"Go out on the street or to your school or workplace and take a poll. Ask people what they think Jesus stood for. You’re likely to hear things like 'stood with poor people,' or 'compassionate,' or 'loving,' or 'he was for peace.' Then ask them what Christians or the church stand for. And you’re likely to hear some very different things.
We have a problem. Most people have the idea, as crazy as it may seem, that Christians and the church are supposed to stand for the same things that Jesus did. And when they don’t, people get confused and disillusioned. It’s a problem."
I am a committed Christian, a Jesus-follower, and also committed to the church. But Wallis's assessment strikes me as accurate. And, I don't mean for this quote to be used to point fingers at others for how bad the church is. I find myself guilty of causing as much confusion and disillusionment as anyone else might.
Wallis goes on to apply this issue to our country's contemporary situation:
Thank God for that. Any thoughts?
"When Jesus tells us he will regard the way we treat the hungry, the homeless, the stranger, the sick, and the prisoner as if we were treating him that way, it likely means he wouldn’t think capital gains tax cuts for the wealthy and food stamp cuts for the poor represent the best domestic policy. Or when he tells us 'love your enemies' and 'blessed are the peacemakers,' it might be hard to persuade him to join our 'war against terrorism,' especially when there is so much 'collateral damage' to civilians, including women and children.Yes, Jesus is a problem —for many of our churches, the Wall Street traders, and the powerful people in Washington who maintain the American Empire. But for millions of people, religious or not, Jesus remains the most compelling figure in the world today. The church may not be much more credible than the advertisers, the media, or the politicians, but Jesus remains far above the rest of the crowd. Somehow, Jesus has even survived the church and all of us who name his name but too often forget most of what he said."