Friday, September 28, 2007

Me and Jesus (and Christ): Episode 7

When I speak of Christ I don’t think of a Second Person of the Trinity, at least not as old theologians did, and some still do; instead I think, I feel, about a spirit of anointing, what the Greek word Christ refers to, about a spirit of blessing that is so powerful in its revolutionary vulnerable way, power-with not power-over, cooperation not competition and content and conquest... that this spirit could not be silenced and destroyed by evil and death, but lived on and grew in community more life affirming.

I think of Christ as a parable itself, and believe it is stronger, theologically for it.

Ron Robinson

It's funny how things turn around. After years of trying to reject Christ and follow Jesus, right now I find myself turning more to Christ. Jesus was a historical fallible person. I cannot follow him in a mechanical way. For example was Jesus, maybe just a little bit, racist, sexist, homophobic? There are all kinds of historical arguments we could have about this, but I think we have to admit that its quite likely he was somewhat prejudiced, as he was influenced by the world around him.

So let's just say that Jesus was homophobic, does that mean that I can't be a follower of him as a bi man? Well if following means agreeing with everything he said and thought then I can't be a follower. But if following means following the Christ spirit that Jesus imperfectly incarnated then I can.

Jesus himself followed the Christ, the Spirit of Liberation moving in him, and as a human being incarnated the Christ imperfectly. So Jesus himself may not have followed the full implications of living in the Christ Spirit. He may not have personally seen that what he was saying and living would lead to a religious community not definied by race and culture. He may not have personally seen that the type of religion he was advocating could go beyond Judaism, but his followers, who were also following the Christ Spirit did see this, after his death.

So the question cannot be 'What would Jesus do?' The question has to be, 'What would I do, if I incarnated the Christ as much as Jesus did?' Jesus provides a model for being a Christ, but that does not mean we have to mechanically copy Jesus' life and action.

So right now, I feel like I don't want to follow Jesus, I want to follow Christ, I want to be a Christ. That is becoming for me what it might mean to be a Christian.

That's where I am right now, anyway.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your point seems not historical enough to me. Christ is the greek word for Messiah. It seems that both Jesus and his friends came to the conclusion that he was the awaited Messiah, God´s anointed. This talk about "Christ-spirit" apparently has some meaning and relevance to you, but I wouldn´t why you try to connect this with the jewish Jesus. Please explain./Jonas Lundström

5:49 pm  
Blogger Stephen said...


What I mean by Christ Spirit is what Paul spoke about when he said that 'in Christ there is no Greek or Jew' or that the church is the 'Body of Christ.' Clearly this cannot literally refer only to the historical Jesus but must refer to a way of being 'in Christ' as a spiritual lifestyle.

Jesus still provides a model for this, and I'd want this being 'in Christ' to be more modelled on Jesus' life than Paul did. Jesus himself would probably talk about 'entering the Kingdom of God.' But after the resurrection I think this gets personified in the Risen Christ. Christ became both the memory of the person and the experience of a spiritual reality in a community.

5:46 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been following your episodes of "Me and Jesus (and Christ)" with great interest, and would like to thank you Stephen for the fresh perspectives you bring, that are helping me grow in my faith.

Peace and Light,


8:59 pm  
Blogger fausto said...

Stephen, you are such a (historical, traditional) Unitarian! How I wish that our own distinctly Unitarian claim on Jesus as Christ were more vigorously preserved and promoted today than it is.

Jonas, when Christians speak of "Christ" they mean something different than the Jewish notion of "Messiah", even though the Greek "Christos" and Hebrew "Moshiach" both mean "anointed one". The meaning has changed since the time of Jesus and his contemporaries, in large part due to the influence of Paul, as Stephen notes.

1:33 am  

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