The Jesus of history resisted the political and social realities of his day. Early Christians did the same. Neither one was necessarily successful in their aims, but what do we know about their attitudes toward the economy, immigrants, and war? How did Jesus and emerging Christ communities express concerns for justice and peace? Looking at the world today, what would they say about American politics?
Perry V. Kea (Ph.D., University of Virginia) is Associate Professor of biblical studies at the University of Indianapolis, Indiana. He has been a Fellow of the Jesus Seminar since 1987, In addition to his service as a Fellow, Kea served five years as Westar Institute's Chairperson of the Board.
Celene Lillie (Ph.D., Union Theological Seminary) is on the pastoral staff at Boulder First United Methodist Church in Colorado. She is the author of several books, including The Rape of Eve: The Transformation of Roman Ideology in Three Early Christian Retellings of Genesis (2017).
The Political Jesus
Friday evening, 7:30–9 pm with Perry Kea
Donald Trump won the election of 2016 with the promise to make America great again. Augustus Caesar made the same promise to ancient Romans. He promised to make Rome great again, and the Roman Senate foolishly believed him. Jesus espoused a very different version of greatness for his day and age. Has the time come for Americans to listen closely again to what Jesus had to say? If we did, what might we learn?
Please note: Saturday's lunch will be provided at no cost to participants.
Jesus & the Art of Resistance
Saturday, 9:30–10:30 am with Perry Kea
Jesus’ resistance to Roman Imperial theology was subtle. It was couched in parables and hidden in aphorisms. It included his practice of an open table, of eating together. Though subtle, his resistance did not go unnoticed. While emerging Christian communities might not have known a lot about the historical Jesus, they did know that being part of a Christ community meant resisting Imperial theology. Does America need to re-hear this good news?
Christ Communities and Resistance
Saturday, 11 am – noon with Celene Lillie
Christ communities slowly emerged and came into definition years after the death of Jesus. Prior to the time of Constantine the Great, these communities continued in various way to resist the oppressive nature of Roman Imperial theology. What were these communities? What do we know about them and how they practiced resistance? What do they have to say to the political situation in America today?
Christian Resistance Today
Saturday, 1:30–2:30 pm with Celene Lillie
Except in minor cases, early Christ communities lived under Roman Imperial theology and sought to resist the oppressive nature of life in an empire. Eventually, Christianity itself became an Imperial religion—the religion of an empire. In some ways, Christianity is returning to its former status as a resistance movement within an empire. What important questions can those early communities define for us?
Discussion (Q & A)
Saturday, 3–4 pm with Perry Kea and Celene Lillie
Celine Lillie and Perry Kea will hold conversation and field questions about the political Jesus and our response today.
First Congregational Church, Grand Junction
First Congregational Church
1425 N 5th St
Grand Junction, CO 81501
Local Contact and Information
Individual Rate $75
Pre-registration Rate (by April 17th) $60
Additional Family Members $50
Friday Evening Lecture $20
Saturday Morning Workshop $30
Saturday Afternoon Workshop $30
Refunds are available until two weeks before the event if requested in writing, minus a $10 administrative fee. No refunds will be given after that date.