Jesus was a Capricorn
He ate organic food
He believed in love and peace
And never wore no shoes
Long hair, beard and sandals
And a funky bunch of friends
Reckon we’d just nail him up
If he came down again
‘Cause everybody’s gotta have somebody to look down on
Prove they can be better than at any time they choose
Someone doin’ somethin’ dirty decent folks can frown on
If you can’t find nobody else, then help yourself to me
Eggheads fussin’ rednecks cussin’
Hippies for their hair
Others laugh at straights who laugh at
Freaks who laugh at squares
Some folks hate the Whites
Who hate the Blacks who hate the Klan
Most of us hate anything that
We don’t understand
(lyrics by Kris Kristofferson)
Counterculture: A subculture whose values and norms of behavior deviate from those of mainstream society.
Jesus was countercultural. And because He lives today through the lives of those who follow Him, you could therefore say that Jesus is countercultural. His message was, is and always will be counter to the prevailing mainstream society. This is largely because what He represents and asks of us goes counter to human nature. This is not true just for certain people; it’s true for all of us with maybe one exception. The poorest of the poor may get it right away, after all they are the ones Jesus says are blessed.
Should a subculture claim Jesus as its leader while maintaining virtually the same values and norms of behavior as the mainstream society around it, then one can assume that the message has been significantly altered. If Christians are unfamiliar, even surprised, at the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount, then you must ask which “Jesus” are they following? If Christians bully, condemn others and claim the right to defend themselves, they have clearly found another Jesus to champion their causes.
Meanwhile all who truly follow Jesus will find it hard to do. Not because He asks so much of us, but because what He asks of us runs counter to our natural inclinations. No one can be aloof to any of this. No one can claim to “get it” — to be countercultural and cast judgment on those who are not. (I was guilty of that when I first wrote this piece.)
Let’s face it — the red letters run counter to pretty much everything we stand for in America. We have a lot of re-thinking to do. All of us. But then again, don’t you want a challenge?
Remember that list? Here it is again. These are the things you want to have define you. How are you doing? Righteousness. Justice. Peace. Mercy. Humility. Goodness. Faithfulness. Truthfulness. Compliance. Generosity. Forgiveness. Empathy. Sincerity. Trust. Lowliness. Inclusiveness. Defenselessness. Letting people in (versus keeping them out).