Saturday, August 18, 2012

be different from the world

" In judgment and action those who follow Jesus will be different from the world in renouncing their property, happiness, rights, righteousness, honor, and violence. They will be offensive to the world. That is why the disciples will be persecuted for righteousness’ sake." ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer (on Matt 5:10)

Sure enough, if you live modestly, humbly, in deference to others, with empathy, compassion, altruism and respond to violence with non-violence, you are going to be viewed derisively. Even other Christians will resent your adherence to this path.

Maybe that's part of what it means to be salt and light (Matt 5:13-16) behaving like Jesus presents a contrast with the selfish, materialistic, power-accumulating, aggressive, ambitious values of this world.

Like salt brings out a food's own flavor and light exposes one's "true colors," maybe living out Micah 6:8 creates so much cognitive dissonance for some people that they (subconsciously at least) know that they're choices aren't so godly after all and it irritates them. Nobody wants to be accused of being self-serving or short-sighted. That's why I love that bumper sticker so much that says, "annoy a conservative, live like Jesus."

As 19th century social activist Mother Jones might say, the Gospel is going to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." (Garrison Keillor modified it a little and I put that one on the top of this page.)

No wonder Hitler had Bonhoeffer killed. Not only did Bonhoeffer's liberalism expose Hitler's fascism and authoritarianism for the tyrany it was, his authentic Christianity exposed Hitler's pharisaical hypocrisy for the mere political appliance that it was.

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