What If Jesus Addressed Congress?

crucifixion-1

What If Jesus Addressed Congress?
Brian Zahnd

The cross is shock therapy for a world addicted to solving its problems through violence. The cross shocks us into the devastating realization that our system of violence murdered God! The things hidden from the foundation of the world have now been revealed. The cross shames our ancient foundation of violence. The cross strips naked the principalities and powers. The cross tears down the façade of glory that we use to hide the bodies of slain victims.

In the light of the cross, we are to realize that if what we have built on Cain’s foundation is capable of murdering the Son of God, then whole edifice needs to come down. In the light of the cross, our war anthems lose their luster. But this throws us into a crisis. What other alternatives are there? How else are we to arrange the world? The alternative is what Jesus is offering us when he told us that the kingdom of God is at hand. God’s way of arranging the world around love and forgiveness is within reach. If we only dare to reach out for it, we can have it. But we are so afraid. We’re not sure we can risk it. It’s so hard for us to let go of the sword and take the hand of the Crucified One. It’s so hard for us to really believe in Jesus.

The crowd never believes in Jesus. Only the little flock that accepts its vulnerability can believe in Jesus. If you tell those rushing to war that their hatred of enemies and their plan for the organized killing of enemies is evil, the crowd will hate you. War is sacred. It lies beyond critique. To critique it is blasphemy. The crowd hates blasphemy. The crowd wants to kill blasphemers. The crowd knows that the criticism of their violence is blasphemy because they know their cause is just. They believe it. And from their perspective their cause is just. They can prove it. Both sides can prove it. Always.

Achilles knew his cause was just and that it was perfectly legitimate to drag Hector’s body from his chariot in front of the gates of Troy in a show of grotesque triumphalism. It’s the same grotesque impulse that causes modern soldiers to pose for gruesome photos with the bodies of dead enemies. It’s literally the way of the world. But it’s not the way of the new world founded by Jesus. Jesus is not the warrior king the world is accustomed to. Jesus is not the Jewish Achilles. Jesus refused to be the violent Messiah Israel longed for. Jesus did not kill Pilate and drag the governor’s body behind his chariot. Jesus did not pose triumphantly over the dead bodies of slain Roman soldiers. Instead it was Jesus who hung naked on a tree after being put to death through a state-sponsored execution. Jesus founded his kingdom in solidarity with brutalized victims. This is the gospel, but it’s hard for us to believe in a Jesus who would rather die than kill his enemies. It’s harder yet to believe in a Jesus who calls us to take up our own cross, follow him, and be willing to die rather than kill our enemies.

Many American Christians are fond of describing the United States as a “Christian nation” — which would mean a Christlike nation. With that in mind, here’s a wild thought experiment. Imagine if Jesus went to Washington D.C. Imagine that he is invited to give a speech to a joint session of Congress. (He’s Jesus after all, and I’m sure the senators and congressmen would be delighted to hear a speech from the founder of the world’s largest religion — if nothing else it would confer some dignity upon their institution.) Imagine that the speech Jesus gave was his most famous sermon — the Sermon on the Mount. Can you imagine that?

Jesus is introduced. (Standing ovation.) He stands before Congress and begins to deliver his speech. “Blessed are the poor…the mourners…the meek.” “Love your enemies.” “Turn the other cheek.” After a few perfunctory applauses early on, I’m pretty sure there would be a lot of squirming senators and uncomfortable congressmen. The room would sink into a tense silence. And when Jesus concluded his speech with a prophecy of the inevitable fall of the house that would not act upon his words, what would Congress do? Nothing. They would not act. They could not act. To act on Jesus’ words would undo their system. The Sermon on the Mount doesn’t work in Cain’s system — no matter how noble or sophisticated. In the end, the U.S. Congress would no more adopt the policies Jesus set out in the Sermon on the Mount than they were adopted by the Jewish Sanhedrin or the Roman Senate.

