Richard Rohr: The Political Subversion of ‘Jesus Is Lord’

“Jesus is Lord” (Romans 10:10) was proclaimed by the early church as their most concise creedal statement. No one ever told me this was a political and subversive statement, until I studied the Scriptures. To say “Jesus is Lord” was testing and provoking the Roman pledge of allegiance that every Roman citizen had to shout when they raised their hand to the Roman insignia: “Caesar is Lord.” Early Christians were quite aware that their “citizenship” was in a new universal kingdom, announced by Jesus (Philippians 3:20), and that the kingdoms of this world were not their primary loyalty systems. How did we manage to lose that? And what price have we paid for it?

Jesus showed no undue loyalty either to his Jewish religion nor to his Roman-occupied Jewish country; instead, he radically critiqued both of them, and in that he revealed and warned against the idolatrous relationships that most people have with their country and their religion. It has allowed us to justify violence in almost every form and to ignore much of the central teaching of Jesus.–Richard Rohr, OFM

Adapted from Spiral of Violence by Richard Rohr.

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