Steven Colbert has some pretty challenging this to say here about the way we ignore the implications of Christmas and the way Jesus lived.
Amidst some foolishness and humor, there is actually some challenging words.
Watch this and return for the following comments:
I appreciate the way that Colbert challenges O'Reilly's manipulation of Jesus' teaching on wealth and poverty. How can you speak of a God become human flesh, born in a manger, homeless, and killed on a cross not as self-destructive?!?
The "Lord helps those who help themselves" should be right up there with profanity that uses the name of God.
I am no way want to support charity that perpetuates the cycles of poverty and unhealth. Books like When Helping Hurts and Compassion, Justice, and the Christian Life: Rethinking Ministry to the Poor have been transformative for me in the way I think about this.
HOWEVER, the excuses of the rich, which includes me, along with the oversimplifying and exaggerating must stop.
If we are going to take seriously our faith as followers of a God born in a manger and crucified on a cross who called us, and who, as Colbert reminds, told us not to demand back stolen property, to give our shirt when a jacket is demanded, and to love our enemies, then we must rethink our relationships with the poor (if we have any at all to begin with).
Do I think Jesus would be a liberal Democrat? No. It's crazy to think he would fit into an American political category. It is just as crazy to think Jesus would align himself with conservative Republican ways. I think if we really tried to start doing social-political engagement in the way of Jesus, we'd tick everybody off - except those he loved.... the poor, the marginalized, those suffering injustices, etc. His categories would be so foreign to our self-preserving tendencies and foolish partisan battles that we'd want to crucify Him too.
Let's let Christmas begin to have its subversive, conspiratorial nature once more!