It is one of those pesky little paradoxes in history that to the chagrin of many, shatters stereotypes, kicks ass, and takes names. Yes, you guessed it: the radical who becomes more radical after becoming a legit follower of Jesus. The names are impressive and they add up to confront any honest thinking progressive as to one hell of a challenge and begs the question: what in the world is really going on here?
Leo Tolstoy left all to preach nonviolence and wander around railroad stations. William Booth started the Salvation Army. Dorothy Day goes from being a Communist Worker to forming the Catholic Worker for the homeless and hungry. Eldridge Cleaver took Marx further than Marx. Sojourner Truth was pivotal in the Abolitionist movement. Susan B. Anthony was central to the early Suffragettes. Thomas Merton left NYC, renounced all to become a Trappist monk and one of the most important writers and literary critics against war and poverty, and pioneered the East-West dialogue with the Dalia Lama. Yep … the names add up. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
It is specifically this faith itself that has fueled these progressives to become even more progressive until they begin to passionately burn a hole in the sun by throwing themselves on the wheel of history, until that wheel actually began to move. There is William Penn, the only man to actually honor a treaty with Native American Indians at his own peril. And BAM! Just when the late 20th century thought it was safe from these Christian Progressives and could remain safely in the shadows of its own stubborn unbelief, of all people Bob Dylan himself hops on the slow train, announces from stage that he has been converted to Christ and stares his crowd down while he sings, “You gotta serve somebody”… the song that was heard around the world. Now it’s Ricky Lee Jones’ latest CD, “Sermons on Exposition Boulevard”. And it seems that music is not just enough for her after her dramatic conversion, no… she has to hang out in the worst parts of L.A. with those smelly street people. Eeeew!
What is it about those people who have claimed that they have had a revelation of Jesus Christ that makes people so damn radical? What could possibly top French Anarchist Simone Weil’s hunger strikes against war? Her encounter with Jesus at the chapel in Assisi. The hunger strikes doubled after that. And we all know the story of how the song, “Amazing Grace” was written by a man who walked away from the slave trade and its evils, and let the slaves go free. What could compel a man to do such a thing unless Christ had not been risen from the dead and shown Himself to that man?
Sure, the Good news of Christ has been perverted, counterfeited, and distorted beyond belief through history, and even up into our own time. But, however, in its purest form, when it’s the real thing, it is still the fly in the ointment. It still utterly confounds normal categories of thinking. The so-called progressive without this Christ are not really radical enough, and it shows. The Woodstock generation captured by their own comfort live in an insulated world of double lattes, laptops, and maids and gardeners that they pay at slave wages. Meanwhile they arrogantly dismiss not only Christ, but those who have really gone as far as any human can go to revolutionize the world for the better. Yes, they dismiss it all. But, the issue is not dismissed so lightly. For the progressives that became more progressive after their conversion to Christ echoes throughout all of history till this very day.
[DS added the videos]
Bob Dylan: Saved
3545877 | July 02, 2008
Jesus teaching in the temple, casting out demons – from the movie Jesus of Nazareth
Jesus Christ – Feb 6, 2014
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