The Liberal Church took it’s eye off the ball a long time ago. Now, at least a few of these folks have left the game entirely. To celebrate Christmas, two Methodist churches are displaying manger scenes with a caged Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The story here is not to invite wonder at the Incarnation of the Son of God, two thousand years ago at Bethlehem, but to provoke hand wringing over the immigration problem. And the authors of this stunt are no doubt filled with self-satisfaction, thoroughly convinced they are on the cutting edge of relevancy, taking the side of the latest culture of victims.

Doing what sinners do best, they have made the story all about themselves: their compassion, their righteous indignation, their commitment to social justice. And, of course, in good progressive style, someone must be blamed. So, the image of a caged Jesus is used to shame those nasty people who separate families, want walls, fences and borders. Jesus, they say, if he were here today, would no doubt be among the social justice warriors marching in the streets, shaking paper on a stick and shouting progressive slogans about radical inclusion.

I know my New Testament pretty well, and it looks very much to me like the message of the New Testament Gospel is not a howling screed against injustice. The message of the New testament is the proclamation of Jesus Christ crucified and raised from the dead for sinners. But the liberal church has moved way beyond such primitive Christology, and for the most part, beyond the New Testament.

This latest spasm of self-righteous indignation from the social justice church would be laughable if it were not so blatantly blasphemous. To reduce the birth of Jesus the Christ to an image of caged immigrants distorts the Gospel, making Jesus nothing more than one more tool in the service of the progressive social justice project. Jesus is no longer the Savior of the world who forgives sins. That is far too exclusive and offends their inclusive, generous self assessments. Now, he is the model social worker who sides with victims.

Seems like quite a demotion to me.

So I ask the clergy who put forward this non-sense. What’s next? Why not cross-dress the Holy Family and go all in for trans-gender rights? You might do such a good job of it that we won’t know Jesus from Mary or Joseph. You have given ample evidence that it is time for you to seek alternative forms of employment. And the sooner the better.

Published by Pastor Mark Anderson

Lutheran pastor, husband, dad, archaeology nut, serious blues guitarist and aspiring luthier.

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