Saturday, March 14, 2009


Did Jesus used to be a kinda redneck racist?

Looky here! Just look rightcheer! Provocative! Explosive! Plumb nucular! Read it -- then put on yer welding helmet and read the comments at the end of it! Hoo boy.


By Miguel De La Torre
Monday, 23 February 2009

(ABP) -- Our faith tells us that anyone can come to Jesus. The evangelistic message is that Jesus will turn no one away. We can come just as we are, ill and diseased. All who seek healing will find salvation and liberation in the arms of Jesus, for his unconditional love accepts everyone -- regardless of their race or ethnicity.

Or does it? Matthew 15:21-28 recounts the story of a Canaanite woman who came to Jesus desperately seeking a healing for her daughter.

The Canaanites during Jesus' time were seen by Jews as being a mixed race of inferior people, much in the same way that some Euro-Americans view Hispanics today, specifically the undocumented. The Canaanites of old -- like Latino/as of our time -- did not belong. They were no better than "dogs."

For this reason Jesus' response to the Canaanite woman is troublesome. When she appealed to Jesus to heal her sick child, our Lord responded by saying: "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. It is not good to take the bread of the children and throw it to the dogs." ...

Read the rest of "Was Jesus a Racist?" by Miguel De La Terre, associate professor of social ethics at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, from American Baptist Press.


Jesus was a superior son of a bitch who called 'em like he saw 'em and knew right away that she was a redneck. He kept talking about the important people he knew (like the big guy upstairs) and kept trying to act like he knew all that and could teach everybody else.

That's why he's proud to call me his friend.
Maybe, and like my own self, he was susceptible to natural human affections and weaknesses, which is one thing, yet, unlike me, his weaknesses did not lead to sin.

Me, I'm just a son of a bitch.
The more important part of the story follows the quote you quoted.
?? Couldn't repeat the whole thing. ??
Yikes! I was being facetious.

Alan is right in a way, but one does have to wonder at the tone Jesus begins with in this text. Obviously the passage belongs to the other occasions when Jesus tests the faith of supplicants, both to test faith and to exhibit it to onlookers, seemingly.

But would the historical Jesus speak so harshly to an innocent in order to subvert the wrong of prejudicial treatment? Outside of religious know-it-alls and his closest disciples, this would seem the only time that I remember off the top of my head. Usually he treats it straightforwardly. The woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery. And also the leper, the blind, etc, all of whom suffered social prejudice that infirmity was due to sin.

Or did Matthew and any editors drop the ball on this too quickly told pericope and fall into a blogger's trap?:

Praecipitatum verius quam editum.
Well, I'm sure the historical Jesus had bad days and was short with people.

Did you read any of the comments? Jesus is perfect! You're (the writer) a heretic!

Sinless doesn't mean perfect. Truly human and truly divine doesn't mean all-knowing, does it?

Is that racism "sin" necesarrily, or ignorance? Was Jesus ignorant of some things? Clearly, since he is depicted as growing and learning.

So, I see two strains to the objections in the comments: 1. Jesus is perfect, therefore could never be so mean. 2. Racism is always sin; Jesus was sinless; the writer is being heretical.
"Clearly, since he is depicted as growing and learning."

you bet! was the writer being heretical? that's kinda hard since there was NO CHURCH OR CREED to rail against. Gospels say a crap load of things... the worst thing we can do is read through the lens of John and Paul for the Synoptics... you'd miss so much that way.

I loved watching the freshmen's faces in the New Testament classes when they began to realize that Jesus was a bit of a smart-ass. Pollyanna he ain't. I think his humanity made them a bit uncomfortable, as they had a steady Texas evangelical diet of Buddy Jesus, the milquetoast Savior.
:-) Luke, I meant, people are calling the writer-professor who wrote the linked article heretical.

LeeLee, I'll bet!
Buddy Jesus -- or Superhero Jesus!
Well, I'm not worried so much about a literal reading of the text or of Jesus as speaker.

Here, the text is reading us. We are meant to overhear whether "we" are the disciples and crowd around Jesus (still a literal reading) or, more probably, the reader of the Gospel. In this sense, we are shocked by the words into a realization of our own exclusive and cultic reading.

This could be intended to indicate how God chose to be incarnated as a Jew, scandalous dogs to the Gentiles, or opened salvation to the Gentiles, scandalous dogs to the Jews.

One internal problem with the literal approach is that Jesus withdrew to a region (Lebenon) he knew full well was inhabited by "dogs." The subversive intent is not very well hidden. We are supposed to read the tongue in cheek tone pretty quickly.

