Jesus: Lord of the Rich?

If I could change one thing about Christianity today, I would make Jesus the God of the poor.  If this sounds as if I've forgotten all the passages about the meek inheriting the earth and camels going through the eye of a needle, some explanation may be necessary.

Whatever the Bible says about the poor being blessed, their blessing may rest entirely on the fact that Christians today aren't placing them under any obligations.  They're blessed because they do inherit the earth, but only in the sense that they don't have any rules to follow, and only because they don't have a God to give them any rules.  The earth is theirs because it's theirs to squander.  The Western middle classes are only here to build it.

Consider the Golden Rule.  The overwhelming majority of us have heard sermons about how capitalists who succeed ought to be more giving to failing socialists and Muslims and Africans; but I've never heard a sermon about how socialists who fail shouldn't be coveting and stealing what belongs to capitalists.  I'd love to hear a sermon about the latter.  I'd love to hear Pope Francis get on a pedestal and tell the poor to stop raising taxes on the productive because we should imagine ourselves in the richer man's shoes.  This sermon would be a strange and twisted kind of fate.  It would be almost as if when Jesus said do unto others as you would have them do unto you, He might have actually been speaking to all of us instead of the wealthy minority (who are always easy targets for an unusually demanding sermon).

The fact that I've never heard a sermon about Mexicans respecting the American border as Mexicans expect the Guatemalans to respect the Mexican border is also suspicious.  And if we're adding sermons to this list of growing inadequacies, we should add one to soften the manners of the poor as well.  To the best of my knowledge, nearly every leftist pastor has delivered a sermon against racism in some form or another.  What's possible is that nobody has ever preached a sermon about black people turning the other cheek to police officers – or giving white people the benefit of the doubt in questionable circumstances.  We might even go so far as to ask black people to spend their time blessing white people as Jesus commanded, since leftist pastors are convinced that white people are the enemy of humanity.  If what's good for the goose is good for the gander, we might even expect more sermons blessing white people in general.

We could go on.  If we're still talking do unto others, we might suggest that honest pastors (who are apparently in short supply) preach about Syrians being thankful of what God has given them instead of passing up Greece and Turkey and going farther north for German women, and we'd ask gay Christians to not judge their straight counterparts for not giving them marriage licenses – for as we judge others, so we shall be judged.  And if we wanted to really put the icing on the cake, we'd skip reasoning with people about our extremely reasonable voter ID laws and just remind them that God has given everyone authorities, and that the authorities have to be obeyed because God put them there in the first place.  We might even be more reckless and ask people not to commit acts of dishonesty.

The truth of the matter is that nearly every swindling demagogue takes the Golden Rule and applies it against the well-to-do in functional neighborhoods with limited resources.  Such people rarely (if ever) admit that the wealth of any single Christian can be exhausted, and his neighborhood can be ruined, and nobody will be better for it.  They never talk about how it feels to have something beautiful stolen from you by someone who didn't deserve it.  They never talk about how it feels to have your neighborhood go to pot because someone was being too generous to illegal aliens or layabouts on Section 8.  They never ask how it feels to have to hire people who are useless and obnoxious, or to be slandered every day for things you didn't do, or to be constantly reminded about the horrible things your ancestors did.  Nobody cares about the feelings or the safety or the rights of the "rich" (whom we define as all white people), because we've bought into the lie that being "rich" means being the target of Jesus's sermons.

But being poor is not a virtue.  We might even go so far as to say that you never really know how virtuous you are until you're dealing with money and power.  Poverty is also not a vice.  Poverty is the result of injustice, ignorance, imprudence, imbecility, and indigence of the poor or the people who actively oppress them, and if there are rich men who are rich for their avarice, there are poor people who are impoverished for their uselessness.

Hell, according to the teachings of the apostles and contrary to the opinions of the covetous majority, is not a place where men go because their wallets are full.  It's a place they go because their hearts are corrupt.  It's the place for people who call Jesus Lord and then hear Him say, Why do you call me Lord and then not do what I say?  It's for the people who call Jesus their Savior and then pretend as though they haven't committed any sins.  It's for the poor people of the world who think the rules apply only to men who've built things, and then aim to take what's been built by forceful acts of injustice.  It's for the Pharisaical racial minorities who cherry-pick the commandments and then apply them irrationally – to everyone but themselves.

Narrow is the way and straight is the path, and there are few who find it is a sermon you'll hear from any decent preacher.  We have yet to hear any preachers remind the world that the poor are the majority.

Jeremy Egerer is the editor of the troublesome philosophical website known as Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.

