Rhetorical Dodge Ball

Socialist Christ

First Posted 30-Dec-2014

My Dad has become a troll. He does this thing at least once each time I visit him. He’ll throw a macro-aggressive statement out there to trigger me. Sometimes, when I was younger, I flung words back at him. These days, though, I’ve learned to dodge his rhetorical fastballs. I’d rather keep the relationship than be right. The art of it is knowing how to keep my dignity, to disagree with him, without getting caught in a shouting match. There were two curve balls launched at me on this trip.
The first one was, “Jesus was a communist. So, if you are sincerely following Jesus you’ll also be a communist.” Which is a bit stunning. Jesus, depending on who is counting, lived over two-thousand years ago. Communism, says Wikipedia, became a thing in the late 18th Century. So, Christ had been dead and resurrected well over 1800 times before Communism made its name in the history books. A key difference between the early house churches of pre-Constantine Christendom and our modern church was that before Constantine Rome was the enemy so arbitrating who gets what was done on a small scale by individual churches. Modern socialism envisions a large, unelected civil service governing the distribution of capital and property. This puts the President’s civil service at the head of the government picking winners and losers. The President assumes the role of Caesar and Congress becomes a feckless Roman Senate. The courts abdicate their power and become tools of Caesar’s civil service. Maybe that isn’t a future wish. It’s perhaps what we have as a government now. Woo. Jesus was no friend of Rome or of his contemporary church leadership. If Jesus was anything, he was an anarchist.

Christ advocated against needless governance. He performed a miracle, finding a coin in the mouth of a fish to pay Caesar’s taxes. The Communist idea of public or government ownership and management of most everything is the furthest from the sort of service first leadership demonstrated by Christ when he washed the feet of the disciples. Jewish tradition of the day insisted on a tithe of 10%. So, by tradition, the community through the Levites, only held 10% of the assets in common. The rest was held by individuals and their families. I don’t find anything in the Bible to suggest Christ advocated a greater ownership of resources by Rome.

Pink Triangle

His next one was this, “Anybody who thinks homosexuality is a sin is homophobic. Anybody who is homophobic is hiding something, probably that they are actually gay and just won’t admit it.” So, we who believe that homosexuality is a sin are all gay and just in denial? Really? Wow. Good to know that. Thanks for sharing, Dad. So, I am supposed to be a Communist because I say I am Christian. And, because I believe that homosexuality is a sin I’m actually a closeted gay man in denial. That’s a pretty profound therapy moment right here in public on this blog, for everyone to read. Glad I got that cleared up.

My tinfoil hat is crooked and faded to a mottled, oxidized grey, should I be worried? Maybe a better tinfoil hat would be one with pink triangles and red stars . . . maybe my Dad would like that tinfoil hat better. Maybe for realz, I kinda don’t care.

I’m good. I know he does this. I know he says stuff that is weird. He’s my Dad, though, so I let it all slide. His tendency to throw stuff out there like that doesn’t take away his success within the Presbyterian Church or his role in designing and building early computers that were a step toward today’s SmartPhones. He’s one more odd duck like me who still has attributes worth praising. The world is better for having him in it, wild claims about closeted gay Communists included. Bless your heart, Dad.