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Was Jesus a Moderate? November 17, 2010

Posted by P, J, or J in Uncategorized.
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I read recently about a call for a global movement of moderates. The call was for moderate leaders from many nations and faiths uniting for the common good and taking a measured stand against extremists. Extremists, as all moderates know, are extremely bad. They just take everything too far.

I’d agree with the statement …in moderation.

The dangerous extremists are those who take half a truth and turn it into a lie. Some extreme liberals read “everything is permissible” and believe that anything is okay, that love has covered over a multitude of sins, or that the sins weren’t serious anyway. Some extreme religious conservatives embrace legalism and truly believe in right and wrong with no grey areas, and that you are either totally for them or against the God they seek to serve.
My problem is that what some people think of as moderate forms of any of the major world religions are often in reality bland, watered down, pick and mix versions, which focus on areas where they have common characteristics on ethical standards and ways of being nice to each other. Such moderate views are acceptable and compatible with each other because they overlap nicely with a moderate secular humanism and allows everyone to maintain a form of religion linked to their culture without getting in the way of so called more important things such as international trade, commerce, and allowing people to get richer without exploiting the poor too much (or at least too publically).

 

I don’t think Jesus was that kind of moderate.extreme love Gentle Jesus, meek and mild, is a myth put out by the kind of people who think the Bible is just a collection of fables you can edit to teach kids good social values. Jesus took love to radical levels – where it says “he submitted himself to death on a cross” it doesn’t mean he just gave in and accepted his fate. The man who calmed storms, cast out demons, took on religious hypocrites, performed miracles of mass catering, healed lepers, and raised a couple of people from the dead, had many other options open to him.

Jesus wasn’t that kind of moderate. He was the moderator. And he still is. He is a multiplicity of contrasting extremes at the same time and He is the balance point. He is the one in whom extreme justice and extreme mercy are combined. The one in whom ultimate power and gentleness come together. He is the big picture thinker who sees the whole panorama of the universe that was created through him, and sees the detail in every hair (or empty follicle) on your head. He is the one who says that rape and murder, and cheating on your tax return are all bad, extremely bad. We are the ones who classify gluttony, moderate greed, laziness and ignoring legal speed limits as irrelevant indiscretions. He is the one who was willing to die for the “trivialities” that ruin our relationships with each other and with him.

 

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