It is historically improbable that Jesus went from Jerusalem all the way up to Tyre and Sidon and then back down to Galilee.
Sounds reasonable.
Sorry. I think Torre's just an idiot using Scripture to support aiding and abetting illegal immigrants. I also don't think Jesus, who amazed the Temple leaders with His knowledge while still a child, was learning anything as an adult. Here was our Savior dealing in the spiritual, while being confused with someone dealing in the physical world. The Kingdom of which He spoke was not of this world. The Temple He said He would raise in three days was His own Body.

He came for the benefit of the Chosen People of God, yet as He knew His purpose was to die as the Perfect Sacrifice, to suppose that He knew full well that all would be welcome to Paradise is not in the least bit a stretch. Thus, this woman was in no way at risk of being turned down by Jesus. His point was being made for the Jews, not for the woman herself. In addition, He was not calling her a dog, like Torre foolishly pretends to believe, but only using a rhetorical analogy or metaphor.
Out with reason, in with Jonathan Edwards.
Wow. Out with Truly Human Jesus. In with Totally Superhero Christ from Outerspace.

But, hey, thanks for commenting, MA. Srsly. That *is* the prevailing view, I guess, judging from the comments at the end of the piece. (Shudder).
Funny enough, Lisa had to preach this text some time back and she and I went back and forth, both of us coming to the same conclusion that De La Torre came to, viz., that this Canaanite woman got the better of Jesus in the argument. It is troubling in many respects. Lisa preached the sermon pretty much as De La Torre wrote his article - siding with the woman as showing up Jesus' initial limited vision of his ministry - and everyone who made a comment told her they (a) liked it; and (b) made them think about the human person Jesus of Nazareth in a whole new way.
Well the story first comes up in Mark and is just retold in Mathew with Mathew's pro-Jewish slant. In Mark it is a story of faith by a Phoenician woman and Jesus seems to me more teasing than he related as in Mathew. Mathew makes the woman a dreaded unclean Canaanite (which were in fact the Phoenicians).

Mark calls her the modern equivalent of a 'woman of color' and Mathew calls her the 'N...r word'.

The heretics at the Jesus Seminar gave this a grey color if my source is correct.

Paul, who wrote long before Mark or Mathew were penned of course has nothing like this...remember the net coming down this?

Regardless, what does this have to do with immigration policies? Those are Caesars business.
He seems to be relating it to the plight of Latinos/as. As if they are routinel persectued by the average American, which, of course, they are not. I've worked with dozens of Hispanic people, never asked for green cards from any of them, but never stifled my opinion about illegals. This Torre guy is making the connection of this foreign woman to Hispanics. For what other possible reason could it be? Legal immigrants are welcomed by most Americans and the damned issue has been twisted for political reasons to mix legals with illegals. Torre's doing the same thing.

"Out with Truly Human Jesus. In with Totally Superhero Christ from Outerspace."

Don't be silly. For me it's in with the True Jesus, out with the idiot Willem Dafoe Jesus of Last Temptation of Christ, who stumble-bums his way to the Cross. Forgive me if I prefer to maintain a more reverant perception of my Lord and Savior as opposed to a thinking my relationship with Him is chummy enough to call Him a "superior son of a bitch", or to think of him as some kind of holy Forrest Gump that needs anyone to tell Him why He's here.

But you go ahead. Feel free to think He's just another schmuck off the street. He felt power go out from him when a woman suffering from constant bleeding touched his cloak. He always seemed able to escape His opponents until the hour of His death was nigh. He knew when the Pharisees were out to mess with Him.

You mock me for holding up Scripture as I do, but you read things that don't exist, such as Christ as a half-wit being schooled by an average human being. Please. Give Him a little credit.
":-) Luke, I meant, people are calling the writer-professor who wrote the linked article heretical."

oh i picked up what you were putting down. i was trying to say that those who say that the prof. is wrong are prolly reading through a John/Paul lens of Christ... a view that the synoptics just don't have.

ironic that those who defend the bible the loudest don't get the nuance of the very thing they are trying to defend!
You got the Jesus was a stumble-bum from Last Temptation? You should read the book, Marshall, then watch the movie, and you'll figure out what's going on.
More exposure on Mark's redneck Jesus:

which is about:

The problem with these is that even those who don't read the bible literally and don't read the gospel miracles literally, still read the teaching passages as a true record.

It is the impact of the Enlightenment's regard for Jesus as a moral teacher, ala Hume, Locke, Jeffereson, Franklin, etc. They all had a bible trimmed of mystical fat and thought they had a historical record.
Man. You can tell Easter is coming up. This time of year, I just hold on tight and let the latest Jesus news blow.
Have you read the Atlantic article?

It asks a question you may have a natural allergy to, Is Globalization God's Will?

But you would also have some extended worthwhile thoughts.

Maybe you should post and link and your response.

(And don't mention me.)
Maybe I'll do that tomorrow...
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