mystic


Sorry Jesus But You're Out

By: Brian Robertson


Alas, NanceGreggs has a sadly right-on observation of attitudes regarding Jesus in today’s world over on Democratic Underground and the following is an edited excerpt:

jesus with rifle

 

I hate to be the one to break it to you, Jesus, but it looks like you’re pretty well out of a job. Your followers have decided to replace you with someone more in keeping with the times, and the times apparently call for a new, improved Savior – one who is okay with torture, adores a good war, and just generally kicks butt.

Let’s face it, Lord, it’s not like you didn’t have a good run. Two thousand years is nothin’ to sneeze at in the Son of God business. But the whole Prince of Peace shtick just ain’t going over as well as it used to back in the day.

These Christians we got nowadays don’t want to hear about turning the other cheek, being thy brother’s keeper, loving thy neighbor, yadda, yadda. They’re just not into that Do Unto Others thing, and would much rather have a Do Unto Yourself kind of credo, if you get my drift.

What they want to hear is that accumulating personal wealth was part of your divine plan all along. They want to get on their cellphone and order a Green Prayer Cloth of Prosperity to place on their Bible as they pray for that promotion-plus-raise-plus stock-options – and know that if they act now, they can get two for the price of one donation. They want to hear that things like hating Muslims, homosexuals and Liberals were only left out of the Commandments because your Dad could only fit ten on the tablets, and inadvertently left off the really important stuff.

Yeah, this New Jesus is something else again. You won’t catch him blessin’ the Peacemakers and talking about that goodwill towards men crap (although I understand that if the New Jesus preaches forgiveness for adulterers and fornicators, especially if they happen to be elected-to-office Republicans, that’s appreciated).

Yes, sir, this New Jesus is ready to rock. If people on the other side of the world stand in the way of good Christians having the oil they need to get their Mercedes to church on Sunday, well screw ‘em. If sick kids are going to be a drain on taxpayers’ dollars, screw ‘em. If the workers are going to start demanding decent wages, screw ‘em.

And for God’s sake (no disrespect intended), let’s hear some positive parables about how the money-changers in the temple were really the good guys, and how that eye of a needle that rich men have to pass though to get into heaven is actually big enough to accommodate an SUV, fully loaded!

You see where this is going, Jesus? You’re just an acoustic guitar with a simple lyric about brotherhood and compassion in a world of fix-it-in-the-mix muzak for the masses.

Now, I don’t want to say you’re out of business entirely. You still got some people down here who believe in you just the way you are – that is, just the way you’ve always been, before the mega-rich preachers in the mega-churches started advertising a more pliable Savior with a more palatable agenda.

Hey, don’t get me wrong, Jesus. Your real fans are still out there. If you don’t hear them cheering as loudly as you used to, it’s just because they’re being drowned out by the megachurch megaphones blaring hatred and bigotry from every corner, selling this New Jesus who will do their bidding.

Sorry to be the bearer of these bad tidings, but if you’re going to insist on sticking with that as you do to the least among you, so you do unto Me act, it seems you’re going to have to start getting used to playing to smaller crowds.


Comments:

[A week or so ago I came across this web site and thought I had really found a treasure. Then today I read this article about Jesus being out and now what I think I have found is an add page for the Democrat party. I thought this was a site about Christian Mystics!

I find it rather hypocritical that so many people have this horror of the Iraq war and that it is just an awful thing that people are killed and maimed, but by Gosh don’t you even think about putting an end to un limited abortions which have killed over 40 million babies since Roe Vs Wade was implemented. Where is our concern about being compassionate, doing unto others, caring about our neighbor. All of these fall by the wayside as we worship at the altar of a womans right because it is her body. Sorry, it is not just her body involved, there is another human being involved and it is that one who gets dismembered or their brain sucked out, or burned by whatever chemical they inject to kill the child.

