Saturday, 28 February 2009

What would Jesus do?

I cycled into town with my son today and bumped into my friend and studio-mate Lynette. I haven't seen her for ages because, having been frozen out during the recent cold spell, I have been at home working on the revisions to the novel. I promised her I would be in next week and we'd grab a coffee and catch up.

There was an extraordinary piece in the Guardian magazine this weekend in which American Christians explained how they squared their belief in a man who said 'Turn the other cheek' and 'Let he who is without sin cast the first stone' with their desire to summarily execute anyone who crossed them.

Why is it that so many Christians seem to be obsessed with an Old Testament desire to smite their enemies? Lighten up. Why follow a philosophy of peace and then look for loopholes? There was someone interviewed who was far more interested in the fact that Simon Peter cut off the ear of the high priest's servant when Jesus was arrested, than he was in the more important fact that Jesus did not resist at all. Who are they following: Peter or Jesus? Who exemplifies the Christian ethos in that story? Peter or Jesus? It's like saying you are a vegetarian - and eating meat anyway because you like the taste and anyway, who the hell's gonna stop you.

There was that craze for stickers saying 'What would Jesus do?' a while back. Well I think we can safely assume he wouldn't be driving a 4X4 with a Colt .45 in the glove compartment. In fact we know what Jesus did do in the Garden of Gesthemene - if we can use the word 'know' at all - he told Peter to put his sword away. He was a man of peace.

To cap it all, these people are often described as 'fundamentalists'. Wouldn't a 'fundamentalist' Christian - someone who followed the fundamentals of Christ's teachings - be someone who owned very little, did no one any harm, wished no one ill and tried as best they could to help their fellow man, regardless of sex, colour, creed or political belief?

Or am I missing something?


  1. Hi Chris,
    I found my way here after Maggi Dawn linked to you a couple of weeks ago - I enjoy the blog and as a result have ordered a copy of Death and the Arrow, which I hope is a good place to start.
    Just wanted to say that this is a wonderfully sane post and that I don't think you are missing anything at all. As a Scot transplanted to the US, I find much North American Christianity to be quite strange. 'It's like saying you are a vegetarian - and eating meat anyway because you like the taste and anyway, who the hell's gonna stop you' sums things up very nicely.
    Thanks for the blog, looking forward to the book...

  2. Death and the Arrow is a very good place to start. Hope you enjoy it and thanks for the kind words about the blog.