This GOP Christianity (or “What Wouldn’t Jesus Do?”)

What Would Jesus Do?

When I began my ministry career twenty years ago, this was the rallying cry of American Christian youth culture; embossed onto colorful rubber bracelets,  adorning t-shirts, and emblazoned across student meeting rooms. It was ubiquitous in the Church and eventually crossed-over into the mainstream zeitgeist.

The premise was admirable: to try and filter everything one said or did through the lens of Jesus’ life and ministry as found in the Gospel stories; to echo his love, to perpetuate his character, to reiterate his goodness in the world. It was to seek to enter into the mind of Christ and allow oneself to be altered. And while certainly far from being a simple endeavor, it is as noble an aspiration as a professed Christian can have to face their ordinary days:

Do I resemble Jesus?
Does my life seem to be made of similar stuff?
When people see me, do they see anything that looks like what they imagine Jesus looked like?

And though it’s popularity has ebbed and flowed in past decade, the seemingly elemental question of What Would Jesus Do?, is one the professed religious folks running this country right now and those applauding them from pulpits and pews, would be wise to resurrect.

Ironically today in America, Republican Christians are putting on a master class in missing the point of our faith. In nearly every small and large decision, and in every piece of legislation, they are providing a remarkably vivid illustration of exactly what Jesus would not do:

He wouldn’t be demonizing other faith traditions.
Jesus wasn’t in the habit of making villains out of other religions. In fact, the times he does condemn the religious, is when calling out his own Jewish brethren for their hypocrisy and immorality. 

He wouldn’t’ be selling his soul for political capital.
Jesus movement was not one of power, but of humility, service, frugality and lowness. He deserved to be a king, but he chose to be a servant who lived by example.

He wouldn’t be withholding care from sick people.
Jesus was in the healing business. He spent his days moving toward the hurting and alleviating their suffering—not contributing to it or capitalizing on it.

He wouldn’t be worshiping weapons.
Before he is to be arrested without cause, Jesus tells his disciples to bring a sword, then openly condemns its use defending him, and immediately heals the injury inflicted. A benevolent preacher who shunned violence of any kind, even against one’s own body—would want no part of bearing arms.

He wouldn’t be telling people to go back where they came from.
As an itinerant, homeless preacher born to refugees, Jesus had no use for walls or borders or barriers between people. He made his home with the disparate humanity around him and invited them all in.

He wouldn’t be pissing on the planet.
Jesus spoke God’s provision for the birds and the wildflowers, and spent his time teaching on lakes and in the fields and vineyards. The world was a sacred space to him.

He wouldn’t be sticking it to poor people.
Jesus stated that he came to bring good news to those in poverty—and it wasn’t to tell them to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. He was speaking of justice.

He wouldn’t be obsessed with people’s personal plumbing or their inclination to love.
Not once in the four Gospel biographies to Jesus condemn anyone for their gender identity or sexual orientation. He simply never does.

He wouldn’t be complaining about being oppressed.
Jesus’ invitation for those who would follow him was to die to self and to welcome real adversity. He certainly would have little tolerance for those crying persecution from places of opulence and dominance.

He simply wouldn’t be doing any of these things, and so the Republicans in this Administration can invoke the name of Jesus all they want, but the proof is in the pudding—or as Jesus said “people are known by the fruit” of their lives—the tangible, measurable byproducts of their words and actions.

Ultimately we can best seek to answer the question, What Would Jesus Do? by understanding as evidenced in the Scriptures, what he did do:

Right now, Jesus would be bringing healing to the sick.
He would be feeding the multitudes.
He would be making peace with his enemies.

He would be turning his cheek.
He would be visiting the forgotten and imprisoned.
He would be ignoring social status.
He would be taking the lowest place.
He would be abdicating power.
He would be fighting for the marginalized.
He would be speaking clear truth.

In other words, Jesus would be doing the exact opposite of what this GOP is doing, though they claim Christ compels them. The evidence just isn’t there. The Jesus of the Gospels would be sick to his stomach to be associated with such greed and arrogance and violence. He would call it out as the very kind of bloated, hateful hypocrisy he came to rebel against and to invite people to join him in doing so. 

Most people outside organized Christianity already know this. Non-Christians understand it. Atheists get this. They all know enough about Jesus and the core of his beautiful, loving, countercultural message, to hold his life up against the lives of these professed Christians—and to notice there is little resemblance. They can see that these aren’t even existing in the same moral universe.

Those of us literally fighting to keep the faith from being misappropriated by those who couldn’t care less about replicating Jesus, are tired of being represented by whatever this thing has metastasized into. It does not speak for us, it is not the legacy we wish to leave the world, and above all—it is not in any way what Jesus would do.

 

 

117 thoughts on “This GOP Christianity (or “What Wouldn’t Jesus Do?”)

    • As usual John
      YOU said a lot , with absolutely no Godly meaning and leads NO ONE to Jesus Christ.
      Take a stand for Truth,
      Not acceptance.
      God is Holy
      God Judges the Heart
      NO false Gods before Him
      Not False Hope, no false religion.
      Give God the place he deserves
      God want our hearts , Not our lip service.
      He God wants Servants , Not Rebels, Followers , not selfish acts of Ego, world acceptance.
      Truth Hurts, Truth is hard to swallow. Truth makes me humble.
      I wish you the best ,Well , but will always speak truth, and godliness. NOT Acceptance of man
      We , I , You must always be careful that we do not seek the approval of man over the truth of God. Holiness, Godliness, Bible Truth
      One God, One Truth,only one way to heaven , all , all other s lead down, away from god, to a ungodly , unholy, godless nation of selfish, self centered people who hate God in all they Do.

      • Christopher. Jesus had a lot more to say than just “evangelize for me.” You claim the Bible, yet you would throw away most of what Jesus said as a whole as if it does not exist. How do you and your fellow fundies justify doing that?

      • “God Judges the Heart”

        “One God, One Truth,only one way to heaven”

        Is it just me, or are these statements at odds with each other?

      • Christopher Freeman, your communication skills make it very hard to decipher your point, but if you cannot see that it is you giving the “lip service” instead of the loving face of God to this world, that is on you, not John P or anyone else.

