Why a White Jesus is a Problematic Version of Jesus: What is Eurocentric Theology? (Part 1)

WHITE JESUS EUROCENTRIC THEOLOGY ANDY GILL PATHEOS

I follow this guy on Twitter who goes by the name of “Irish Atheist” and it is so incredibly painful to read the replies, from fellow Christians, to his tweets. I’ve noticed over the years that Christians love throwing at him the notion that “he just has yet to find the right church home…”

Here’s the thing… One of the most annoying things friends and/or family members say to me [that still remain in the Church] is, “You must have not found the right Church home, yet…”

It’s this indolent, pious, passive-aggressive dismissal; all stemming from what I’d say to be a “Eurocentric theology.”

Before I go on, one might be wondering, “What exactly is ‘Eurocentric theology’?”

What Eurocentric Theology Is…

Any theology that is opposed, err, indifferent to the oppressed person’s liberation is not Christian theology. Any theology that casts caring for the poor and the powerless as optional to a meaningful Christian life is heresy.

In contrast to my above statements, any theology that negates any one individual’s experience is not representative of the divine nature and/or character of God.

This is the issue we find with any form of systematic theology that somehow becomes this sacrosanct revelation.

A Eurocentric theology does all of the above.

It’s a form of theology that does not only negate the humanity of nonwhite persons but sets the acceptable form of human existence as “whiteness.” It wrongfully and detrimentally presents the Gospel within the framework of a euro-centered perspective; therefore, this theology is only taking into consideration a limited group of peoples political, social, and economic interests.

This is how and why we received and have gotten a westernized, European, conservative, evangelical, Americanized, pseudo version of the actual Gospel (I know, that’s a lot of adjectives).

At its very best it can be described as “social conservativism.”

Hopefully, at this point, it’s needless for me to say that this type of gospel is troublesome.

Any type of theology that selfishly re-shapes Jesus into this “never changing” version of who you want him to be, is dangerously problematic.

But, as I’ve mentioned before in a prior post of mine “The Evangelical Delusion,” it’s about experience. I spoke about the felt disconnect between myself and the Church communities I’ve been a part of, saying:

“For me, the white evangelical Jesus they handed me was simply un-relatable. He didn’t see my experience. Their gospel didn’t breathe life into my experience, it further perpetuated a societal status-quo of nothingness… When the pastor professed a Eurocentric Gospel their version of Jesus couldn’t handle or comprehend the weight of an adopted POC’s experience.”

Any type of challenge, questioning or disagreement would be shamed, shunned or threatened by anathematization (not sure if that’s a word but as long as you’re following, whatever).

Them seeing my questions as liabilities was like being told who I was would never be accepted.

Calling out various forms of doctrine and the shortcomings that naturally come alongside them has seemingly only brought more division and “bifurcation within contemporary Christian circles.” It triggers a reaction from Calvinists, liberationists, and everyone in between; it seemingly pushes us further into our own individual silos.

In other words, it’s not helping, it’s dividing.

Any systematic theology in which we hold up as the divine revelatory Gospel is ironically the worship of an idol; an idol that comes in the form of a westernized European pseudo version of Christ; a modernized version of a “golden calf,” if you will.

Pious theologians, lay-leaders, regular people, we must all remember that we’re imperfect and faulted people; John Calvin to Gustavo Gutiérrez we’re all just attempting to understand what we cannot comprehend, let alone properly articulate.

I’m left wondering and asking, is unity even a possibility?

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