Last week, I attended a gathering of urban church leaders. The afternoon session began with sharing.
The first pastor to share started with these words, “Jesus was a communist.”
It certainly got my attention. I do not normally think of Jesus in quite that way.
When I hear the word “communism,” I first think of Stalin. Some historians claim that this guy is responsible for killing more people than Hitler. Placing Jesus in this camp seems wrong.
But as the pastor started unpacking this idea, I began to wonder about Jesus’ political leanings.
Would Jesus have voted for the Democrat or Republican candidate? (This question by itself assumes a lot: Would Jesus have come to earth as an American? Probably not.)
Would Jesus have supported the Western ideas of capitalism and individuality?
As this pastor continued sharing, he reminded us that scripture has a bias toward the poor, the immigrant and the widow. He then went on to suggest that capitalism and individuality do not easily make space for the poor, the immigrant and the widow.
If we define communism as a system that puts the needs of the community ahead of the desires of the individual, then it becomes possible to define Jesus as a communist.
Jesus was known for putting the needs of others ahead of his own.
Jesus was known for including the outsiders and outcasts.
If being a Christian means being Christ-like, maybe we all have to become a little less capitalist and a little more communist.