      • Christopher, I regret to say that you wouldn’t know the truth if it walked up to you, shook your hand and introduced itself.

      • You criticize John, but then paraphrase (albeit poorly) exactly what he said. And you are right: a nation of selfish people is doomed. Which is exactly what John said. All the prattle about “Godliness” evades the words of Jesus that John mentioned. Turn the other cheek. Feed the poor. Forgive your brother. And all that bothersome stuff in Matthew 25 that certain versions of christianity studiously avoid. But there it is. Being ignorant is not bad. Strenuously avoiding the truth is much worse, because you have been given ears, but choose not to use them.

      • Dear christopher freeman:

        Do the assertion of healing the sick, feeding the multitudes, making peace with enemies, turning the cheek, visiting the forgotten and imprisoned, ignoring social status, taking the lowest place, etc. have ‘absolutely no Godly meaning’ and lead no one to Christ as they occur in the Bible, OR do these things lost all Godly meaning when John Pavlovitz says them.

        Blessings!

    • each one will stand for what they have done.
      each one will give account for who they serve
      each one will be judged by who their God really is.
      Each one will be rewarded for their works
      if Jesus Christ , The the sacrafice covers sin, if not ,
      no reward.
      God s Truth, Love , Holiness will Prevail
      last days, ready for rapture of Saints, Ready for rewards for faithfullness

    • Teri, that’s the problem: they don’t use the New Testament. They are actually very bad Jews, trying to live by the Old Testament–but not actually following the 600+ commandments. They use those commandments as swords and sledgehammers, to injure and beat down anyone who disagrees with them, or calls them out for their behavior.
      WWJD? He’d call them Pharisees. And we all know how he felt about *them*

  1. Insightful essay. Thank you. In the 70’s, I was part of the “Jesus Movement” and went to Calvary Chapel. We were all about “what would Jesus do” and making the world a better place for everyone. When Jimmy Carter (a truly good man) became president, he asked us to make sacrifices (like put on a sweater rather than turning up the heat), and the country did not like it. In response, the country, with the help of conservative “Christians,” put in Reagan, and the Jesus Movement was replaced by a heartless, greedy, hate justifying “Christianity” that is anything but Christlike. I have never understood how this happened. Do you understand it, John?

    • John may not—but I do. It all goes back to the evil works of a single evil man (now a dead man) by the name of Paul Weyrich. He was the chief pivot point and instigator of the changes you are concerned about at that time (Carter Administration) in American history. Randall Balmer explains it well and in detail here and how it all began:

      • Thank you, Charles. The talk was fascinating and illuminating and depressing. I remember so well the hope, inclusivity, and kindness of the mid-70’s Jesus Movement and wish we could get it back.

        • Me too , and I have never understood how these “good” Christians voted for Reagan over Jimmy Carter who is one of the finest Christians to ever serve in the White House. Didn’t make sense then, still doesn’t. Peace,

  2. There was a small part of me that wanted to see Trump as president if only to show up the religious right for what it was: power-seeking. Surely, I thought, as his arrogance and ineptitude was revealed in policy and practice, Christians would be so aghast at what had transpired, the religious right would forever be tainted and ultimately sidelined. That it hasn’t happened yet is shocking. The justifications and defense of this man by Christians smack of cult-like behaviour as they fend off their cognitive dissonance.

      • I don’t think they will admit that they are wrong, because I don’t think they think they are wrong. I think they’ve finally been exposed for who they truly are, and, although people often vehemently deny who they really are, it’s an exceedingly rare person who admits that there’s anything wrong with who they are.

  3. Well Teri. To hear the fundies tell it, only they and they alone know what the verses in the Bible really mean because the Holy Spirit dwelling within them (nobody else—just them) reveals the one, only, and true meaning of the scriptures to them as they read it. For example, take a look at this list of Bible verses about lies and liars:

    https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Liars

    The meanings of these verses are crystal clear to me—telling lies is a bad thing to do—and God despises it. However, I read an article written by a Christian fundamentalist just the other day, and the writer was telling his fundie friends about all the times when it is okay to lie—and God is fine with it. For example, he said it is okay to lie and practice deceit to save a person’s life. I guess it follows that it is also okay to lie to protect the reputation of Jesus or the Bible. Thus, it would be okay to lie to protect Christian fundamentalism and Christian fundamentalists from mainline Christians and nonChristians. I know they think that last one is okay because I have been watching the fundies for 25+ years, and they are some of the biggest lie-telling “sum’b*tches” I have ever seen in my life. My momma would have spanked my hind end raw if she had caught me dealing in the lies and deceit that Christian fundamentalists do frequently. I very much doubt that the verses of the Bible support all these lies, and oh by the way as the fundies often state, the laws and rules set down in scripture are inviolable ABSOLUTES. I guess they are all “inviolable absolutes” up until the moment when a fundie needs to lie through her rotting front teeth to achieve some end result. Being so comfortable with lies, lie telling, and all sorts of other deceit, is it really any wonder that these people support chronic and compulsive liar Donnie Trump? Heck no, he is just one of the gang.

    • It’s not okay to lie but sometimes it happens in desperation or error– sometimes it’s caused by misunderstandings, assumptions and a fast mouth. I think the most unfortunate lie people get caught in is hypocrisy because that is self deception and very difficult to repent of because of pride.

  4. It is a sad state of affairs. The country is ruled by christian extremists. The American Taliban, if you will.

    I wonder how the second coming would go down. Unless someone gave him the advice to give the USA a wide berth, he might be drawn to a country that claims to be a nation under god.

    And then this presumably longhaired, bearded bloke of middle eastern descent, with a distaste for authoritanism, an almost anarchist, dissident mindset pops up in the USA and tells people how incredibly cool it would be to be nice to each other for a change.

    Once they catch him, he’d be on the first flight to Gitmo.

  5. Quote: “Those of us literally fighting to keep the faith from being misappropriated by those who couldn’t care less about replicating Jesus, are tired of being represented by whatever this thing has metastasized into. It does not speak for us…”

    Amen.

