Picking Our Neighbors

Greg Boyd, in his book The Myth of a Christian Religion, tells about a friend who wanted to advertise in some shopping malls for a Christian conference. He had the contracts, and all he needed was an eye-catching poster. So, he commissioned an artist-friend to paint a picture of Jesus washing the feet of various international leaders. Among the leaders, seated in a row of chairs with Jesus at their feet, was Kofi Annan (then current Secretary-General of the United Nations), George W. Bush……and Osama bin Laden.

The posters were put up in the malls according to the ad contracts, and immediately the malls began receiving calls about the posters: negative, critical calls, and many from those who claimed to be Christian. Eventually the malls revoked the ad contracts and the posters were removed.

Why did this picture outrage American Christians? As Greg Boyd asks as his follow-up question, if Jesus was willing to die on the cross for bin Laden, why wouldn’t He wash his feet? (Do you remember that Jesus washed Judas’ feet?)

Of course, the reason so many American Christians were outraged is because they closely associated their nationality with their faith, and an enemy of their nation was automatically viewed as someone unworthy of Christ’s love. Interestingly enough, it was Jesus, Himself, who said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” And, that, apparently, is a hard lesson to learn.

So, what do you think? Would Jesus wash bin Laden’s feet? Should we? Who are the bin Ladens in your life?


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