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Michael Perry

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Patrick S. O'Donnell

Thank the Lord that Jesus himself never became a Christian. In not a few of his teachings, exemplified in several of the parables, in the injunctions about loving one's enemies and loving one's neighbor as oneself, and in conjunction with the Golden Rule (at least as these are bound together in the Matthean Jesus), Jesus concentrates on the spiritual importance if not centrality of identifying oneself with others, beyond any of the conventional and sometimes invidious categories of his time and place that served to divide individuals from one other in ways contrary to Jewish ethics (as he understood same), categories associated with ethnicity, religious identification (especially when this did not coincide with proper ethical and spiritual praxis), gender, class, status, and so forth. Not a few of the self-proclaimed Christians in political office seem hell-bent on using their religious beliefs and expressing their faith in ways that make it harder for people to spontaneously or reflexively identify themselves with their fellow human beings. And it appears Jesus himself practiced what he preached, at least that's an axiomatic assumption of exemplary atonement doctrine. Were it that more Christians who make a public show of their faith embodied the consequences of taking seriously the notion of imitatio dei (as in Matt 5:48).

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