Static, White Jesus Vs Oppressed, Occupied Jesus

Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

The first thing to understand about the distinction between following Jesus and following an institutional religion – although institutional religions can be a place to follow Jesus – is that White Jesus is not Jesus. We must remember that Jesus was born into an oppressed corner of a large colonial power. Jesus and his people were conquered, colonized, and occupied by the forerunners of European imperialist culture. Additionally, even if Jesus wasn’t itinerant and therefore homeless by default, he was a poor peasant. He was not Middle Class; he was not a citizen of the Empire, but a sub-servant of it. So understanding Jesus through the lens of Middle Class and Upper Class empirical AmeroEuropeanism is to replace Jesus.

Chichicastenango Market, Guatemala

In order to make sense of Jesus in an oppressive Western place of immense privilege, we must either read him as a wealth-denying, poor, Middle Eastern member of an occupied country, or we must deny Jesus his place and his perspective. Much of AmeroEuro theology takes this second route – it downplays his very humanity for an ethereal, otherworldly God. It privileges thinking about God the way Greek culture thinks about forms. In such a response, it denies the living being of the God of Jesus and replaces him with a Nietzchean god of deadness.

The Euro/American-centric theology concerns itself with concepts and arguments that have no matter, that are not situated on the concerns of suffering people. Rather than focusing on a Kingdom of Justice on earth, this disembodied theology can focus on disembodied concepts that have nothing to do with neighbors, nothing to do with oppression and abuse, have nothing to do with unjust wealth accumulation, misogyny, ableism, and racism. They are preoccupied with being preoccupied, and in the absence of such concerns they ordain, excuse or even promote oppression, abuse, wealth disparity, misogyny, ableism, racism.

EuroAmerican theological preoccupation with disembodied concerns like Biblical inerrancy favor a dead, static God that privileges the status quo. Inerrancy is based off the idea that the bible must be perfect and non-contradictory because it comes from God, a foreign logic imposed upon the bible. Inerrancy ignores what is happening in the bible itself when, for instance, Jesus or the gospel writers will rip sections of the bible out of context to speak to another context, ignoring certain passages to make a point that inerrantists would never approve. However, it is pretty obvious that Jesus didn’t have an inerrant view of the Holy Scriptures.

When the oppressed ask about God’s justice as a concern, EuroAmero static theology brushes off that concern as insignificant. “But the Word of God is completely without error or contradiction in its original form, right?” “But Jesus’ atoning death took upon the wrath of God only for repentant sinners, right?” “But the Trinity operates in this way.” “The rapture will occur at this period of history and will take up all bible-believing true believers up with Jesus, away from the earth where there will be* great suffering.” For EuroAmero Theology affirms the status quo until at least a tbd time ( Post-Jesus’ Return).

The oppressed must answer according to the questions given by the oppressed in order for the oppressors to listen to the oppressed. And must give answers appealing to the oppressors. And then must continue to operate according to the rules and rhetoric of the oppressors.

This shouldn’t be new. After all, most theologies of the oppressors are like most rhetoric and pedagogy of the oppressors and operate in many of the same assumptions – lift up the status quo through language and imagery that will not interrogate the oppressive systems.

Having said that, shouldn’t a theology  supposedly centered on Jesus the Oppressed center on an oppressed perspective?


*EuroAmero theology cannot comprehend the idea that the apocalyptic passages refer to an ever-present suffering, as EuroAmero theologians do not understand suffering as a way of life, but as a choice. And, being human, EA theologians choose to not suffer.


11 thoughts on “Static, White Jesus Vs Oppressed, Occupied Jesus

  1. IMO it’s been all downhill since Constantine. Christianity as a State religion and defender of the status quo comes perilously close to taking the Lord’s name in vain. Your comments about oppression reminded me of a Sunday School discussion a few years back when one of our more conservative members said “No one in this country is oppressed without his consent.” *crickets* The task of the mainstream White-Jesus-worshiping church these days is to teach compassion/empathy by seeing Jesus in people who aren’t just like us, and to provide a safe space for interaction among people at different stages of that journey.

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