Stop Slogan-Voting. Stop Hate-Voting. Stop Being Manipulated. Part 6. Preach Christ = Preach Christ Crucified

Where there is no vision, the people perish.    Proverbs 29: 18

 … and he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.     Mark 6: 34

For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required.   Luke 12: 48

Demagoguery is not preaching Christ.

Protecting priestly privilege is not preaching Christ.

Pandering to your parishioners is not preaching Christ.

Pandering to your brother and sister clergy is not preaching Christ.

Pandering to political parties and secular powers is not preaching Christ.

Protecting your career and advancement in the Church is not preaching Christ.

We are like sheep without a shepherd. In fact, we are more than like sheep without a shepherd. We are sheep without a shepherd. Telling us how to vote is not telling us how to live. It does not equip us to be the salt and light that bring the Kingdom. It does not grow our faith in Christ. What it does is gather political power to the person who is telling us how to vote.

We are lied to, manipulated, whipped up into hatred and degraded with cheap slogans instead of intelligent dialogue by the media, the two political parties and the various candidates. We don’t need more of the same coming at us from the pulpits in our churches.

We need Christ and Him crucified. We need clergy who will preach the revolutionary, civilization-building, soul-saving Gospel of Christ in all its fullness.

When clergy panders to politicians, no matter where they begin, they end by whittling the Gospels down to the parts that they can twist to support the political agenda of the party or politician they are following. They usually leave the cross over their altars, but they might as well not. Your god is who you obey. Your god is who you follow. If these failed shepherds were being honest, they would remove the cross from their churches and replace it with the Republican elephant or the Democrat Donkey.

Right-wing preachers, who toady to the Republicans, either ignore or belittle the calls for social justice that pertain to the poor in particular and everyone who is in need in general. They basically dropkick the Sermon on the Mount off the front step of their churches. They pull verses and even parts of verses out of context to justify and support blatant corporatism and the economic destruction of the people in order to enrich those who control the political party they follow.

Left-wing preachers, who toady to the Democrats, carry this a step further. Rather then using proof texts pulled out of odd places in Scripture to justify themselves, they tend to obliterate the whole book.

These folks are big on applying literary criticism to the Bible. This method of scriptural analysis is the systematic application of fantasy involving a confabulated “Q Document” and weighty-sounding but baseless judgements based on authorial style and voice. It’s a kind of web-spinning that produces wordy exegesis that is simply a theoretical construct erroneously presented as hard fact.

This convenient acceptance of literary criticism calls the entire Bible into question. It provides the intellectual gloss for what is simply cherry-picking the Gospels for the parts you find consistent with your secular values. Scripture that demands justice and sets limits on our sexual and social behavior is expunged.

Left-wing preachers drop-kick the law. Their right-wing mirror images drop-kick the prophets.

Between these two sets of bogus shepherds, there is nothing of the Scriptures left. They have successfully edited and challenged the entire Bible out of relevance to today’s society. They have obviated everything that gives them the right to hold their jobs.

Is it any wonder that everyone from atheists to zealot pro-abortionists flings proof texts at Christians? They take these verses out of context and apply them ignorantly, true. They have zero knowledge of how the whole of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation fits together to tell a single, albeit convoluted, story. They certainly don’t see that the Bible is always, no matter how far afield it may seem to go, about Jesus Christ.  They’re ignorant, and they can be almost comically bombastic, but it’s hard to get really mad at them. After all, they learned to do this from our own clergy.

We are not like sheep without a shepherd. We are sheep without a shepherd. We’ve got lots of preachers. We’ve got them on television, making millions and preaching a heretical political gospel of greed. We’ve got feel-good preachers, giving us a Hallmark card Jesus made of cotton candy and sticky glue. We’ve got others reviling, slandering and attacking those on the other side of whatever political spectrum the preacher in question supports. We’ve got them hanging out in their rectories, living cozy lives and getting by without ruffling feathers.

Pick your flavor. There’s a preacher out there who will give you a phony jesus to match.

Today’s church has reduced Calvary to an Easter egg hunt and a pretty pageant. It has sanitized the scandal of our God Who was subjected to the most shameful disregard society could mete out; Who was left weak and piteous, Who appeared helpless; a criminal.

The cross was shameful then and it’s shameful now. Jesus was not only wrongly convicted, he was beaten nearly to death; tortured, mocked, reviled and when He hung on the cross in agony, His tormenters stood at its foot and made fun of Him, mocked Him the more.

