MYSTIC OR REVOLUTIONARY
"… Jesus wasn't involved in politics; He wasn't a member of a political party, He didn't label himself politically; He wasn't concerned with that."
This an assumption I do not accept. In fact, scholars disagree as to whether Jesus should be regarded as primarily a "peaceful, spiritual leader or as a
political revolutionary." But even if you decide that the former is more the case, that does not mean a 21st century American Jesus would be a duplicate
of a 1st century Palestinian Jesus. That his methods and his message would be frozen in the past. That he would not see how a world that is in many
ways radically different, including in a political sense from the world where first he preached his word, offered a different set of opportunities for
service, change and salvation. That he would not assume the role of an overtly political figure given the ways in which the ability to affect change
through political means has evolved.
"He didn't tell Rome to give money to the poor, He told individuals; He didn't tell Rome to feed the hungry; He did it himself. In fact, He said, "Render to
Caesar what is Caesar's and render to God what is God's." With all due respect, I disagree with trying to recreate Jesus in our own 21st century political
Render unto Caesar and render unto Trump (or any other contemporary elected political figure) are not the same thing.
You assert that Jesus didn't tell Rome to give money to the poor or to feed the hungry. But this is not Rome and while he may wish with all his "heart" it
were otherwise, Trump is not Caesar. So, if he were alive in the flesh today, in this time and place I do not believe Jesus would behave as if he were still
wandering the byways of Nazareth. I do not believe he would fail to notice that we have evolved to a place where things which were politically beyond
the pale in ancient Rome are no longer unrealistic.
This is 21st century America not ancient Palestine, where (unless Trump and his followers get their way) people can vote their interests, have rights and
powers which did not exist thousands of years ago, can march, demonstrate and protest without fear (for the most part) of Herods men or Pilates
soldiers murdering them in the street, can fire the person in charge and hire someone else. Where, through their freely elected representatives the
people can change the laws even if they contradict the interests of Caesar or his latest puppet. Where again, so far, the majority rules. None of these
things were possible in the land of 1st century Palestine, in the arena where Jesus strove to uplift his followers without leading them, in the way of
Josephus and the Zealots to certain death in hopeless rebellion.
"My point is that as far as we know, Jesus wasn't involved in politics; He wasn't a member of a political party, He didn't label himself politically; He wasn't
concerned with that.'
To which I respond, Jesus teachings are all encompassing and supraordinate and can easily be translated into political terms.
To which I respond with the words that came to me in a dream,
“Anything spiritual has a personal and a political dimension”
Because he knew what could happen given the brutality of Caesar and his puppets, I believe that Jesus strove to help people in ways that would also
protect them, that would not pit them against the prefect or the priest and their brutal minions, that would not place them at the mercy of those who
held overwhelming power. And he was crucified anyway.
He showed them how they could lift themselves up spiritually in spite of being beaten down politically. He gave them reasons to hope and reasons to
believe in spite of the despair and doubt which must have plagued them. He encouraged them to focus on inward development, yet despite his
emphasis on spiritual growth, the powers that be recognized the political ramifications of his message and that is why they killed him. While you and
others may regard him as apolitical, the Romans it seems did not.
If the Jesus of old didn’t act in what we perceive as an overt political manner, perhaps it is because he practiced a smart politics adapted to the
oppressive conditions in which he prophesied and preached, which took into account the limitations and realities of the environment in which he carried
out his mission. Indeed, when he said "Render to Caesar what is Caesar's and render to God what is Gods," Jesus was dealing with a political reality in
which the risks involved in opposing Caesar were greater than they are now and the demands one could safely and reasonably place on Caesar were
comparatively stunted and small. America, at least for the moment, is not the same as Roman occupied Palestine, Nazi Germany or Inquisitorial Spain
and I believe a Jesus physically alive in the world of 2020 would adapt his message to the more hopeful and accommodating reality he faced.