By Andrew L Pate
When Christian preachers and priests address major issues with power and conviction, those to whom the words are spoken often express alarm. "You're not speaking like Jesus. You are pre-judging. You're not being tolerant and understanding. You're not dong what a minister should do," and so forth.
These respondents to strong applications of Jesus' teaching echo an all-too-common misunderstanding, namely, that Jesus was a quiet little man who went from place to place bringing people together in a passive manner, ever avoiding controversy.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus' reverent nature itself sent a powerful message of dissent, as did his very words. The boy of 12 who so impressed rabbis in the Jerusalem Temple, he grew up. He became a man and "dwelt among us."
Early in his gospel (2:13-16) John tells the famous story of how Jesus ran the money-changers out of the Temple with a whip, which ought not to be taken as the act of an obsequious little guy simply carrying out his dad's bidding
There's a time to let it all hang out, as Jesus did in the Temple. But there's much more to Jesus' power than that. He boldly confronted his enemies face-to-face.
In words to the Roman centurion, as he was being crucified, Jesus asserted that the "sons of the kingdom" (read abusers of the Law) will be "cast into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 8:12).
Also, readers may recall, Jesus got visibly upset when his disciples slept while he prepared for the Crucifixion.
Even Jesus' public statements of tenderness and intentional caring about others through acts of reconciliation—"pray for your enemies," "turn the other check," "walk the second mile" etc—they were spoken in public for all to hear, with Jesus knowing full well that man;y who heard them would be offended.
So, when I or other Christian ministers assert that "Donald Trump is a liar and a crook, and totally unfit for the office he holds," please note that we speak as we believe Jesus would, attacking a man and his programs which are inherently evil.
So, please do not tell us we are not speaking as a minister should. If you must make that claim, then inform us, in no uncertain terms, where we are wrong, and in what manner exactly you think Jesus would disagree.