Unsettled ChristianityOne blog to rule them all, One blog to find them, One blog to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.
Jon Moseley, a Tea Party member, declares Jesus Christ is a capitalist. He writes against Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation, The Joy of the Gospel. Jon sells vacation packages to the Bahamas. The Holy Father is a trained theologian, chemist, and philosopher who happens to be the spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church standing in the line of St. Peter. One of these is not like the other. Which is why I was surprised with the Holy Father started to sell vacation packages, er, I mean when Moseley started to spout off against the Pope’s theological position.
Because Moseley cannot understand Scripture and seeks to redefine concepts he clearly has no idea about, it is pointless to describe to him just how wrong he is on the interpretations of the Pope’s writing. I want to avoid his gross misunderstanding of the Holy Father’s writings and instead focus on Moseley’s misuse of Scripture.
Moseley begins by quoting Luke 12.13–14, a rather ironic Gospel to choose. Luke is by far the most economic of the Gospels and is recognized by actual scholars as such. Of course, these actual scholars would not say Luke is promoting socialism or capitalism, as both are anachronistic concepts to this time period. There are the levellers, of which Jesus could be considered, but they are hardly the socialism of Karl Marx.1 Another point of irony is that Moseley, like O’Reilly before him, forgets to follow through with the rest of the pericope. If he had, he would have seen Jesus condemn income inequality (12.15) as well as unfettered consumerism (12.16–21). Indeed, this entire passage takes on a rather communistic outlook, especially with the command to sell our possessions and give what we have to charity (12.33). Moseley suggests one verse is all that is needed. Perhaps Moseley should read Scripture rather than pre-chosen verses.
The op-ed WND declares as “set(ting) the Pope straight” on capitalism (the hubris is outstanding) goes on to suggest Jesus “spoke to the individual, never to government or government policy. Jesus was a capitalist, preaching personal responsibility, not a socialist.” This is rather odd given Jesus always spoke (if we take the words of the Gospels as records rather than interpretation) to crowds about his teachings he is leaving to the disciples (as a whole). Further, as God’s Son, he speaks to Israel as a whole (Hebrews 1.1–3). Jesus does address policy, especially when he takes the whips to the Temple animals. After all, the religious authorities had some small governmental sway. Given that one could not speak to the tax-collectors without it looking like one was speaking to or about Rome, this again flies in the face of Moseley’s rhetoric. Finally, as scholars have shown, the Gospels are filled with anti-imperial rhetoric. Jesus himself is God’s logos against Rome.
And let us not forget, Moseley makes the same fatal error O’Reilly did — he assumed individuality is an ancient concept. This flies in the face of covenantal theology found in Judaism and most of Christianity. Jesus did not come to change “individual hearts one soul at a time” as Moseley asserts later in his diatribe. Rather, Jesus came to save collectively the people of God (and the world, but that might get me tarred and feathered). Moseley’s atonement model looks more like a consumerist re-branding of the exemplar model and thus suffers from too much heresy to extrapolate.
To insist on the Vicar of Christ promoting socialism, Moseley must redefine his terms. He shows plainly that Americans simply do not understand what Socialism is. By Moseley’s definition — that of the use of guns by the government to steal property — George Washington led the first socialist revolution during the Whiskey Rebellion and Abraham Lincoln the second. His understanding of capitalism declares “the consumer is king.” Yet, we know from the parable in Luke 12, Jesus roundly condemns this attitude.
Moseley attempts to pull in the overturning of the tables as evidence that Jesus fought against crony capitalism. I am lost at this example. One example that is not lost is his use of Matthew 25.15–18. Moseley interprets this to have Jesus “using money as a metaphor for making the most of all of life’s opportunities, abilities and moments.” He sees in this “investment capital” and an almost hatred of the person who is unwilling to take a chance. Of course, had Moseley compared this to Luke 19.12–27 and the scholarship on these parables, he would have seen the ironic twist. The parablist is not condemning the person who did not make any money, but praising him. The way you made money in those days was to essentially trick your countrymen into bad loans and high interest rates. The man who refused to take a chance refused to get rich off of his fellow Jew. And let us not forget, Matthew 25.31–46 does not include one scent of budding capitalism, but focuses on a charitable life as the means to heaven.
