One of the most important theological/Christological statements I’ve ever read comes from Khalil Gibran, the Lebanese-American poet and Maronite Christian:
“Once every hundred years Jesus of Nazareth meets Jesus of the Christian in a garden among the hills of Lebanon. And they talk long; and each time Jesus of Nazareth goes away saying to Jesus of the Christian, “My friend, I fear we shall never, never agree.”
Taking the above as my inspiration I offer the following:
Frequently throughout American history, the Jesus of White America meets The Jesus of Immigrants and Refugees, who says to him:
“My brother why do you deny me entry? Can you not see my wounds, some that you caused? Why build a wall to keep us out? When did you begin to proclaim Lord Caesar instead of Lord Christ?”
The Jesus of White America also meets his oldest companion, the Jesus of Black America who says to him:
“My brother when will you finally let my people go? Was one crucifixion not enough? Why crucify young Emmett Till, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and countless others? Why do you care more for a flag, than the broken black/brown bodies that prop it up?”
The Jesus of White America is then confronted by the Jesus of Africa, South America, and Colonized Persons Everywhere who says to him:
“My friend when will you stop exploiting us? When will you stop stealing from us? When will we get our land back? Why not redeem yourself and seek forgiveness for your transgressions towards us ? Our children are sick, hungry, and dying. Are the tears of their mother’s less than yours? You can fund wars and launch drones but not bake bread? I know not what is worse, your abuse or indifference.”
Finally, the Jesus of White America is confronted with the overlooked but original Jesus, the Jesus of Palestine:
“My friend why do you ban Muslims, don’t you know they love me too ? Can’t you see hatred of the Other leads to the Cross? You moved your embassy to Jerusalem, but continue to turn your back on Bethlehem because it rests on the West Bank?”
And what can the Jesus of White America do but hold his head down in shame? Does he have the deluded hope that his hat will hide his identity?
Why follow a red hat but not the words written in red?
The questions have been asked. Now we wait for a response.
by Kenly Stewart
Keith Giles was formerly a licensed and ordained minister who walked away from organized church 11 years ago, to start a home fellowship that gave away 100% of the offering to the poor in the community. Today, He and his wife live in Meridian, Idaho, awaiting their next adventure.
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