The Christian right is often accused of being self rightous, but in my experience some of the most self rightous people I have ever met where neither Christian or on the right. And by the way not only does Jesus forgive elected Republicans for fornication and adultry He also does if for elected Democrats, a recent Democrat president comes to mind right now. War is an evil thing no doubt, but is this the worst thing happening to us right now? I think not.

Until we embrace a moral compass that points to the true North, (our Lord) we will not see the end of war, poverty, prejudice, and murder of the innocent. Returning to my opening statement, I ask is this a web site about Christian Mystics or is it an ad page for the Democrat party. If it is the latter than I am done with it.]

 

[Thanks for the comment, first of all. Truth is neither Democratic nor Republican, and I found the posted entry to be a very stunning comment on one part of what is happening in this society with regards to how Jesus is perceived, regardless of where it came from. If you’ve already fallen into the sad binary thinking of On/Off Yes/No Republican/Democrat than there can be little that anyone can do to move past that brick wall. The world, and certainly Christianity, is quite as simple as all that.

Although I hadn’t thought about it till now, the blog entry that follows this one forms a kind of response to the mindset that is exhibited in this particular listing about what’s been done in Jesus’ name to Jesus. That Jesus has been “stolen” by a group in this country simply cannot be denied. What has been stolen is not Jesus, of course, but a concept about Jesus that I find wrong-headed and wrong-hearted. I don’t care who wrote it, which “party,” it remains an excellent look at what’s happening. Woody Allen, of all people, said it best: “If Jesus came back today and saw what people were doing in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.”

Your excellent comment about other problems, such as abortion, are well taken. I ask you to consider — no one entry in a blog is going to take on the entire constellation of problems from war to abortion to poverty to exploitation of the individual to personal rights and on and on. In the space of 500 words, it’s impossible. One has to spend time with a blog, I think, and see the range it contains and how it addresses various problems and concerns. There will be blips that you agree with and find touch your heart, or at least I hope so, and you will find some that you shake your head at in disagreement. That’s as it should be. But to say a particular entry about a topic doesn’t include other topics at the same time is, frankly, a bit unrealistic. It’s like going to see a Western and being peeved because it didn’t have any space ships in it because one likes movies with space ships.

I think you hit on it in a big way perhaps without quite focusing on it in your comment: The simple fact is that the problems we see, such as the ones listed above, are symptoms of a bigger problem. Is war the biggest problem we face? Perhaps not, but certainly it is the most dramatic outward demonstration of another, far deeper problem. Is abortion a tragedy against life? That it is a tragedy for all involved cannot be disputed but, once again, if we are not careful and if we focus on this or that all the time in our lives we are simply taking aspirin for a headache that has been caused by a deeper and more significant illness of the soul which remains untouched.

What is that central problem? I would say (and you’d have to get comments from other regular readers) that the central problem is being addressed from different directions, often through hinting and pointing and suggesting rather than through some direct constantly haranguing sermon which, alas, is simply not my style. If you want to read tirades that walk lockstep with your own view on every issue and every situation, perhaps this is not the blog for you. Then again, perhaps the challenges and the different angles on the same central problem is for you. You’re the one who can tell best.

Finally, if your idea of a Christian mystic is one that involves strictly living a monastic life in this world, meaning closeting one’s self in a dogma or a creed and remaining totally uninvolved with the world and its problems, refusing to put things into action, then you need to rethink what it is to be interested in the life of a Christian mystic. We are called to action by Jesus, to live within the kingdom of God, which means the absolute recognition of and facilitation of that kingdom in our lives. God’s blessings are on peacemakers, those who clothe the naked, those who house the homeless, those who tend to the ill, those who express love beyond the mere lip service of fundamentalism.

I suppose what I am saying is this: I came to the realization a long time ago that all problems are spiritual problems. They may manifest in different ways and forms, but until we have the insight, courage and spiritual dedication to tackle that central issue that challenges us as human beings, we will continue to try and fight countless little brush fires while the great flame that is at our center goes unnoticed or avoided, wanting as it does, yearning as it was said by Jesus, to engulf the world.

