Safe Jesus versus Radical Jesus


Glynn Cardy writes in his latest blog entry, titled "Jesus healed illness, not disease":

Those who believe Jesus was a faith-healer who cured people’s disability have a problem. They have to believe that God physically intervenes to cure some and not others. This belief, however, apart from being irrational and immoral does not critique society at all. The disability is the man’s problem, not the society’s. The cure is fixing the man, not society. ‘There is nothing wrong with society,’ say the advocates of Jesus the faith-healer, ‘What is wrong is the man’s disability’. They paint Jesus as a healer of individuals, not a revolutionary out to change the world. He’s safer that way.

Jesus’ challenge to the lepers and disabled he met was to walk into confrontation. Following him wasn’t going to be all nice, safe, and predictable. It was going to be awkward, hard, and scary. Instead of sitting safe amongst the excluded waiting for some Benny Hinn, Jesus asked them to get up, and hobble along with Jesus into the so-called clean and able community and to challenge their prejudice. They weren’t going to be welcomed there. Sure they might find a few allies but generally they were going to be labelled anarchists, parasites, and told to go far away.
The Rev. Katie M. Ladd writes in her latest blog entry, titled "Recovering the Radicality of Christianity":
As followers of Christ, we are asked to step outside of the preconceived notions of our world and to live in an alternate world, in an alternate way. In this alternate way of life the resurrection is not a superstition, it is a radical invitation to life in the midst of death. Birth narratives are not fairy tales, they are stories of meaning saying to us that life is pulled from barren places as well as from virginal places. Miracles show us that God's power stands outside of the power of the state which proscribes and prescribes.

We need to recover the radicality of the gospel and re-infuse Christianity with it. Until our perceptions of the church change, our understanding of politics is transformed, and we become ready to be changed by the gospel rather than changing it to meet our needs, we will continue to struggle in a futile battle to domesticate the wild and radical message of God. And the hungry will not be fed.