Cromey Online

The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Jesus, the Jewish Socialist

Jesus, the Jewish Socialist

No Jewish socialist can be elected President of the United States. That is a common refrain about Sen. Bernie Sanders. Yet on December 25th many Americans celebrate the birth of Jesus, a Jewish socialist. A big part of the message of Jesus was feeding the hungry, healing the sick, visiting the widows, orphans and those in prison. He castigated the religious and Roman bueaucrats that oppressed and taxed the people. Though not a political organizer, he urged his listeners to live by the deep meanings of the Hebrew Bible and not its literal texts.

Jesus’ social message was one of peace and love, caring for neighbors, overcoming self-hate and repenting of our broken ways and endlessly forgiving those who have wronged us.

His vision has never been followed by his followers or by the people of the world. Certainly a few have tried to live by his precepts, but many have used his name to persecute even his fellow Jews. Good Pope Francis in our day is deeply criticized because he wants his church to care for the poor and the sick and not be distracted by abortion and anti-homosexuality. Some of our conservative Americans have accused the Pope of being a socialist.

Accumulating and spending of money today dominates our values. We have a desire for individual freedom at the expense of others. Our desire for power in business and world affairs is central to the American way.

Terrorism in Arab countries is caused by the destruction of their religions and cultures by the Capitalist West, the greed of the royal classes, inter-tribal warfare and the disintegration of the countries by war, famine and ecological disaster.

We are a nation and world crippled by fear that we might lose it all. After so many decades, this selfish ethic has not worked.

The celebration of Jesus’ birth is a reminder of his values derived from his Jewish roots, studying the Torah and Hebrew Scriptures learned in his synagogue. Maybe love, hospitality, compassion, healing and forgiveness can be renewed as energizing our society.