Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Getting Tired of Jesus

I can remember having and overhearing countless conversations about whether the death, or the resurrection of Jesus were more important. Phrases such as "Everything comes back to what He did at the cross!" or "If there is no resurrection, we are to be pitied above all men!" come to mind. Emotional ultimatums which conjure up images of a protestant Jesus with some sort of epic and incomprehensible powers which, through those two events, reversed several millenia worth of humanity's dirty deeds. Surely this man-god Jesus came to the earth just to hang out for thirty-three years and psyche himself up for those glorious three days.

Hanging around American Christian circles, one hears the name of Jesus thrown around quite a bit. He died. he rose again. He founded the Christian religion. He even founded the US of A! Now He comes to live in our hearts, if we'll only accept Him as our Lord and Savior! How do we know this? Because it's Christian doctrine.

Sometimes i get tired of Jesus though.

I get tired of reading Paul's words, and the modern interpretations which link Jesus to Western Christian traditions. Sometimes i look for someone a bit more badass than Jesus. Someone who didn't just come hang out silently for thirty-three years until it was time to die. Sometimes i think that Jesus who dressed like the pope and perpetually stares at people from his eternal position on stained-glass cathedrals is kinda boring. Boring because he didn't do anything except for die and rise again. Which is of course super awesome. But a lot of people die. And a few people even rise again. But i like people like Martin Luther King Jr., who spread revolutionary messages of Love before he died. And i like people like Gandhi who, before being killed for his beliefs, dramatically changed the landscape of a nation and indirectly, the world. I'm a fan of Henry David Thoreau, who ignored and even countered the superfluous and destructive practices of a society that enslaves unwitting participants. Jesus is kinda cool, but i want to follow people who spent their entire lives waving a banner of subversive Love and Beauty.

And all i ever learned about Jesus was how he died.

. . . 

But i've discovered this interesting fellow named Yeshua. He was born in a barn, grew up as a nomadic refugee, and became one of history's greatest dissidents. He was an anarchist, a vagabond, and a prophet. A great teacher, a revolutionary, and a social activist. A simple fisherman, a humble servant, and peaceful dissident. Oh, and he was the son of GOD. Once his message had stirred up enough fear and hatred in the hearts of the rich and powerful for long enough, they killed him. He didn't fight back, he willingly gave his life for that which he believed in. As the story goes, after his death, GOD resurrected him to show that the empires of this world have no power over the mystical ideologies which this great man taught.

They don't talk about this Yeshua in church very often. He proclaimed such disruptive teachings as "the Kingdom of GOD is within you", and "Blessed are the poor, but woe to you who are rich." He taught of a Beautiful Kingdom that is breaking forth through the cracks in this ugly civilization we've created. His message was universal - it applied to all people in all cultures. But it doesn't very well support those who'd like to build a tight doctrine around it and keep it for themselves.

. . .

I expect that one day my life will come to an abrupt end. Hopefully i'll be gunned down while spreading a message of Love, or willingly put my life in place of someone else's in some epic way. Whether or not that happens though, one day i will die. And when that day comes, i hope people will come together to remember me. But hopefully, they won't draw pictures and tell stories of my death too much. Hopefully when people think of me, they'll remember the way i Loved. I would be honored if they didn't remember me so much as they were remembered the Beauty that i lived for. If i die in a cool way, that would be a good grand finale, but i sure hope that's not the only thing they remember. If everything i write on this blog, the words that i speak throughout my day, and the actions that i take every day are forgotten, but people forever remember how i died, i'll probably be a pretty frustrated dead person.

Let us not do the same to Yeshua. Let us remember first and foremost the words that he spoke. The choices he made. The light that shone from his eyes. The message of the Kingdom that resonates with all humble people throughout all cultures. Once we remember his life, and look at his death and his resurrection in context, they become even more epic additions to the story. The grand finale. The proof that the Kingdom of GOD is here and now. The proof that the powers and authorities of these empires have no final say.

May the life of Yeshua teach us that the Kingdom of GOD is here and now.

May the death of Yeshua show us that he actually believed the message he taught.

May the resurrection of Yeshua show us that GOD also believes in the message he taught.

another world is not only possible,
she is on her way.
on a quiet day,
i can hear her breathing.
- arundhati roy