James A. Washington

For someone who grew up when and how I did, the question of Jesus continues to mystify many of my so-called friends, when it comes to my recognized newest superhero.

If you allow yourself to view Christianity as some kind of sanitized version of European colonialism, then it is no wonder that many regard this version of religion as a cop out when compared to more ancient religions of the world, particularly those with African origin. However, when you do due diligence and study, it becomes clear how the religion of Christ has been manipulated down through the ages for political and economic purposes.

Man still kills in the name of God, whatever that name might be. Religious conflict is still the single biggest reason people die at the hands of their fellow man. Look at the hot spots around the globe, and I’ll bet you find religious persecution of some type at the center of the conflict.

Jesus was a revolutionary. He was probably a socialist given his predisposition to feed the hungry and take care of the poor. He was definitely anti-establishment. I don’t know anyone more against the status quo than Jesus Christ. He was outspoken, shameless, selfless, compassionate, passionate, an equal opportunity employer and self-confident. Can you name a more committed individual to his beliefs?

This guy was a blessing to anyone who would listen, a teacher, a provider, a source of strength and, of course, an obedient son. God or Godliness aside, I’ve come to admire so much for what He stood for and certainly what He said He came to die for: me. I mean, come on.

Who wouldn’t want to lead men on a path of resistance to eliminate their persecution for what they believe in? Who wouldn’t want to change the hearts and minds of people to be more accepting of mankind’s differences in order to accept their similarities within the human race? Who among us wouldn’t want to change the face of the world by bringing it a concept of love so strong that even death cannot weaken it, but by death strengthen it for all time?

The more I see Jesus, the more I see in human terms why people continue to undermine, distort and dilute the reality of the Man. To Him, neither wealth, nor class, nor birthright distinguished one in the great scheme of things. Preferential treatment is not accorded one based on circumstance. The measure of any man comes in terms of love, prayer, faith, service and acceptance of God as God.

Jesus was a bad boy. But if you don’t know Him for yourself firsthand, I’m afraid you’ll fall prey to the version given you by those who have their best interest at heart and not yours. That includes priests and pastors, kings and presidents, CEOs, capitalists and communists, anyone who would keep you down so they might stay up.

I could go on forever but that is not my intent. Jesus is forever, not me. Jesus came to be a blessing. I’m just trying to follow His lead.

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