The Jesus way and conventional power politics don’t mix. So we tell Jesus to mind his own business — to go back to church and to “saving souls” and not to meddle in the real affairs of running the world. We sequester Jesus in a stained glass quarantine and appropriate a trillion dollars for the war machine. This begs the question of why Christians get so worked up over which side has the most representatives in Congress when the entire system is incapable of implementing what Jesus taught. Do you see what I mean? It’s hard to believe in Jesus! To believe in Jesus fully, to believe in Jesus as more than a personal savior, to believe in Jesus without qualifications, to believe in Jesus as God’s way to run the world, to believe in Jesus and his Sermon on the Mount, to believe in Jesus as the unimagined solution for a world gone wrong and not as merely chaplain or cheerleader for our favorite version of the status quo is very hard to do. It’s also very controversial.

If believing in Jesus were as easy as we pretend, it would have been easy for me to to respond in a Christlike way to the 9/11 attacks. But it isn’t easy. And I didn’t respond in a Christlike way. I didn’t wrestle with what Jesus calls his followers to do in the Sermon on the Mount. It didn’t even cross my mind! I didn’t pray about what it means to love my enemies. I prayed a war prayer. I preached war sermons. Sermons like “The Road to Armageddon” and “Jesus, Jerusalem, and Jihad” — sermons in which I actually said, “We are at war with Islam.” I’m ashamed of it now; I can barely stand to look at those sermon notes. But I preached those sermons. And they were popular sermons! People loved them. The crowd told me those sermons were anointed. When I was preaching my war sermons, I never once received any criticism for them. Never once! Telling the crowd that God is on our side is never a bad career move.

But a few years later, when I encountered Jesus in a fresh and new way, when I began to take the “words in red” seriously, when I repented for my war prayers and war sermons, when I started preaching peace sermons, then criticism came. Oh, believe me, it came! People left the church over my “new direction.” My new direction was that I began to take the Sermon on the Mount seriously. My new direction was that I began to see the kingdom of Christ as God’s alternative society. My new direction was to believe that peacemakers are the children of God. And I learned a bitter lesson. I learned that it is much easier to unite people around a Jesus who hates our enemies and blesses our wars than it is to unite people around a Jesus who calls us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. It broke my heart to learn that people are not as easily drawn to a gospel of peace as they are to a rally for war.

But I couldn’t blame them. I had been the same way. I had endorsed war in the name of the Lord. I had prayed war prayers. I had preached war sermons. And if people became angry when I started praying peace prayers and preaching peace sermons, I couldn’t be surprised. I had been the same way. Believing in a Mars-like Messiah is easy. Believing in the Prince of Peace is hard.

BZ

This is an adapted excerpt from A Farewell To Mars.

(The artwork is Crucifixion by Jan Provoost c. 1500.)

  • Jordan

    “The cross is shock therapy for a world addicted to solving its problems through violence.”

    War isn’t the only way this addiction manifests. Violence is the foundation of ALL human institutions, from health care and education to law enforcement and finance. The state IS violence.

  • Don’t confuse Libertarianism with what Jesus teaches.

  • JD

    Read ‘Farewell to Mars’ a couple weeks ago. What an eloquent and perspective-changing work that I’ve been recommending to everyone since. Thank you.

  • DanVincent

    Excellent – blessings to you! I’m sharing this one on Facebook.

  • Brilliant.

  • Perspective

    who was it that required blood for payment of sin? who was it that volunteered to die? how could He die if He didnt lay down His life or defend himself? How is it we are to protect ourselves and other from the demonic? who is it that comes back on a horse with a sword in His hand to slay His enemies? will you then support that Jesus?

  • If Jesus addressed Congress, would atheists criticize Him the way the Dems did Bibi?

  • Me

    John 2:15

    And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of
    the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;

  • I’m preaching on this text this Sunday. “Jesus the Prophet”

  • Jordan

    I infer that you conflate libertarianism with living for oneself and pursuing one’s own interest. If that is what libertarianism is, then Jesus opposes libertarianism as well. I’m not arguing against that. But if Jesus is opposed to violence, Jesus is opposed to the state because
    everything the state does is predicated on violence, even caring for the
    poor. Your aversion to denouncing the state as a just means for social justice baffles me, given your stated aversion to violence. If I lived in St. Joseph, you’d get a lot of free lunch offers from me in my attempts to convince you that you’re not taking non-violence far enough.

