Reading: Luke 18
The story of the Rich Young Ruler is the story of the white western Christian. Coming to Jesus’ with all sincerity and passion “what must I do to be saved?” they ask. They have kept the moral law, they seek to live a good life, they go to church every Sunday, pray 5x’s a day, read their bible every morning and have an appropriately conservative sexual ethic.
They do the “right” things.
Yet, Jesus’ response rocks them. Instead of recieving a well done for successfully living a holy “christian” life, he says something else.
Sell all you have, give to the poor. Change your status, give up your position as one of the privileged. Address the systematic racism and homophobia that exists within your community, realign yourself with those who suffer, stand in solidarity with the poor, pledge allegiance to the One who is oppressed.
White Western Christianity has become accustomed to a faith built off sincere piety, while ignoring the deep and urgent call to Justice for the oppressed and marginalized in this world. Jesus offers us a way out, we are not defined by the sins of our ancestors, we are not bound to the stories of colonization and oppression which birthed us, we do not need to remain in the seat of the Oppressor. Jesus offers us a new identity, he invites us to repent, to lay down our privilege, to cross over the line, to give our allegiance to the impoverished, marginalized, suffering, Liberator.
Saying the sinners prayer was never enough for Jesus, Jesus invites us into a life that requires infinitely more. Its our whole life, our wealth, our status, our total allegiance, we are invited to give up everything that distorts our humanity, to repent of our allegiance to Empire, and to join the Divine in Their mission of Liberation.