Sunday, February 11, 2007

John the Presbyterian. Enough of boom, and back to the voice. In chapter 3 of Luke, John exhorts the people, "Produce fruit in keeping with repentance." The people are confused by this. After all, it should be enough to be a Jew.

"What should we do then?" the crowd asked.

John answered, "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same."

Tax collectors also came to be baptized. "Teacher," they asked, "what should we do?"

"Don't collect any more than you are required to," he told them.

Then some soldiers asked him, "And what should we do?" He replied, "Don't extort money and don't accuse people falsely—be content with your pay."

It's OK to be rich, but share what you have. It's even OK to be a tax collector. John says be an ethical tax collector. He also doesn't say, "Soldiers are the tools of pagan Rome!". He simply says be an ethical soldier.

John is not a revolutionary as we have come to think of revolutionaries. (80 years ago, the people we call revolutionaries now would have been called anarchists.) In a way, he is very conservative. We are not about class warfare and tearing down social structures, we are about redeeming those structures with repentant, redeemed people. With redeemed people, the social structures will take care of themselves. So like Jesus, don't you think?

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