Jesus the Outcast

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Jesus of Nazareth, the one with dark skin and bad teeth and body odor, spent all of his time hanging out with people we prefer to avoid. The buff Jesus of bad theology and bad art, the magic flying Jew in flowing robes and heavenly beams of light, the Easter card hero who zaps bad people, is not the one who sat down to dine with sinners and he never will, and thank God for that.

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The God who is love and mercy and flesh and blood, the One who dies at our hands, is no long-winded theologian or holiday card hero, he is an outcast in his own Church. You can find him living in a cardboard box under the bridge, or having a turkey dinner once or twice a year in a run-down cafeteria where Christians show their love for the poor. You can find him running from the ravages of warfare, seeking shelter and a chance to build a new life. You can find him everywhere you don’t want him to be.

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There he is…

…among the least.

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