It’s bizarre, as I’ve disconnected from predominant privileged evangelicalism, how things I didn’t understand before now make complete sense; for instance, the birth of Jesus.
I’m going to shoot rather low, in light of their evangelical “spirit of giving”, i.e. capitalism, but 80% of their story (the story we grew up on) is untrue. Even being liberal in my kindness and ignoring discrepancies historians say are otherwise incontrovertible… I can’t even say that their mythological version of this nativity story conveys a fundamental religious truth that is independent of whether or not it actually happened; in fact, this is the main thing in which the religious elite conveniently get drastically wrong.
The overarching narrative of the biblical nativity story incontrovertibly points towards the theme of liberation; whereas, in direct contradiction to this narration, the conservative evangelical version of this story, liberation isn’t even on their purview.
Jesus is more of a man who came and died to excuse their sins; lending them mainly, for the conservative patriarch this means excusing their frequent masturbation; because, that’s the number one reason they’d be going to hell…?
Christ was sent here specifically for the broken; He wasn’t sent here to justify or excuse the things the religious elite say we should unnecessarily feel guilty for.
We look at Jesus being born in a manger; His father being a craftsman and wood and stone; the cultural repercussions of His mother and father being unwed, yet, bearing a child.
There are actually right-wing Christian sources attempting to explain that Jesus was not a refugee when he fled for his life to Egypt (and so therefore…screw refugees).
I’m glad there are still churches that are faithful to the God of orphans, widows, foreigners, and the poor https://t.co/wcdRmG0Aj8
— Craig Greenfield (@craigasauros) December 26, 2017
This Evangelical Jesus is Incomprehensible to the Privileged…
It’s as if many of these pastors can’t put two + two together; as again, giving the benefit of the doubt, these things are mentioned, but, they manage to still paint Christ as if He’s either a) one of them (i.e./e.g. privileged, religious elite, rich, etc.) or, b) born to save them – which makes no sense; it’s just more relatable to the privilege white evangelical.
When looking at the biblical Christmas hymns, we see them rooted into, and just beneath, this foundation of struggle and fight against extreme oppression; the Bible (the same one they’re using) is pointing to the history of Abraham, Moses, Israel’s exile and, therefore, a lament…
“What did Jesus come to do? Listening to Advent hymns, you’d think He comes to restore Israel, comfort Jerusalem, bring light to the nations, to do some global geo-political restructuring. Listening to Christmas hymns, you’d think He comes to do something quite different. He comes “to free all those who trust in Him from Satan’s power and might.” He will “stamp His likeness” in the place of Adam’s. “He hath oped ( oped ?) the heavenly door, and man is blessed forevermore.” “He comes to make His blessings flow, far as the curse is found.” All true enough – but where is Abraham? Where is Israel? Where is exile and the fulfillment of Israel’s longings? It’s as if the whole history of Israel has been bypassed. It’s as if Jesus was born just outside Eden, immediately after Adam’s sin.”– PETER LEITHART
Yet, today so many of our worship services, liturgies, and benediction’s will impart upon us, this message, err, heresy that only highlights Jesus as the son of David’s, a king; painting pictures of gifts being adorned upon him, while, angels *magically fading into the backdrop* gloriously singing in perfect tone, “Glory to God in the highest heaven…”
As if Jesus, wasn’t born Jewish; as if Jesus was born to a king; as opposed to a couple now made homeless after having to flee from King Herod. We highlight His birth in Bethlehem when a vast majority of historians (and one of our canonical gospels says H wasn’t born there but was born elsewhere)…
The birth of Jesus does not make sense when set apart from oppression…
Because, without knowledge of this history of oppression, liberation doesn’t make sense.
Simply based off of the biblical narrative, the birth of Jesus is the beginning of a restoration; all of this pointing towards an imminent redemption of all oppressed persons.
The world so many times can overwhelm us with this darkness; can clutter our minds with confusion and negative misdirections.
This is what happens when the gospel is interpreted solely by privileged persons… we end up with a white baby Jesus that’s unrelatably-unhelpful to all person.
Whichever way you look at the narrative if Christ’s birth it’s tough to miss this story of liberation.
In the Old Testament points to a messiah being born as a “superhuman aura and saving power”; only later was this reformulated as this “expectation of a saving king who defend Israel against his enemies and bring peace (Isa. 8:23-9-6; II.Iff; Micah 5:1ff.; Zech. 9.9f.).”
Either way, again, while historians debate its original wording, historians agree on the underlying narrative of liberation being clearly evident in these texts. Whichever way we spin it you cannot miss seeing a Jesus whose sole purpose of existing was a liberation for the oppressed persons.
[if you enjoyed this post head over and check out my Facebook Page to follow along with other and future “-ish”]