Yesterday on CNN.com John Blake wrote an article titled, “Do you believe in a red state Jesus or a blue state Jesus?” that I found utterly annoying.
In this article there was a survey that is designed to help you determine which Jesus you follow (or which Jesus with which you can resonate). It asked readers to choose:
- Jesus the Lamb of God who died for the sin of the world or Jesus the champion of the oppressed who died to bring social change?
- Jesus who was “hands-on” bringing healing in this life and Jesus who pointed people toward the next life where there is no more sickness or disease?
- Jesus who is the only way or Jesus who is one of many ways to the Creator God?
- Jesus who will return at the Second Coming or Jesus who remains present with us now?
- Jesus as our savior or Jesus as our example?
- Jesus who’s depiction in Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ made you reflect upon Jesus’ suffering for humanity or who made you sick to your stomach?
- Jesus who is encapsulated in John 3.16 as the Son sent by God to save sinners or Jesus as encapsulated by Matthew 25 who calls his followers to bring salvation to the world by caring for “the least of these.”
- Jesus who was an exorcist who could remove demons from people’s lives or Jesus who would sit and guide people through their trials?
- Jesus as the one who has risen from the dead or Jesus who’s resurrection is merely symbolic?
Those of us who confess about Jesus what the church has said about Jesus over the years should realize that we do not have to accept Blake’s paradigm.
I follow a Jesus who stood for the oppressed and the marginalized so that his actions challenged the comfortable authorities of this world to the point that they killed him AND I see God the Father using Jesus’ self-sacrifice as the Lamb of God to cover the sins of those who killed him and the sins of the whole world because the Father’s love for the Son.
I follow a Jesus who didn’t fix everything in this life, but who did give us a glimpse of future shalom when he did heal the blind, or the crippled, or the sick.
I follow a Jesus who claimed to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life and whom we can trust to judge with wisdom and love when people come before him on the Day of Judgement.
I follow a Jesus who remains present with us by his Holy Spirit, reigning in the heavens in the authority of the Father until he conquered his final enemy, death AND a Jesus who is not visible to us now, but when he “returns” will be seen by the world.
I follow a Jesus who is my savior, but who calls me to be his disciples meaning I should try to follow his example.
I follow a Jesus who died violently in such a manner that it sickens me, yet I see that in his death God has overcome Satan, death, hell, and sin.
I follow a Jesus who established a Kingdom that welcomes and cares for the “least of these,” who made our entrance into this Kingdom possible by dying for the world as the agent of God the Father.
I follow a Jesus who can sit at a well with a woman from Samaria discussing the water of life and a Jesus who will go find a demoniac, exercise his demons, and show Satan that God’s Kingdom is alive.
I follow a Jesus who did rise from the dead, physically, making himself a symbol of resurrection life. The symbol is meaningless if death’s defeat has not been put into motion.
I reject Blake’s either-or. This is the very presentation of Jesus that the church needs to avoid. A Jesus of Democrats or a Jesus of Republicans? Jesus is neither. The Jesus remembered by the church is far more complex.
So let me suggest an alternative Jesus to you. In this hostile political environment where everyone want to claim Jesus for their ideology, why don’t we let Jesus claim us for his? If in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile, male nor female, free nor slave, then why Democrat and Republican. Sure, our identities exist, but they should remain informed by our identity as Christians.
I have mentioned the Election Day Communion taking place at hundreds of churches across the country Tuesday evening. I hope you will consider attending one or registering your church to host one or even getting together a small group of Christians to have communion together. Let’s avoid the world’s attempts to make us Republican Christians or Democratic Christians.