The cross is shameful, embarrassing, hard. Christ and Him crucified is the whole message of the Bible. If you don’t preach that, you are not preaching at all.

I think it’s pertinent to our discussion that Calvary was an actual event in history. The blood was real. The pain, humiliation, helplessness, degradation were all real. They happened. Jesus was flesh and bone, just like any of us. He felt every single bit of it. He endured both the physical pain and the psychological death of the aloneness of being weak and helpless in the hands of human monsters.

The people who did this were a bunch of lying priests and a cowardly politician, all of whom put their careers, their power, their vaunting self-importance, ahead of doing what was right.

We live in a world where it’s getting harder to follow Jesus with each passing day. Christians are slaughtered in a genocidal fury in many places, subjected to overt discrimination, harassment and constant fear of worse in many others.

Here in America elected officials are scolded if they mention Christ in public. The name of Jesus is subjected to public ridicule and mockery.  Rank and file Christians of every denomination feel compelled to self-censor their speech concerning their belief in Christ to avoid being belittled, shunned and perhaps endangering their employment.

This is our cross. We have been running away from it and we’ve got to stop. We must, in the name of Jesus, take up these challenges, which are the challenges of our time in history. It is not shameful to be attacked and belittled for following Jesus. it is an honor and a privilege. It is a blessing.

We need shepherds who will tell us this. We need shepherds who do not pander, are not demagogues, who are indifferent to both of the two political parties. We need shepherds who do not care about their privilege and self-importance, who are willing to put ambitions for their careers aside. We need shepherds who follow Christ, even if it is to the cross. We need shepherds who will preach Christ and Him crucified.

I give you a promise. I promise that if you stand up for Jesus, you will pay a price. I promise that if you preach Christ and Him Crucified, some of the people in your congregation will get mad at you. Your advancement in the Church may be limited due to your “fanaticism.”

For those of us who are not clergy, I promise the same. True discipleship of Jesus is, has been, and always will be about the cross. It is never a way to get rich or do well in this world.

We follow a King. But His crown was not a crown of gold and jewels. His crown was of thorns.

Today’s equation goes to the heart of the only solution that will lead our society out of its death spiral.

Preach Christ = Preach Christ crucified.

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43 comments

  1. You are dangerous, but so was St. Peter, St. John, and St. Paul. for they spoke the truth of the words of Christ. For this reason I will pray that our Lord Christ Jesus give even more Boldness in the speaking of the Truth in His Name. AMEN!

    1. I couldn’t stop laughing when I read this. I’m not dangerous. What is dangerous is the sweeping power of the Gospel of Christ to generate new life in a dying world. That power is a danger to the darkness that benefits from corruption, cruelty, greed, disorder and selfishness. All those who serve the darkness hate the light of Christ. They are unaware that it is their salvation as well as the rest of the world’s.

    2. BTW, please don’t think that I’m dissing your generous compliment. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    3. Way to go! I really enjoyed what you shared.

  2. WOW! What a powerful call, Rebecca. There’s so much here to think about, and I simply found myself wanting to relocate just so I could vote for a politician who tells it like it really is; it would be a privilege.

    My Daddy kept sheep when I was little, and I used to go out to help him sometimes. Shepherds live with their sheep, they are always there with them, they know them, they care for them, and they know when anything is wrong with them. It is a hard life, one of service, which makes huge demands and confers no privilege save knowing you are of service. That’s why Christ is the Good Shepherd, and why need proper shepherds, not phoney ones. God bless you Rebecca.

    1. Thank you Jessica for offering this wonderful explanation for the metaphor of the Good Shepherd!

  3. lbkennett · ·

    AMEN! sister of Jesus! You are a preacher not a politician! Preaching Christ crucified can get you crucified. There is a cost to following Jesus, a cost many find to high to pay. But the Pearl of great price is priceless. Only Jesus Christ transforms lives, something government can never do.

    1. “Only Jesus Christ transforms lives, something government can never do.”

      Absolutely right!

  4. from http://8kidsandabusiness.wordpress.com Recently, here in Ontario, Canada, the provincial government passed a Bill that would make it mandatory for Catholic schools to implement a sex education class that goes against Catholic teaching. It would also force the Catholic schools to teach homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle. A very good friend of mine who is a Catholic priest preached against Bill 13 from the pulpit. Someone at the Archdiocese found out and the next day, a letter to all the priests of my diocese was sent out telling them to shut up. Sheep without a shepherd………you said it.