  6. Nothing anyone or any group does Justifies our own actions. or Exempts us from accountability to God, Holy God, Jesus Christ Death on the cross for our sin.
    YOU cannot use any other person to justify our actions.
    Though the who ship sinks we dont jump on board because it is acceptable to all.
    God is Just
    God is Holy
    God is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him and Bring Glory to HIM only.
    Man Seeks the approval of others, They want Drama to make sure thier well know, seen by others, accepted by the politically correct.
    NOT God, He Wants Humble Servants who dont serve the World, But only Serve HIM.
    God alone. NOT another Godless Church which just wants YOUR money.
    So you See , its not about truth , its about money
    The God of this world, Money, Self, the establishment , the Church, the Group, The friendships of the world.
    Not saying you should be stupid, unaware, or uneducated. But Be Smart as though you are a dove who just shows Gods mirror resemblance.
    God is Holy, God is True, God is not after what you have or does not desire your empty vain works.
    NOT what other s do , Just what YOU do.
    YOU stand before God, and give an account
    No one can stand for you.
    With out Jesus Christ Blood on the Cross for YOUR sin, YOU will stand in Judgement for your own sin.
    The soul that sins must die, But the Grace that died for you Law, Grace , works, Payment for sin.
    Phil. 1-6
    Rom. 8- whole chapter , law and grace
    Rom 18:4
    Deut. 4:13 , 20:1-20 COVENANTS , LAWS
    some one has to pay for sin.
    YOU or Jesus Christ
    Your choice
    God, Jesus Christ, or self , works, your own way
    it really does not matter what others think, say, do , I am accoutable to God almighty, and he is the one I will stand before.
    Grace or works

    • Christopher. Has it ever occurred to you that most Americans have heard these fundie rants of yours for most of their lives in various forms presented by thousands of ministers and evangelists more articulate than you? Basically, all you are doing is telling chickens that they like cracked corn feed. The chickens already know that. They are experts on cracked corn feed because they eat it every day of their lives. It is always there.

      Fellow Pavlovitz readers. I ask you. How many of you have never heard the scriptural contents of these rants that Christopher is always pushing? Ten times? One hundred times? One thousand times? As one American writer has said (paraphrased): “The American South is saturated with the gospel.” You can keep on with these rants all you like Christopher, but all you are doing is evangelizing the choir that has already heard this stuff on 1000s of Sundays.

          • Charles, if you believe someone to be a stroke victim, wouldn’t the “love our neighbor as ourselves as God first loved us” require a response of compassion rather than mocking?

        • David Allen wrote “Charles, you can’t reason with folks who are mentally ill.”

          I had no idea, David, that you harbored prejudice against the mentally ill.

          Tchaikovsky, Brian Wilson, Beethoven, Charley Parker, Abraham Lincoln, Virginia Wolfe, Lizz Brady, Albert Einstein, Joanne Greenberg, David Foster Wallace, Steve Jobs, Charles Dickens, Charles Lindbergh, Thomas Jefferson, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jessie Close, Howie Mandel, Adam Levine, Carrie Fisher, Drew Barrymore, Michael Phelps, Sinead O’Connor, all come to mind as people with various forms of mental illness with whom many people have found it possible to reason.

          In fact, John P wrote an essay about the stigma of mental illness and many people here, with whom we reason every day, shared their stories.

          Seems to me that if we claim to follow Jesus, we would not choose to mock the mentally ill but to defend them as part of loving our neighbor as ourselves as God first loved us.

          • Hmm, with respect, Gloriamarie, I did not read it as mocking but, rather, a statement of fact. My middle son has schizophrenia, and my husband who died last year had dementia for 20 years. My adult children and I love/loved them and care/cared for them with courtesy and respect, but we can/could never reason with them because that faculty is/was impaired in their brains.

            • {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{Kathleen Leonard}}}}}}}}}}}}} wrote “we can/could never reason with them because that faculty is/was impaired in their brains.”

              I am deeply sorry to read this and know this is your experience because it must just hurt so much.

              However, I do take it as mocking Mr. Freeman as it is not the first time he has been mocked here.

              Also, I have been volunteering at a local mental health clinic for a number of years where I teach the skills of Dialectical Behavior Therapy to a broad range of people with a broad range of mental illness and I reason with them all the time.

              So my experience is different.

              • If Christopher’s writings were slanted liberal – progressive Democrat, then David & Sandi, & Charles would not make snide remarks about mental illness. btw, John P suffers from mental illness.

                The aim of ridicule is to silence voices & thwart discussion. Will it have that affect on Christopher? Time will tell.

                • If Christophers writings were slanted libera;/progressive, then some conservative would be making fun of him.

                  The point, which is apparently a concept too sophisticated fro you to grasp, as you final sentence indicates, Annonymous, is that NO ONE who claims to follow Jesus is doing so when they make fun of someone.

                • Annonymous, I might be more patient with such ramblings if they were from someone who had not attacked Obama or Hillary, then claimed to love the Lord, but I would not be any less hard on their obvious inability to type a post.

                  There is spellcheck, there is review, and there are many other ways to write a cohesive readable post, no matter who you support politically.

                  Also, I have never encountered someone with so much difficulty who never even offered to explain why or get better at it.

                • I did not not make any snide remarks about mental illness—because I too have problems with anxiety and depression. And no, I am not sure Christopher is a stroke victim. I am just trying to figure out what Christopher actually is. One person earlier mention that this gibberish looks like electronically generated language rather than human language—and I have noticed that Christopher does not seem to respond to comments in a human way.

                  • Charles, I had a good friend who wrote exactly like Christopher does and he used all CAPS as well !

                    I know Christopher is not him because he has passed away. But, he had a similar way of regurgitating verses in Christianese.

                    He was not a stroke victim either.

              • Gloriamarie, this is my first visit to the comment sections, so I was unaware of previous comments about Mr. Freeman. I apologize for misunderstanding.

                Your volunteer work sounds fascinating.

                • Thank you, Kathleen Leonard, for the apology.

                  My work is fascinating as well as an honor and a privilege and I am 100% certain they teach me far more about how to use the skills then I teach them, but isn’t that always the way.

                  Of course, as a volunteer I know nothing about their case histories, and diagnoses except what they share in the group.

