Marx and Jesus – Very Strange Bedfellows (A Conversation)

Below is a FB conversation that I have moved over here so that others can participate in it.  Feel free to comment and get in the conversation.  It stemmed from the quote below.

Max ‎”When I fed the poor, they called me a saint. When I asked why the poor had no food, they called me a communist.” – Dom Helder Camara, Archbishop of Sao Paulo

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Person One now that is killer….

Person Two Wow! This will make you think!

Person Three Don’t you love Beck’s (I think it was him) comment that Obama is a Liberation Theologian.

Person Four when you rock the boat you know you are doing the right thing


‎@Person Three – the only Beck I pay attention to is Jeff Beck. That being said, Liberation Theology tied its cart too tightly to socialism. I think Mao and Jesus make very strange bed-fellows. I don’t know what the solution is. But I do think …we need to encourage courageous conversation about why few have much and many have nothing. I don’t think that increasing disparity is really God’s plan of redemption. Like Carson Brisson used to say, “Don’t give in to the lie that says that this world isn’t broken. And don’t give in to the other lie that says that God is finished with it.”See More

Person Three Like Carson’s thoughts.

Person Five oooo, i like jeff beck

Max Hmm, does that mean that Carson is really Jeff Beck?!?!

Person Six This idea occurred to me last year in my AP Comparative Government class: Mao’s brand of communism/totalitarianism wasn’t what Marx wrote about in the Communist Manifesto. Likewise with Lenin and Stalin.


‎@Person Six – Thanks for jumping into this. You really are making me think this morning. You are right in saying that Mao, Lenin, and Stalin all co-opted Marx’s theories on industrial economics and imposed them on essentially rural, agrarian …societies. Even though that is true, I think Marx and Jesus would also make strange bedfellows. Marx said that religion is the opiate of the masses. Marx believed in an externally imposed paradigm. Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is within. Marx said that industrial Capitalism would collapse because of its own internal inconsistencies and contradictions, and would eventually and inevitably be replaced with a “communist” utopia. Marx never took into account the realm of the spiritual. The spirit, Marx believed, is an invention of those in power that is used to create a false consciousness among the masses. Jesus taught that we ARE a soul or a spirit – we are made spiritually in the image of God, and that the things of this world will pass away and will reveal God’s present Kingdom. Jesus spoke of a Kingdom of God where conscience rules, and that nothing of this world will ever be fixed or made whole until every knee bows and every heart is surrendered to God. Jesus believed and taught that only God can rule this world or any world justly.

Marx seems to believe that the right economic system will lead to utopia. The correct economic system will bless all of humanity. I believe that God alone blesses humanity. Jesus believed that goodness lived out on earth will transcend any economic system – right or wrong. For Jesus, it wasn’t about being “right”. It was about being “good”. The problem in the Gospels wasn’t this system or that system. That was the thinking of the zealots and the Pharisees who saw all of their problems as stemming from Roman Imperialism – a precursor to capitalism. Jesus taught that the problem lies, not in the Romans, but in the hearts of humanity. Hearts surrendered rightly to God are filled with grace and compassion, and goodness flows out from them. The problem with Marxism is that no matter how you spin it, fallen and sinful people who reject the presence of God are always leading the revolution. The problem for Marx was broken economic policy. The problem for Jesus was broken relationship with God.

No matter how you spin it, in Marxism humanity is always storming heaven and taking the revolution away from God and making it happen themselves, usually with great bloodshed and tremendous loss of life. Marx espouses the proletariat beating their plowshares into swords. Jesus taught that those who live by the sword shall die by the sword. Those who overthrow shall be overthrown. Jesus espoused all people beating their swords into plowshares. Marx taught that the least should rise up and make themselves great through revolution. Jesus taught that the least are already the greatest, and that the path to salvation leads straight through humility and surrender. That dissonance cannot exist in the same space. And as long as humanity (be it guided by Marx or Pancho Villa or Mao or Pol Pot or the Tea Party) is the author of revolution, the poets will always fall in love with the Marxists. The Marxists will overthrow the dictators. And the Marxists will become dictators themselves. “All pigs are equal, but some pigs are more equal than others.” (Orwell – Animal Farm) I am attaching my cart to God’s revolution and to the Way of Jesus knowing that I will not see utopia in my lifetime except in brief glimpses of the present Kingdom of God. It is about a Kingdom of Conscience or it is about nothing.See More


Here’s two quotes that Marx would definitely choke on:

“You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a l…eader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45)

“My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36)

Now all of this being said, Jesus also commanded his disciples: “You give them something to eat.” and “Feed my sheep”. Jesus said, “When I was hungry you fed me. When I was naked you clothed me…” So how do we get better at caring for the dispossessed and hungry and vulnerable in a Kingdom that is not of this world…that is governed by God in spite of people who claim that throne, knowing full well that the poor will always we with us?



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