Tea, the Bible, and the Marketplace

Some time ago, a theatrical malcontent and his followers took drastic action. Enraged by the corruption of church, state and the marketplace, they attacked the merchants, trashed their goods, and occupied the temple where the marketplace had set up shop. Once there, this malcontent used that temple as a staging-ground for sermons and healing. He mocked the authorities, condemned their sins, and drew their fury against him.

We know him now as Jesus Christ.

Perhaps you’ve heard of Him.

Wwjd_-_whip_bankers

The tale of Jesus and the money-changers is well-known. What’s not nearly as famous, though, is His occupation of the Temple at Jerusalem. According to Matthew (21:12-25; 22-24), Mark (11:15-33; 12-14), Luke (19:41-48; 20-22 [1]), and John (2:13-18), the Christ didn’t simply take out a whip, smack a few guys around, yell a sentence or two and then leave. The Bible makes clear that Jesus and His followers stuck around a while:

And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him. And could not find what they might do; for all the people were very attentive to hear him. (Luke 19:47-48)

Let’s be clear: The authorities did not want Him there. Jesus taunts them, lectures them, insults them in their place of power. Surrounded by a mob, he disrupts their trade and humiliates them in public for days on end. No wonder they wanted Him destroyed!

Through the scope of hindsight, it’s easy to miss the anger of the crowd that demanded Jesus’ punishment. We see now the triumphant Christ defying corruption, not the rebel whose followers attacked sacred institutions. The man many people regard as Savior and Redeemer was in His time an outlaw, literally crucified for treason, blasphemy and dissent. His followers were hunted, His legacy shamed. Like the vandals of Boston Harbor, Christ’s victory came in hindsight. At their times, both were anathema.

Yet many people who consider themselves Christians oppose the 99% movement – often in terms more befitting to the Pharisees. That so many of these folks also link themselves to that Boston Tea Party, a similar act of vandalous disobedience, solidifies their inherent irony. [2] Somehow, a number of these folks have turned the Christ who fed the poor and ministered to outcasts into a poster-boy for unfettered capitalism.

Haven’t these people read their Gospels? Maybe they should do so again.

Are you one of them? Perhaps you should, too.

Someday, we too will be seen in hindsight.

How do you wish to be remembered?

 

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NOTES

[1] Luke’s account is the most detailed, and contains both the “render unto Caesar” statement and the less-familiar parable about the master and husbandsmen of the vineyard (Luke 20:10-20):

What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them? He shall come and destroy these husbandsmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they (the priests) heard it, they said “God forbid”.

Bearing in mind that these words were spoken to the faces of scribes, lawmakers and high priests while Jesus and His followers occupied their temple, the significance of those lessons cannot be missed.

[2] That irony intensifies when we examine Christ’s words regarding wealth and exploitation – see especially Matthew 6:1-5, 19-21, 24; 12:33-37; 19:18-24; andMOST especially 18:23-35.

As for the Boston Tea Party, it was not a billionaire-backed protest against an elected president, but a costly, theatrical act of international terrorism conducted against the entrenched collusion between the English government and the British East India Company – a massive and predatory corporation. That’s the historical fact. As the man says, you can look it up

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About Satyr

Award-winning fantasy author, game-designer, and all 'round creative malcontent. Creator of a whole bunch of stuff, most notably the series Mage: The Ascension, Deliria: Faerie Tales for a New Millennium, and Powerchords: Music, Magic & Urban Fantasy. Lives in Seattle. Hates shoes. Loves cats. Dances a lot.
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