  • Jordan

    He’d be arrested and sent to Guantanamo Bay.

  • JD

    Found this to be a useful paper on violence/nonviolence in the Temple incident: http://www.academia.edu/1563662/Violence_Nonviolence_and_the_Temple_Incident_in_John_2_13-15

  • charlesburchfield

    structural violence.

  • My question is how do we distinguish between “the State” and the common good? I know it’s difficult.

    I’m tempted to be a Christian anarchist. But that’s the point — I regard it as a temptation; so I resist it. One example: I make a distinction between war and police function. This too is tricky, but I feel it’s a distinction I must make.

    I’m not interested in an online discussion of this complex matter. Too much typing and not enough nuance. A face to face discussion would be nice. Maybe someday.

  • By the same people who voted against restoring “God” and “Jerusalem” by name to the 2012 DNC platform language after initially omitting both?

  • Jordan

    Yes… and also by folks who enthusiastically pledge allegiance to a human Republic which stands in direct opposition to the peaceable Way of Immanuel.

  • Chris Kammerer

    Exactly Jordan. Until there is a consistent denunciation of all violence carried out by the state regardless of the stated ends being sought by violent means then I just don’t think there is anything very radical being said… just political.

    I think the problem is that you can’t be unpopular with both the right AND the left at the same time if you are a public figure and wish to remain one. If you consistently criticize the use of state violence regardless of who desires to wield it for whatever purpose then you will be consistently unpopular. That is actual unpopularity.

    I need to hear a radical message rather than just stone throwing at one side while being patted on the back by the other… If that happened I would be able to listen to what was being said…. Of course I might be one of the very very few!

  • Chris Kammerer

    Once you label me you negate me. ~Soren Kierkegaard

  • not_very_good_at_commenting

    Brian, I love your books and the perspective you bring to light regarding the true heart of Jesus. I was brought to Christ through fear of eternal damnation and the horrific end time scenario I would face if I didn’t turn to Jesus. Your perspective has helped me to slowly heal from my past, and I thank God for you!

    Revelation was the key book that lead me (or shall I say feared me) to salvation. However, this same book has also skewed how I view God/Jesus… and in the past few years I find myself confused about the Jesus of Matthew 5 vs the Jesus of Revelation 19.

    Rev 19:11-Rev 19:15 ESV

    Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses.…

  • I have yet to hear a story of a Pastor changing to preach the Prince of Peace and not having paid for it. When Greg Boyd started doing this back in 2006 he lost a thousand people in his congregation. A thousand people!!!! 20% of his church left in the space of six weeks because he questioned the righteousness of violence in series titled, “The Cross & the Sword”. Brian, you are SO right to say it is “a bitter lesson”.

    Following Jesus as Lord, will cost us.
    People will insult you, persecute you falsely say all kinds of things about you Brian.
    You may lose friends. People may stop attending your church. You may get un-invited.
    BUT, rejoice and be glad Brian Zahnd! For great is your reward in heaven.
    For in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

    You can’t be prophetic and not walk a path of persecution. They crucified Jesus, placing him upon a tree to be cursed;(Gal 3:13) and in same path… disciples must follow.

  • Michael Brian Woywood

    Brian, I joined the Army after 9/11. It took seeing violence firsthand for me to learn to take Jesus seriously. You’ve repented of your sermons, and I applaud that. But, many of us did much worse while claiming the name of Christ.

  • Thank you, Paul.

  • Would you prefer a robotic republic, or something between a theocracy and an anarchy?

  • Grace to you, Michael.

  • Jordan

    Jesus’ government is the only good government.

  • Tim

    Good discussion. I think sometimes we try to apply the Sermon on the amount to the State and forget that was not His audience. His followers were, citizens of His Kingdom. Romans 13 seems to address the government’s role. The government isn’t called to turn the cheek but punish evil doers. I know I over simply the issue, but just wanted to add my two cents…

  • Beautifully articulated…

  • Jeff Johnson

    Why only “state” violence? Much “state” violence is actually corporate or cultural violence in disguise or violence for someone’s financial gain if you prefer. The rejection of violence as a means to an end by anyone seems to me to be the worthwhile goal–not just for Christians but for humans. Perhaps this is but a dream–but many good things start with dreams.

