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Friday, March 13, 2015

Oh Jesus

Mythical, legendary man
Whose sandals still leave footprints in the sand.
that none can perfectly follow;
...or perfectly understand.
 
Oh Jesus;
How the charlatans have played with your story;
turned you into Apollo, son of Zeus, even Ba'al Peor, Shamash
turned you into Logos, God's "spirit",
God's right hand man,
an angel at last.
 
The Charlatans have armed you with an AK 47
Put words in your mouth you never said.
Turned you into a blond, blue eyed, crusading madman
turned your teachings on their head.
Oh barefoot itinerate wandering preacher!
And people who follow those footprints,
the more their feet fit the holes
the more they are hated and vilified
and beaten on their souls
Oh Rebbe Jeshua!
In your name your brothers have been murdered by the millions
Driven from town to town, driven into cattle cars.
In your name they murder your relatives and their sons.
Vilified and demonized, beaten and demeaned.
Even the graves desecrated.
Oh Jesus!
And those who would follow your path;
Walk thinly clothed and barefoot
healing the sick and feeding their brothers and sisters.
Walking with murderers and whores,
Alcoholics and bores.
Bothering good Christians at their front doors
and getting killed by them!
Oh Jesus!
I suspect the Messiah walks among us!
He's: in the nurses at the Hospital,
the Fireman running into the fire,
He's a she, a he-she, a Man, a Woman,
The Messiah awaits the time,
When hypocrisy will no longer be.
Oh Jesus!
If you walk among us this day
There is a burning cross they'd hang you on!
The Reincarnations of Pharisees,
Sit in the front in the most comfortable Pews
Or preach anti-semitism on the pulpit.
Oh Son of David!
The world eternally waits for salvation.
 
Christopher H. Holte, 3/13/2015

Background.

Timeline: The story of Jesus is set approximately AD 32 or so. Paul of Tarsis' time line is circa 5 AD to 67 AD and he dies in Rome while Jews were in the process of doing the revolt they believed the Messiach, who Christians identify with Jesus, was supposed to lead. Paul is semi historical in that his writings survive, heavily edited. Jesus is both mythological and legendary as his stories went through a period of oral transmission, the testaments were also heavily edited (and as we find from Gnostic survivals were culled together theologically from diverse sources). The Jewish Revolt was from 66 AD to 73 AD. Paul's dramatic visit to the Temple where his disciple Timothy was stoned because the Temple Goers were under the impression he was ritually impure and not circumcised marks the break between Paul's line of Christianity and a Jewish line. The Jewish revolt would have welcomed a second coming. In the myth that precedes Jesus the Messiach is supposed to be from the Line of David, is supposed to do miracles, and one of those miracles is to save Israel from the Romans. By taking Christianity to Greek Cities and Romans and freeing Christians from practicing Kosher (the "old law") preachers like Paul were asserting that Christian teachings were a new Law that would be superior and easier to practice than the old one. Thus the fight was between Christians like Peter and Jesus' brother James, who believed that Jesus was for Jews, would be returning to defeat the Romans literally, and those who were grasping for a "new law." But in any Case honest historians and theologians admit that from [http://www.ucg.org/booklet/god-trinity/surprising-origins-trinity-doctrine]

The idea of him being "divine" was acceptable to most Jews. The idea of him being "God" or "a God" was not. A person can be a receptacle (behave so closely to the desired virtue that one's name becomes the word for it) or example of an abstract thing, but not literally that thing. But all this happened over time and not in writing.

"For fifty years after St. Paul's life a curtain hangs over the church, through which we strive vainly to look; and when at last it rises, about 120 A.D. with the writings of the earliest church fathers, we find a church in many aspects very different from that in the days of St. Peter and St. Paul" ( The Story of the Christian Church, 1970, p. 33)."

That intervening time was marked by the first Revolt(66-73 AD), and the Kitos Revolt (115–117), which depopulated Christian as well as Jewish communities. It is a period of oral transmission and of transmissions whose originals have been lost or altered. And so the "earliest Church fathers" rise in a Church that was divorced from it's Jewish origins for the most part. Indeed it was so divorced that folks who took the "Old Testament" seriously were persecuted as "Judaizers." In any case, that persecution also became the process of Christians taking up the anti-Semitic mantle of the Romans and Greeks.

And by the council of Nicea, Jesus had become identified with ancient pagan Gods, the very Greek and pre-Christian idea of God-head, and so notions like that of Arianus were considered heretical (Arianus):

"Arius, a priest from Alexandria, Egypt, taught that Christ, because He was the Son of God, must have had a beginning and therefore was a special creation of God. Further, if Jesus was the Son, the Father of necessity must be older."

Their solution was to identify Jesus with the Logos, or "divine word", the first creation of God, and to turn the whole concept of the Trinity into an esoteric mythical doctrine:

"as Karen Armstrong explains, "the Trinity only made sense as a mystical or spiritual experience . . . It was not a logical or intellectual formulation but an imaginative paradigm that confounded reason. Gregory of Nazianzus made this clear when he explained that contemplation of the Three in One induced a profound and overwhelming emotion that confounded thought and intellectual clarity." [http://www.ucg.org/booklet/god-trinity/surprising-origins-trinity-doctrine/]>

Now mysticism is based on the kind of meditation and illumination that is the origins of religion and really great literature. It usually IS in the form of dream or mythic language. Indeed the "holy spirit" is related to the Jewish concept of the Shekhinah and Kaballist and mystery religion concepts that are as much part of psychic, spiritual and "brain matter" reality, but are not usually logical paradigms. There is a logic, but the logic is more related to the wet hemisphere's inside our heads than the material world around us.

"'No sooner do I conceive of the One than I am illumined by the splendor of the Three; no sooner do I distinguish Three than I am carried back into the One. When I think of any of the Three, I think of him as the whole, and my eyes are filled, and the greater part of what I am thinking escapes me'" (p. 117). Little wonder that, as Armstrong concludes, "For many Western Christians . . . the Trinity is simply baffling" (ibid.)." [http://www.ucg.org/booklet/god-trinity/surprising-origins-trinity-doctrine/]>

Christianity was an uneasy alliance of folks intellectualizing the concept of God, folks using the writings about the subject to guide and teach in parables and analogy, folks wrestling with the concepts to try to make sense of them and come to truths about their own lives and help others in the process, and ecstatic, meditative/contemplative, visionary illuminations. Just as most great religions are, and as the parent religions; paganism and Judaism are also.

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