Listening to Jesus


A reader writes:

I am almost awestruck by how well you handled yourself during the inquisition. I read the transcript yesterday, and I am still thinking about it. You provided many valuable insights, but what I find most remarkable is something I suppose your interviewer could never fathom: You are doing Christianity a service. You inspire me, a person of slight Catholic upbringing and tenuous faith, to turn back to the Church.

My greatest sadness these past few years is how the Christianists and fanatics have made the word "Christian" a dirty word for so many people. As if the inspiring, dangerous, beautiful, unforgettable words of Jesus were not as powerful now as ever. My book is, in fact, a defense of Christianity, of the core message of the Gospels, of peace and forgiveness and love and doubt, against the politicized brutality some have now turned it into. I'm not alone in this. David Kuo makes a moving case for just such a Christianity in his book (and we'll be dialoguing next week about that on this blog and his). My book is not just about politics. The word "soul" in its title is no accident. It is really about the love of God in the person of Jesus. Money quote from Chapter Five:

The message of the Gospels seems to me to be constantly returning to this theme: those who set themselves up as arbiters of moral correctness, the men of the book, the Pharisees, are often the furthest from God. Rules can only go so far; love does the rest. And the rest is by far the most important part. Jesus of Nazareth constantly tells his fellow human beings to let go of law and let love happen: to let go of the pursuit of certainty, to let go of possessions, to let go of pride, to let go of reputation and ambition, to let go also of obsessing about laws and doctrines. This letting go is what the fundamentalist fears the most. To him, it implies chaos, disorder, anarchy. To Jesus, it is the beginning of wisdom, and the prerequisite of love.

Love. Agape. How much of it do you see on the gay-baiting, fear-mongering, politically controlling Christianist right?