  • I guess in a way Martin Luther King and Ghandi addressed the ‘state’ and they we ‘crucified’ for it…

  • Jeff

    Brian, with respect I would like to share my two cents: This is a very thought provoking article. I think you makes many excellent points in reminding us that Jesus is the Prince of Peace and as his servants, we should be like him. I agree with your comments on the systems of violence in the world. In general, if we are to err, it probably should be on the side of peace. I think that most violence and war we see in the world is evil. I think i would like you personally; i think you are pointing us in the right direction.

    That being said, Im not a true pacifist. I am concerned that you may be presenting a false dichotomy. My impression is that you seem to propose that there are only two paths; pacifism (no war or violence is ever justifiable) or some type of violent Christian activism (“war is sacred”, “build a war machine” “rallying around a Jesus who hates our enemies and blesses our wars”). This is unfortunate hyperbole and engages in multiple logical fallacies (false dichotomy, straw man, appeal to purity, perhaps the hasty generalization and adhominem as well).

    I am surprised that that the article chooses, as the opponent, those who I might call “Christian” Crusaders, who feel that our aggression is a holy mandate and that Jesus “hates our enemies.” Really? Which true Christians believe that? Oh of course we all have seen lunatics who advocate an extreme version of this approach. We have also probably seen people who are Christians in name only (but know nothing about Christ, sin, repentance and salvation) who fall in this camp. But based on your appeal to Christ and scripture, I presume your intended audience are actual Christians. So i am confused as to which group you are addressing?

    Wouldnt it be a better discussion if we were to engage on ideas that the majority of real Christians actually hold? Ideas like those advocated by Augustine in his just war theory. Just to quickly summarize some of the elements of what Augustine defines as just war, they are as follows: Waged by a properly instituted authority. Represents common good. The goal must good and just when applied to a divine standard (simple “national interest” is not sufficient). Peace must be the central motive. Response must be commensurate with the evil. Even during war there are moral limits to what you can do (i.e. no attacking innocents or murdering hostages). And you must have exhausted all others diplomatic means. These ideas have been honed and refined over the centuries since they were introduced by Augustine in the 300’s AD.

    I am happy to concede that very few wars in human history have met these standards. I happen to agree with Just War theory when the standards are met. There are those who disagree with Just War. I can understand and respect that. But i contend that it is not an edifying discussion when Christians like me are vilified (i.e. “you are not a pacifist so you must think war is sacred, violence is good and Jesus hates your enemies. You must not take the words in red seriously”)

    There are well-reasoned, principled, scriptural arguments to be made for complete pacifism. There are also well-reasoned, principled, scriptural arguments to be made for just war, self-defense, defense of others and the government’s right to wield the sword. (in the new testament as well as the old) I would welcome the discussion, but feel we need to slightly change the trajectory of the discussion first.

    I say this with respect for your view Brian. from what i read, you hold a very principled position which i appreciate. I just thought i would share a different perspective.

  • Jeff,

    This is an excerpt of a few paragraphs from a 200 page book. I invite you to explore my fuller argument in A Farewell To Mars.

    http://www.amazon.com/Farewell-Mars-Evangelical-Pastors-Biblical/dp/0781411181/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1425621929&sr=1-1&keywords=zahnd

  • Jeff

    Thanks Brian, I will read it. Reading the description, it sounds like it is written in the same spirit as Tony Campolo’s book, Choose love, not power (which i loved). So i think i will enjoy it. 🙂

  • In a fallen world, Jesus IS the only good.

  • Paul Braxton Hicks

    100% correct…

  • Paul Braxton Hicks

    …wait, what..?

  • Paul Braxton Hicks

    …but Bibi is in league with the devil…

  • But Bibi can’t even see eye-to-eye with Obama, whose look alike was used to represent Satan in scenes from The History Channel’s “The Bible”.

