Category: The Politics of Scripture

I broke one of my cardinal rules today, again, and was reminded, again, of how incredibly difficult the law of love really is.

In this present age, we are beset by people, inside and outside of the church, who are on an anti-tax jihad.

By Matt Lacey

We are presented with the question: are we called to be Americans first, or Christians first? Are we called to claim our heritage as our coincidental place of birth, or our Christian heritage that transcends political and continental borders?

The main problem is, we the people have given and continue to give it to them. Notice in the text that it is not Aaron who first announces that the calf is the god that delivered Israel from Egypt. It is the people themselves who identify this false connection, just as we ourselves are complicit in this perverse deification of injustice.

Jesus says, “Have you never read in the scriptures: The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone?” (20:42). Have you not heard that the poor own the kingdom of God? Do you not remember that the meek are blessed? Do you not remember that Christ is incarnate in the least of those among us? It is as hard for us to hear the cries of the poor today as it was for the Jesus’ fellow Jewish teachers and leaders to hear the voices of the tenants.

Amidst today’s solemn gatherings, plaintive recollections, and lachrymose tributes which will honor the thousands murdered on 9/11, we should also pause and contemplate the cost of American “justice.”

So now these chopped-apart verses stand in our textual memory as a testament to a moment when our movement was frightened by the logical conclusions of its own radical claims.

This text is one of the most fruitful lessons for thinking about the political theology of scripture in the whole three-year cycle. It is also one of the most humorous texts in scripture, as the powerless subvert the powerful.