Blessings,

Brian]

 

[Brian
I agree with you that Jesus does not take sides in our political debates, He is neither left or right, liberal or conservative. And that was exactly my point. The featured article still reads to me like a one sided statement. I have not met any of these “Christians” who “hate” homosexuals. I have heard many discussions about what is the best way to show compassion and yet still stand up for marriage between one man and one woman. I have not heard anyone say they hate muslims, but I have heard talk about how the muslim faith confuses people because on the one hand they talk about killing infidels and on the other hand they say they are a religion of peace. I do not know any conservative Christian who does not have compassion for the poor or who does not have a desire that all people should have a better chance to prosper and have good health care. All of these statements in the article are generalizations that make it sound like the vast majority of conservative Christians don’t care about anybody but themselves. No doubt there are some who feel that way, but I have as yet not met them. I happen to be pretty strong on the abortion issue simply because of experiences in my own life and also because I beleive all other issues are subordinate to the right to be born. If you are not alive nothing else matters in this world.
I would also point out that I have no preset criteria for what I think a mystic is or should be. In fact I agree with you that they need to be engaged in the world so they can have a positive effect on it. After all what would be the point. We can be mystical, prayerful, and reverent all day and all night, but if we do not translate that to good effect in the world it has little value. That is what I am looking for in a mystic, someone who can help me channel my spiritual self into an effective Christian, living in and changing a world that is struggling and trying to find it’s way without that true moral compass of Christ that I mentioned before.
Greg]

 

[Boy, I really don’t want to get off into this, but here goes.

You have not met any Christians who hate homosexuals? God Hates Fags might be of interest to you.

Care for the poor? “It’s not a question of the poor not being important or that meeting their needs is not important,” said Paul Hetrick, a spokesman for Focus on the Family, Dobson’s influential, Colorado-based Christian organization. “But whether or not a baby is killed in the seventh or eighth month of pregnancy, that is less important than help for the poor? We would respectfully disagree with that.”

You’ve never heard anything but great tolerance from Christians for Islamic thought? May I offer up a quote from Billy Graham’s lug-headed son, “The God of Islam is not the same God of the Christian or the Judeo-Christian faith. It is a different God, and I believe a very evil and a very wicked religion.”

Or, try this on for size: Ann Coulter, mouthpiece for Christian fundamentalists says things like in October, 2007, when she participated in David Horowitz’ “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week”, remarking in a speech at the University of Southern California, “The fact of Islamo-Fascism is indisputable,” she said. “I find it tedious to detail the savagery of the enemy . . . I want to kill them. Why don’t Democrats?”

In short, if you think there aren’t Christians as reflected in the posting — far more vocal and powerful than the circle you’ve traveled in — you probably need to get out more often.

As for Jesus being liberal or conservative, I couldn’t care less about labels. But look at the role of Jesus as presented to us not by current conservative theocratic powers, but as Jesus’ image as formed by reading his own words (as opposed to those put in his mouth years after his life, as Mark was wont to do with destructions of the temple, etc. etc)

{Luke 4:18}
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me;
he has appointed me
to preach Good News to the poor;
he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted
and to announce that the blind shall see,
that captives shall be released
and the downtrodden shall be freed
(i.e. liberated) from their oppressors.”

Not by invasion, but by the inner revolution of spirit. Do you honestly think Jesus would be thrilled with the invasion of Iraq for purely personal reasons as our country exhibited through George Bush? Do you think the neglect that led to the death and destruction in New Orleans, sacrificing the poor in favor of increased property value in New New Orleans would be high on Jesus’ list of things to praise? Conservative Christians want the poor to have health care? Explain, then, George Bush’s position against extending health care to those children whose families cannot afford it as in the dreadful SCHIP fiasco.

Jesus said zip about homosexuals and a great deal about the importance of one person’s love and compassion and care for another. I don’t recall any codicil regarding gays (except in outlandish tribal rules in the Old Testament) unless you choose to twist this or that to fit your own meaning.

