“Jesus is Lord” (Romans 10:9) was proclaimed by the early church as its most concise creedal statement. No one had told me this was a political and subversive statement until I learned a bit of Bible history. To say, “Jesus is Lord!” was testing and provoking the Roman pledge of allegiance that all Roman citizens had to proclaim when they raised their hands to the imperial insignia and shouted, “Caesar is Lord!” Early Christians were quite aware that their “citizenship” was in a new, universal kingdom, announced by Jesus (Philippians 3:20), and that the kingdoms of this world were not their primary loyalty systems. How did we manage to lose that and what price have we paid for it?
Jesus showed no undue loyalty, either to his Jewish religion or to his Roman-occupied Jewish country. Instead, he radically critiqued both of them and, in that, he revealed and warned against the idolatrous relationships most people have with their country and their religion. That idolatry has allowed us to justify violence in almost every form and to ignore much of the central teaching of Jesus.
+Adapted from Spiral of Violence: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil (Recording)