  • Chris Kammerer

    Jeff, you are spot on regarding the hyperbole and the constant use of logical fallacies. Again this is a major stumbling block for me with regard to (my friend) Brian’s writing/preaching. To me it comes across as ungracious. I think there is a greater concern with scoring points with the desired audience than with dealing seriously and graciously with those with a different point of view.

  • Chris,

    If what I’m writing and preaching comes from a motivation to “score points” with a “desired audience” I’m a fool and losing badly. To say and write what I have has cost me dearly. It comes from no other motive than to speak the truth as a perceive it. God is my witness that I am prisoner of conscience.

    And out of curiosity: Have you read “A Farewell To Mars”?

  • Chris Kammerer

    I don’t doubt your sincerity. I’m not talking about a cynical calculating attemp to score points, rather a maybe subconscious habit of using what I would call unfair rhetoric in order to get some amens from the target audience. Preachers like those right?

    I’m just telling you it comes across (at least to me) as ungracious. I think you of all people should be gracious considering your message and the fact that you taught people some of the very things you now essentially mock and chastise them for believing.

    I have not read that book but I do read and hear lots of what you say… admittedly not everything, there are only so many hours in the day. I doubt the portion I do not hear would totally change my mind regarding the pattern and tone of what I do. I am very comfortable interacting with viewpoints different than mine. I am unable to interact with material I feel is using unfair rhetoric and straw men etc… to make the argument. I am just constantly frustrated and left wanting to discuss every line.

    I am not angry just adding my voice to the discussion.

  • Well, Chris — and I say this with a wry grin — instead of speculating at what my “subconscious” motives may be, you might read what I have actually written. I don’t think you will find it ungracious.

  • robin Grace

    You have just woken up – give it time. Shame has nothing to do with doing what is right, and defending your family.

  • Herm

    To find the true peace and joy Jesus speaks of we must each call the Chaplain to lead us in first rights as altruistic children of God rather than relegating the Chaplain to only last rites due to the results of our egotistic calls to war against ourselves.

  • Herm

    Our native Americans successfully exercised a principal that it takes a village to raise a child. They did not have police forces or orphanages. They had no poor or hungry relative to one another within their tribe. It would have been interesting to see how well the principal of the cross would have been incorporated into each unique tribe had not their principals all been decimated by the Christian war machine. Just think what it would be like if all children of God could be raised by the entire tribe to be Christ like. A few would die in love for their enemies but the endless cycle of retaliation and retribution would surely be broken. Just a thought from my heart and mind.

  • Herm

    … and Jesus governs through a socialistic benevolent dictatorship by definition. Jesus is Lord and Servant!

  • Herm

    Luke 14:26, 27

  • Herb, although His Father governed through a theocracy of tithing, when Jesus feeds thousands with only a handful of loaves and fishes, it’s more than just a redistribution of wealth.

    And sharing is not socialism, which according to Winston Churchill was “a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy….”

  • Herm

    And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

    When they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness. Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. With great power the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles gave the name Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”). He sold a field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. Acts 4:31-37

    Thanks Jo! love you still and ever more!

  • Thanks Herb — sorry, HERM — but please read a little further to Acts 5:

    “Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property.
    With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.
    Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?
    Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal?…”

    Sharing isn’t socialism; it’s just being christian.

  • Herm

    Socialism- noun – a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.

    Ananias and his wife died because they realized they had lied to God. The very same God who led them to unite as one community in heart and mind where there was not a needy person among them.

    We don’t know socialism led and governed where all are filled with the Holy Spirit and speak the word of God with boldness. We know capitalism – noun – an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. We know way too many needy persons among us. Who’s our Lord?

    Thank you Joe for getting my handle as it is written! Thank you for sharing Joe! Love you!

  • Herm, concerning socialism and religion, Lenin said: “The proletariat of today takes the side of socialism, which enlists science in the battle against the fog of religion, and frees the workers from their belief in life after death….”, but IMO, “needy persons” don’t need to be free of that hope. I know I don’t, and I don’t know any other Christians who do.

    BTW Herm, re the Advanced English Dictionary, socialism is an economic/political theory advocating state ownership of industry/capital.
    And that state is often a bureaucratic oligarchy; not a community.

