America’s Jesus (pt 2/2)


To bring you up to speed, I was commenting on a USA Today opinion article by Rob Borsellino titled, "What has happened to America’s Jesus?"  My comments ran too long, so I had to make this a 2-parter.  Sorry…  (Again, all quotes from the article are indented below.)

But he hates gays, lesbians and Muslims. And he’s not too crazy about Buddhists, Hindus and the rest. Jews? He can put up with them if he has to.

The Rev. Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka claims to speak for Jesus and goes around the country talking about how "AIDS cures fags." Pat Robertson says it would be a good idea if the United States killed the president of Venezuela. It would be a lot cheaper than starting another war.

Individuals may hate others, and thereby forget the words of Our Lord and God, Jesus Christ.  God, however, does not hate those that disobey Him, or don’t follow His way.  Also, we do not know, this side of Heaven, the fate of those of other faiths.  "I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice." (John 10:16)  "In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places." (John 14:2)  Jesus is speaking to all people of all faiths who seek to do His will – they just may not know it is He Who is speaking to them.

As for those that seek to use God’s words to do their own will – "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt 7:15-22).

 

With those generalizations cleared up, it is time to note the main point of the article – the contrast between the religious culture of Italy vs. the culture war in America.

My cousin Maria made the sign of the cross before she ate.  My cousin Antonio’s car had a figurine of a saint on the dashboard.  My cousin Gian Marco had a beautiful cross hanging from his neck.
But nobody was going on about God, Jesus and religion.  It didn’t come up.

3 points that need to be mentioned here.

  1. The first is that a culture that is already a Catholic/Christian culture (such as Italy) has much less need for evangelization and missionary work than a culture that is not yet fully Christian (e.g., the U.S.A.).
  2. That said, point #2 is a refutation of the appearance of point 1. The author notes all these outward signs, yet nobody talks about God. It may be presumptuous to state that this seems to show a merely surface faith, with a lack of a depth and heart-felt meaning.  (I do not know these individuals, therefore I pass no judgment upon them. I just feel this is no more presumptuous to say than the generalizations he makes about American culture and politics.)
  3. The third point is that, based on the authors words, his attitude is that of one who is more comfortable with a "silent Jesus" – if He is in a statue, or a piece of jewelry, or even a silent prayer, that’s all well and good.  The minute Jesus starts to speak is when the author becomes uncomfortable.  However, Jesus did not always being comfort (Matt 10:34

) – He brought Truth, which can be quite uncomfortable, especially when someone is in the wrong.

I’m not saying that all those that claim to speak for Jesus are doing a good job (again, "Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven" – see Matt 7:15-22), but there are a lot that are doing a very good job for the Kingdom of God.  However, like their God, they speak with a gentle voice (1 Kings 19:11-13) that one must have the right ears to hear (Rev 2:29).  It unfortunately does not appear that the author wishes to hear this Jesus, but rather chooses to pit a political straw man of Jesus against a happy-go-lucky "feel good" straw man Jesus of his own making.  Neither is reality.  Pray for him (and all journalists who could potentially lead others astray) that they will come to know the true Jesus, through His words in Scripture and through His Church.

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