Grant’s Rants on Acceptance and Love of Others
When we first meet Jesus, we gush over him like a Junior High School girl with a new hunk of a boyfriend. We mention his name and talk about him all the time because he’s so wonderful and we’re so excited to be associated with him!
Unfortunately this can too easily morph into an elitist attitude, annoyingly proud to be superior to everyone who’s not!
Our Christian identity must not make us superior to, afraid of, isolated from, defensive or aggressive toward, or otherwise hostile to people of other religions. Rather, the reverse. Coming close to our non-Christian neighbors in love and understanding does not compromise our Christian commitment, but rather expresses it!
In reference to Jesus, the Gospels use the terms Son of God and Son of Man virtually interchangeably, suggesting the true essence of humanity is to be in the true image of God. The term Son of Man also suggests Jesus belongs to all humanity, not just one sect of it, be they Christians or Jews.
If Jesus was bound to all Mankind [this includes] to people of all religions! Now Im not saying all religions are the same, and it doesn’t matter what each believes etc. [The point is that] because Jesus moves toward all people in love, we His followers are bound to do the same.
To be a Christian means that one follows Jesus teachings of neighbor love, especially to those whose religions are different. (To show love and acceptance toward people is not to approve all they believe or do, as any parent knows.)
And in a pluralistic world, a religion is valued based on the benefits it brings to its non-adherents.
Whereas most people think that religion offers benefits to its adherents and catastrophic threats for non-adherents! This attitude is far too predominant in the U.S. We are surrounded by Christians who believe in an American God and a Republican Jesus, first and foremost concerned about Our National Security and Our Way of Life!
[For the record] I remain a Christian because I have a sustained and sustaining confidence in Jesus Christ.
Most of Christianity as practiced today has very little to do with the real Jesus found in the Bible. In fact, I don’t think Christians would like Jesus if He showed up today. He’d be called a heretic, and there’d be plots to kill Him! (And I don’t think Jesus would be caught dead as a Christian, were He physically here today!)
[Excerpts from “A Generous Orthodoxy” by Brian D. McLaren]