumpet the name of God in conjunction with their own (for that matter, Tim Tebow fits that bill quite nicely, but that’s another post for another time).
And then, while I was reading my Bible last night before bedtime, I stumbled across this deeply moving passage from the Gospel of Luke. Essentially, this is the story: Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Jewish Sabbath, a woman there had “a spirit of infirmity” she had suffered from for 18 years. Jesus healed her, she praised God, the synagogue leader criticized Jesus for healing her on the Sabbath, and Jesus rebuked him for his hypocrisy.
I’ve enclosed the rebuke from Luke 13:15-18 (New King James Version, for those curious about such things) below, because the language is very telling (and many thanks to Bible Gateway!):
15 The Lord then answered him and said, “Hypocrite![b] Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? 16 So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound—think of it—for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath?” 17 And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; and all the multitude rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by Him.
What I found so moving is this particular part of the response: “…whom Satan has bound–think of it–for eighteen years…” It’s that “think of it” that kills me. In an age of self-absorption and self-interest, Jesus has asked his audience to pull their heads out of the collective sand and show compassion towards the less fortunate (He also did something about it!).
What is my point? Jesus’ rebuke of religious leaders shows that He is not so much concerned with the letter of the law, as He is with the people living under it. He was disappointed then with people using the Law to abuse their privilege, and I believe that still stands today.
Whether or not you believe in God, being kind to others is the best thing we can aspire to do with our lives. I have decided to occasionally post some “Jesus is not amused” thoughts on this blog, because I have seen several instances where I feel that faith has been misapplied, abused, or served to belittle others. This is not why I believe in God or serve Him, and reading the actual words of Jesus has shown that to me.