Like the ghost of Christmas past the words of Christ should haunt George and the ranks that make up his approval rating. We can let this season remain a hollow repetition of soulless words or connect Christ to the emerging reality with which we are collaborating. The ostensible born again Christian who is presently occupying the people’s house, which is now closed to the people, told the Christian country that he would be a faith-based president. What is his faith based in? Is his faith based in the difficult words of his savior? Or was having Jesus as his personal savior an expedient posture?
As the country stops to acknowledge the birth of what George and his faith-filled voters believe is the savior of the world, it might be wise to study how this savior intended the world should be saved. And it would also behoove us to put George’s feet to the fire and demand answers that honor what he purports himself to be.
When George was asked during a debate what Christ would say about George’s steely commitment to the death penalty he said, “I’m a lowly sinner – I can’t presume to put words in Christ’s mouth.” Why was he allowed to get away with that? He presumes to know who is evil and who is not. He presumes to know who should be eliminated and who should not. He presumes to do things that the actual words of Christ have no bearing on and yet at the same time he tells the befuddled and aggrieved nation that he will act as Christ’s ambassador, because when you’re saved what else can you do.
The good Christians which George and his group rounded up to be his most ardent backers will pray and sing and wrap gifts with paper that are marked with the words – peace on earth, good will to men. These words are a pattern on wrapping paper and a caption for an ornate card. As a message from Christ will those words leave the paper and extend beyond our sacred borders?
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What faith is the eerie well-scrubbed indifference to the loss of third world lives at the hands of our military – what faith is that based in? Is that Christ? Is that how Christ saw the path of peace? Did He see peace coming on a wave of blood and unfortunate but justifiable military action? Is that our savior? Is that what the western world stops for? A sort of prince of peace – a savior riddled with codicils and exemptions? Is that the radical architect of the human heart that divides time between before and after Him? George doesn’t put words in the savior’s mouth – he takes them out – he shelves them – he whites them out – executive privilege, you know.
If George would just be the military dictator that he is without the nod to Jesus as his source of inspiration, the debate would be more manageable. But he has cloaked himself with an imprimatur. He has been nationally sanctioned because Billy Graham led him to born again status. He is internationally sanctioned because the rest of the world has little choice. He is letting us and all our brothers and sisters in the world know that we have to live by the sword, despite what his savior said about that.
It seems that the world Jesus entered is not all that different from the present world that uses Him to excuse the horrors that he came to expel. Leading the charge with sword unsheathed is his most boisterous and calloused promoter. The message of redemption has to be put on hold while the cumulative power of condemnation and extermination cleanses the world and makes it safe for Jesus and peace-loving people. Violent, angry suicidal human-beings are evil and they understand one thing and one thing only. That is a powerful message to send the world. But as much as George and like-minded Christian folks would like it to be so, that is not the message of Christ.
So if George and our Christian country don’t have the courage for the adventure of Christ’s teachings either remove Him as the center of the universe – or really have Christmas – either bow to salvation or continue to take aim – either deny the sanctified, redeemable reality of every human being or have Christmas. As George should understand, you can’t have both.