The Parable of the Community Organizer

imageTheologian Susan Sarandon trotted out her tired proverb once again (hopefully for the last time) on inauguration day. In her latest attempt to equate President Obama with Jesus Christ, she said “He is a community organizer like Jesus was.” Continuing her vacuous line of reasoning, she verbally prostrated herself before him saying, “And now, we’re a community and he can organize us.” Civic and national pride is a good thing, but I’ve got to ask Miss Sarandon, where was this pride during the past eight years? Were you among the Diaspora of yearning souls who just couldn’t connect with one another? Ever hear of Facebook?

As I pored over the pages of my Bible I grow concerned that I am unable to find the stories of the Lord’s community organizing. The principle of community agitation is centered on creating a critical mass of humanity to address a problem that they are facing. Kind of like the Boy Scouts, seeing trash in their neighborhood and picking it up. Later, they build a trash bin so that the problem doesn’t reoccur. The Lord Jesus, on the other hand, did not come to organize humanity to address the problem that they had. There was no possible way for them to do so since propitiation required a perfect sacrifice. He was to become that sacrifice, something we would never be able to do on our own. His shepherding consisted of a single message, believe in this grace and put aside your personal god to worship the One who offers it.

I can’t begin to address the small, confined world in which celebrities exist and form their philosophy. Alfre Woodard voiced her tempered opinion of those outside of her bubble, “I think we might finally grow up as a nation.” Fact, Ms. Woodard, most of us grew up years ago.

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Jesus, Community Organizer – New Extra Large Size!

You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. (Ex 20:7)

(Originally posted 11 September 2007)

The American political arena has been treated to yet one more attempt to lift one candidate to Messiah status while associating the other with an incompetent, indecisive, murderer. Donna Brazile, repeating a meme initiated by a Washington Post blogger, gave voice to the line “Jesus was a community organizer, Pontius Pilate was a governor.”

To correct the record, Jesus Christ was God. He is the atoning sacrifice for the sins of all humankind, as they will believe in Him. Jesus was in no way a community organizer in the model of Saul Alinsky, the mentor emeritus of community organizing. The Chicago stre

et agitator following Alinsky’s methods seeks to embed in the minds of the troubled that their condition is not their responsibility, it is the work of some oppressor above them. The organizer will invest as much effort as necessary to make the poor victims so angry with their perceived oppression that they rise up in direct action against those who hold them down. “Militant mass action…fueled by righteous anger.” as described by Dennis Jacobsen.

The Jesus of the Bible, on the other hand, commands a different loyalty. He speaks first of aligning oneself with the Father and His kingdom and then, in a reflection of the love of that kingdom, working to serve others in love. No mass violence; instead turning the other cheek also. Christ’s notion of social justice is to overcome by love and trust in the work of God, not radical mass action. Given the warning of the commandments above, perhaps we should be a bit more temperate in our allusions of a political figure to the Savior of humankind.

Update: It appears that Susan Sarandon received her lines a little bit late! She was parroting this decidedly unbiblical scripted dialogue yesterday AFTER Rep. Cohen delivered the line. Somebody’s head is going to roll for not delivering her script on time. Review here what biblical scholar Sarandon has to teach about Jesus.

STOP THE PRESSES!! The fourth estate senior spokespersons are just now getting their talking points about the similarity between the Savior of All Humankind and the community agitator. Tom Brokaw, the erudite theologian of record, demonstrated physical proof yesterday in the form of this recently unearthed coin of the future realm:

Aren’t there any grown ups in this group of people?

Janet Weiss – Louise – Bull Durham’s Jesus

Actress Susan Sarandon recently spoke about the Jesus that she knows. It appears from here statements regarding the divinity of all humankind that she perceives, that this Jesus was just another guy like you and me, divine but also an activist. Forgive my naivete, but isn’t an activist one who protests and campaigns to achieve a change in the order of things? Jesus was not trying to get the rest of the divines around him to help him change the order, HE CHANGED IT. Perhaps a closer reading of the Bible would help Miss Sarandon [and her partner Mr. Robbins] with an understanding of how Jesus engage the world. (You can read the interview from which this comes here.)

You and Tim [Robbins, Sarandon’s longtime partner] are so well known for being peace activists. What are some ways that regular people can help bring peace into the world?
I think it really starts with your neighbors. I think it starts with your everyday life and living as Christ did, in a loving way and a respectful way. That, then, leads to questioning other things. And you find in your heart what resonates with you. And then you have to take action, whether it’s in the street, or licking envelopes, or writing to your congresspeople, or taking care of veterans when they come home. I think that you have to not be result-oriented in order to look back on your life and think it was a life well lived. I think that it’s every single day, the choices that you make in the presence of how you go towards truth and justice. And it’s an individual decision how that manifests itself.
There is certainly so much need in the world for compassion. Every action is a political action. The only thing I’m completely sure of is that inaction is not acceptable.
I think that Christ was an activist. Christ wasn’t afraid. His life is an example of activism. I think that the gap between the rich and the poor contributes to the pain of the world. I think that that anything you can do that helps to alleviate this huge gaping gap between the rich and the poor will eventually make the world a more peaceful place.

‘Louise’ lost me in the second sentence. Jesus did live in a loving way but often, those on the receiving end of His tough love were anything but immediately enamored with Him and He certainly did not travel around the Holy Land and engage others in a respectful way. Read Galli’s book Jesus Mean and Wild to get a better idea of the way that the Lord confronted those who ran opposite to the ideals of His Father’s kingdom. ‘Janet’ then goes on to say that she envisions Jesus as an activist, that He was not afraid. Well, He certainly had nothing to fear, knowing full well that God had everything well in hand. On the other hand, he held a special contempt for those who had it in their power to relieve the suffering of others and yet did not act; for example, saying that everyone should do what they can in order to alleviate poverty but continuing to store up riches of their own here on earth.

Miss Sarandon, what would your Jesus say about the lifestyle that you and Mr. Robbins openly promote?