Every week I get a book in the mail from a Christian publisher. It’s another book about how incredibly, totally, awesomely, sacreligiously RADICAL Jesus is.
Inevitably, the book uncovers the scandal that the church has missed out on how RADICAL Jesus is, and the erstwhile author trots out the usual list of examples from the life of Jesus about how he RADICALLY challenged the religious authorities of his day. And how he RADICALLY hung on the cross. I mean, he was seriously RADICAL. How could we have missed that for so long?!?
But here’s what’s interesting to me: These books are almost always by evangelical authors and from evangelical publishers. And guess what seems to be missing? That’s right, advocacy for GLBT persons in the life of the church and society. These authors are quick to trumpet Jesus’ advocacy for lepers, but they are painstakingly silent on the one social issue that is rending the church today: same-sex relations. I don’t know about you, but it’s been a long time since I met a leper.
While I appreciate that many evangelicals are being cured of their Paulophilia and are shifting their focus back to Jesus, I wonder just how radical they’re going to let Jesus be.Bruce Reyes-Chow tackled this same issue, with a little less snark than me:
While I generally agree with the positions taken about church, culture and life, I have wondered – and will no doubt get in trouble for verbalizing this – if those who preach a gospel of radicality are preaching the radical life that Jesus is in fact calling us to live. Yes, I do believe that Jesus calls us to speak truth to power, social and political, but sometimes, I wonder if we can embody this role so much that it becomes all who we are. With good intentions, the overabundance of one tactic and gospel perspective begins to sound as if Jesus only wants radical transformation for the other . . . and we are the ones to deign how to do that. [Read the rest: The Unexpected Safety of the Radical Jesus | Bruce Reyes-Chow]
(The title of this post is an homage to Lillian Daniel.)