How do you feel about Jesus?

How do you feel about Jesus?

How do you feel about Jesus? It is difficult to separate the person from what Christianity made him into. But at heart Jesus was a liberal.  He was kind and generous–and unconventional. The Rev. Scotty McLennan of Stanford University wrote a book titled Jesus Was a Liberal: Reclaiming Christianity for All. McLennan was the model for sensible, liberal, Rev. Scott Sloan in the cartoon series Doonesbury.

Some of us have felt oppressed by Jesus as presented to us by the vast host of the illiberal. He was turned into a white man, an Aryan even, and had all the best parts of his persona submerged in favor of what the Christian establishment wanted. Especially formulaic directions about how to live.

Multiculturalism has done much good in advancing acceptance to all kinds of people. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said to us that “Jesus calls us not to a new religion, but to life.”

A fellow named John Fugelsang wrote a short summary of the changes of perception that is in progress:

“Jesus was a radical nonviolent revolutionary who hung around with lepers, hookers, and crooks; wasn’t American and never spoke English; was anti-wealth, anti-death penalty, anti-public prayer (Matthew 6:5), but was never anti-gay, never mentioned abortion or birth control, never called the poor lazy, never justified torture, never fought for tax cuts for the wealthiest Nazarenes, never asked a leper for a copay; and was a long-haired brown-skinned, homeless community-organizing anti-slut-shaming Middle Eastern Jew.”

And someone else added, “and a communist who gave away free medical care, food, and wine to people of all races.”

Jesus called himself not the “son of God,” but the “son of man(kind).”

Do you have anything you would like to add to or change in this re-imagining of Jesus?

Rev. Leland Bond-Upson

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  1. Sue Manago

    Being an animal and nature lover, I would like to include something about his regard for these. I always think about one of my favorite hymns – His Eye Is On The Sparrow.

    • Leland Bond-Upson

      Thank you for writing, Ms Manago. I know he had love and compassion for all living things. As a child in the 1950s, when I would visit my friends’ (mainline Protestant) churches, the Sunday School rooms often had a scene of Jesus amidst lots of adoring children and adoring animals. Perhaps a small bird had alighted in his shoulder. St Francis— in my view the person most like Jesus in all Christendom—is very frequently depicted that way too.

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