I have been invited to give a 20-minute lecture on "Was Jesus Political?" from a New Testament perspective for the OHSMI Inaugural Dialogue to be held on September 15, 2007. I think the biggest struggle for me is how should I organise the lecture? At what level I should be giving the lecture - should it be more intellectual or devotional? How can I strike a balance?
I guess it all depends on the crowd that would be coming. If OHSMI dialogue is "designed for good scholarship towards effective discipleship," then I am tempted to do something more scholarly and intellectual. Perhaps there might be a group of people that might appreciate this approach. But again, being a public dialogue, the audience might be mixed and I am also concerned that perhaps some of the crowd may not fully appreciate or understand some of the issued addressed and where I am coming from - and the picture of Jesus that I will paint may differ significantly from one that they are used to - the Saviour of the world - and this may cause uneasiness among some of them.
I guess at the back of my mind, the question I have is this: Can Jesus, in the words of Scot McKnight, "be understood if he is described exclusively, or even primarily, in the category of a spiritual master, or as one who was primarily concerned with the inner religious life and its disciplines for the individual"? Is there a place in our faith for a "political" Jesus instead of merely a "spiritual" Jesus?
The struggle of a budding NT scholar in giving a public lecture.....Hope I survive!