April 28, 2011

Christ's Intended Gospel

Christians immediately after Christ's crucifiction were nothing short of saintly.  As described in Acts 4:32-35, many of them lived communally and shared all things in common. 

And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the thing which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.  And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.  Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
Elaine Pagels, who is a Pulitzer-winning author and historian of the early church, describes a people who took in the indigent and homeless, particularly abandoned children.  They gave the outcasts of the world a place of welcome and belonging.  Christians were the few who refused to leave cities struck by plagues.  They remained behind, subjecting themselves to killing diseases, to practice literally their Savior's admonition to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and administer to the sick.  They did this while suffering all manner of persecution. 

It was due, in part, to a power-hungry orthodoxy and its institution of a watered-down version of Christ's intended gospel, that has left us believing we can enrichen ourselves without worrying about the plight of others.  Today's budget discussions, which illicited Rush Limbaugh's question, "what would Jesus take?" is a case in point.  Is it my imagination, or have Christian fundamentalists become the core of the Republican party that is driving the decision toward more bombs and less healthcare?  Do they really believe that corporate interests don't owe the country for the riches its educational system, infrastructure and civil protections create -- that it's okay for a company like GE to book $14 billion in profit and not pay a cent in taxes? 

The system the religious right seem to want is one that forces the widow to pay her mite so that the rich need not contribute. 

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