Sunday, September 02, 2007

Me and Jesus: Episode 6

Sometimes Jesus can feel like an abusive spouse. He says the most lovely things sometimes, and other times he says the most horrible things. And I struggle with what is central and what is peripheral, what is permanent, and what is transient, whether there is enough there to keep me in the relationship and whether I can find a way to ignore (or deal in some way) with the rest.

If I took my analogy seriously then I should be saying to myself: Get out! Get out of that abusive relationship and don't look back! And so many of us, so many of us Unitarians have done exactly that: liberated ourselves from an abusive religious relationship. And it hurts so much to look back because it was difficult, and now we're free. And we only want to talk about it to say how glad we are to be rid of it, and to make insulting comments to Jesus to keep him at arms length.

But as much as Jesus (and/or the tradition) hurts me, it also hurts me when someone makes those snide comments. 'Hey, that's my man!' I wanna say. It hurts when someone insults someone you love. Though I'm not sure it's Jesus I'm in love with, but maybe the Christic spirit that Jesus imperfectly incarnated.

If I am to be a Christian, it will always be an ambivalent Christian, because it's often a hard and hurtful journey.


Blogger Yvonne said...

Don't forget that the Gospels are the words that were attributed to him by later writers.

Yeshua himself was/is not exclusivist, or judgmental. He did the righteous anger thing a few times, but that's not the same as being judgmental. I'm willing to bet that if Yeshua did the Myers-Briggs test, he'd come out as an ENFP (extrovert intuitive feeling perceptive). Hmm, though, I'm an ENFP...

Check out the Scholars' Gospel, and also "Good as New: a radical retelling of the scriptures" by John Henson. Read the Gospel of John ch 14 very carefully, and note how the latter part of that chapter is not exclusivist. Commune with the Buddha/Christ energy of compassion and love. If that doesn't work, find a new hero who better represents the image of the Anointed One for you. And good luck and best wishes in your quest!

3:00 pm  
Blogger Stephen said...

Yvonne, I'm aware that many words attributed to Jesus may not have been said by him. But at the same time I'm relunctant to simply say everything I like must have been said by him and everything I don't must have been added by some other nasty person. I think many of us progessive searchers go through thinking that, but I think it's simplictic, and may be missing an important issue.

I don't think you can easily separate the historic man and the traditions that came after him. When I say 'Jesus' I can't only mean who he actually was, but have to also understand 'Jesus' as a symbol for the greater tradition too.

That tradition is imperfect, as the man himself must have been imperfect.

The issue is how to develop a healthy relationship with that tradition when you believe much of it needs reforming or rejecting. How do you let what is good feed you, while rejecting what is bad and unhealthy?

9:36 pm  

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