A Gospel for Liberals
Considering the historical     Jesus in light of today’s most controversial social Issues

Jesus Was a Communist

Jesus himself understood the difficulty of his lifestyle and once warned a would-be follower that, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” He had renounced everything—home, family, personal belongings, money—and instructed those who wished to be like him to do the same.  As troubling as this may be to accept, especially for today’s First-World-capitalist-Christians, Jesus instructed his disciples to become homeless destitute beggars. “You lack one thing,” he said, “go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” The potential follower he said this to, “was shocked and went away grieving,” because, in order to follow Jesus, he had to first give up everything, including his wealth.  As Charles Foster Kent noted in his classic work, The Social Teachings of the Prophets and Jesus, “the hot pursuit of riches was unquestionably the chief barrier that kept [people] from accepting Jesus’ philosophy of living.”


Again, the meaning of Jesus’ teachings regarding “riches” are mostly unambiguous—he was, for lack of a better term, a communist!  Similar to Karl Marx, who said, “to each according to his need,” Jesus said, “a man’s life consists not in having more possessions than he needs.” Nevertheless, Christianity, as a whole seems to favor capitalism.  This is so despite what we all know is true, that Jesus himself had no “capital” and specifically said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on Earth.” If taken literally, as so many fundamentalists are prone to do, this would mean Christians should not have savings accounts, investments, or retirement funds, or even cupboards and cabinets for that matter.  But, again, a vertical understanding of the Jesus story and its meaning necessitates the hierarchical viewpoint that he is above us rather than among us.  Such an understanding lends itself much more naturally toward capitalistic ideals than the actual communitarian approach Jesus advocated.  Keep in mind the word capitalism comes from the Latin word for “head,” capitus (from which we also get the word “cap.”) So, as the “head of the body, the church,” Jesus, exalted to Christ, becomes the capitus munde—the capitalist atop all others!