Diana Butler Bass, Freeing Jesus

It seems in America, we all want to claim Jesus as our own. And for what? Does it justify our side, agenda, and argument more righteously if we act like the Son of God is on our side?

Since God became flesh and walked among us, we have attempted to wield his influence and power for our benefit. 

The Pharisees threw a woman caught in adultery before Jesus, knowing that he was bound to the Law of Moses that demanded that such a woman be stoned to death. They wanted him to throw the first stone. 

Many scholars believe that one of the reasons Judas Iscariot turned Jesus over to the Temple guards was because he thought it would force Jesus’ hand to bring about his reign on earth as the Kingly Messiah. 

Whether it is the theocratic empires of Medieval Europe, the justification of violence against the Muslims in the Crusades, or the American political puppeteering of Jesus for political leverage, humans have tried to mascot Jesus for our agendas. 

If we are willing to admit it, we have all been a part of prostituting Jesus for the sake of political agendas, self-righteousness, and religious rightness. 

“If we think that being with Jesus means getting the right answers from a creed or remembering points of doctrine from a sermon, we probably will not manage to truly know Jesus,” said Diana Butler Bass on the CBF Podcast Conversation. 

Bass, an award-winning author and trusted voice among progressive Christians, has a new book, “Freeing Jesus: Rediscovering Jesus As Friend, Teacher, Savior, Lord, Way, and Presence.” 

We sat down with Diana to discuss faith and life coming out of this pandemic, as well as what it takes to rediscover the Jesus who has been with us in fear and confusion and loss, in forced isolation and the surprising moments of joy. 

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This podcast episode is brought to you by The Center for Congregational Health, Baptist Seminary of Kentucky, and McAfee School of Theology Doctor of Ministry program

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Andy Hale is the creator and host of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Podcast. Hale is the senior pastor of University Baptist Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, following eight years as the founding pastor of Mosaic Church of Clayton and five years as CBF’s church start specialist. Follow on Twitter @haleandy

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