Progressive Revival

I know I shouldn’t keep picking on the lowest common denominator but they just keep on appearing on cable news talking about politics and religion.  We first had Chuck Norris talking about violently leaving the country and taking Texas with him and now Victoria Jackson is talking about Liberation Theology and Obama’s supposed marxism.  Tale a look:

Jackson denounces Obama as a socialist because of his church which embraced Liberation Theology. Hannity is there by her side helpfully affirming that she is right that Black Liberation Theology is socialist.  What a strange world when the main spokespeople for liberation theology are Jackson and Hannity –  two white, wealthy conservatives.  
It reminds me of when I went to seminary and first encountered black liberation theology by taking classes with one of its main proponents –  Dr. James Cone.  For those of you who would rather not learn your theology and politics from comedians, James Cone’s book A Theology of Black Liberation looks at the Gospel of Jesus Christ from the explicit perspective of the experience of black Americans.  When the Gospel is approached from the view from a people who have suffered the most brutal experience of slavery and racism the Gospel looks different.  When someone who has been systematically beaten down for centuries reads Jesus’ words in Luke 4 they sound different:  
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
   because he has anointed me
     to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
   and recovery of sight to the blind,
     to let the oppressed go free.
The more one reads the Gospel from this point of view the more clear it is that God loves all people but sides with the oppressed in struggles for justice. Need more proof, look at the sermon on the mount in Luke.  
When I got to Union Seminary as an upper middle class white male I had to come to grips with the fact that my experience of comfort and ease that the world afforded me was only enjoyed by a small percentage of the worlds’ population. Furthermore, the privilege I so casually took for granted was made possible through the suffering of others.  My conversion experience happened when I became convicted that if I was to become a serious Christian I needed to be in solidarity with all of the people of the world, not just the few at the top.  That I must truly love all my neighbors as myself and that means giving up some of my own privilege. That I must live simply so others might simply live. That Justice was, as Cornel West puts it, what love looks like in public.  
This is the essence of liberation theology – it is about justice and love for all people and not fear mongering and silliness.  We are in a time when millions are out of work and out of homes because of the greed of unchecked and unwatched capitalism.   What our president is trying to do is not socialism, it is trying to help as many people get through this disastrous economic time with as little suffering and as much dignity as possible.  Sounds Christian to me.  

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