Sunday, November 17, 2013

Would Jesus Wear a Rolox?

This vintage post originally appeared on this blog 8/02/2011. It appears hear again today because a blog post I read yesterday reminded me how much this way of  representing Jesus INFURIATES me...


Do you remember the old Ray Stevens song that asked if Jesus would wear a Rolex? I  just heard someone who actually thinks the answer is "yes." Late Sunday night (actually around 3 AM Monday morning) I found myself awake and channel surfing. I came across a Tampa area TV preacher on local cable access who was talking about politicians and the debt crisis. At first I stopped because it seemed to be just political rhetoric and I found it humorous. Then he began to tell us what Jesus taught about the whole issue. I thought my head would explode. I have often thought that there are many Christians who would do a great service to the cause of the Jesus Revolution if they would just shut up. This was one of those times. This man was insane. He was on my TV telling me that Jesus would be against giving aid to the homeless, the hungry, the elderly and sick. He was telling me that Jesus taught that we were all responsible for our own actions, and therefore should handle our own problems. He mentioned pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps several times- as a teaching of Jesus! He quoted Jesus as saying (and said it was from the Sermon on the Mount), "God helps those who help themselves." It's not even from scripture, much less the SOTM. He talked about how we as individuals should be self-sufficient, and not rely on society to support us. He proclaimed that "true believers" do not want their tax dollars used to support those in need. Everyone gets what they earn and deserve, he continued. If a drug addict needs health care, Jesus teaches that "it's certainly not my problem," he proclaimed. He suggested that "the church," not the government (implied in that is "not my church, but you know, YOUR church"), take care of the homeless and the hungry, the sick and the elderly, the widows and the orphans- but only if they join the church first. He told us he knew that Jesus would be in favor of  tax breaks for the wealthy because they are the ones who support His (or was it his?) church. He mentioned that wealthy churches do not need to share their financial blessings to support the ministries and salaries of pastors at smaller churches because it is a waste of resources. Christianity is about capitalism and the survival of the fittest, and if is a church is weak, BOOM! Kiss it bye-bye! We are USAmericans, and what made our nation great was people pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and making something of themselves. If people are being left behind in our great nation today, then they just need to pull harder. And then came his big finish- if people are homeless and hungry, left out or left behind in our country today, it is because they do not really follow Jesus. If you believe enough (and send money to his ministry) God will bless you financially. It's as simple as that! I think I dozed off for the part when he said that Jesus actually would wear a Rolex...

I have written here before that I have no problem having dialogue with people who have different political or theological view points from my own. But when someone combines the two and totally misrepresents and misquotes Jesus, I have a problem. I believe that for Christians there is no higher authority than the teachings of Jesus. This "preacher" was preaching a popular brand of crap, but it is crap all the same. Just one of his points- "we all get what we deserve"- might have been enough to have God warming up the lightning bolts. If that's true, what was the purpose of Jesus? Is grace a lie? At the end of his show there was an e-mail address and I fired one off to him. It read simply:  "I challenge you- in fact, I double dog dare you- to find me one teaching of Jesus in scripture that would support any of the the ideas expressed in your sermon tonight. Just one. Go ahead. Search the gospels. I'll wait."

I did not get a reply from him, and I won't- because what he is searching for does not exist. In fact, the words of Jesus pretty much completely contradict the things he was teaching.  We are called to care for another and bear one another's burdens. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors, and taught that everyone is our neighbor. In other words, we're all in this together. The writer of Acts describes the first century church in the following manner in Acts 2:42-47 (NIV): They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

There are plenty of churches in our world that offer great teaching and uplifting worship. What sets apart churches that seek to be part of the Jesus Revolution is that they understand that concepts like love, fellowship, community, family and servant were more important to Jesus than things like numbers, prestige, power and wealth. Jesus said he came for the sick. He said the first shall be last and the last shall be first. He said whatever you do for the least of these your brothers you do also to Him. So if you come across anyone teaching a prosperity gospel that focuses on power and wealth, please- tell them to just shut up! And that's all I've got to say about that...

Because of Jesus,

5 comments:

  1. All this prosperity stuff has gone viral in churches. It's not what the bible was about but 'man' has found a way to line his pocket while using the name of Jesus in their messages.

    God is not mocked at the end of the day, and the bible tells us that many will call on the name of Jesus on that day, but would he know them? These false prophets don't know who they are messing with, if you ask me, and it's certainly not some bloke from down the pub!

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  2. Head explosions must be contagious. I could feel mine going as I was reading this drivel. Gaaaah! We get what we deserve. How about it rains on the just and the unjust. In an arid, agricultrual climate, rain is a blessing. Unjust people get blessed!!! In the bible!
    Or I didn't come for the well, but the sick. Oh my, I need to stop. I can feel my head going.
    So. How exactly do we go about getting the yokels to shut up? :)

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    1. Sorry about your head, but I sure know the feeling! I'm a pacifist, so we can't kill them. But something painful would be nice...

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  3. It's all good. We have to pray for them, don't we? That's where I have to work the hardest to love, the willfully mean.

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