      • “How many of you have never heard the scriptural contents of these rants that Christopher is always pushing?”

        I can honestly say I’ve never *heard* these statements. I have read them, though. Religious tracts left everywhere, making me think of Jack Chick as the original spammer.

    • Christopher,
      I suspect you don’t understand and won’t agree, but your POV is the same POV that has allowed ISIS to flourish by bastardizing the Koran and Islam. Fervor allows one group to burn another group, hang them, throw them off buildings; at best, marginalize them, scapegoat them, consider them less than. This has happened throughout religious history. It is happening now. People die, and said religion (you can fill in the blank here) is left with an ugly mark.
      Kerry

      • Kerry, you are spot on with that point and it is indeed the root of the problem.

        A lunatic filled with hate can only be successful when others are willing to follow. This Christopher Freeman who seems so filled with his “Holy Spirit” is among the first to denigrate and insult Obama or Clinton, and liberals yet thanks God for Trump, so his disease is the scary part of what has happened in this nation just as it has been for Islam.

        Too many are willing to follow the Allah that ISIS and Al Qaeda preaches instead of the Islam that preaches the peace and good Muhammad (peace be upon him) tried to teach.

        Same here in the US, many are willing to follow the vengeful, hateful, divisive God that Christopher Freeman describes than the love that was the teachings of our beloved Jesus Christ. Thank you for seeing the truth. Too many won’t.

      • Kerry, you nailed the problem. Somehow I don’t think you will ever convince Christopher and that is a shame. Peace,

  7. It is undeniable that any damage done to any religion has been self-inflicted. From Islam to Christianity the damage is born of a hypocrisy that is stunning in its lack of self-reflection, service of God and the living of scripture and to add injury to that insult it is borne on the backs of the very people they stand and promise to “represent.”

    Anyone who claims a devout belief in God needs to examine how that manifests in their own life, words and actions but more than that, how does that manifest in the people they support, the government they choose, the policies they accept or applaud, the suffering they see inflicted and how they “justify” and reconcile all of it to their love of God.

    I am unable to understand how the Christian Right does this. I am simply and literally lost as to how the Christian Right can “justify” and reconcile all of it to their love of God.

    In my own minuscule corner of the vast universe I cannot even “justify” and reconcile all of my angry diatribes with my love of God. I feel guilt when I insult or demean someone’s ignorance, bigotry, hurtful belief, or misinterpretation of God’s love. I never feel “good” after I lose my patience and love of Christ on anyone. So again, I cannot imagine the prayers of the Christian Right when they humble themselves to God. How can you reconcile hurting one person or millions? How can you reconcile excluding or denying one person or millions?

    How can you reconcile supporting Trump? I know denial, I have visited the place a time or ten, but dwelling there, ignoring truth, facts, evidence, damage and harm is a level of denial I cannot fathom.

    At this point I have realized that we are not going to change any minds and hearts that are closed (and they are represented here quite fully). So I am no longer interested in trying. All any of us can do is stand against what we know is wrong, and stand for what we know it right. God has promised to do the sorting and I believe God will. God knows if those who claim to be right are living that truth fully. God knows if those who claim to be devout servants are showing that truth fully. That will not help those on the receiving end of the detritus of power, greed, zealous control and religious fervor but it might help them recognize friend from foe

  8. Back in the day when all the youth were asking WWJD, I thought of it as a veery clever marketing ploy on the behalf of some company who wanted to bilk Christian kids out of their allowances.

    OTOH, I had some great conversation with the youth groups who were taking it very seriously and their answers to WWJD led them in a social justice direction as well as serving as impetuous for their own person searches to put on the mind of Christ.

    Jesus shows us how to put on the mind of Christ. So does John P when he says “Ultimately we can best seek to answer the question, What Would Jesus Do? by understanding as evidenced in the Scriptures, what he did do:

    Right now, Jesus would be bringing healing to the sick.
    He would be feeding the multitudes.
    He would be making peace with his enemies.
    He would be turning his cheek.
    He would be visiting the forgotten and imprisoned.
    He would be ignoring social status.
    He would be taking the lowest place.
    He would be abdicating power.
    He would be fighting for the marginalized.
    He would be speaking clear truth.”

    There is no denying that this is the example of our Incarnate Lord.

    It’s Trinity Sunday for many Christians around the world. May the Trinity bless us and make us holy.

    http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/Shield-Trinity-Scutum-Fidei-English1.png

  9. One thing you didn’t list that Jesus would do. Or I should say not do, he would not be rich. In fact, he would have chosen to be poor. He would tell us that nobody should be living above the level of what lower class income provides. He say, “Oh, yer middle class eh, well, shame on you.” I personally live intentionally poor. I live on less than 12K a year, I catch water from my roof, I have an outdoor compost toilet. I drive less that 5K miles per year and more. This is what Jesus would do. Hey, he wouldn’t even have a TV and probably not even a computer. See? We got it all wrong, we live wrong, even the so called humble of us.

    • Danny Helm, John P wrote “As an itinerant, homeless preacher born to refugees, Jesus had no use for walls or borders or barriers between people. He made his home with the disparate humanity around him and invited them all in.”

      You responded with ” Or I should say not do, he would not be rich. In fact, he would have chosen to be poor. ” I am curious to understand why you think this is not Jesus choosing to be poor?

      “We got it all wrong, we live wrong, even the so called humble of us.” Amen to that. Would that all of us lived simply so that others might simply live.

    • Danny. Jesus lived in a time when everyone was ‘poor’, and yet they enjoyed their lives, lived joyfully in community. They feasted often. They celebrated belonging to God with food & wine & music & dance & worship. Sometimes the celebrations would go on for weeks.

      Jesus enjoyed his family and his friends, and socialized frequently, with his Synagogue / Temple, his neighbors & family members. During his 36 months of Ministry, he readily accepted hospitality from his followers, some of whom were not poor, –but wealthy. [Jesus never begged for food or shelter, he was not homeless, nor did he wear rags for clothing. When he did go hungry, it was because he was fasting. ]

      Jesus’ followers were honored to host him. I imagine sometimes he stayed w his own family . (When I invite my missionary friends to stay at my house, I don’t see them as being ‘homeless – refugees’ or having the same challenges ). Jesus was grateful, when the expensive oil was poured over him by a friend, even though the money could have been spent to buy food. I think extravagance sometimes has a place in our spiritual lives. I think it can show, how good God is.

