› Forums › Spiritual Theology › 1.1: The Way of Jesus vs. Interpretations of Jesus › Reply To: 1.1: The Way of Jesus vs. Interpretations of Jesus
AnonymousDeleted UserSeptember 17, 2020 at 1:01 pm
The different interpretations displayed in these two texts show that every interpreter of the biblical text brings to their reading their own positionality – their identities and social locations that inform the way they interpret the world. From a position of privilege and power, conservative white evangelicals interpret Jesus as one of them – a manly man, a white man, a winner, a capitalist, an American. This interpretation requires some major hermeneutical gymnastics that tend to ignore the direct teachings of Jesus found in the gospels and focus instead on their image of the triumphant Christ depicted in Revelation. Thurman, on the other hand, from his position as a Black man living in mid-20th century US, places the teachings of Jesus at the core of his interpretation, particularly Jesus’s command to love one’s enemy. Thurman associates Jesus with an ethic of love, and places him on the side of the oppressed peoples of the world. This raises the question that if every reader interprets Jesus through their own lens, how do we know which interpretation is correct? While there are many metrics that could be proposed, the one I lean on is “by their fruit you shall know them.” The corruption and abuses laid out in Du Mez’s book tell us all we need to know about the interpretations of the evangelical world, while Thurman’s interpretations supported and strengthened movements for justice and peace in the world.