Reclaiming Christ the Reject, Part 3
Yes, there’s another section to this rambling piece, now over 2000 words long. But worry not, the last section is the shortest! Having addressed the problems posed by Jesus image being consumed into the state’s agenda, lets look at the way this can be lived out.
Lets move to a question likely to be posed: is a more radical approach to Christ, one that sees him rejected and shoved to the margins, necessarily going to lead to a Church disconnected from the state?
The fact is, a truly radical gospel is not cosy towards the state’s involvement and mechanisms, it does not accept the injustices perpetrated by the state as somehow separated from the state itself, either in that these are mere side-effects of the state or that these are inevitabilities of any system involving humans. Both must be confronted together.
But how this confrontation must be played out is something entirely different altogether. If we were talking about creating a Christian State, and here is where the State critique is so vital, we should be well advised to prepare for some kind of armed, or more specifically still, violent struggle.
Whilst it is not unthinkable that a movement towards a clearer identification of a Rejected Christ might come to blows (as it did in Latin America), we should be clear that violence is not the path. If we want to create communities, we must be prepared to shake hands with people, and to do that, we need to unclench our fists (apologies to the editors of “We Are Everywhere”). Our means to getting those communities, though prepared to resist and to develop confrontation, must reflect what we want those communities to be.
We must be prepared to stand up for what is right, even if the government decides it is wrong, for instance being prepared to serve up food in public when the government makes it illegal to do so, as a means of struggling to make the poor visible (See Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution).
Justice requires a confrontation of the unjust, not simply a giving of charity to those adversely affected. We must be prepared to challenge property ownership at its most unjust, and to create gardens and homes where we aren’t supposed to. And we should be prepared to help the poor in direct-action advocacy, confronting intransigent authorities about the problems they face and demanding, rather than begging for, a resolution.
But these are only small examples. and ignore a great many of the possibilities. In summary, we must identify where the Rejected Christ became warped into the state-serving Christ, we must seek to replace the latter with the former, and we must open debates around states, their power and their legitimacy, and the ways in which we can confront them. A lot hangs on opening up spaces of debate within Christian circles, but for every debate, there must also be action in the streets and in our towns and cities.