If I could change one thing about Christianity today, I would make Jesus the God of the poor.  If this sounds as if I've forgotten all the passages about the meek inheriting the earth and camels going through the eye of a needle, some explanation may be necessary.

Whatever the Bible says about the poor being blessed, their blessing may rest entirely on the fact that Christians today aren't placing them under any obligations.  They're blessed because they do inherit the earth, but only in the sense that they don't have any rules to follow, and only because they don't have a God to give them any rules.  The earth is theirs because it's theirs to squander.  The Western middle classes are only here to build it.

Consider the Golden Rule.  The overwhelming majority of us have heard sermons about how capitalists who succeed ought to be more giving to failing socialists and Muslims and Africans; but I've never heard a sermon about how socialists who fail shouldn't be coveting and stealing what belongs to capitalists.  I'd love to hear a sermon about the latter.  I'd love to hear Pope Francis get on a pedestal and tell the poor to stop raising taxes on the productive because we should imagine ourselves in the richer man's shoes.  This sermon would be a strange and twisted kind of fate.  It would be almost as if when Jesus said do unto others as you would have them do unto you, He might have actually been speaking to all of us instead of the wealthy minority (who are always easy targets for an unusually demanding sermon).

The fact that I've never heard a sermon about Mexicans respecting the American border as Mexicans expect the Guatemalans to respect the Mexican border is also suspicious.  And if we're adding sermons to this list of growing inadequacies, we should add one to soften the manners of the poor as well.  To the best of my knowledge, nearly every leftist pastor has delivered a sermon against racism in some form or another.  What's possible is that nobody has ever preached a sermon about black people turning the other cheek to police officers – or giving white people the benefit of the doubt in questionable circumstances.  We might even go so far as to ask black people to spend their time blessing white people as Jesus commanded, since leftist pastors are convinced that white people are the enemy of humanity.  If what's good for the goose is good for the gander, we might even expect more sermons blessing white people in general.

We could go on.  If we're still talking do unto others, we might suggest that honest pastors (who are apparently in short supply) preach about Syrians being thankful of what God has given them instead of passing up Greece and Turkey and going farther north for German women, and we'd ask gay Christians to not judge their straight counterparts for not giving them marriage licenses – for as we judge others, so we shall be judged.  And if we wanted to really put the icing on the cake, we'd skip reasoning with people about our extremely reasonable voter ID laws and just remind them that God has given everyone authorities, and that the authorities have to be obeyed because God put them there in the first place.  We might even be more reckless and ask people not to commit acts of dishonesty.

The truth of the matter is that nearly every swindling demagogue takes the Golden Rule and applies it against the well-to-do in functional neighborhoods with limited resources.  Such people rarely (if ever) admit that the wealth of any single Christian can be exhausted, and his neighborhood can be ruined, and nobody will be better for it.  They never talk about how it feels to have something beautiful stolen from you by someone who didn't deserve it.  They never talk about how it feels to have your neighborhood go to pot because someone was being too generous to illegal aliens or layabouts on Section 8.  They never ask how it feels to have to hire people who are useless and obnoxious, or to be slandered every day for things you didn't do, or to be constantly reminded about the horrible things your ancestors did.  Nobody cares about the feelings or the safety or the rights of the "rich" (whom we define as all white people), because we've bought into the lie that being "rich" means being the target of Jesus's sermons.

But being poor is not a virtue.  We might even go so far as to say that you never really know how virtuous you are until you're dealing with money and power.  Poverty is also not a vice.  Poverty is the result of injustice, ignorance, imprudence, imbecility, and indigence of the poor or the people who actively oppress them, and if there are rich men who are rich for their avarice, there are poor people who are impoverished for their uselessness.

Hell, according to the teachings of the apostles and contrary to the opinions of the covetous majority, is not a place where men go because their wallets are full.  It's a place they go because their hearts are corrupt.  It's the place for people who call Jesus Lord and then hear Him say, Why do you call me Lord and then not do what I say?  It's for the people who call Jesus their Savior and then pretend as though they haven't committed any sins.  It's for the poor people of the world who think the rules apply only to men who've built things, and then aim to take what's been built by forceful acts of injustice.  It's for the Pharisaical racial minorities who cherry-pick the commandments and then apply them irrationally – to everyone but themselves.

Narrow is the way and straight is the path, and there are few who find it is a sermon you'll hear from any decent preacher.  We have yet to hear any preachers remind the world that the poor are the majority.

Jeremy Egerer is the editor of the troublesome philosophical website known as Letters to Hannah, and he welcomes followers on Twitter and Facebook.