      Jesus accepted gifts graciously & shared what he got, and never told his followers to have disdain for ‘rich’ people. Actually, he took compassion on the rich, because their wealth can go up in smoke in an instant, it is a constant worry to keep it, & they cannot take their riches with them. [What he hated, were the rich that took advantage of the poor –by mistreating them, or not paying fair wages on time. ]

      Jesus lived with abundance of every need filled. He had care & concern for those around him & was in fellowship w Believers. Such a good model for our Christian life. We are grateful for today’s Believers that have monetary success as they can be instruments of God. (God uses the rich & the poor alike. He was able to use Job, Abraham, David, Solomon… all very wealthy by the world’s standards.)

      Jesus is making a home for his Church in Heaven, along with God’s presence, there will be incomparable riches & beauty. [But it won’t have fake / or real moralistic ‘strings attached’ to it –like we have now. ] What a relief that will be.

      • So which is it leslie m? “Jesus lived in a time when everyone was ‘poor’… ” or “…Job, Abraham, David, Solomon… all very wealthy?” I think you are misrepresenting the life of Jesus, his followers, his detractors, and his Disciples, I am just not quite sure why.

        • Sandi, I read Leslie M’s comment to my husband, he wondered what Bible she was reading because it didn’t mash up to the one we studied. Our take is this is someone who is trying desperately to justify wealth, know that lurking in the background is the camel thru the eye of the needle thing. I guess we all have to find comfort somewhere, I am just not sure that I would advertise it. Peace and Love to you,

  10. I vote for the GOP because of their policies. I don’t go to the GOP Church. I don’t think there is such a thing. I go to a Catholic Church.

    One reason I vote for the GOP is because of their policy towards the unborn. Jesus would have all of them live. Some people would have the inconvenient unborn exterminated and would protect the right to end their lives. Jesus would not support laws that support abortion rights. Jesus tells me to vote for those who oppose such laws.

    That’s not the only reason, but the basic right to life comes first.

    There is nothing wrong with building a wall for protection. President Obama has a wall around his mansion. I don’t begrudge him the right to protect himself, his family, and the riches he has and will accumulate. Jesus did not say that individuals or a country have no right to protect itself from unjust aggression.

    I don’t see the “greed, arrogance, and violence.” What is that all about? (Though I do see that at abortion clinics).

    If Hillary were President would everything be good? That would be a true “Christian regime”?

    A better approach for a pastor would be to encourage individual Christians to turn away from their sins. But first he or she should have the courage to identify sin as sin and not let it slide, or worse, call it a virtue.

    Christ didn’t say we must be pacificsts, btw, and I have no doubt the pastor would call armed men to assist him if he or his family were in danger of being harmed by bad people.

    Are you, pastor John, making peace with your enemies? It seems to me that continually denigrating the President and those who support him is not a way to make peace. You seem to be at war with them. One way to begin making peace would to have a little empathy and attempt to understand your “enemies” and that they are not monsters and don’t embrace the horrible things you say they do.

    • >> I vote for the GOP because of their policies.

      How can you square that with your christian beliefs?

      How can you be pro-life but at the same time:

      – oppose a livable minimum wage
      – advocate reduction of aid to the poorest (domestic and abroad)
      – support the destruction of the planet
      – tolerate policies that denigrate / criminalize minorities
      – oppose affordable health care for everyone
      – support the death penalty
      – support “proactive” wars on people who pose no danger to you
      – support saturating the population with guns

      All of these policies are essentially pro-death, pro suffering, pro destruction.

      >> That’s not the only reason, but the basic right to life comes first.

      What about the basic right to life for people who have been born already? Does it expire once the birth is completed?

      >> One way to begin making peace would to have a little empathy and attempt to understand your “enemies” and that they are not monsters and don’t embrace the horrible things you say they do.

      They have voted in the person that promised to do them, they keep suporting that person while he is doing them. They are pretty much as responsible for the actions of Trump, Pence, Bannon and all the other white christian supremacists as if they did pass those laws themselves.

          • Yes, Andy, I am afraid so. He is introducing his new alias, The Catholic Church Is the True Church, and whenever he does so, this is how he starts off. Then his postings degenerate. We’ve seen it over and over.

            • Yeah, I heard he was quite “vicious.”

              I heard he calls women “bitches,” often tells those with whom he disagrees to “Go FY,” and said that he fantasizes about blowing away conservatives with his shotgun, among many other nasty comments.

              That’s pretty vicious, isn’t it? But it was a different “troll” who said that.

      • Andy, I don’t have to accept your premises which you state as objective facts.

        For example, I don’t oppose a “livable wage” but that is the product of a good economy and not government decree. Price controls, such as minimum wages, hurt the economy and poor people in particular, locking them out of work. Your premise is based on ignorance of economic principles, and even if it weren’t, you preach it as dogma and not as something with which reasonable could have a reasonable difference of opinion.

        Also, how do you know I support the “death penalty” and why is that relevant and how does your belief that I support the death penalty justify killing babies in the womb? Far less people are killed by the death penalty than by abortion and the former are guilty and the latter are innocent. I personally do not support the death penalty, however.

        You are being dogmatic about guns too, and also not taking into account the difference between a bad guy with a gun and a good guy with a gun. I think every law-abiding citizen should be armed. It would take a lot of pressure off the police and crime would be drastically reduced. You probably think all guns should be confiscated? At any rate, once again, your syllogism is based on your opinion and not an objective fact. There is much room for disagreement and discussion regarding those things you dogmatically preach.

        You perfectly prove the point that I was trying to make. JP was preaching about “making peace with your enemies” and that’s something the unhinged anti-Trumpsters are unable and unwilling to do. They vilify and paint Trump and his supporters as “racists” or worse, and have no intention of and make no effort to understand their real motivations.

        Once again, as a Christian, I cannot support laws which allow for an abortionist to kill a baby. That the US is not 100% socialist is no excuse for your support of this barbaric injustice. What should a Christian feel about the embryo or fetus butchered by the abortionist? Sadness? Compassion? Elation that a choice was exercised?

