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Home arrow Blog arrow April 2009 arrow April 5, 2009

April 5, 2009
April 5, 2009: What happened to Jesus and what's a Christian to do with it?  "You may be an ambassador to England or France…You may be a state trooper, you might be a young Turk…You may be the head of some big TV network…You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome. You might own guns and you might even own tanks…you might even own banks. But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed you're gonna have to serve somebody. Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord. But you're gonna have to serve somebody."-Bob Dylan, 1979.

In the March/April 2008 edition of Tikkun Magazine, Walter Wink, Professor emeritus of Auburn Theological Seminary, pondered upon what happened to Jesus and his disciples:

"No two resurrection accounts in the four Gospels are alike. At the core of all these accounts is the simple testimony: we experienced Jesus as alive…The resurrection appearances did not… take place in the temple before thousands of worshipers, but in the privacy of homes or cemeteries. They did not occur before religious authorities, but to the disciples hiding from those authorities.

"What happened was every bit as real as any other event, only it was not historically observable…Though skeptics might interpret what the disciples experienced as a mass hallucination, the experience itself cannot be denied…what may have happened: the very image of God was altered by the sheer force of Jesus being. God would never be the same. Jesus had indelibly imprinted the divine…In Jesus God took on humanity, furthering the evolution revealed in Ezekiel's vision of Yahweh on the throne in "the likeness, as it were, of a human form." -Ezek. 1:26.

"Something also happened to the disciples. They experienced the most essential aspect of Jesus as remaining with them after his death…after his resurrection, to interpret the unleashing of those powers [to heal, preach, and cast out demons] in themselves, [was] as if Jesus himself had taken residence in their hearts…In their preaching they extended his critique of domination. They continued his life by advancing his mission. They persisted in proclaiming the domination-free order of God inaugurated by Jesus." [1]

When Jesus quoted the psalmist, "I said, you are gods: you are all children of the Most High God" he not only agitated the temple teachers of the law, he challenged state authorities by equating all people as sisters and brothers and co-equals with Cesar.

It has been said, tell me your politics and I will know who your god/God is:

A god of war, or the God of peace? A god of injustice, or the God of justice? A god who seeks vengeance or the God of compassionate mercy? A god of violent retaliation or the God of nonviolence?

When we who claim to be Christian learn of and worship the God Jesus illuminated; the God of peace and nonviolence, not the god of state or nation, we will be a person who seeks peace by pursuing justice and remain physically nonviolent, but never silent.

Jesus was NEVER a Christian; the term 'Christian' was not even coined until the days of Paul, about 3 decades after Jesus/AKA: The Prince of Peace walked the earth and taught that it is the peacemakers who are the children of God, NOT those that bomb, occupy or torture others.  
 
2,000 years ago The Cross had NO symbolic religious meaning and was not a piece of jewelry. 
 
When JC said: "Pick up your cross and follow me" everyone THEN understood he was issuing a POLITICAL statement, for the main roads into Jerusalem were lined with crucified agitators, rebels, dissidents and any who disturbed the status quo of the Roman Empire and Military Occupying Forces. 
 
Jesus, while never a Christian, was a social, justice, radical revolutionary Palestinian devout Jewish road warrior who rose up against the corrupt Temple authorities and challenged their job security by teaching the people they did NOT need to pay the priests for ritual baths or sacrificing livestock to be OK with God; for God LOVED them just as they were: 
 
Sinners, poor, diseased, outcasts, widows, orphans, refugees and prisoners all living under the Roman Empire and Military Occupation. 
 
What got JC crucified was disturbing the status quo of the Roman Empire and Occupying Forces by teaching the subversive concept that God preferred the humble sinner, the poor, diseased, outcasts, widows, orphans, refugees and prisoners all living under the Roman Empire and Military Occupation above the elite and arrogant. 
 
The early followers and lovers of Jesus were called members of THE WAY-being THE WAY he taught one should be and that his sisters and brothers were those that DID the will of the Father: "What does God require? He has told you o'man! Be just, be merciful, and walk humbly with your Lord." -Micah 6:8


"Everyone in the world knows that Jesus and his teachings were non-violent: except Christians."-Gandhi

Jesus has been accused of being a pacifist, but his nonviolent responses to evil were never passive!

Turning the other cheek when struck is the sublime response to resist violence by disarming the attacker by maintaining the highest ground: self-controlled nonviolence.

"In the nations in which Christianity has predominated, Jesus’ teaching on nonviolence has been perverted into injunctions to passive nonresistance, which…is the very opposite of active nonviolence…Jesus always resisted evil…The Greek word translated as “resist” [antistenai], is literally “to stand [stenai] against/anti.”

"The correct translation is given in the new Scholars Bible: “Don’t react violently against the one who is evil.” The meaning is clear: don’t react in kind, don’t mirror your enemy, and don’t turn into the very thing you hate. Jesus is not telling us not to resist evil, but only not to resist it violently." [2]

Programs of practical nonviolent responses to the evil that is violence have been articulated since the days of Hebrew midwives, Jainism, Buddhism, Jesus, St. Francis of Assisi, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and the Muslim Badshah Khan.

Jesus vented his righteous wrath when ever confronted with hypocrisy by being outspokenly courageous, aggressive and sarcastically witty. He also was always gentle with humble sinners, children, misfits, outcasts, cripples, diseased, widows, orphans, prisoners, refugees and preferred to spend his time alone in prayer or in the company of regular people.

Legend has it that President Bush got a message from God to go and bomb Baghdad. I contend that had he meditated/thought upon what his self-proclaimed favorite philosopher-Jesus-actually taught and modeled, he would have changed course.

