The following is part of a series of articles.
It is a satire.
The idea behind this series is simple: What if Jesus and his "blessed" statements - his Beatitudes - were being "collaborated" on by a modern Christian Public Relations Consultant?
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.”
Alright, Jesus. Let me just sort of pinpoint you here. Where you’re saying “the poor in spirit”, I’m going to have to suggest right off the bat that we just go… kind of… completely in the opposite direction with this one. I mean - let’s be real - spiritual poverty is just… awkward. And you’re not exactly inspiring a lot of confidence if you say the kingdom belongs to these people. Look around you! The really successful ministries are based around an entirely different sort of people! They are confident pretty much always! And if you want an institution of religiosity that will stand the test of time, you really want to look to them for direction, don’t you?
We Christians have it down to a science! Our CEO-pastors have all the answers, and they are pretty good at simplifying everything - from theology, to politics, to whatever else... So long as it motivates people to be more sure of themselves and less open to truth from any source they aren't already comfortable with, we've done our job. We can't have honest dialog because it shatters the control we've worked so hard to maintain over the people. And we can’t be celebrating those who are open with their doubts and faults, because that makes it seem like that sort of thing is okay. (I know you would never suggest something like that.) I'd point you again to the titans of our Christian culture, Jesus! If these confident, strapping men are not who the kingdom belongs to, then what hope would any of the droves bowing at their feet have? What I’m saying is, if anything, we need more people beating their chests and dominating the megaphone, not less! Spiritual power is as good as gold in spiritual richness. And pride has proven to be quite effective.
Now I've been looking over your gospels, buddy, and there's some cute stuff there for sure. Great work, really... But I'm also a bit concerned as someone who's been hired to help you frame this message. Believe me, I'm here for you, Jesus, but sometimes - I don't know where to start! I see you being asked 183 questions, and yet you only directly answer THREE of them? I mean, that right there is the start of your problem. And what you need to help with that problem is more reliance on reductive formula. Trust me, it works. It always works.
To put it another way, poverty of spirit requires real and patient courage... And we've found that fear makes a better fuel for a quicker fix. Just get them being fearfully, unquestioningly, defiantly dogmatic and sure of themselves... and you've got yourself a real church going!
What the people crave is for the American Dream to be synonymous with GOD'S dream! They want the great stories of overcomers who became financially successful and bought more toys because of their faith. They want to hear about real heroes! We've spent centuries instilling in them the idea that doubt is the opposite of faith, so for you to come along and tell them the opposite of faith is actually certainty... See, we've just worked too long and hard to let you change that definition. We have so much invested in it!
So, instead of what you said, I’m going to suggest this:
#BLESSED are the RICH in spirit (and the rich in everything else for that matter)! It is the confident, and charismatic who have the market cornered on the kingdom! And whatever it is that can be attained on this earth and seems valuable... It probably is. In fact, that stuff is what we’re going to refer to as “blessings” most of the time from now on, with the understanding that this is where we see God's favor and fortune with us… I know, I know - that’s what we were doing already before you made this statement, but see, well, we kinda liked it that way.
That wasn’t so bad, now, was it? Looking forward to collaborating some more tomorrow!