The Gospel Is Not An Escape

The Gospel is not an escape. The Gospel is a plunge into reality not a departure from it. The good news is not the Word alienated itself from flesh but rather the Word became flesh. Unfortunately, many have made a drug out of their religion, an opiate, particularly oppressed people. This drug is a way of deferring their problems and concerns to the sweet by and by. The problem with the deferment is it only kicks their woes unto the next generation, like a generational curse. Plus Jesus never taught his disciples to escape from this world’s problems. In fact, Jesus said we are to be “in the world but not of the world”. Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote in his classic work The Cost of Discipleship, “When Christ calls a [person] he bids him [or her] to come and die]”. Fact is the Gospel is not an escape but it is really a plunge into the world. It is a plunge into the pain of a leper, the alienation of a prostitute, the shame of a tax collector.

Jesus says if anyone would come after me let the person take up his or her cross and follow me. The cross was an instrument of torture and death exclusive to insurrectionists. Jesus is not asking his followers to escape into religiosity but he is asking them to dive into liberation even if it causes one to lose their very life in the process.

Too many Christians have done as Karl Marx once notoriously stated and have made an opiate out of their religion. Their religion is a drug which helps them to escape the problems of life and within their community. However, the Jesus religion is a wake up call which stirs an individual to resist rather than stick their head in the sand. Resistance is not an escape, it is a fight, not a flight.

If we are serious about the call of Jesus then we must be serious about the resistance of oppression. After all, it was Jesus who said himself, he has come to liberate the oppressed. If we are following Jesus, or in other words disciples of Jesus, then we must be about the business of liberation. Liberation to those unfairly trap in the mass incarceration system, those being sex trafficked, those being abused, those being exploited, those who are victims to rape culture, those who are victims of sexual assault, those who are victims to the school to prison pipeline, those are treated as if they are invisible. The Gospel is not a running away from oppression, it is not escaping the reality of injustice, it is not turning a blind eye to hegemony but it is a resistance of it all. The Gospel is not an escape.

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Lawrence W. Rodgers

Lawrence W. Rodgers

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