  • Herm

    Joe, I thought you held utmost disdain for Russian communism and yet you quote Lenin to support your argument. There is no “proletariat” under Jesus’ rule. Jesus is our Lord and Servant with full authority on Heaven and Earth today.

    “Socialism- noun – a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.” … was the first definition when “socialism” was Googled.

    Acts 4 and 5 reference a community governance directly from the Holy Spirit and not a state, oligarchy or bureaucracy. Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit are not dead today and are more than ready to rule in the production, distribution and exchange from each and every unique heart, soul, strength and mind in the community of Jesus’ church.

    You’re trying too hard when in twisting the facts you use a definition supplied by your enemy to defeat your brother. Love you! Peace!

  • Charlieford

    We don’t have a European-style “state” in the US. We have a community that elects representatives who exercise governance, and who at scheduled times must repair to the people to see if they will retain them as their representatives.

    If your principles actually lead to the conclusion that violence is the foundation of all institutions and that all institutions are therefore illegitimate intruders on individual autonomy, you’ve demonstrated that there’s something wrong with your principles.

  • Herm, my argument is — and always was — that socialism and communism are both antithetical to Christianity, so why would Christ use either?

    Some of the most socialist states today have some of the poorest church attendance, e.g., the UK, a “Christian” nation where prayer has become rare while mosques fill a spiritual void.

    And my definitions are from the Advanced English Dictionary, but what is the source of your first “Google”?

  • Herm

    If Christ is the only Lord governing He is a dictator whom I know to be benevolent. Your argument is based on your logic without accepted definitions for the words you use. Your argument is wrong when tested against the facts as Acts 4 and 5 attest to.

    Joe, please research words before you hate them. You have a computer so you could have “googled” the word socialism as I suggested to then begin your study to become the authority responsible to your communication skills. Acts 4 and 5 were only to whet your appetite to become self-sufficiently learned. Apparently you choose to remain at the beck and call of propagandists.

    I am no longer under the rule of this world. I have truly been saved from that by He who is not of this world. I am a still an influential and trying to be responsible member of mankind, as I’m sure you are to. I am learning to be in the example of Christ Jesus. I will work as constructively as I am allowed within the constraints of whatever system of governing and economics I am placed in the MESSIAH’s example.

    My heart is heavy when I can see and account for food, clothing and shelter in abundance while people starve only because they do not have the currency to pay for it. It hurts to witness money traders destroy an economy only out of their avarice. It hurts to know people I cannot afford to employ or cover their needs that have been thrown out of jobs they were highly productive at to further fill the coffers of the wealthy ruling class. It hurts most when I was graced a growing economy only because increased socialism was introduced to my nation of birth at my birth. As the regulations and services since have been systematically removed by an oligarchy stimulated only by cupidity I’ve watched the nation, once thriving for all, increase exponentially only for the ruling 10%. This rise and fall I was blessed to know its effects from within, first hand, and can speak authoritatively that the Holy Spirit leads much more effectively and productively for all from within all social governing systems on Earth today. The Spirit of God leads and serves best when God is in charge and no one then is left needy. The Nazi regime could not have come to power if it was not for the rest of the world forcing Germany’s economy to where it took a wheel barrow full of cash to buy a loaf of bread, fact.

    I think the word you would hate the most is not socialism or capitalism but oligarchy (noun – a small group of people having control of a country, organization, or institution). It does not matter whether that small group is enticed to perform their governing duties to increase their rapacity for material goods, a secure self-centered power base or their egotistical version of spiritual influence it always leads to uprising from the intelligent subjugated masses just to survive in the image of God with freedom of choice. The USA and China, as was the Soviet Union, are each an oligarchy today. It does not matter whether one bases their governance on Marxism, capitalism, socialism or communism when only a small group of people have control. The USSR actually had less materially needy than does the USA today but only through rigid subjugation of the masses which the USA has significantly less.