        • Joe, the irony of you calling anyone else “dogmatic” was a real knee slapper!

          You can think that you are a champion for the unborn all you like, but until you do more than vote to force incubation, you are enabling abortion every day that dawns. The “basic right to life” includes a lot more than forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy and deliver. You know it, I know it, the world knows it, and calls it the hypocrisy it is. Don’t blame others for noticing your hypocrisy.

  11. Absolutely one of if not THE best blog you have ever posted, John!! It could be entitled, “The Cancer of Christianity”. “Jesus, are tired of being represented by whatever this thing has metastasized into. ” Right on!

    • I think “The Cancer ON Christianity” would be the best title. Using “OF” implies that all of Christianity is a cancer, whereas “ON” better fits the idea—and a true one I think—that Christian fundamentalism and conservative evangelicalism are two malignant tumors growing on the otherwise imperfect but still healthy Body of Christ as a whole.

  12. *He wouldn’t be demonizing other faith traditions.*

    Well, some Christians believe that it is only by accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior can you achieve Salvation and thus the Kingdom of Heaven when you die. To not at least attempt to bring Christ’s Light into their lives would be damning them to the Darkness for all Eternity. What are those Christians to do?

    *He wouldn’t’ be selling his soul for political capital.*

    Yeah … He wouldn’t. He wouldn’t be endorsing ANY POLITICAL PARTY, or ideology, for that matter. He wouldn’t bother condemning Caesar for what was the domain of Caesar ~ the material World ~ because HIS is the Greater Kingdom, but not of this Earth.

    *He wouldn’t be withholding care from sick people.*

    Nor would He demand the sick into the care of some nebulous entity.

    *He wouldn’t be worshiping weapons.*

    Weapon worship? The willingness to accept we live in an imperfect world where violence exists and violent things can happen to the ones we love and we are not strong enough to ‘let go’ and complete trust in God’s eventual Justice is part of being mortal. The willingness to use violence to stop violence is timeless. The willingness to prepare for the possibility of violence is also timeless. Often preparing for the worst is the best way to avoid it.

    This hardly devolves to the ‘worship’ of the weapon though.

    *He wouldn’t be telling people to go back where they came from.*

    He wouldn’t, but then He wasn’t about property and Nations so His viewpoints on national boundaries and immigration policies is unknown. Religion and faith should dictate to people, not governments. People open doors, not borders.

    *He wouldn’t be pissing on the planet.*

    Technically, He did piss on the planet, but I believe you meant something else. Still, by all means take a political, ideological and scientific argument and expand it into the Christian religious sphere. I’m unsure when Jesus lectured us on the excesses of CO2 emissions, or to watch for the apocalyptic signs of skinny polar bears, retreating mountain glaciers and collapsing ice sheets. In fact, I’m pretty sure he didn’t mention those, but – by all means – inject YOUR beliefs into the debate. It isn’t like others haven’t already done the same.

    *He wouldn’t be sticking it to poor people.*

    He wouldn’t stick it to the Middle Class, or Rich people either. He would ask each to search their conscience and do what they felt was right. He wouldn’t demand a specific tax policy, or the creation of a Welfare State as that abrogates the responsibility for one to take care of one’s neighbor and the stranger at your door too – giving over to the Government to do without our consent and beyond our sight.

    *He wouldn’t be obsessed with people’s personal plumbing or their inclination to love.*

    Check. You will get no argument from me here. Each to our own hearts and our own minds.

    *He wouldn’t be complaining about being oppressed.*

    True … still … this come across to me as the Pot calling the Kettle ‘black’.

    • One minor quibble: Jesus DID piss on the rich, and more than once. He mentioned something about camels and eyes of needles and such, and how it was easier for that to happen versus a rich man getting into heaven. That all happened after he told that rich guy to sell all his stuff and follow him. Then there was the situation where he made a whip and got all medieval with the money changers, overturning their tables and driving them out of the temple. I know most evangelicals avoid reviewing these passages, but there they are.

      • I agree with that lesson, Mr. Mordecai, but to the point Pastor John was putting forth ~ ‘He wouldn’t be sticking it to poor people’ ~ I presented an argument that Jesus wasn’t into ‘sticking it’ to ANY ECONOMIC CLASS’. Jesus had wealthy followers including Joseph of Arimathea. Our Lord’s body was laid to rest in that man’s tomb, was he not?

        Joseph wasn’t required to give up his belongings to follow Christ nor did his wealth grant him any special status. He was simply one of many and, in the end, one of the few who didn’t abandon Christ after His Crucifixion.

        **

        In the Temple, I recall Jesus being angry the peddlers, money-changers and other merchants had invaded His Father’s House, polluting and perverted its purpose. To me, it is a lesson that no amount of wealth, or offerings, buys your way into Heaven. What matters is what you give from within.

  13. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I think and my husband agrees that this is the best post you have done since I found your blog. Thank you for reminding us all what is expected of us. I am aware that there are those who won’t hear this because they are deaf, I have decided that that says more about them then it does about me and my relationship with Jesus. Feeling superior, above everyone else can be very enticing and I suspect that that is part of the draw. All I know is me, I know that I have a clear conscience, that I am doing everything I can to enhance my part of the planet and when I stand before God I am hoping he/she will say, “well done good and faithful servant. When I was before you as a young LGBTQ person, you loved me, did not turn me away. When I told of how the planet is dying, you rolled up your sleeves and did all you could to save it. In many other ways I met you and you greeted me with love, kindness, food and help. So come in and set a spell because you have worked very hard”. That’s what I am working for and I can only pray that those who have made a mockery of Jesus and everything he stood for will come to their senses. I have a lot of sadness for these people who would use religion as a weapon, whatever religion it is. Peace and Love,

    • Jacob, since all ministers, pastors, preachers, priests tend to speak for Jesus in the sense that they explain His words to us and train us in Christian living, I fail to see your point.