Moseley doesn’t yet get the idea that “kingdom” language (John 18.36) is a political statement. Jesus was not saying he was apolitical (wonder if Moseley would consider becoming apolitical) but that his Kingdom was based in heaven, was eternal, and even controlled Rome. Jesus was not apolitical; Jesus was supra-political. He ends his rant by suggesting Government should not meddle in our private lives. How odd given his stances on many issues deemed private.
Jesus was not a capitalist but the Gospels contain just enough economic material to suggest he would have railed at the horrors of modern, unfettered capitalism.
- If Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin don’t like the pope, they won’t care much for Jesus (washingtonpost.com)
- Pope Francis: Judaism is not engaged in idolatry; serves the true God (revisionistreview.blogspot.com)
- Homeless Jesus statue admired by Pope Francis (metronews.ca)
- The Pope Exhorts: The Church’s Missionary Transformation (billditewig.wordpress.com)
- Pope Francis visits the cell of Nazarena of Jesus, an American anchoress (patheos.com)
- I would argue that Jesus would have been considered a leveller by the Roman authorities. I wouldn’t classify them as socialists as they were more ethnic based rather than (modern) nationalistic. ↩
If only… someone… could bring us John… to us Protestants….
The principal reason why the Old Law permitted us to ask questions of God, and why prophets and priests had to seek visions and revelations of God, was because at that time faith had no firm foundation and the law of the Gospel was not yet established; and thus it was necessary that men should enquire of God and that he should speak, whether by words or by visions and revelations or whether by figures and images or by many other ways of expressing His meaning. For all that he answered and revealed belonged to the mysteries of our faith and things touching it or leading to it.
But now that the faith is founded in Christ, now that in this era of grace the law of the Gospel has been made manifest, there is no reason to enquire of God in that manner nor for him to speak to us or answer us as he did then. For, in giving us, as he did, his Son, who is his one and only Word, he spoke to us once and for all, in this single Word, and he has no occasion to speak further.
And this is the meaning of that passage with which the Letter to the Hebrews begins, trying to persuade the Hebrews that they should abandon those first ways of dealing and communicating with God which are in the law of Moses, and should set their eyes on Christ alone: At various times in the past and in various different ways, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our own time, in the last days, he has spoken to us through his Son. That is, God has said so much about so many things through his Word that nothing more is needed, since that which he revealed partially in the past through the prophets, he has now revealed completely by giving us the All, which is his Son.
Therefore if someone were now to ask questions of God or seek any vision or revelation, he would not only be acting foolishly but would be committing an offence against God – for he should set his eyes altogether upon Christ and seek nothing beyond Christ.
God might answer him after this manner, saying: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him. I have spoken all things to you in my Word. Set your eyes on him alone, for in him I have spoken and revealed to thee all things, and in him you shall find more than you ask for, even more than you want.
I descended upon him with my Spirit on Mount Tabor and said This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him. You have no reason to ask for new teaching or new answers from me because if I spoke to you in the past then it was to promise Christ. If people asked questions of me in the past then their questions were really a desire of Christ and a hope for his coming. For in him they were to find all good things, as has now been revealed in the teaching of the Evangelists and the Apostles. (here)
Hello and welcome to my blog. My name is Jacob Cerone. I am married to my lovely and beautiful wife, Mary Beth. We have a newborn baby named Elijah, and two dogs (Tölpel and Jazz). My main interests lie in languages: Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and German. I also love theology (biblical, systematic, narrative, and historical). I am currently a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary as a ThM candidate. My major professor is Dr. David Alan Black and my research focus is Septuagint studies. I currently attend Cary Alliance Church, and was recently ordained by the Christian and Missionary Alliance. I also serve as research assistant for Dr. David Alan Black. My hope is that all I learn and write will be to the glory of Christ.
via About | ἐνθύμησις.
