The Unbearable “Borgness” of Jude

The Borg
The Borg. Image credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/frankula/5824384458/">Frankula</a>

Jude 17-25

But, dear friends, you must remember the predictions of Jesus’ representatives who told you:

In the end there will be scoffers indulging their own lust.

These worldly spiritless people are the ones causing divisions. But you, dear friends, get pumped up on holy faith. Pray in the holy spirit. Stay in God’s love. Look forward to Jesus’ relief and eternal life. Relieve those who are on the fence. Save the ones who are in the fire by grabbing them out. And relieve others by hating even the clothing they wear.

Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, who is able to bring you in purity and joy to God’s glory, to the one and only God, our savior, through Jesus, our leader, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before time, now, and forever. Amen.

The advice Jude gives is entirely impossible. In fact, it’s antithetical to the gospel. Not to mention divisive. Christians should remember this before accusing people of other faiths of having hateful things in their scriptures. And maybe consider expunging a few things from their own canon.

It is impossible to stay in God’s love and at the same time hate your enemy even to the point of hating the clothes they wear. (And, no, Jude is not talking about plaid polyester pants.) At least it’s impossible so far as the Jesus who said, “Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you,” is concerned.

The kind of faith Jude is recommending is the kind that gets pumped up on emotion, fear and seething self-righteous anger and results in the very divisions it claims are being caused by “those other people.” Divisions that can only be resolved from their point of view by assimilation or destruction of the other. Jude is like Star Trek’s Borg: “Assimilate or be destroyed.”

Unfortunately, this is the theological position of far too many churches who consider their own cult to be the uniquely pure expression of God’s will for humanity. And paradoxically, the only way to overcome the kind of blindness it creates in its adherents is to love them back in spite of their hating you.

Love them the way Jesus loved and forgave those who called for his crucifixion. They said he was worldly, a defiling spirit, causing divisions. Jesus said that’s what they will do to you if you follow his lead in refusing to assimilate. Hard to do. And people pumped up on hate-filled faith are dangerous. Even murderous. But extending human love in the face of “divine” hatred is the only way to tell who’s really who when all the world around is asking, “Will the real Christians please stand up.”