Saturday, January 12, 2008

your attention please: Jesus wasn't a christian

For years I have pondered what following Jesus meant, because somehow, just attending the Sunday morning social club didn’t seem to be it for me. The social club can have some good aspects on occasion, like being with people and so forth. But in the end, all the stuff we read and studied on Jesus in our club meetings didn’t seem to reflect the actual lives we were living. Or at least, my actual life.

Examples have been mentioned throughout the writings of the agent b files, as well as all over the web. Things like, if Jesus taught us to give our entire life, why do we only give a fraction (ie: money or tithe)? And why is that fraction given to a church or non-prof for them to decide how injustice can be alleviated with those pennies? Why are North American christians encouraged to give the fraction while maintaining a status quo life at home and throughout their community?

Many wealthy business people are on the influential boards of ministries and non-profs that benefit the poor. I always thought that was funny...that we look up to those who do well making money for our leadership. Maybe these boards should be made up of people who benefit or once benefited from that very non-prof. But that’s an entirely different subject.

The other day I thought: what would it be like if the influential business people who governed these non-profs left their board positions and channeled their benevolent, injustice-altering energies into other avenues? Like perhaps within their daily sphere of influence and expertise.

Abilene has one of the lowest pay rates for the average worker (fifth lowest in the state of Texas out of 20+ cities. The first four lowest are border towns). My conspiracy theories on Abilene’s pathetic wages are that church-going christians owned the majority of local businesses. And christians have a bad reputation of being cheap-asses. Ask any local wait-person what the worst shift to work is: Sunday lunch. The church crowd is notoriously lousy tippers with high demands.

So the other day, I thought: what if these local business owners who happened to be church goers started paying their workers better wages with actual benefits (like health coverage for fucking crying out loud). I think that would be better use of their christ-likeness as opposed to calling the shots at some agency to the poor, where they are comfortably insulated from the actual lives they try to serve.

Oh, but B. You don’t understand how small business works. Yeah, I understand how it works jackass. Pay yourself better than your employees. Live on the nice side of town, take time off for high-dollar vacations, buy your kids nice christmas toys, and buy your family health insurance while your workers make $8 an hour with no benefits. Very christ-like.

Take note, I am not accusing business owners in order to judge and point fingers. I am, in fact, asking myself these questions these days.

Yes, I, Agent B, have been pondering a business venture of sorts for two years. And I think I may try to go for it soon.

So, would I have the right to earn and live far better than those who work for and along side me? I don’t know.

Jesus taught that we had no rights. Maybe that’s why he got killed.


Leanne Stewart said...

"far better"? I dunno. Maybe "better", but even then, something tells me your stomach would heave.

So, what about co-opting/co-"owning"?

Again, just thinking out loud.

I do have a friend whom I worked for. She payed VERY well and took care of me, her ONE employee, very, very well.

She made a gazillion times more than me but she also carried waaay more burden and investment than I did.

Maybe it's okay to be a 'wealthy' boss, B. Maybe it's okay to make more than your employees. Maybe, if you think about it, it's not about the money but about the CARE an employer gives or doesn't give to his/her employees.

Like, my friend and former boss, cared so much about me and J that she allowed a very flexible schedule. She allowed me to bring him WITH me to work, even though it was easier for her when he wasn't there. She did so many things that helped me to better help myself.

Maybe that's what we should be doing, ya know? Every one of us should be reaching down to pull the person/people 'below' us up a notch or two and those who are 'above' us should be doing the same.

Anyway, those are some of the the thoughts your post triggered.


Matthew said...

"Jesus taught that we had no rights."

I was with you until that part. Refresh my memory, pls?

Agent B said...

Matt -

It's a vague reversal of the fact that we followers of Jesus DO have rights.

We have the right to die. We have the right to give up our self-centered lives and not expect all the world has to offer. We have the right to be used by god experience brokenness.

In most cultures (as you know), signing on to Jesus means literally signing your death wish. As in, people may take your life any moment if you profess christ.

Thus, we have no rights.

I use to know of a good study on that subject, but it's been a while. I'll try to find it.