Monday, October 15, 2012

Jesus, the Church, and Jupiter in History

Jesus, through his crucifixion and resurrection, freed you, me, and all other humans from domination by the six Olympian gods. Today, Jesus shares with you, me, and all other people the words of truth we need to understand how to live as witnesses to that freedom. Numa, his very holy spirit, then gives us the inspiration and determination we need to make those words real in our own lives and to share them with others.

During these last 2,000 years, sometimes we as Church have witnessed well to our freedom for Jesus and from Jupiter the god of politics. Sometimes we have spoken of Jesus while witnessing well to Jupiter as his frightfully misguided slaves. We have prayed to Jesus while serving Jupiter in two major ways.

First, we have served Jupiter by making unholy alliances with rulers. We have done this by providing theological justification for rulers to exploit the people under their control and to crush their political opponents. We have also done this whenever we have provided theological justification for violent opposition to rulers.

Second, we the Church have served Jupiter, the god of politics, by allowing our Christian organizations to become powerful. Letting that happen has had destructive consequences. People have only been able to gain and maintain positions of leadership in congregations and denominations by using power. Leaders also have felt justified in using violence to enforce conformity to the beliefs and practices they understood as most useful to themselves. Various inquisitions are the most notorious examples of this.

Even so, throughout our history, we the Church have also had a minority tradition of radiant witness to Jesus rather than to Jupiter. The Anabaptists of the 1500s, for example, firmly believed that political rulers, even if they understood themselves as witnesses to Jesus, served Jupiter by using coercion to compel conformity to their beliefs about Jesus.

Copyright © 2012 by Steven Farsaci
All rights reserved. Fair use encouraged.