Today is supposed to be the busiest shopping day of the year in the US of A. Stagflation is howling around our campfire. The dollar we shop with is falling to earth with all the glide characteristics of a set of car keys. But shop we must, because that is the cul-de-sac in which we find ourselves. The US of A is the swing consumer for the global capitalist economy. If we stop shopping, it’s like the big engine that could runs out of lubricant. Oh yeah, we are inching toward our old oil price record in adjusted dollars, too.
As many know by now, I’ve been studying the Bible lately… no, not to look for loopholes. And not in a Biblical literalist kind of way. But Christmas is another oppportunity to spread some subversion.
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.”
This is obviously not advocacy, but prediction. It is quoted by warlike Christians to support their warmongering, but placed in the context of everything else ostensibly said by the Galilean, it says owning nothing, arguing for communal (instead of patriarchal) life, accepting women, convicts, lepers, foreigners, et al, initiatinv a passive resistance campaign against Empire, religious hierarhcies, and userers, tht our true kingdom (used ironically) is in how we behave with one another and the earth, and not in geographical boundaries, that the last shall be first and the first last, to answer anger with love, to practice healing and generosity to validate our faith, and that one cannot serve God (by serving humanity) and serve money at the same time… well, there you have it.
The money-changers have taken back over the temple, and the warlords have tried to dress the body of the Galilean in a K-pot and body armor.
What would Jesus do? indeed. Who would Jesus bomb? Where would Jesus shop?
As the lines between commodity, finance, worship, and war have blurred in an epoch where the tv news literally leads the worship of killer-tech, and hegemonic masculinity is defined as never turning the other cheek or loving one’s “enemies,” and our self-involved, acquisitive-individualistic identities are selected from a department store shelf, we might take this season as an opportunity to relentlessly expose this hypocrisy of claiming Christianity as part of our culture. Ours is a warlord Christianity and a capitalist booster Christianity… no resemblence to the guidance on lillies of the field, the meek inheriting the earth, to the subversive intenerent laborer Philip Berigan called “the ‘No’ of God – the fierce resister of structural injustice, all of it dominative, violent, coercive, parasitical.”