Jesus has been made into a lot of things. The Churches when they became established promulgated creeds which equated him with reality. That would have been nice if reality had evolved into a peaceful state. But that has not happened yet. War is on the tongue of Donald Trump and in the religiously-motivated genocide in Myanmar. The world is hardly united behind a Universal peacemaker named Jesus.

That is too bad because as a trained theologian who has spent years perusing biblical texts I am convinced that Jesus was not, and is not, in sympathy with America First or any other nationalist understanding.

If he has any preference it was toward a universal morality of sharing and an ethic of not resisting evil with force. The United States is an arsenal that is the arms dealer to the world. If it is a Christian nation, it has some hard thinking to do.

No nation is first, no war is Christian

Jesus is owed at least the presumption of innocence if Christian institutions claim him as their Lord and support a world that is armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons and culturally celebrates conflict and violence in song and on film. The idea of Christian soldiers is oxymoronic.

The churches seem to be impotent to deal with reality today. The good-willed Pope says good-willed things and is widely ignored. The leaders of what used to be the mainline church seem hidden or nonexistent. The loudest voices spout incredible theories like the recent iteration of the virgin birth as analogous to the conduct of a Senatorial candidate accused of molesting a child.

Or they have carried messages that are derived from Jesus into the secular world where he has widely seen more accurately than in the institutions of the church.

Why spirituality is winning over religion

It is the insularity and nativism of religions that accounts for their decline. It is the continuing power of Jesus that animates what is surely the future -- a world where universal, nonviolent spirituality is taking the place of failing religions.

This spirituality will flourish precisely because it is related to the thought and impulses of Jesus. It will accept the need for a shared world that does not worship any nation or claim any special privileges.It will work for a fair economy and a vast reduction in the machinery of warfare.

This at least is my hope. If that hope is overrun by people who use the logic of realism to defeat the truth of ideals we will be back in the 20th century in the soup that Deridda and others insisted require an unprecedented movement of humankind. We need to become the fallible pioneers of a world that tends toward the good.

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