    1. I’ve heard a little of this. It is a tragedy and a scandal.

  5. Thank you for your powerful message. Especially addressing the callusness of the right on the issues of the poor and the left on issues of life and justice.

    1. That is an honor, coming from you. I’ve said it before, but I deeply appreciate your courageous blog.

  6. Best hard-to-swallow stuff I’ve read in a long time.

  7. You are treading DEEP WATERS…NICE!!!!!

    1. Thank you, Ieasha!

  8. Dear Rebecca, thank you for standing up for Christ the way you did in this article. On “that” day, when it is all said and done, many Christians will wish they had done the same when it was still available for them to do so. The Bible says “…for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2). True, there might be a price to pay for preaching Jesus-Christ, but those who truly delight in the Word of God get to understand like no other human being the kind of joy that awaits them. Because God, who is faithful, has promised! You are gathering for yourselves treasures in heaven Rebecca, my only advice…pile them up!

    1. Thank you. I think we all (me included) tend to forget that heaven awaits.

  9. Peter Wiebe · ·

    Oh! Rebecca. This message justs makes my heart leap for joy. May the power of God rest upon you to keep proclaiming Christ so boldly.

    I could only wish that I had such a politician in my area that I could vote for.

    1. Thank you Peter.

  10. This is so powerful. So well-stated. You speak with understanding and authority because you have experience in the field. So many of us know–or at least have a general idea, but you have first-hand info to present a case. Thanks so much for speaking out.

    1. Thank you Solveig!

  11. I’m going to say little here, my post in the morning will be a long comment on this. I will say this, I have NEVER read a more courageous or truthful post.

    Thank you, Maam.

    1. Thank you my friend.

      1. You’re very welcome, stop by in the morning if you have a chance, I think you’ll like it. God bless you.

  12. “Left-wing preachers drop-kick the law. Their right-wing mirror images drop-kick the prophets.” That’s a big slice of truthfulness, there.

  13. Dear Rebecca,
    Thank you for this post. I have been following your blog for only a short while, but I am sharing it with members of my congregation. I’ve been a Lutheran pastor for over 30 years, and I’ve constantly been challenged to care for the sheep Beloved by Jesus while we’re all walking together through the valley of the shadow. Sometimes it’s hard to stay away from “issues”; sometimes it’s hard to address those “issues” with forgiveness and healing; sometimes it’s hard to preach Jesus and the cross when so many want to know how I stand one way or another. Thank you for your reminder, and your plea. I have shared this with my brother and sister pastors, and I hope I remember to return myself to this plea frequently and humbly. I pray that I may be counted your brother in Christ both here and in eternity.

    1. Thank you for sharing the post. I am trying to lend my little voice to encouraging Christians to stop being ashamed of Jesus and running away when people belittle Him; to be the light.

  14. Rebecca,

    this is a powerful and important message, and I thank you for posting it. It’s all too easy to get bogged down with all the issues and crises out there, and forget the core of what we’re supposed to be about as Christians.

    1. Thank you. I haven’t said anything lately, but I soooo enjoy your photos!

      1. Thanks! Hope you like the post I put up today. I don’t write essays too often, but had the inspiration earlier.

        1. I just now got around to reading your latest post and I think it’s excellent. I plan to blog on the same subject in a few weeks, but from a different angle. Again, excellent work!

  15. I read an article not that long ago that asked where are the Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s? Well, I think you are one. You say it as it is. Blessings – Patty

    1. What an incredible compliment! Thank you.

  16. Rebecca, one of the best articles I’ve ever read on the subject. Brave, courageous, and forthright. I could not find a word I disagreed with, not one! Truly an honor to read this, and may God bless you, and use this fine article to wake up a world lulled into an abyss of religious externalism and no true substance.

    1. Thank you Wayne. I am honored.

  17. tazeinmirzasaad · ·

    Dear Public Catholic,
    Your comments are very enlightening!!!!
    Luv,
    Tazein

    1. Thanks again Tazein! I really like your blog. The post about your first encounter with God was especially great, so honest. You have a beautiful name, btw.

  18. The Good News Christ was not just crucified, He was also resurrected, and that’s the miracle, that despite, the shame, the rejeciton, the humiliation, the torture that He went through for us, He was resurrected, and now we have a promise of a new life with Him.

    1. True! Thank you for this comment.

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