To My Christian Sisters and Brothers

Some of you have urged me to align my values more closely with “Christian Values.”

OK: The Book of Acts says that the first converts to Christianity in Jerusalem were avowed communists, living communally and distributing their wealth equitably—to each according to their needs. They took Jesus’ words literally: “Each of you who does not give up all he possesses is incapable of being my disciple” (Luke 14): “Do not store up treasures for yourself on earth” (Matthew 6); and “Come now, you who are rich, weep, howling out at the miseries that are coming for you” (James 5). There’s more, of course, but a strong through-line in all of it is this: there is but one humanity and one human estate, and it belongs to all; take only what you need to live, share everything, care for one another. Paraphrasing the great Chicago poet Gwendolyn Brooks, the Christian ethic states that: We are each other’s business/We are each other’s harvest/ We are each other’s magnitude and bond.

Those who noisily proclaim their “Christian Values” might want to get right with Jesus now by embracing your communal spirit, upholding our collective mission and fate, and becoming more communist in practice—from each according to ability, to each according to need. Christian Values! Communist Principles! Oh, and to point to communist nations or practices that failed to live up to those principles is not an answer—look clearly at Christian nations and practices and feel the shameful contradiction.

 

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