      I am not saying that they serve as intermediaries but as teachers. John P has gifts of the Holy Spirt. he exercised a gift of exhortation with a prophetic voice straight out of the Hebrew Scriptures,

      • JP doesn’t speak for Jesus based on what he has written. JP speaks a lot of anti Christian nonsense. Jesus would not be pleased with the self appointed, self righteous attitude displayed by JP. The Jesus in the Scripture would rebuke JP!

        • Jacob, please advise what part of the following is anti-Christian nonsense?
          “Ultimately we can best seek to answer the question, What Would Jesus Do? by understanding as evidenced in the Scriptures, what he did do:

          Right now, Jesus would be bringing healing to the sick.
          He would be feeding the multitudes.
          He would be making peace with his enemies.
          He would be turning his cheek.
          He would be visiting the forgotten and imprisoned.
          He would be ignoring social status.
          He would be taking the lowest place.
          He would be abdicating power.
          He would be fighting for the marginalized.
          He would be speaking clear truth.

  14. Just to offer a counter-view*:

    I think Jesus would speak for the forgotten people in society.

    In a way, this is what Trump does (or the people who support him believe he does). He speaks for them. He understands that they aren’t comfortable with a changing society. He wears a baseball cap. He knows they are good people, whose voices are lost by the prevailing narrative of mainstream media. He will make their voices heard, even if it means offending some.

    In a recent piece in the Washington Post last week, the editor of a small town newspaper which endorsed Trump articulated his views. Briefly, his or her view was that, given the support that Trump has, more newpapers should have endorsed him (if they reflect the views of their readers). The fact that so few newspapers did, shows that there is a bias in the media.

    This, I think, is an interesting point, but what grabbed me were some of the ensuing comments from readers. Essentially, it was that people in this small town were to stupid to be allowed to vote.

    This is the problem. We’re not listening to one another.

    * Before you shoot me down: I voted for Hillary, believe the evidence for human-made climate change, oppose taking health care from 23 million Americans, and don’t think Trump is honest.

    • I think you hit on an important point that is often over looked. The comment Hillary made about “the basketful of deplorables” galvanized the people you are referring to. The lesson that should have been learned from her awful and sarcastic statement is humility. We need to make the table bigger than just our clique of people who have the same level of education as us.

      * Btw, I am a big fan of Hillary and think Trump is unfit for the office of president.

      • Beamer, you hit on a good point too, those who took the very valid comment Hillary Clinton made about some of Trump’s supporters being “deplorables” out of any context and wore it like a badge of honor. Ignorance and hate personified if you look at the remarks in context:

        Clinton said “…don’t get complacent, don’t see the latest outrageous, offensive, inappropriate comment and think, well, he’s done this time. We are living in a volatile political environment. You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people — now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

        “But the other basket — and I know this because I see friends from all over America here — I see friends from Florida and Georgia and South Carolina and Texas — as well as, you know, New York and California — but that other basket of people are people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them, nobody worries about what happens to their lives and their futures, and they’re just desperate for change. It doesn’t really even matter where it comes from. They don’t buy everything he says, but he seems to hold out some hope that their lives will be different. They won’t wake up and see their jobs disappear, lose a kid to heroin, feel like they’re in a dead-end. Those are people we have to understand and empathize with as well.”

        A “big fan” huh?

        http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/article/2016/sep/11/context-hillary-clinton-basket-deplorables/

        • Hillary said , “You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right?” and then she said “Some of those folks,” she added, “they are irredeemable.”

          Hillarys sarcastic remark got laughs and applause.

          I remember my gut reaction to it when she said it and I knew it was wrong. It felt wrong. She later apologized for it which is something I admire about Hillary. To me she is a flawed beautiful human being just like you and others on this blog.

          • Beamer, you are still buying the right wing spin yet claiming you support Clinton. What she said in her “apology” was “Last night I was ‘grossly generalistic,’ and that’s never a good idea. I regret saying ‘half’ — that was wrong,” that is hardly her apologizing for telling the truth. If you have not seen the deplorable among the Trump supporters, one wonders what you would find “deplorable.” You, just like every Trump supporter (right winger/Christian Right) ignored the context of the truthful comment to dwell on the point you want it to be.

            • Two things that helped me understand this:

              1) seeing Hillary for myself give the speech

              2) Hillary apologized and admitted her error.

              • Sorry Beamer, if you did understand it, you would not have posted the way you did. That is just the truth of it. You believe what you want, it is certainly trending right now, but it does not make you right. There was a lot that Clinton and the DNC got wrong, but that “deplorables” issue was not one of them.

                • Yes Sandi that is a good point and that is the problem with the board brush that everyone paints against Trump voters.

                  But, in addition for me, I would go a step further and magnify the command to love our enemies even more because it really comes down to how we view the least of people in society.

                  And I believe those who are sick and broken in their humanity– such as white supremacists, racists, sexists, islamophobes act.. — are the least as well. They are imprisoned by their ideology

        • Thank you for putting the whole of that part of the speech out there. It is part of the cherry picking we see in people to justify their hateful behavior, like what they do with scripture. We shouldn’t be surprised but we should never let it go by without correcting. Peace and Love,

          • Actually Sandi omitted parts of the speech which showed Hillary’s intent and the sarcastic joke she made and the laughter and applause of the people in the room. This is why Hillary had to apologize.

            • Actually I listened to the whole thing. I understood what she was talking about, I understood that she was talking about white supremacists in his campaign, the alt-right. Personally I think where she made her error was she gave people too much credit for being informed. Sadly that wasn’t true, the alt-right tend to like alt truths and alt-news. Unfortunately we weren’t as aware of that as we are now. I have seen people glory in their ignorance and lack of education. I am not sure how one deals with that but obviously that wasn’t the way. At least she had the humility to apologize, but I truly do not believe she meant everyone in the GOP or anything like that. She said the truth, some of the people supporting 45 are deplorable. Anyway, my take, for what it’s worth, it would not have mattered what she said, they would have twisted it to make her look bad. They laid everything that Bill did at her feet, mocked her because she chose to save her marriage. I don’t think anything she does will be good enough for them. Peace,

              • Kathleen, I agree with you. Some people in society come form very different backgrounds and are as bent as a squirrely twig.

                Here is how I see it they just need someone to come along and love them like Jesus does.

