Jesus of Norway & The Gospel of Sh**holes

Jesus of Norway

I’ve often playfully said that The Church needs to abandon (white) “Jesus of Norway” & embrace (brown) Jesus of Nazareth. This is not an original or new thought at all. The essence of this argument has been powerfully communicated by theologians like Jacqueline Grant, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, & James Cone.

“Jesus of Norway” is the Eurocentric False God who oversees & fuels the mission of white colonial power.

Jesus of Nazareth, is the poor, oppressed, brown Palestinian Jew living under Roman occupation who came to abolish idolatry & injustice & make all things new. Quoting the Prophet Isaiah, Matthew wrote of him:

“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory. In his name all nations will put their hope.”

(this includes the nations labeled as sh&%holes.)

The worship of the former & the disregard of the latter has had very real implications for the last 5 centuries. 45s most recent remarks illuminate this. When he reportedly said that the “US should stop accepting immigrants from sh#%hole places like Haiti & Africa & start bringing in people from places like Norway” he was articulating a white supremacist narrative of what the “ideal human” is & who has the birthright to claim dominion & access in the world. The narrative of white supremacy has been encoded into every aspect of U.S. political structures & systems, including immigration policy. As is his custom, 45, has just AMPLIFIED the (post-civil rights era) covert bigotry of dog-whistle politics to a blaring, overt volume. Its important to note as theologian J Kameron Carter points out, that Trumpism predates Trump. Yes, Trump is unique as the first “tweeter-in-chief”, but he is participating in a political project that can be traced back to Thomas Jefferson.

One of the most important tools for this ongoing & ever-fluid project of racism is the whitewashing of Jesus & the Gospel. As one theologian points out,

“Beneficiaries of systemic injustice can only envision religion as a reproduction of their own socio-economic privilege.”

This has meant for some that God is the cosmic power behind wall-building projects, deportations, predator drones strikes abroad, predator policing at home, neoliberal wealth extraction & redistribution of resources from Africa & South America to the white, rich, & powerful “Christian nations” of the world. In subtle & not so subtle ways, it means that conformity to Jesus = assimilation to whiteness.  In other words, the Gospel of Jesus of Norway to black, brown, red, yellow peoples of the earth is that “God wants to wash you white as snow.”
To this we must say NO in word & in deed. As we keep track of Trump’s activities we must not lose sight of the reality that his foul hard-heartedness is the ugly symptom of a nation whose bowels of compassion have been stopped up by its insatiable appetite to feast on the weak & vulnerable. We must be honest about the historic & present political arrangements that have lead to the devastation of places like Haiti & the continent of Africa. Ultimately, we must worshipfully live into the (re)arrangement that the unwed, pregnant, soon-to-be refugee Mary of Nazareth imagined that her Son would usher in:

“His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
 He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.  (Luke 1:50-53)

Mary’s worship-fueled declaration of God’s great reversal is in no way, shape, or form congruent with “Jesus of Norway & the Gospel of Sh**holes”……….


(Article written by T. Hawkins)

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