It’s six months since my daughter died, during which these blogs have often been about her. I felt that these meditations were not private, but belonged in the community of faithful and questioning people. Now I am editing them, with some additions into a form that might be suitable for publication.
So once again I’m making a new start with this blog. It was originally intended to show that Jesus was just as “extreme” towards British or American values as any jihadist, only more fruitfully.
I think that has stayed with me. Most of my certainties about God are under question, as I continue to mourn and struggle to find any acceptable way of thinking about God. I want to be faithful to this questioning, which for the moment will continue privately.
On the other hand, I am fairly sure what I know about Jesus.
1. Jesus is against Trump, Putin and Orban. Why these, rather than Boris, Xi, Bolsonaro, Modi and the rest? Because in their different ways they have tried – and partially succeeded – in co-opting “Jesus” to their cause. Putin via his nauseating patronage of the Orthodox Church, Orban by his explicit attempt to create a Christian Hungary, and Trump with his encouragement of right-wing Christianity as his key supporters in the USA. Their use of Jesus is public, as is their corruption of branches of the Christian Church. Jesus did not support any of the Jewish political groups of his time, but was public about the demands of The Messiah King, that nations would be judged by what they did or failed to do, for the hungry and thirsty, for the stranger, for the sick, for the prisoners, for the destitute. This is stated quite clearly, that what they do or fail to do for these least important of Jesus brothers and sisters will be taken personally by The King, so much so that those who fail this test, regardless of their faith, will have their asses fried along with Satan and his troops. Amen. So listen up, Donald, Vladimir and Viktor, get your fireproof boxers ready, the Lord is waiting. But at least you won’t be alone, in the company of the millions of “Christians” who have supported you.
2. Of course all applies to every nation and person and those who think they meet the meet the King’s requirement, like me, should look at it pretty carefully, and ask what what we have actually done as opposed to what we have said. Jesus offers no forgiveness for those who choose to remain in sin. For all his reputation as a merciful saviour, all the most terrible judgements on those who pretend to have faith, come from him: “Not those who say Lord, Lord, but those who do the will of my father.” Jesus was not very religious, and was utterly unimpressed by piety.
3. As I say, I am not very sure about God at present, and therefore not too sure about the meaning of Jesus’ threats: just who will tend those toasty fires is a mystery. Another mystery is exactly how such threats match up with Jesus’ command to love enemies, and indeed his own prayer for the forgiveness of his crucifiers. I guess it’s obvious: there cannot be forgiveness of those who don’t want it. “The Reign of God has arrived; change your hearts; and trust in the joyful message.” Those who recognise the King and change their hearts, are invited to trust the joyful message of forgiveness, love and transformation. But for those who are blind to King Jesus, and who refuse to change, how can their be any forgiveness? God’s love is offered but they have rejected it. The offer is for all, but the enjoyment of God’s love is for those who accept it, even if they have been enemies of God and his children. In a word, this is to say that Jesus offered only love. He did not use any kind of force to make people go his way, but only tried to persuade them by word and action. Love is terrible because it leaves the decision with the beloved person.
4. But clearly enough, Jesus would tell me that I have to love Donald and the rest. Probably this rules out any glee about Jesus’ judgement upon them. So if I want to applaud while their fat sizzles, I cannot claim to belong to Jesus. Now that’s a bit awkward. And it doesn’t just apply to my enemies’ ultimate fate; it has to start now. “Love your enemies, pray for your persecutors”. Could I get off with praying that their asses get fried? Probably not. The command also means that in a political area polluted with all forms of bad- mouthing, God’s people should speak peacefully but definitely in the name of the real Jesus.
5. All this sounds a bit extreme to me.