Following on from my little catalogue of reasons why people might hate Christians, here's an interesting thought from Jackson Browne. "The Rebel Jesus" was recorded with The Chieftains for a Christmas album. I don't know how much theology Browne knows, but he's managed, by accident or design, to write a fabulous liberation theology Christmas carol. After describing a happy Northern Hemisphere Christmas, he moves on to the person it's all about.
Well they call him by 'the Prince of Peace'
And they call him by 'the Savior'
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
And they fill his churches with their pride and gold
While their faith in him increases
But they've turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber's den
In the words of the rebel Jesus
Well we guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why they are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus
Having pilloried the worshippers he signs off with this.
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus
His problem, you see, isn't with Jesus. He loves Jesus and his message. His problem is that those who should be following Jesus have betrayed him. Christians are identified with his persecutors, not with him. True worshippers will be outside the church, "heathens and pagans on the side of the rebel Jesus".
When I went looking for the lyrics to this song, it was interesting to find quite a few Christian bloggers using its title and even its words as background for their own meditations - like this one, or this. There are plenty of Christians who, like me, think Browne has a point.