    Joe don’t make me the source responsible for your education, or any human being on Earth, but take advantage of your resources specially available to our era to research and study for yourself. You appear to want to be an authority, to be so you must study using all resources available to you, all the while looking from all perspectives made possible to you and you must become discerning enough to know when you have become solid in your tested facts to test in lab with fellow authorities on a given subject. Use these wonderful blogs to test but not to know. As a disciple of Rabbi Jesus I rely heavily on His direction and supplied resources to know how much God is active, how much I love God’s perfect system of governing that none are needy and how very much I can be at peace trusting fully in my only Lord God.

    For your edification and comparisons this is the definition of the word capitalism – noun – an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.

    This is where to find an in depth study of the word socialism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socialism

    This is an excerpt from that URL relative to the etymology of socialism:

    “For Andrew Vincent “The word ‘socialism’ finds its root in the Latin sociare, which means to combine or to share. The related, more technical term in Roman and then medieval law was societas. This latter word could mean companionship and fellowship as well as the more legalistic idea of a consensual contract between freemen.”[24] The term “socialism” was created by Henri de Saint-Simon, one of the founders of what would later be labelled “utopian socialism”. The term “socialism” was created to contrast against the liberal doctrine of “individualism”, which stressed that people act or should act as if they are in isolation from one another.[25] The original socialists condemned liberal individualism as failing to address social concerns of poverty, social oppression, and gross inequality of wealth.[25] They viewed liberal individualism as degenerating society into supporting selfish egoism that harmed community life through promoting a society based on competition.[25] They presented socialism as an alternative to liberal individualism, that advocated a society based on cooperation.[25] The term socialism is attributed to Pierre Leroux,[26] and to Marie Roch Louis Reybaud in France; and in Britain to Robert Owen in 1827, father of the cooperative movement.[27][28]

    The modern definition and usage of the term “socialism” settled by the 1860s, becoming the predominant term among the earlier associated words “co-operative”, “mutualist” and “associationist”. The term “communism” also fell out of use during this period, despite earlier distinctions between socialism and communism from the 1840s.[29] An early distinction between “socialism” and “communism” was that the former aimed to only socialize production while the latter aimed to socialize both production and consumption.[30] However, by 1888 the term “socialism” was used by Marxists in place of “communism”, which was now considered an old-fashion synonym of “socialism”. It was only until 1917 after the Bolshevik revolution that “socialism” came to refer to a distinct stage between capitalism and communism, introduced by Vladimir Lenin as a means to defend the Bolshevik seizure of power against traditional Marxist criticisms that Russia was not sufficiently developed for socialist revolution.[31]”

    Good luck and have fun!

  • “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods….

    “Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

    “For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath….”
    (Matthew 25:14-30) doesn’t sound a smidgen like socialism, but the very definition of venture capitalism.

    Good luck, Herm.

  • Herm

    Joe, that scripture is the same parable in significance as the following:

    “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open. Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.” Luke 8:16-18

    What you propose as venture capitalism in Matthew 25:14-30 is refuted totally in the following chapter of the book:

    “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. “So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. Matthew 6:19-34

    We have nothing that was not already provided by our Creator. It has never been what we have and will always be how we use it. We humans are but little ignorant children given stewardship over the Earth that we may learn to distinguish constructive from destructive for ALL, to be able to choose through love constructive as is in the true nature of our Creator. It does not matter whether we are children of Man or children of God the results of our individual influences from our gifted freedom to choose will be the same on Earth determined by application of good (constructive) for all or evil (destructive) for any. The poisonous chaff will be discarded when this is done so the edible fruit may flourish in the Family of God subject to the authority of Jesus one with the Father in heart and mind eternally. When there is needy we know we are not good stewards for all because all we needed has already been provided in abundance. Hording is a gross sin most clearly when any of our own kind is encumbered in any way because of such egotistical greed.

    Consider carefully how you listen. You did not study to utilize constructively what the Lord has freely provided to be invested specifically in you, especially your specially gifted talents. If you allow this to continue what little you have will be taken from you. Your choice!

    Truly love you and hope for nothing but the best for you and yours. Peace!

  • Herm, we are NOT the venture capitalists; we ARE the investment and Jesus is the investor who intends to turn a profit.
    You can also see this in a more agricultural setting (Matthew 13: 3-8) where the last verse represents a large return on a small but successful initial investment, i.e., a seed:

    “…Then he told them many things in parables, saying: ‘A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was (originally) sown.'”

