Separating Jesus from his ideas

The crusades are perhaps the most egregious example of how distorted Christianity can become when we separate Christ from his ideas.

Yet we continue to do this — we worship Jesus as savior while dismissing his ideas about peace. For seventeen centuries Christianity has offered a gospel that largely ignores Jesus’ ideas about peace, violence, and human society. We have embraced a privatized, postmortem gospel that stresses Jesus as “personal savior,” while at the same time discounting his political ideas. This leaves us free to run the world the way it has always been run: by the power of the sword.

Under pressure from the ideology of empire, concepts like freedom and truth gain radically different meanings than those intended by Christ; freedom becomes a euphemism for vanquishing (instead of loving) enemies; truth finds its ultimate form in the will to power (expressed in the willingness to kill). This is a long way from the ideas of peace, love, and forgiveness set forth by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

Read the rest here. Brian Zahnd is always worth reading.

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