Incidentally, the “I hate the sin but love the sinner” nonsense that is spouted is foolishness, empty and hollow for most who offer it up. That old dog won’t hunt.

Who drove Jesus up a wall? Not the poor, not the homosexuals, not the peacemakers, but the Pharisee-mentality that is rampant in our society today. The bloodless Christianity that says, basically, “I got mine, to hell with you…” that appeals not to the best in each person (that being God and God’s unbounded love) but, quite simply, the very worst.

I assume that we can agree that George Bush is a Christian by name and reputation and, therefore, that you would find it accurate to say that his views are Christian. In fact, remember his answer to the question, “Who is your favorite philosopher?” to which he replied, “Jesus Christ.” You might take a look at George Bush vs. Jesus and spend a few minutes pondering.

By the way, I just received an email after your comment referring me to the fictitious ad at:

and it’s an interesting take on things.

Finally, does what I’ve written and suggested speak for all who would be “Christian mystics” in this world? Of course not. I do think, however, that if I begin with the idea that the kingdom of God is here, now, and that is what Jesus taught, and if I believe that Jesus’ authentic teachings point toward such things as the value of peace, the presence of Christ within the poor and suffering who we are called to help and administer to not in the form of pamphlets but in the form of food, and if I find that, for me, God is Love and not hate, Peace and not war, Inclusive and not exclusive, Present and not distant, Compassion and not legalistic, then I have certain conclusions that my heart then accepts.

I’m sure the author of the original piece would be interested in hearing what are obviously your sincere opinions and can be reached by the link that precedes the piece I quoted from.

Perhaps http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=magazine.article&issue=soj0309&article=030910 will be of interest in looking at another view of the theological undercurrents that are riptides in this society.

Blessing,

Brian]

 

[Brian
I read your response with great interest and must say it has provided me with good insight as to where you are coming from. It may be true that I need to get out more, but so do you. I do not watch TV to speak of so I am not familiar with Ann Coulter. George Bush has never invited me to the White House, I have never heard Billy Graham’s son speak, I do know a little about focus on the family, but I have never heard of Paul Hetrick. The people I listen to are everyday ordinary people who are just trying to make a living and do the best they can. I have no doubt that people in the media and in the spotlight have said and done some of the things you say, but that happens across the board. Non Christians, anti Christians, and every other type of people across the spectrum of humanity say stupid things and do dumb things, so why take it out on Christians who are more conservative. And besides I do not think it is right to make the generalization that all of them believe exactly as the people you don’t like believe. I will say one thing about one of the issues you brought up and that is the veto of SCHIP. I questioned his veto of that also, but have since read up on it and believe he did the right thing because they were trying to expand it to include people who were not classified as poor. There is now an effort that is bipartisan to put together a better package that will help the poor as well as give some relief to those in a little higher income level. I do not know how that will come out, but I believe it is better to have the parties work together so those people who really need it will really be helped. I would suggest you read about that on the Heritage Foundation websight. I would also suggest you read todays posting by Fr. Richard Neuhaus on FIRST THINGS websight about the war in Iraq and what we need to be thinking about now. Anyway that is enough on all of this from me. I sense that you are a person with a very good heart and with lots of compassion. I wish you the best and hope you keep up the good work. I enjoy reading most of your postings. I hope you have a joyous and blessed Thanksgiving. God bless.
Greg]

 

[I found, (stumbled upon while wondering aimlessly is better putting it,) site through Thom Hartman mentioning a Teasdale book titled MYSTIC HEARTS on Progressive Radio today.

I’ve posted this on my blog complete with the picture of J.C. with the rifle which I’ve retitled: OMG! I Can’t Believe He Posted This Picture.

You are audacious and bodacious and have ahhhh great big_______for even thinking this way, let alone post it and share it.

Thanks…..you’ve made my day in the “just when you think you’re the only one category.”

Wouldn’t a Jesus picture or a statue with the little kids playing soccer, or baseball or football have sufficed? (she asked sarcastically)

What a game…..Huh?

Thanks for sharing! Sharing is caring!]