Jesus did not die to save us from God. He died because the Romans did not tolerate charismatic teachers who attracted a lively following. Jesus attracted that following through his personal compassion, his confrontational inclusivity, and his skill in using laughter as a nonviolent weapon of mass disruption. The Gospel authors picked up Jesus' witty techniques. They adeptly parodied the literary conventions of heroic biography, laying out ""the kingdom of God"" in a point-for-point contrast with the empire of Caesar Augustus. Most of this contrast was Jewish Prophetic Rant, Standard Edition: the God of the Jews had always demanded justice for workers, food for the hungry, care for those unable to earn a living, and an end to monopolizing natural resources for private and imperial profit. Jesus added a fourth and telling point: God is nonviolent. God smites no one. God's loving-kindness and compassionate presence embraces all of humanity equally. We are all the children of God. Then and now, that's a revolutionary claim. It portrays our obligation to the common good as a sacred obligation. It's owed to God. In cultural terms, that's the most potent variety of obligation. This is the cultural heritage at risk from fundamentalism, which portrays God as both crazy-violent and vindictive. ""Catherine Wallace gives us a provocative look at the heart of the four gospels--political satire that subverts empire, that unveils the thoroughgoing nonviolence of God, and that inspires humane living. Clearly written, deeply thoughtful, and spiritually nourishing."" --Ted Grimsrud, Author ofInstead of Atonement: The Bible's Salvation Story and Our Hope for Wholeness ""Wallace has done us a great service. She has reminded us that the Gospels make the kind of satire performed on television shows like The Daily Show and Samantha Bee (whom I really like ) appear banal in comparison. The satiric reversal of Jesus is, ultimately, as subversive as it is comical. It's subversive because it exposes both the ridiculous and violent nature of the kingdoms of this world, and it is comical for those very same reasons."" --Tripp York, Author of The Devil Wears Nada; Professor, Religious Studies Department, Virginia Wesleyan College Catherine Miles Wallace, PhD, is a cultural historian on the faculty of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. She is the author of For Fidelity: How Intimacy and Commitment Enrich Our Lives (1998)."