Before I started paying real attention to Jesus, I didn’t know Christians like Jeff Bethke existed. But this little video, performed by Bethke, a Jesus loving, scholar-poet, went up last year and now has nearly 25 million views.
Maybe there’s something to it.
I avoided Jesus for ages because I too have a problem with the Crusades and I don’t believe any US political party or denomination has a corner on Jesus. In fact, when I actually read the gospels, I snorted at the irony.
It was first-century religious and political leaders who killed Jesus, and he warned us to watch out for them. That is not my opinion, it’s in all four gospels.
I met Bethke at the Love Does Stuff conference. He’s 23. He’s never been to seminary but he’s a reader. After reading the gospel like he meant it, he read Bonhoffer, Tozier, Keller, Chan and Goff, authors who have rejected the idea of Jesus + __________.
It’s just Jesus period.
When asked by a lawyer what the greatest commands were, Jesus gave only two: Love God. Love others. And frankly, in tornado-wrecked Oklahoma today, we are actually doing a rather good job of that.
This nation, the one supposedly “gridlocked by political and religious division” is praying together in our messy melting pot ways. We are weeping for Oklahoma and pulling strangers from the rubble. That is what Jesus wants. That is what love does.
So if that’s who we are in crisis, why aren’t we that in calm? Why do we need disasters to eclipse our quotidian spitefulness?
Because we’ve bought into the same old religious/political lie that killed Jesus. We are separate, we are different, so we must be afraid.
But if Oklahoma proves anything it’s that we’re not separate. We are one, but we’ve got to pull each other out of the rubble – even people we don’t like. As Bob Goff said over the weekend,
“He (God) is going to send all sorts of people with different life orientations your way. Does that change one thing about what Jesus said?”
Love God. Love others. Period.