The Sunday school teacher popped open a Joel Osteen book and read us a lesson about how God wants us to be materially comfortable. Fair enough.
I do think God wants everyone to be comfortable.
You know, that whole food/shelter/job kind of thing.
But I think Osteen and this teacher were going in a different direction with this. Guys who do church in giant sports stadiums normally do.
I personally could not believe Jesus was middle class or had middle class aspirations or sensibilities. The teacher wanted to argue but come on!
Jesus is not a 1st Century Bob Villa! Wasn’t Jesus always preaching about greed and poverty? Weren’t his following based among the social outcasts of his day?
I read Marcus Borg’s Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time a few years later. I didn’t realize that this was Progressive Christianity 101 but I loved the book.
Borg makes the claim that we translate the word tekton in the gospels badly. It gets translated carpenter (Bob Villa) but tekton, according to Borg, means laborer. And in 1st century Palestine, to be a laborer means to have been pushed off your family’s ancestral farm and orchards.
As we celebrate Labor Day this weekend let us remember that Jesus was a laborer. He was using all that he had to keep from starving–his own back and hands–because the old family homestead had been lost.