                • I agree they need love but I for one will not stop calling them out for their hatred. I love my children and grandchildren but I won’t let them get away with hatred and superiority for any reason. I would call them out, doesn’t mean I don’t still love them, but they need to be told they are wrong. My take, all mine and I appreciate were you are coming from, I also understand the crowd that applauded. We have been demeaned since the right wingers have so much power. So I understand that they need love also. How sad that I can see it but those on the right just see how perfect they are. Anyway, my take for what it’s worth. Peace,

              • I know of white supremacists who repented therefore I would not say they are iredeemable

                I agree that their perspective is deplorable and we should be concerned about it but that was not the ‘tone’ Hillary took in her fundraising speech.

                I see racist groups as being imprisioned by their ideologies and I have empathy for them.

                • Have all the empathy for them you like, Clinton did not say that ALL of any group was irredeemable. She said, and you cannot argue she did not: “Now, some of those folks — they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America.”

                  If you want to make a point, do it honestly with the facts of the situation. She no more said all Trump supporters were deplorable than she said all were irredeemable. She just didn’t!

                  • I agree… and that you might be splitting hairs. I know of people who are saved by Jesus who seemed ireedemble and quite disgusting to others– so I am not giving up on those few or “some”.

    • Friendly guy, I accept your premise that the people who support Trump believe he speaks for them. He is a consummate salesman but this nation both needed and deserves more than that. He has conned those people just as surely as they believe Obama conned us.

      As to the point about newspapers, I am sorry but I disagree vehemently that they should just “reflect the views of their readers” or that Pastors should just reflect the views of their parishioners or that elected officials should reflect the views of those who voted for them. That is really not how any of that is supposed to work.

      Newspapers are to enlighten their readers with the truth. Pastors are to enlighten and enable their parishioners with the truth of God and elected representatives are supposed to represent ALL of the people in their district as best they can. When any of that does not happen, we get the breakdowns we now see.

      The truth someone does not like is “fake news” because they will not entertain any arguing the facts. The truth of the Gospels is “false doctrine” because there is only one way to interpret the Bible, theirs. The truth is “obstruction” instead of a legitimate argument against what the majority wants when they ride rough shod.

      That is the thinking that has brought us to this divide in politics, in the church and in life and we need to stop falling for it.

      PS: When we end up with Trump as President, I think there is an argument to be made about how stupid, gullible and vulnerable voters really are.

  15. Pingback: This GOP Christianity (or “What Wouldn’t Jesus Do?”) – FairAndUNbalanced.com

  16. You seem to be cherry-picking the verses that support the Jesus you want to believe in. Don’t forget Jesus also said he didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword. He said anyone who didn’t hate his father and mother wasn’t worthy of being his disciple. He instructed people to leave their families in order to follow him. Don’t judge other Christians for following a particular version of Jesus, because you are doing the same.

  17. We’re Not Anti-American. We’re Following Christ

    By Stephen Mattson 2-23-2017

    Christianity gets labeled as many things, but what exactly makes someone “Christian” in today’s society? Many have mistaken the spirit of Jesus for something else, but consider this:

    People call us hippies for caring about the environment, but we do so because we’re followers of Christ.

    People call us liberals for addressing and acknowledging systemic racism, but we do so because we’re followers of Christ.

    People call us naïve and gullible because we want to provide shelter, aid, safety, and hope to refugees, but we do so because we’re followers of Christ.

    People call us leftists for wanting to value and support the lives of immigrants, but we do so because we’re followers of Christ.

    People call us Democrats for loving the LGBTQ community, but we do so because we’re followers of Christ.

    People call us feminists for standing up for women’s rights and combating misogyny, but we do so because we’re followers of Christ.

    People call us healthcare advocates because we want people to receive affordable and quality medical services, but we do so because we’re followers of Christ.

    People call us Socialists for wanting others to receive fair and equal pay, but we do so because we’re followers of Christ.

    People call us anti-American for embracing foreigners and treating them as we would like to be treated, but we do so because we’re followers of Christ.

    People call us “addicts of political correctness” for loving our Muslim neighbors, but we do so because we’re followers of Christ.

    People call us stupid for trusting in God instead of our military, but we do so because we’re followers of Christ.

    People call us traitors for criticizing governmental policies that are contradictory to the gospel, but we do so because we’re followers of Christ.

    People call us foolish for putting our trust in the cross instead of a president, but we do so because we’re followers of Christ.

    People call us troublemakers for standing up against injustice, but we do so because we’re followers of Christ.

    People call us extremists for protesting against hate and xenophobia, but we do so because we’re followers of Christ.

    People call us unwise to resist evil instead of basking in comfort, but we do so because we’re followers of Christ.

    People call us irrational when we prefer sacrificial love over martial strength, but we do so because we’re followers of Christ.

    People call us unreasonable for seeking the well-being of the poor, oppressed, downtrodden, maligned, and outcast, but we do so because we’re followers of Jesus.

    People call us insane for wanting to give instead of get, but we do so because we’re followers of Christ.

    People call us despicable for pursuing justice over gaining wealth, but we do so because we’re followers of Christ.

    People call us weird for prioritizing spiritual strength over economic strength, but we do so because we’re followers of Christ.

    People call us irresponsible for wanting to preserve and save the lives of others instead of advance our own interests, but we do so because we’re followers of Christ.

    We’re Christians because we follow Jesus Christ.

    The simple standard for Christianity is how well we’re emulating Christ. So how Christ-like are we? Right now, American Christianity isn’t doing so great, which is why non-Christians can be—and often are—even more Christ-like than many self-professed Christians.

    A church, pastor, or denomination doesn’t make anyone a Christian, and neither does our political affiliation or national citizenship. Jesus is what makes us Christian.

    The question is, will we choose to follow Jesus? God help us.

    Stephen Mattson
    Stephen Mattson is a writer who currently resides in the Twin Cities, Minn. You can follow him on Twitter (@mikta) or on Facebook.

    https://sojo.net/articles/we-re-not-anti-american-we-re-following-christ

  18. Pingback: Pastor: When The GOP Calls Themselves “Christian”, Here’s Your Response | Bluedot Daily

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