Thursday, December 15, 2011

Merry Christmas everyone: "Supply Side Jesus"

These days on the RightWing, the story been changed a bit.  Jesus no longer throws the money lenders out of the temple -- he caters lunch for them.

Don't forget the Christianist Republican motto: Greed is Good!

Al Franken's "Supply Side Jesus" comic 

13 comments:

Kevin Scheunemann said...

This post only moved Al Franken to total disgust in my book.

You continue to miss the point of Jesus throwing the money-lenders out of the temple. For an academic, concerned about the truth, I continue to be shocked by your careless research on this one.

Had you continued to read Matthew Chapter 21 past verse 12, its very clear the money-lenders being thrown out of the temple story is about drawing worship in the church from the Lord. (Hint verse #13.) Jesus was clearly indicating it is a sin to draw prayer from the Lord. Nearly all Christian scholars interpret verse 13 that the money changers were "robbing" the people in the temple of the opportunity of worship. Instead of allowing those that came to the temple to put their mind on things above, in heaven, with prayer, the money-lenders were drawing worship away with the concerns of the earthly world. The money-lenders did not have their concerns with that of Lord, and were also drawing others from the Lord in the process at the temple. That was the main issue.

You continue to pervert Matthew 21 into something it is not.

Matthew Chapter 21:12 (&13) is about drawing worship and glorification of the Lord in the church with earthly concerns.

Do we need to have a "smarty pants" academic debate about Matthew 21 at UWWC?

CFinNaples said...

Yeah... I'd forgotten about this one. Great time to revisit it.

Mpeterson said...

But Kevin, I think we agree. You're making my point for me. What I'm saying is that your economics-bounded worldview is robbing the rest of the world of a real spiritual life, replacing it with money and lucre. We see the same thing in your personal life in the way your personal well-being depends on convincing people to replace nutritious food with DairyQueen sundaes.

But if you'd like to debate me in public on this, I think it'd be a great opportunity. When do you want to schedule the debate? We'll put in on local cable.

How's the end of January?

Vince Marolla said...

Kevin and Mark,

I think you agree on some level. I do not fully agree with your interpretation Kevin of Matthew 21:12-13. To say these verses are about drawing worship from the Lord, while somewhat accurate, is very simplistic. True, the money-lenders did not have their concerns with that of the Lord -- they were focused on making money. They were in the temple because they knew that under Jewish Law those who came to worship needed certain "things" to worship and offer a proper sacrifice to the Lord. They knew that the Jews coming to the temple were coming from many places with many different currencies.

Hence the bigger issue for Jesus is that these people -- the money-lenders and merchants -- were in the temple to profit from the Jewish pilgrims who came to worship and pray in accordance with the Jewish Law. They saw themselves as providing a vital services to the pilgrims, and as such, saw it as an opportunity to make a profit. Their goal was not in enhancing worship, but it was to enhance their pocketbooks. The sin was not as much that they drew prayer from the Lord -- the sin of the money-lenders was that they used the Jewish Law and the desire of the people to follow the Law as a way to enhance their earthly wealth. They used the Law which was intended to make people right with God, to make themselves rich.

The money-lenders in the end were not "also drawing others from the Lord in the process at the temple," as you suggest, but they were using the desire of the Jews to be faithful to the Law -- the desire of the Jewish pilgrims to be faithful in worship and prayer -- as a way of increasing their own wealth.

In many respects, that is what Franken is talking about. He is talking about the perversion of many in modern Christianity -- by a theology of glory -- if you are good and righteous, you will be rewarded, if you are poor, then you are not faithful enough. Franken is commenting on the fact Jesus healed and taught and preached that all are deserving of God's love -- it is not conditional based on the condition that one finds oneself in the world.

Poverty, sickness, disease and the like are not punishments from God that demonstrate people are farther from God. The call of the Christian in the world is to walk with those in poverty, sickness, disease and the like to help them in their situations with the things that God has given us. Franken's point is that too many Christians have perverted that message as a way of saying if I have wealth, then I deserve it. Jesus never said that.

Kevin Scheunemann said...

"My economics bound worldview?"

For someone that constantly, by your posts, wants to covet the wealth and hard work of others, it is an interesting paradox that you are concerned with a "spiritual" point of view. I'm also fascinated by the paradox of your ongoing war and demonization of Christian spirituality after that comment.

Are you talking about your own special brand of "spirituality"? (progressive religion?)

So if someone choses to replace their "spirituality" (which I suspect has a very unique meaning for you) with "money and lucre"...you are willing to punish them for not making your special brand of "spiritual" choice?

Doesn't the individual decision to define our lives by a higher purpose, or not, belong with the person?

Persuasion to the higher purpose is paramount. That change cannot, morally, be done by force, coerced duty, or obligation. It's the difference between a free society and being North Korea.

Mpeterson said...

Oh Kevin, this is too precious.

Vince Marolla said...

Kevin,

First of all, you cannot make the assumption that you seem to make -- that there is a single "Christian spirituality." And, in reading your prior posts on this specific blog, I think you do not understand what spirituality is. Spirituality is the how and why and ways in which I connect with that which is other -- God, a higher power. The spirituality of many orders of monks makes that connection through the use of chant, incense, pslamody and prayer. Some monks choose to connect to God with silence. that is a part of their spirituality.

Believe it or not, Kevin, there is no single Christian spirituality. Through out the centuries since the coming of Christ, there have been many different expressions of spirituality through out the Christian Church and Christianity. No one of these expressions of spirituality is more or less valid than any other expression of spirituality.