A few months after America began to bomb Baghdad, President Bush granted an interview with a TV reporter who asked had he prayed for Saddam Hussein before bombing his country. Bush looked like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights, stuttered some and then admitted he had not.

Jesus was very clear that one must pray for, forgive and bless/do good towards one's enemies.

One's enemies can teach one more about oneself than listening to one's own voice.

Jesus warned the adults of his time to never do anything that would cause harm to children. USA sanctions on Iraq before 2005 had already killed nearly a million people- over half of them children under five.

There is nothing about Jesus' life and teachings that can support the anti-democratic dictatorships and State in the Middle East, some of which would collapse without benefit of American foreign policy and USA tax dollars.

No pretext, rationale or spin can change the fact that Jesus would never condone violence, no matter who wears the uniform or how noble one believes their cause; not for mom, apple pie, democracy or Zionism, would Jesus say it was OK to wage war that terrorize children and all innocent beings.

It will take an evolutionary step-a transformation of hearts and minds to stop the cycle of  violence, and the only force that can defeat that evil, is by NOT mirroring it.

Jesus called us to love all our neighbors, to show compassion toward everyone, to seek justice for the poor, to forgive our enemies, to put down the sword and take up the cross of struggle for justice and peace. Jesus laid down our life and calls his followers to risk theirs for love of God in all of humanity, and that includes our enemies.

Jesus' death on a cross said: enough! This violence against another life ends with my broken body. But, many did not know what they were doing, because they did not know god was already within all themselves and every other, for all are gods; all are children of the Most High God.

Jesus might call it a blasphemy what is spun as "collateral damage" for human kind was created in the image of the Divine. The command remains "thou shall not kill" and the promise he gave was that the peacemakers are the daughters and sons of The Lord.

"We live in a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants, in a world that has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience. We have solved the mystery of the atom and forgotten the lessons of the Sermon on The Mount. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about dying than we know about living."- General Omar Nelson Bradley, Armistice Day, 1948.

About 2,000 years ago, when Christ was about 33, he hiked up a hill and sat down under an olive tree and began to teach the people;

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven."

In other words: it is those who know their own spiritual poverty, their own limitations and sins honestly and trust God loves them in spite of themselves who already live in the Kingdom of God.

How comforted we will all be, when we see, we haven't got a clue, as to the depth and breadth of pure love and mercy of The Divine Mystery of The Universe.

God's name in ancient Aramaic is Abba which means Daddy as much as Mommy and He/She: The Lord has said, "My ways are not your ways. My thoughts are not yours." -Isaiah 55:8

Christ proclaimed more: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."

The essence of meek is to be patient with ignorance, slow to anger and never hold a grudge. In other words: how comforted you will be when you also know humility; when you know yourself, the good and the bad, for both cut through every human heart.


"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they will be filled."

In other words: how comforted you will be when your greatest desire is to do what "God requires, and he has already told you what that is; BE JUST, BE MERCIFUL and walk humbly with your Lord."-Micah 6:8
 
"Blessed are the merciful, they will be shown mercy."

 In other words: how comforted you will all be when you choose to return only kindness to your 'enemy.'

"For with the measure you measure against another, it will be measured back to you" Christ warns his disciples as he explains the law of karma in Luke 6:27-38.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they see God."

In other words: how comforted you will be when you WAKE UP and see God is already within you, within every man, every woman and every child. The Supreme Being is everywhere, the Alpha and Omega, beginning and end. Beyond The Universe -and yet so small; within the heart of every atom.

"Blessed are The Peacemakers: THEY shall be called the children of God."

And what a wonderful world it would be when we all seek peace by pursuing justice; for there can be none without the other.

"Blessed are those who are persecuted because they do what God requires, theirs is The Kingdom of Heaven."

And one fine day the lion will lie down with The Lamb and man will make war no more and that is the Kingdom of God.

"I said you are gods: you are children of the Most High God."-Psalm 82:6.

When we come to that evolutionary realization-as Jesus had-no way would we, could we wage war, harm children or remain silent in the face of injustice, oppression or hypocrisy.

"You may be living in a mansion or you might live in a dome. You might own guns and you might even own tanks…you might even own banks. But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed you're gonna have to serve somebody. Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord. But you're gonna have to serve somebody."-Bob Dylan, 1979.


Imagine what a transformed world it would be, if every Christian would ponder upon the life of Jesus between today, Palm Sunday and Easter morn and determine, just who is their Jesus, just what god/God do they serve?

1.    http://www.spiritualprogressives.org/article.php/20090402223955947
2.    http://www.futurenet.org/article.asp?id=485
 
   
 
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The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
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What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
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Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

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“You cannot talk like sane men around a peace table while the atomic bomb itself is ticking beneath it. Do not treat the atomic bomb as a weapon of offense; do not treat it as an instrument of the police. Treat the bomb for what it is: the visible insanity of a civilization that has ceased...to obey the laws of life.”- Lewis Mumford, 1946



The age of warrior kings and of warrior presidents has passed. The nuclear age calls for a different kind of leadership....a leadership of intellect, judgment, tolerance and rationality, a leadership committed to human values, to world peace, and to the improvement of the human condition. The attributes upon which we must draw are the human attributes of compassion and common sense, of intellect and creative imagination, and of empathy and understanding between cultures."  - William Fulbright



“Any nation that year after year continues to raise the Defense budget while cutting social programs to the neediest is a nation approaching spiritual death.” - Rev. MLK
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