Wesley’s first rule is rather simple to adopt to our discussion on blogging.
The goal of this rule is to allow the people called Methodists to present themselves as those who are saved. This rule allowed for them, unlike other Christians in the abusive power structure, to present evidence of a counter-cultural power, one that relied on transformation rather than subjugation. Wesley practiced non-violence and afforded himself every opportunity to offer his hand of fellowship.
How does this apply to us today?
Blogging used to be a cut-throat world. In the early days of blogging, we engaged in civil wars, even finding it worthwhile to argue over what we would call those bloggers who blogged in some way about Scripture. Further, before publishers knew the value of blogging, we would seek to undercut one another for the best books. Many wouldn’t even share information on how to reach publishers. We were a harmful lot, refusing to allow anyone new in and keeping nice, unwritten rules to prevent those whom we didn’t really want in.
This was harmful. Many of us have stopped this and in the following post, I will explore some of the ways to Do Good rather than harm.
“Do no harm” as a blogging rule is also about personal relationships. Cyber-personas develop easily. This mask we are able to make is one that is dangerous because it allows us to be mean, terrible people. In real life, many of us are not like that. Online, we can we be combative, insincere, snarky, and caustic. In person, many find we are roundly different. This is harmful not only to those we use our mask to scare, but so too to ourselves because we lose many friends along the way.
Another aspect of this rule is the way bloggers go after something. There are no editorial boards I have to answer to, nor am I required to fact check my statements. I can just rattle off an opinion against someone and have it into Google which seems to me more authoritative than a CV. I have no responsibility to insure I have to think ahead nor do I worry about how my statements may come back to bite me. If we took the first rule seriously, we would act as our own editorial boards and fact checkers. We would wait until news developed before throwing stuff out on the web and we would be cautious when charging against someone. We would seek to do no harm.
However, harm is not “push back” nor is it correction or otherwise an attempt to right a wrong. There are times to be rough when confronting ignorance or false information. There are errors to stand against and arguments to dismiss. This involves weighing the harm that is to be done. Is it more harmful to allow false facts/error, etc… to continue or more harmful to step into the fight? Of course, this leads us to a Just War theory on blogging. Someone else can develop that. Just remember, non-violence is not anti-violence.
This has been of interest to me since the SBL Online Publication Session in 2012, but since N.T. Wright mentioned it to just a few of us in our a private reception, my thoughts are focusing on it. One day, I’d like to teach a seminary class on Online Christianity and include a section on ethics. For now, it will simply be a blog post.
There are some heavily developed rules for ethics, ethical frameworks, and even ethical models. As a United Methodist, I will simply turn to Wesley and utilize two sets of his rules. The first is the well known “Wesley’s General Rules.” The second are “Wesley’s Rules for Singing.”
(The links will become live once the posts are posted. At the moment, they are all scheduled).
The General Rules are simple:
The Rules for Singing are:
1. Sing all. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up and you will find a blessing.
2. Sing lustily, and with a good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but lift up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, nor more ashamed of it being heard, then when you sing the songs of Satan.
3. Sing modestly. Do not bawl, as to be heard above, or distinct from, the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony; but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound.
4. Sing in time. Whatever time is sung, be sure to keep with it. Do not run before, not stay behind it; but attend closely to the leading voices, and move therewith as exactly as you can. And take care you sing not too slow. This drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy; and it is high time to drive it out from among us, and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first.
5. Above all, sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing Him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this, attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve of here, and reward when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.
Over the course of the next week, I want to engage these frameworks as a sort of ethical and practical guide to blogging.
I recently ordered a few books from IVP and they arrived yesterday! I’m looking forward to reading both of these!
Happy Thanksgiving to all those that may read these words. This day is one of the few days that I celebrate happily. It is a day that history calls us to give Thanksgiving to God, not just for the things that we have, but for the rights and freedom that we enjoy. Above all, as it should be every day, we must be thankful for Christ and His Cross on Calvary:
George Washington’s 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation:
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.