Was Jesus a Progressive Rabbi?

Before I say anything, take a look at this  graphic.


I’ve seen a few people on Facebook share this image from theologian Benjamin Corey and I have to say that it bothers me.  Maybe Corey thinks he is sharing the gospel truth, but I don’t think he’s doing that.  He is peddaling a Jesus in his own image, one that surprisingly likes what Corey likes and hates what Corey hates.  Which means he isn’t doing anything that different than what conservative Christians do with Jesus.

When I made my journey from evangelicalism to mainline/progressive Christianity in the 90s, I was expecting to join a faith that wasn’t so captive to American politics.  I soon discovered that this wasn’t the case; the “Christian Left” was no better than the Religious Right.    My hopes were raised again a decade later with the rise of the Emergent Church.  It built itself as something apart from the left and right, but over time it was co-opted and became an organ of the political left.

This is why I have a hard time calling myself a progressive Christian.  What I’ve seen more often than not is a mirror version of conservative Christianity; a faith that reflects culture and ideology and not God.

The problem with Corey’s Jesus is that he rather safe.  What I mean is that he doesn’t challenge Corey’s political beliefs at all.  Jesus isn’t Lord but the handmaiden to progressive politics.

My right of center politics are always challenged by Christ’s call to care for the least of these as they should be.  If I don’t feel any tension between my ideology and my theology, I’m doing this faith thing wrong. My frustration here is that there seems to be no tension at all with Corey.  I guess Jesus  is just cool with that.

I left evangelicalism because I was tired of the using of God as some kind of  conservative cheerleader.  I was tired of God being considered a loyal Republican. But I am equally tired of progressive Christians who want to make Jesus a liberal democrat.  What it means is that we stop thinking about how the church should respond in society and instead spend time think how God would have us respond.  Odds are it will be something that will bother Corey and his conservative counterpart.


One thought on “Was Jesus a Progressive Rabbi?

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  1. Thanks for your reflections.
    Two recent “news” items come to mind that remind us how the current political climate is quick to make God in “their image”- – left and right and even shades in between.
    Sunday’s comic “Non Sequitur” captures it well; where it is “once again we’ah stuck in the void of futility . . . ‘cuz all rational pah-ception is lost”. And each day this week is following up with this theme.
    Non Sequitur (comic strip) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Non Sequitur is a comic strip created by Wiley Miller (usually credited as just Wiley) in 1992 and syndicated by Universal Press Syndicate to over 700 newspapers.

    And the second “news” item is the well know County Clerk Davis who is invoking her “Apostolic Faith” to oppose issuing same sex marriage licenses. To me one really interesting part of the drama is we never hear from the church that she is a member of – – or from the pastor of that church. Perhaps she is not a member of any local congregation – – but a product of TV and Internet “Apostolic Faith”? How does this “internet” religion fit into the community that we are discussing here?
    For some time I have subscribed to the online Jewish site:
    Chabad.org – Official Site
    Official homepage for

    From time to time an article or issue catches my eye that I find interesting. But currently they are running a three part series on “forgiveness”. So far the first two sessions of about 20 minutes each have played. There is a lot of emphases on the person’s own role in forgiveness.
    As I have watched it I have to contrast this Jewish view with our Christian “atonement” for our sins. And I find myself thinking “cheap grace” that lets any individual action or reaction off the hook.

    Trust that not all “rational pah-ception is lost”.

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