Brexit, Jesus & the American Presidency

Well, the Brits have done it. A catastrophic defeat for arrogant capitalism run amok. A victory for the mediocrity of parochial socialism on the peasants’ march through western civilization.

A time to grieve for what is being lost – and for the world ahead. So, what would Jesus say?

Jesus’ Response to Grief

Prior to his crucifixion, there are three rather instructive instances that the New Testament records of Jesus’ response to overwhelming grief:

  • At the death of his friend Lazarus when “Jesus wept” – not because his friend was no longer living but rather because family and friends could not conceive there was a stronger power at hand with the capacity to overcome catastrophe, even death.
  • Despondency over the foreseen destruction of Jerusalem – with Jesus again weeping as he laments over God’s city as a place that “kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her!” Jesus longs to gather the children of the city together, “as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” Jesus peers just 40 years into the future, a time when “your house is left to you desolate” – the legacy of insurrection against Rome as imperial power and of interminable squabbling within the indigenous Jewish community. 
  • In a garden where Jesus begs Father God for a path other than death by crucifixion – sweating blood even as he prays that his supreme commander would “take this cup away from me; nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.”

A Brexit Connection?

So, what causes Jesus to grieve? Three things: lack of community vision, in-fighting that precludes thoughtful solutions, and commitment to stay the course.

Why did Brits choose to leave the EU? No more tolerance for a common good extending beyond the borders of the isle, in-attentiveness of the ruling elite to the exigencies of everyday life, and frustration strong enough to cast aside 40+ years of trying to make the marriage work.

American Application

As the apparent standard bearers of their respective parties, Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton (also non-conceding Bernie Sanders) seem likewise ready to raise the drawbridge and walk from the global community. To withdraw from an America known as the “shining city on a hill” into a survivalist fortress of the fittest. From a country that would take your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” to “throw the rascals out.” From a planet where all boats rise together to “beggar thy neighbor.”

We will all be poorer, more self-centered, and broken as a result. And the sad thing is, there is no leadership left to articulate the vision of a better future yet within our grasp – but only as we prove ourselves individually and collectively willing to reach for each other.

Within the lifetime of many who traveled with Gods’ designated representative on earth. Rome razed Jerusalem to the ground. Would Father or Son lift a finger to save those who did themselves in with their own arrogance, hubris, and festering hatreds?

No way! For as Jesus would say: “Physician, heal thyself.”


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