The Gospel Should Be Offensive


Scripture constantly should be challenging our assumptions about our lives and in every aspect of society. Transformation is needed on a personal and also a political level. Scriptural priorities shouldn't be glossed over in order to protect political ideologies and comfort zones.

If we believe that what Jesus taught remains just as relevant today as it did when he physically walked among us, then it should still be a comfort to those on the margins of society and offensive to the wealthy and powerful. That doesn't mean that the wealthy and powerful can't be good and faithful followers of Christ, but Jesus did warn them that their walk will be a hard one. Wealth and power bring unique and difficult temptations ... If you never feel uncomfortable when you read the Gospels then you aren't paying attention.

Somebody You Should Know: Christopher Sofolo

deeper photo collage"Jesus' spirituality was magnetic. Wherever he went, people gathered. His love, understanding and compassion toward humanity was overflowing and people traveled from afar to find solace in his teachings and to breathe life into their spiritual lives. His message of inclusiveness was seen as a threat by the religious leaders of his time -- whose very existence relied on a system of exclusivity."

Neocolonialism and Cowboys & Aliens

1100801-cowboysandaliensAmericans have a hard time knowing how to respond to the sins of our colonial past. Except for a few extremists, most people know on a gut level that the extermination of the Native Americans was a bad thing. Not that most would ever verbalize it, or offer reparations, or ask for forgiveness, or admit to current neocolonial actions, or give up stereotyped assumptions -- they just know it was wrong and don't know how to respond. The Western American way doesn't allow the past to be mourned or apologies to be made. Instead we make alien invasion movies.

The Journey is Long

WRITER EDWIDGE DANTICAT encourages us to “read dangerously,” because once we begin to read of the immigrant experience, we cannot return to how we were before. Inevitably, stories and information will change our perceptions of those we might consider “alien.” The seven books in this list don’t focus on specific policy agendas; rather, they allow us to consider different perspectives and unique immigrant experiences.

According to the United Nations, more than 210 million people live in countries other than the one in which they were born. Driven from Home: Protecting the Rights of Forced Migrants (Georgetown University Press) is an interdisciplinary collection of academic essays on the issues that arise from the growing number of migrants and a growing resistance in many countries to accepting them. Edited by David Hollenbach, SJ, of Boston College, the book has a section dedicated to engaging migration with a Christian framework. And You Welcomed Me: Migration and Catholic Social Teaching (Lexington Books), edited by Donald Kerwin and Jill Marie Gerschutz, is an outcome of the Theology of Migration Project at Woodstock Theological Center in Washington, D.C. Its essays range from analytical to more reflective in tone, such as “Christian Hospitality and Solidarity with the Stranger.” Both books tie the immigration debate here in the U.S. to the broader theme of global migration.

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