Many Christian churches opt for comforting their parishioners – with reassuring ceremonies, banal sermons and even appeals to popular nationalistic sentiments – rather than challenging them with the tough calls from Jesus for social justice, a grave failure, says Rev. Howard Bess.
From the Archive: In Holy Week, many Christians celebrate what they regard as God’s sacrifice of his Son and the Resurrection. But some scholars see another narrative in which Jesus, a rural rebel, brings his critique of the Jewish-Roman power structure to Jerusalem and is killed for it, as Rev. Howard Bess wrote in 2011.
Christian churches typically present the religious mythology about Jesus, as the supernatural Son of God who was sacrificed on the cross as atonement for man’s sins. But there is a more historical Jesus who instructed the poor about the injustices they faced and died for it, writes Rev. Howard Bess.
Modern biblical scholarship has enabled critically thinking Christians to understand what the historical Jesus actually said and what was tacked on later to serve the interests of Rome and early church leaders, but those original messages remain politically inconvenient today, writes Rev. Howard Bess.