(Well Friends, thought I might post the Critical Cleric’s book of the month. A few years back, Dr. Obery Hendricks, Professor of Biblical Studies at New York Theological Seminary released a book titled The Politics of Jesus: Rediscovering the true revolutionary nature of Jesus’ teachings and how they have been corrupted. When the book was initially released, it made a splash in the field of biblical and religious studies, particularly among those of the progressive theological persuasion. Unfortunately, during my time in seminary, I did not find the time to read the hugely popular text. However, after participating in a Minister’s panel discussion this past weekend, where the majority of the Senior Pastors present did not believe that Jesus’ message was socio-political as well as spiritual, I have decided to alter my reading schedule to give attention to this matter. When I finish reading the book, I’ll have more to say, until then I present Obery Hendricks Politics of Jesus as the Critical Cleric book of the month.)
“Thundering like a biblical prophet against social and economic injustice, racism and political deceit ("Jesus did not establish a bureaucratic institution, weekly social gatherings, or houses of religious entertainment"), Hendricks, professor of biblical interpretation at New York Theological Seminary, proclaims Jesus as a political revolutionary who overturned the unjust social policies of his day. Rather unoriginally, Hendricks suggests that Jesus employed seven political strategies (e.g., "treat people's needs as holy"; "give a voice to the voiceless"; "expose the workings of oppression") in his challenge to the status quo.
With cunning insight, however, Hendricks fervently examines the politics of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush—two U.S. presidents who have professed to be following the politics of Jesus—and argues that these leaders fall woefully short of living out Jesus' message of justice, righteousness and steadfast love. Hendricks also indicts church leaders for their complicity with these political figures, condoning unjust wars and corrupt economic practices and not calling judgment on them in Jesus' prophetic voice. Overall, Hendricks echoes the call to Christian social justice that John Howard Yoder proclaimed over 30 years ago in his own book of the same title.”--Publishers Weekly