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On the IRS Form 1040, there is a section titled “Third Party Designee” which asks, “Do you want to allow another person to discuss this return with the IRS?” When filling out my 1040 for 2021, I simply wrote, “Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe.” This is what people mean when they say, “let go and let God,” right?
Kidding aside — April 15, is traditionally Tax Day in the United States. (Though April 18 is the day we will “celebrate” in 2022.) This year, the day we pay Caesar and the day we remember Caesar making Jesus pay, coincide. In the Christian tradition, Good Friday is usually understood as the day we remember Jesus paying the ultimate price for our “sin.” But as Amar Peterman notes, there is an overemphasis on Jesus “paying for our sins” and an underemphasis on examining the systems and structures which put Christ on the cross to begin with.
When it comes to interrogating why Christ was crucified, Christians fall back on amorphous language and truisms: “Christ died so that I might live,” “Christ was punished for my sin,” or “My sin nailed Jesus to the cross,” et al. Nebulous language and cute clichés won’t cut it when filling out tax forms, so why should we let it slide when it comes to the most important event in human history?
I think we can't bring ourselves as Christians to explicitly acknowledge that we’ve sidled up to the same forces which conspired to crucify Christ. Money, tax breaks for the rich, and celebrity culture all contribute to the continued crucifixion of marginalized people, but that’s not stopping pastors and churches from attempting to convince themselves otherwise.
So, on this Good Friday, amid tax season, we begrudgingly render unto Caesar the resources needed to perpetuate the empire. When I think of it in those terms, it seems right to say that each of us plays a part in nailing Christ and other “crucified people” to the cross.
1. Churches Shouldn’t Automatically Get Tax Exemptions
It’s time for churches and religious institutions to apply for tax-exempt status like other nonprofits. By Robert Repino via sojo.net.
2. The Rise and Fall of Hillsong’s ‘Hypepriests'
But while recent headlines have led to a decline in Hillsong U.S.A. churches, the celebrity pastor’s place in America is not under serious threat. At least not yet. By Leah Payne nbcnews.com.
3. The Book of Job Offers an Alternative to Censorship
Legislation like “Don’t Say Gay” limits our ability to hear the stories of those with a right to be heard. By Hannah Bowman via sojo.net.
4. Talking About COVID-19’s Racial Disparities Makes White People Care Less. But There’s An Exception
When they educate themselves on the systemic causes of inequities, something changes. By Margo Snipe capitalbnews.org.
5. Good Friday Does Not Glorify Suffering
Many churches I've attended did not know what to do with the gross injustice and violence of the cross. By Amar D. Peterman via sojo.net.
6. A Sanctuary for Abortion: How Sanctuary Reveals the Fears of Our Time
California’s plan to make the state a refuge for abortion access builds on a long history of sanctuary movements in the U.S. By Michael Woolf via therevealer.org.
7. A Prayer To Help Us Pause in Holy Week
I want to linger in the uncertainty, the suffering, and sacrifice before the resurrection. By Adam Russell Taylor via sojo.net.
8. How Do I Be More Online?
For the sake of my career, Papi, I need to log on. By John Paul Brammer via holapapi.substack.com.
9. Facing Financial Challenges, TEDS Cuts Faculty Positions
The number of full-time students at the evangelical seminary has dropped 44 percent in 20 years. By Daniel Silliman via christianitytoday.com.
10. Ukrainians Want Russians Removed From Pope’s Good Friday Procession
The procession includes a meditation emphasizing reconciliation and reconstruction, which head of Ukraine’s Byzantine-rite Catholic church called “incoherent and even offensive.” By Philip Pullella, Reuters, via sojo.net.