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"Jesus for President" - Livin' the Good Life

Oct. 24th, 2008

03:07 pm - "Jesus for President"

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I'm in the thick of JESUS FOR PRESIDENT (by Claiborne). I'm loving it. It's a pretty scholarly book that examines the Bible and the times in which it was written, breaking down words and what they meant in those days as opposed to now. A lot of it was new to me. Maybe Christians who regularly read and study the Bible might find it old hat. (But, maybe not.) For me, it's been such a breath of fresh air reading about this stuff. Such a new slant for me.
It says the original Christians were to be a "peculiar" people (not trying to fit in), "set apart" from others (not standard citizens of the Roman Empire) by following "the way" (no matter what the consequences) that was demonstrated by Jesus. "The way" included things like:

forgiveness of debt (debt cancellation)
sharing everything one has with the poor
land redistribution to the poor
welcoming immigrants
gleaning fields for the poor
taking care of the elderly
keeping honest scales in the market
not charging interest or defrauding your neighbor
helping even one's enemies (in fact, loving one's enemies)
releasing prisoners and slaves

Claiborne tells us that Jesus taught "the third way". And he gave examples of how that would be lived out in well-known sayings such as "turn the other cheek", "love your enemy", and "do not resist an evil person". (Don't get the idea that these are weak positions. He explains how they're not.) Fascinating stuff.
The author says that, in fact, Jesus would make a lousy president. He didn't believe in, nor answer to, any worldly government. His "government" was not of this world. He was a complete RADICAL. He lived on the fringes of society and encouraged his followers to do the same, while living a life of selflessness and poverty. The author seems to be saying, in fact, that Christianity and politics DO NOT MIX. (I may have to revise that statement by the time I finish the book.)
Imagine our president and government today making all the above practises their top priority. (How's anyone gonna get rich and powerful by doing those things??)
Say, hasn't Prez Bush proclaimed himself a Christian? I wonder what that actually means to him and if Bush supporters and enthusiasts (are there any left these days?) actually consider him a Christian. Or is it just another case of, "Say all the right things and you're "in"? Hmmm...
More tomorrow.... Can't wait to finish this book!