Based on your comment about Mark's "own special brand of "spirituality"? (progressive religion?)" I believe you are really talking about Mark's theology -- the way in which one sees God -- and Mark's sense of doctrine -- how one takes one's view of God and uses it to define belief and practice. It is apparent that you are unable to make that important distinction between how we connect with God -- spirituality -- and what we believe about God and how we act on that belief.

The "individual decision to define our lives by a higher purpose" does indeed belong to the person -- to the individual. That is precisely what those who founded this country believed and counted on -- that each of us was free to decide for ourselves our spirituality, our theology and our doctrine. And that is where you seem to be falling short in your discussion with Mark.

You have defined set of beliefs. I suspect from the little that I have read from you, you believe in a Gospel of prosperity. If you succeed in this world, it is because God has blessed you. I may be off on this, but that is what I see in the little you have written. The dangerous side to that belief -- doctrine -- is that it also implies that if you are poor or homeless or jobless, it is because you are not blessed by God.

The danger with this whole theology is that is looses focus from the central core belief of Christianity as I see it. God has acted in the world through Jesus Christ. Anything that I do is in response to that. What is God's witness to the world through Jesus Christ? What did Jesus do when he was physically in the world? He healed the sick without concern for who they were in the world -- he talked to Samaritans -- those who in his society were seen as outcasts and second class citizens -- he cared for those who came to hear him by feeding their physical needs -- 5,000 to be exact -- understanding that until our physical needs for food, clothing and shelter are met we have a hard time seeing God. Jesus had a special place in his heart for the widows and orphans -- as Paul tells us. Remember the widow who gave one small coin -- the widow's mite. Jesus lifted her up and reminded all of us that her gift was greater than those who gave much more because she gave from heart -- not from her abundance.

What Mark lifts up rightly is that if you look at the witness of Jesus, Jesus cared for those who we often look down upon. Mark in no way suggests that he wants to covet the wealth and hard work of others -- no in reality, Mark suggests a truly Christ-like approach -- making sure that it is used to lift up those in need. Remember, Jesus constantly reminds us that all we have, money, wealth, power, standing is a gift from God -- but it is gift with a condition -- it is not ours, it is God's. All that we have is a gift from God that belongs to God. We are called to use it for the glory of God.

And yes, Kevin, I do have the letters MDiv. behind my name meaning I have studied theology.

Our Savior's Blog said...

Mark - from my perspective, Kevin just complimented you. For me, being a progressive Christian means I understand that there will be no loopholes to the scenarios presented in Matthew 25:31-46 (which is pretty darned close to Matthew 21.)
37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

41Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

46And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal."

Kevin Scheunemann said...

Glad you liked it.

Vince,

If that is what Franken is truly driving at, why does he do it in such an anti-Christian way? (I think its very generous to say his clip is NOT blasphemous to Christ.)

Naturally, in true Christian theology, salvation is not earned by good works and actions. (aka Salvation is not earned by keeeping score). Good works and actions flow from faith in Christ. Those good works and actions are done cheerfully, and from the heart. Good works and actions, in the Christian context, cannot be done from a sense of duty, obligation, or requirment!

That's where I'm confused about Prof. Peterson invoking Christianity in his political agenda when he covets and tells everyone, without defining what it, is when he says to "pay your fair share"? That is NOT cheerful giving as Christ asked.

Kevin Scheunemann said...

"Our Savior's blog",

As long as being a "progressive Christian" means cheerful giving by you and also persuading (not obligating) others to embrace a higher purpose.

Too often, the "progressive" political religion (which is not Christianity) wants to OBLIGATE others toward purposes that are very often questionable. (funding of abortion, crony capitalism, failed and wasteful "green" corporate pork, increadible government waste, etc.)

Obligating others to "give", or forcing them to go "good works" (at that point, they are no longer "good works"), is morally wrong.

I see way too much of that attitude in the progressive political religion...obligating others.

Good works, in the Christian view, can only come from being moved by the Holy Spirit. The giver needs to be moved by, and accepting of that grace. One cannot be brought to that condition by obligation, force, or government edict...the main tools of advocacy for the progressive political religion.

I know, I know...I'll get letters.

Vince Marolla said...

Kevin,

I can see you are set in your ways. But I have two responses to make.

First -- Franken's piece is not about Jesus in any way shape or form. It is about Christians who pervert the message of Jesus and it is about what they expect Jesus to be like.

Second, you pulled the words cheerful giving from what I said, but you entirely missed the whole of the point. To be a Christian is to be Christ like. It is to model your life after Jesus and to embrace the WWJD in the world. Plain and simple, to the point of Our Savior blogger, does Jesus feed the hungry? Yes. Does Jesus heal the sick? Yes. Does Jesus help the poor? Yes.

To be Christ like -- to be Christian -- is to behave as Christ behaved. That means that as Christians we are compelled by our faith to take care of the poor, the hungry, the homeless and the sick. If we have been gifted by God, we are compelled to use those gifts for the glory of God. To call yourself a Christian and to fail to use your resources for this, is to be a Christian -- Christ like -- in name only.

PMM said...

Your hatred and self-righteousness cloud your views. Only Jesus deems who is and who is not a Christian. I will continue to pray for you...in Jesus name...

Lou said...

A conversation between Justice and Supply-Side Jesus. When you get to the site, you will be on the lyrics page. To hear the song, to the right, click on #6, "Sweet Justice." Here is the link: http://marchingbackward.com/marching-backward-lyrics-and-songs/talkin-compensation-lyrics/sweet-justice-lyrics