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The current installment of the COEC began meeting in 2007.

We are currently on a "break," for no particular reason, and many little reasons - mostly pertaining to life circumstances. If anyone is interested in calling a meeting, feel free to post on the blog, join the google group (see link below) and send an email, or contact either Nancy (nancykj10@yahoo.com) or Jesse (schroeder.jesse@gmail.com) for more information.

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9.03.2007

The 7 Jesuses I Have Known

I just finished re-reading the chapter from Brian McLaren's Generous Orthodoxy, and I had a few things to throw out to our cohort (current and future members). The 7th Jesus McLaren discusses comes out of "liberation theology." I had heard, at least vaguely, of the other 6, but this one was completely new to me. Of course I thought it was pretty much crap when I read it, because I handle anything unfamiliar very critically. I had a difficult time picturing Jesus as a universal Ghandi, a spirit transcending history and time, leading the oppressed into freedom. There seemed to be no spiritual element - this Jesus focused purely on the plight of living in this imperfect world. But then I realized that it was mainly this Jesus that McLaren discusses in The Secret Message of Jesus. If you haven't read it yet but are interested in the "Jesus of the Oppressed," I would recommend it. For the first time someone explained to me a possible line or reasoning for why Jesus had to die, and even more to die exactly as he did. I've believed in Christ pretty much my whole life and from time to time I would wonder why the Good News had to be so gory. Couldn't the Messiah just have come, given his message of hope, and then set up camp as the new king of the world? In the latter book I mentioned by him, McLaren presents Jesus as overturning the way humans ran the world - not just on the large-scale, political level, but our need to forcibly manage other people and submit to others only when it benefits us. (At least this is the way I read the book; admittedly it has been awhile.)

This Jesus of the Oppressed fights oppression at any level, even between individuals. I am also reminded of Don Miller's many mentions of his lifeboat theory in Searching for God Knows What. Miller says that after being a Christian for several years he discovered something terrible about himself, that Christ's gift should have freed him from feeling the need to struggle against his fellow man for higher placement (in God's eyes, materially, intellectually, etc.), but that somehow he seemed in this respect to be just like those that hadn't come into a relationship with Christ. He compares it to jumping a sinking ship, finding oneself safe on a lifeboat, but then continuing to fight for placement on that lifeboat, even though it doesn't matter. This metaphor really hit me over the head because I realized that I too had completely failed in this area. We humans seem have a need to feel superior to as many other people as possible. Maybe the reason I knew Christ for so many years and yet continued to treat others in this way was because I thought of him as the one born to die for my sins, giving me admittance into heaven and a personal relationship with God (the 1st of the 7 Jesuses). Maybe if I had learned about Jesus' successful attempt to overthrow the status quo in his life and death I would have spent fewer years trying to shove others out of the boat and taunting those that thrashed in the water...

3 comments:

Nick Johnson said...

Well, I'm glad you didn't try to keep me out of the boat when we first met, even though I probably would have been happy to tip the boat over from underneath.

I've often heard that systems like Socialism are the best government for Christians and that sort of thing and never really bought it (probably just becuase of the way it's been ran in the past). I guess a problem that I might, or many people would have, though, is that leading someone from oppression doesn't mean the same thing as leading them to God. But at the same time I feel that modern Christians are far too salvation based and not based enough on trying to realize God's vision for the world. I'm wondering what we, as a little group in Columbus, could do for the oppressed beyond just sending money around world. Any thoughts?

Zack said...

Nick I often wonder that same thing about how to really make a difference for the oppressed around the world. Jesse wrote a little blog about just that on his myspace that I thought was pretty good
http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=103373595&blogID=290901376
another thing that I think is really important is praying for oppressed people around the world and really trying to learn about different situations around the world. It all seems a bit trivial but really all the people who I've talked to overseas and missionaries and stuff who have made the biggest impact have started with just praying for people of other cultures and then being open and willing to do what God tells them.

I also wonder about what we can do for people right here in Columbus since this is where we are right now?

Zack said...

that link didn't get posted right so here it is Darfur...still...