Revolutionary Jesus – Brian Zahnd
You say you want a revolution,
Well, you know, we all want to change the world
The revolution of Christ is the radical alternative to the unimaginative politicism of the religious Right and Left.
Jesus is not apolitical. Far from it. Jesus is intensely
political! But Jesus has his own politics — and they cannot be made to serve the interests of some other political agenda. As Eugene Peterson says, “The gospel of Jesus Christ is more political than anyone
imagines, but in a way that no one guesses.”
The politics of Jesus are set forth in the Sermon on the Mount — and neither the Republican nor the Democratic party have any intention of seriously adopting those politics! They simply cannot. The politics of the Sermon on the Mount are antithetical to the political interests of a military and economic superpower.
The problem with both the Christian Right and the Christian Left is that they reduce “Christian” to the diminished role of religious adjective in service to the all-important political noun. But as Karl Barth taught us, God cannot serve some other interest, God can only rule. …
Conventional politics is a contest to gain the use of coercive force. But Jesus rejects this method. In the politics of Jesus the world will be changed by non-coercive love or not at all. It’s not the task of the church to change the world by legislative force. It’s the task of the church to be the world changed by Christ. This is revolutionary in a way that conventional politics never can be. …
The church doesn’t need to enforce this revolution, the church only needs to live it. To those who will dare to adopt the politics of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “You are the light of the world. A city built upon a hill cannot be hid.” (Matthew 5:14)