. . . switch sides from Caesar’s way to Jesus’ way – before it is too late.*
– Brian McLaren
“Caesar’s way” stands for secular, temporal government or authority. The usage derives from Jesus’ saying, when asked about paying taxes:
So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s. (Mt 22:21)
Jesus does not promote treason – even against the brutal tyranny of Rome. He does not even promote the idea of protesting against the government by refusing to pay taxes.
But Jesus clearly draws a line between God’s interests and Caesar’s. It’s obvious to us that 2000 years ago Jesus’ way and Caesar’s way were quite opposed to each other.
It’s funny how today some tend to assume that Jesus’ way just offers support of Caesar’s way – as long as the Caesar in question is American. Is that too blunt? It seems to me that being good Christians is often assumed to mean being good Americans first, at least as energetically as we are Christ-followers. Some folks, unfortunately, even think those are one and the same thing.
“Caesar’s” powerful way is powerfully seductive, that way of
- advanced organization,
- strong training and discipline,
- sophisticated technologies
- great patriotism
- application of great force
- and the use of government or military power to subdue people, including one’s own citizens if “necessary”.
That was Caesar’s way.
If it weren’t for my faith in God I would conclude that it is already too late … But despair is boring and uncreative.
So McLaren thinks it may be “too late” for improved loyalty to Jesus to have much impact.
However, “Despair is boring and uncreative.” He says let’s get into something exciting and creative, regardless! Especially if it is the truly Christian way.
So I turn from it and turn to Jesus, to believe his narrative … to stop figuring out how to get him on our side, and instead to try to cross over to his side.
The crossing over to the side of Christ may be hard work. And it may get us in trouble sometimes. But it is the appropriate act of faith for those who wish to think of themselves as Christ-followers.
Do you agree?