Richard Rohr – Patriotism As the False Sacred

“Jesus is Lord” (Romans 10:9) was proclaimed by the early church, as their most concise creedal statement. No one ever told me this was a political and subversive statement, until I learned a bit of Bible history. To say “Jesus is Lord!” was testing and provoking the Roman pledge of allegiance that every Roman citizen had to proclaim when they raised their hand to the imperial insignia and shouted, “Caesar is Lord!” Early Christians were quite aware that their “citizenship” was in a new universal kingdom, announced by Jesus (Philippians 3:20), and that the kingdoms of this world were not their primary loyalty systems. How did we manage to lose that? And what price have we paid for it?

Jesus showed no undue loyalty either to his Jewish religion nor to his Roman-occupied Jewish country; instead, he radically critiqued both of them, and in that he revealed and warned against the idolatrous relationships that most people have with their country and their religion. It has allowed us to justify violence in almost every form and to ignore much of the central teaching of Jesus.

Adapted from Spiral of Violence: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil (CD, MP3)

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Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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