Talking with Jesus
Guest post by Joel Brandt, Columbia Bible College student and youth intern at LMF
So I talked with Jesus the other day. He had been making his way across the country, stopping at Bible colleges and secular universities alike. Screams of “heretic” and “false prophet” emanated from the Bible colleges as he left, and thousands of atheists, gays, and science majors from the universities left their studies mid-semester and followed him. Needless to say, there had been a lot of buzz about him around CBC, and I was excited to meet him and impress him with my progressive and liberal theology.
When he came, I approached him and asked, “Jesus! What’s the key to being a Christian?” I waited smugly, expecting him to talk about social justice, welcoming the outsider, etc. Instead, he said, “You’re a Bible college student! What does the Bible say?” I was slightly taken aback, but I recovered quickly and quoted confidently the mantra I had developed over my four years at college: “Love God with all your heart and soul and mind, and love your neighbour as yourself.” “Well, do that and you’re good,” said Jesus. I nodded slowly, a slight feeling of uneasiness starting to come upon me. I definitely didn’t love everybody I knew… but for a good reason! I mean, some people are just so hateful and prejudiced, how could I love them? “Who is my neighbour?” I asked Jesus, expecting him to put my conscience to rest. Jesus cleared his throat and told me this story:
“A man was walking down East Hastings Street in Vancouver one night when, all of a sudden, a gang of men in balaclavas who were hiding in a back alley attacked him from behind, kicking and punching him repeatedly. They ripped off his jeans, jacket, and shirt and ran back down the alley, leaving him groaning softly and barely moving. A prominent pastor happened to be walking down East Hastings as well, but when he saw the man, he crossed over to the other side of the street and kept walking. A well-known theologian was also walking down the sidewalk, but he, too, passed by to the other side of the road when he saw the man on the ground.”
“Oh, this is delicious!” I thought. “Finally, Jesus exposing the hypocrisy and self-righteousness of so many of the church leaders today! Can’t wait for the punchline- who will be the one who helps the man? A liberal relativist? A gay universalist? A Muslim? A Buddhist? A Sikh?”
Jesus continued his story. “Then an extremely conservative fundamentalist and prominent Christian, in Vancouver for a speaking engagement, came driving by, and when he saw the man lying on the sidewalk, he immediately pulled over to the side of the road and ran to him. He tried as best he could to stem the bleeding from the man’s wounds, and then he picked the man up, lay him in the back of his car, and drove him to the hospital. He stayed with him the night and watched over him, and the next day, because the injured man didn’t have any medical insurance, the fundamentalist gave the receptionist a large deposit of cash and said to look after him, and that he would pay for any other expenses when he got back.”
I was in shock. That guy was the one who helped out the injured man? That prejudiced jerk who belonged to a church so disgustingly misrepresentative of true Christianity- he was the hero of the story?
“Who was the better neighbour?” Jesus asked, jolting me out of my hateful thoughts. “That… the… one who helped the man out,” I said, not even able to spit out the other words that described the man, the ones that carried with them such terrible connotations. “Be like him,” said Jesus.