  • Herm

    Joe, you have lost the thread. We’ll talk later.

  • Then I haven’t lost you.

  • Jordan

    Democratic systems put the minority at the mercy of the majority. That has never worked out very well for minorities. Republican systems put the majority at the mercy of the minority. That has never worked out very well for the majority. So even if I’m not using “state” as you would like, my point still stands. I second Herm’s notion that pre-European invasion Native Americans were a shining example of what is possible without a state. Unfortunately, Native Americans were very vulnerable to outside violence, and humans, especially in the West, have a strong aversion to vulnerability.

  • Herm

    Joe, I’m not lost 😉 .

  • Herm, isn’t that what I said?
    I haven’t, i.e., I have not lost you?

  • Kathy Bramley

    I don’t know if it was shock therapy – like shock and awe!? Though your journey makes sense of that, I think I knew that you are taking it that way. There is the awful about it. And I think the main thing about the crowd is, not knowing!? That’s why I think the main thing about Jesus Christ is show and tell. Some days we give him a F or would get one. I hear that the word for discipline actually means teach. We’re disciples, learners and followers. Of ultimate humility and graciousness in the creator. But I am not very good at it.

  • Kathy Bramley

    Sadness and gladness reading about your journey.
    Read Spurgeon, sermon150. He seemed to have some symmetry of journey, declaring we became the hammer of God.

  • Fr Greg Mayers

    I weep at the holy wisdom of your words. God is all in all, there is nothing for us to fight over. Let us all make present the Risen One in our midst.

  • Donna Daffron

    “Words in Red”:

    And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. (‭Luke‬ ‭22‬:‭36‬ NASB)

  • Rhonda Ryan

    In all fairness, war to peace sermons did not cause us to leave Wolc. We will always believe the words of Jesus, in peace, love & the centrality of the cross. You gave us a solid foundation of victory & truth, freedom in the Holy Spirit, & “all scripture being God-breathed”, & an uncompromising moral standard while raising our family. As a Mother of a son now in the US Army Natl Guard, & also a son-in-law in the Army Reserves, you better believe we pray for peace, & overwhelmed they counted the cost to stand on the front lines if necessary to face evil. Until “the Government is upon the shoulders of Jesus”, may His Word & Name be exalted

  • Donna Daffron

    “There is no peace for the wicked,” says the LORD. (‭Isaiah‬ ‭48‬:‭22‬ NASB)

    There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven- (‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3‬:‭1‬ NASB)

    A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace. (‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3‬:‭:8 NASB)

    and Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot; (‭Luke‬ ‭6‬:‭15‬ NASB)

    When they had entered the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying; that is, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. (‭Acts‬ ‭1‬:‭13‬ NASB)

    A disciple of Jesus was a Zealot. Jesus never criticized ANY soldiers. After healing the servant of the Centurion ( a captain of 100 soldiers) Jesud said: “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel”.
    (Matthew 8:10 NASB)

  • Samuel Rivera

    Are you a Romans 12 christian or a Romans 13 christian?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSw3tL-VkuI&feature=youtu.be

  • Rusty

    I really appreciate an American Christian speaking to issues of violence. Sometimes we are too much like fish swimming in the water of our culture to notice our water is polluted with violence, as if this natural condition is also the intended condition of the Kingdom. I suspect that when we posses a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail. Rusty at: https://moreenigma.wordpress.com/tag/hammer-looking-for-a-nail/

  • JD

    Donna, don’t forget the next two verses which explain exactly why He told them to buy swords. Context is important:

    36 And He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one.

    37 For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘And He was numbered with transgressors’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.”

    38 They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.”

    His command to buy swords had nothing to do with self-defense. It was related to the fulfillment of the prophecy that He be ‘numbered with transgressors’. Once they had two swords, Christ said “it is enough”. If these swords were for defense, then two would have not been enough. This is made even more clear when you look at Christ’s reaction to one of His disciples actually using a sword in defense. He immediately rebuked Peter and told him that those that take up the sword will die by the sword.