(RNS) — Within the New Testomony’s Letter of Paul to the Galatians, the apostle Paul wrote, “I’m astonished that you’re so rapidly deserting the one who referred to as you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a unique Gospel — which is actually no gospel in any respect. Evidently some persons are throwing you into confusion and try to pervert the gospel of Christ.”
These phrases ring true right now. “A special Gospel… which is actually no gospel in any respect.” That’s what Christian nationalism is: a complicated perversion of the gospel of Christ. It makes use of the language of our religion, and the symbols of our religion, however betrays the center of our religion. As Amanda Tyler, the chief director of the Baptist Joint Committee on Non secular Liberty has mentioned, Christian nationalism “makes use of Jesus as a mascot” to disguise racism, xenophobia and hatred.
The phrase Christian means “Christlike,” which means that Christians are speculated to act like Jesus, the individual we keep in mind this Christmas season as “the Prince of Peace.” On this Epiphany (which implies “to make manifest”), we keep in mind Jesus is God’s love made flesh. To be a Christian is to mannequin our lives after Christ.
This is the reason the rebel is particularly offensive to us as Christians. There may be nothing Christ-like about what occurred on January 6, 2021. Those that assaulted the Capitol two years in the past could have had Jesus on their banners and flags, however there was nothing Christlike about their actions.
It was Christ who mentioned, “They’ll know you might be my disciples by your love” — not by your flags or bumper stickers or T-shirts, however by our love. Irrespective of what number of “Jesus saves” flags you wave as you display, if it doesn’t odor like Jesus, and sound like Jesus, and love like Jesus, it isn’t Christian.
We all know what the love Jesus proclaimed seems like. In one other letter, to the Christians at Corinth, Paul describes it as form and affected person. Love doesn’t envy or boast. It’s not simply angered. We all know that love isn’t smug or impolite. Love will not be self-seeking. Love will not be forceful or violent. Love doesn’t kill folks. Love protects. Love at all times trusts, at all times hopes, at all times perseveres. Love by no means fails.
What occurred on Jan. 6 was not love, was not Christlike, was not Christian in any respect. It was a perversion of the gospel of Christ. It was no gospel in any respect. We all know as a result of on the coronary heart of the phrase “gospel” is nice.
What we noticed on Jan. 6 was the lethal, perverted “gospel” of Christian nationalism.
Mom Teresa as soon as mentioned, “Generally our drawback is that the circle we put round our household is just too small.” That’s what nationalism is: too small. It’s placing too small a circle round our human household.
In my evangelical Christian custom, we prefer to say that being a Christian is about being “born once more.” To be a Christian is about having a brand new sense of household, a brand new method of belonging, a constancy that runs deeper than biology, an allegiance to one thing larger than a nation.
Jesus is frequently stretching the confines of our love. It’s why he mentioned that we aren’t simply to like our buddies, but additionally our enemies. It’s why he had some arduous issues to say about organic household, as a result of that’s usually the place love stops. Jesus invitations anybody who would dare comply with him to be “born once more” — to like past DNA and organic household. We’re to like past our personal nation.
This is the reason “America First” is a theological heresy, as is Christian nationalism. It’s not mistaken to like our personal folks, however our love shouldn’t cease on the border. We’re to acknowledge that if somebody is hurting on the opposite facet of the border wall, their ache is as tragic as in the event that they had been our personal mother or dad or daughter.
It’s not mistaken to let our religion inform our politics, however Christian nationalism places religion within the service of politics. My buddy Tony Campolo, with whom I co-founded Crimson Letter Christians, usually says: “Once you combine Christianity with political energy, it’s like mixing ice cream with cow manure. It doesn’t actually harm the manure, however it certain does smash the ice cream.”
On this solemn anniversary of the assault on the Capitol two years in the past, our religion remains to be being perverted. It’s being abused within the pursuit of political energy. It’s as if many Christians have by no means heard the phrases of our Savior, “What good is it for an individual to realize the entire world and lose their soul?”
(Shane Claiborne is an activist, creator and co-director of Crimson Letter Christians. This commentary was tailored from remarks Claiborne made at a dawn prayer vigil for democracy on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 6, 2023. The views expressed on this commentary don’t essentially characterize these of Faith Information Service.)