August 2, 2011

A Different Gospel

And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, “This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat.” He answered and said unto them, “Give ye them to eat.” And they say unto him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?” He saith unto them, “How many loaves have ye? go and see.” And when they knew, they say, “Five, and two fishes.” And he commanded them to make all sit down by companies upon the green grass. And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. And he drew near and said to the disciples, “Give ye me the loaves and the fishes, that the people might be fed.” But they drawing back said unto him, “Socialist!” And looking up to heaven, he rolled his eyes and sighed deeply.

Tobias Stanislas Haller BSG

18 comments:

IT said...

This must be the Gospel read by LGM, who commented on Susan Russell's blog:

When the Bible teaches to 'do good and share with others', it means within the Bible Faith Community

Ifthat view is widely held, it explains quite a lot about washington.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Yes, IT. That's the same gospel as the one in which the Samaritan curses the wounded man who obviously got what he deserved!

Grandmère Mimi said...

But they drawing back said unto him, “Socialist!” And looking up to heaven, he rolled his eyes and sighed deeply.

And the footnote to the verse says, "A later addition." And not for the first time. It is fitting.

Paul said...

I remember hearing stories from the rector of my youth who said there were John Birch society people who were walking into churches and tearing out Acts 2 out of the Bibles. That's the chapter that talks about the apostles holding all of their possessions in common. Communism, and Marx wasn't even born yet.

JCF said...

Yeah, I cited the Samaritan to LGM, too. How glad we are, he didn't believe "'do good and share with others', it means within [his own] Faith Community"!

MarkBrunson said...

Conservative "christians" in the U. S. don't worship God, they worship money and guns and the good ol' red, white and blue.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

I'm also reminded of the story of the Syro-Phoenecian woman and Jesus first saying, "Only me and mine" but then acknowledging her boldness to demand what is right.

Many widows have bloodied their knuckles rapping on the unresponsive doors of those who judge them unworthy of their notice...

Versailles Rose said...

And God said: "See what I have to put up with every day?"

Daniel Weir said...

I am amazed at how many conservative Christians seem to find more guidance on matters of the economy from Ayn Rand than from Jesus.

Chris H. said...

Locally, part of "conservatives" focus is more on Paul's, "If they don't work, they don't eat..." coming from a poorer rural state with 20% of the population on welfare and disability(the highest work comp. rate in the nation),etc. the difference in lifestyles for those who work and those who live off the government isn't very big. And people give their friends lessons on how to get on welfare. Even giving an interview in Time magazine about why they're staying on assistance rather than work. This makes those who work angry, so they vote Republican because,"Liberals care more for the ones who can work but don't, than they do for the ones who do work." Somehow our Democratic senator has never managed to place cutting out fraud as high as "throw more money at it". Please be careful lumping all "conservatives" together. There are different reasons which get the same votes politically.

MarkBrunson said...

Chris H.,

One of the many things I despise about Paul (or the Pauline writings)!

Just like him to take what was established by those who knew Christ directly - all things in common, feeding the widows and orphans - and turn it into every man for himself.

The Pauline writer(s) - the Tea Pary of Christ's Body!

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Chris and Mark, I think you both make fair points but probably go a bit too far in your conclusions.

There will always be a certain amount of "welfare fraud" given the reality of fallen human nature. But to use this, as some do, as an argument against social welfare programs comes near to throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The notion that only "the deserving poor" deserve assistance is self evident, by definition. But Jesus did not ask "who here is really hungry and didn't bring a lunch" -- rather he multiplied the food to miraculous proportions. Jesus' message is, "Give to those who ask." It is, ultimately, all about grace and not getting what one deserves.

As to Paul, note that the people he critiques, and the nature of his critique, in the context of 2 Thess., is in relation to the coming eschaton, which the Thessalonians have become over-excited about (in part due to Paul's own over-excited first letter), some to the extent of giving up work and mooching off those who do work. Paul is simply saying, "Jesus is coming, look busy!"

MarkBrunson said...

Oh, I was only speaking of Pauline writings, Tobias.

I never think there's an easy answer. If it's an easy answer, then it's merely lazy thinking.

There are those who abuse welfare - as Christians, we don't even have the right, under God, to deny help to them. We are unworthy, don't try nearly hard enough, but God gifts us each day, anyway, and we are called to be like Him. However, there are many non-Christians, and those who refuse to take up their cross, amongst those call themselves Christians, and the USA is not a "Christian nation." It is a political, earthly, entirely mortal entity - and that's the discussion point.

And that's just the introduction to the background I'd first consider as we discuss the issue of public programs . . .

David Donnell said...

Uh, wasn't it Paul who said, "So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith"?

To an uncomplicated soul like me, that hardly sounds like "every man for himself," nor does it sound as if our activity should be limited those within the "Bible Faith Community," whatever that may be.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

God points, Mark and David both.

Paul seems to me to demand much of the faith community, not only its inner discipline, but in how it relates to those outside of it. He is, after all, one who became "a Jew to Jews, a Greek to Greeks" and was very much aware of the interface between church and society. The belief that "charity stays at home" -- which appears to be the message of the "Bible Faith Community" -- finds scant support in the thought and work of Christ or Paul. Here the famous quote from Temple is apposite: "The Church is the only cooperative society in the world that exists for the benefit of those who are not its members."

JCF said...

We are unworthy, don't try nearly hard enough, but God gifts us each day, anyway, and we are called to be like Him.

Amen and amen, Mark!

@Chris H. The answer to fallen human behavior isn't finger-wagging. It's modeling *Christ-like* behavior.

Anonymous said...

Right, JCF, Mark, etc. Fraud and theft should never be prosecuted. Poor people have the right to steal because they're poor. All welfare people should have a vacation in Vegas-it would be generous. No wonder things are the way they are. If we can't even agree to try to control seemingly obvious wrongs, the left and right will never work anything else out. Would anyone here agree to a "New Deal" idea, people work, volunteer, answer phones, to get assistance?

Apparently the idea of "deserving poor" is not "self-evident" Tobias.

If Christianity requires giving anything/everything to everybody, can/should/must a secular government follow suit with no rules/limits? Those considering themselves Liberal Christians had better not own anything, having given it all away. I hope you're a "good model" JCF.

Chris H.

Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

Interesting points, Chris. I think there is a difference between the ideals of Christianity -- which indeed does demand giving away all that you have to follow Him -- and a rational social government program.

FWIW, as a Christian Socialist Libertarian, I think fraud should be prosecuted. I also don't think people have a right to steal, though it is understandable when they do if other alternatives are not offered. I think it is the government's job to take up that slack when the public sector (which is based on a profit-motive) and the private not-for-profit sector are unable to close the gap. I strongly favor WPA-type programs, and wish we could see more of that. Putting people to work -- even drafting them (so much for Libertarianism... I'm not an absolutist on that score) -- on the infrastructure would solve two of our most pressing problems. That will mean higher taxes, though, and that is where we return to the root issue of people not wanting to share what they've got when they have more than they need.