Sunday, December 30, 2012

WWJD With Christianity in the USA?

At Christmas time we focus on the birth of Jesus Christ, and our nation claims to be influenced primarily by the words and example of Christ--WWJD (not too long ago the slogan “what would Jesus do” was popular among Christians in America), so I would like to ask our people and especially our leaders who claim Christianity as their inspiration, to consider once again, “What would Jesus do or have us do”:

1)      When we consider the issues of gun violence, did not Jesus say if we live by the sword we will die by the sword?   (Matthew 26:52,) (Pointing the way to more reasonable alternatives, with a reduction in guns, a lesson we can learn from other countries which have restricted gun ownership resulting in an almost elimination of gun violence.)

2)      When we consider, the way we treat our “enemies”, did not Jesus say to turn the other cheek and not seek vengeance or an eye for an eye? (Matthew 5:38–5:42 KJV )  (Pointing the way to forgiveness and a system of restorative or reparative justice—google it to learn more-- instead of our current system of retribution which imprisons and kills more of our people than any other democratic country.)

3)      When we consider our whole economic system , which places capital above people, and the priorities we choose when making economic policies, did not Jesus say you cannot serve two masters—God and money (Matthew 6:24), and what does he say about those who lay up treasures for themselves while the poor suffer (Matthew 6:19; Mark 10:21; James 2:15) ? (Pointing the way to a more equitable system based on a balance between cooperation and competition, in which capital and material things serve all the peoples’ needs and not vice verse.)

4)      When we consider immigrants, did not Jesus say, speaking about the Gentiles (who were the foreigners and “illegal immigrants” of the time), that they were no longer to be treated as foreigners or strangers but as fellow citizens with God’s people? (Ephesians 2:11-21; Hebrews 13:2; Matthew 25:40)  (Pointing the way to forgiveness and amnesty as part of a Comprehensive Immigration Reform.)

5)      When we consider or judge anyone who we think is somehow below us, or is doing something wrong or sinful (in our estimation), did not Jesus say “let him who is without sin cast the first stone”? (John 8:7)  (Pointing the way to compromise and humility and the realization that no person, race, culture, country, church, political party, or group has or knows the whole truth, or is better or more holy than another, and we have to come together in civil discourse to learn from and cooperate with each other.)

6)      When we consider the divisions among us, did not Jesus speak of love, and especially unconditional love (towards everyone, including non-believers and sinners) more than anything else (1 Corinthian 13: 1-13; Romans 5:8; Matthew 5:43-48; 1John 4:7-11, & dozens more), pointing us to all of the alternative ways of conducting our lives and our government listed above.

These are just a few of the gems of guidance from Jesus and Christianity pointing us to some new or renewed possibilities of ways we can improve our lives and that of our communities and nation.  

Now I know that some will say that these teachings were for another time and are not practical now, however I have noticed that they are often the same people and politicians who use the Bible to justify their positions on moral issues regarding sexuality, relationships, the unborn, etc., so we can’t have it both ways, and pick and choose— either Jesus’ teachings are relevant or they aren’t.  And if they aren’t, then why the heck are we celebrating Christmas—just to enrich the purveyors of material goods?  This is not rhetorical—I really want to know.

Rich Pellegrino

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