Prince of Peace
I wish you a Happy Holiday Season, and hope you are sharing closeness and Love
with those you hold dear. I thought I would share a few thoughts on this Christmas
The Prince of Peace
Today across America and around the world Christians and folks who respect our recieved message of a fellow named Jesus celebrate his birth.
His story, from the various threads of it we see is one of a common working man, a wood worker; a fellow of humble origins who wore a toolbelt, who got his hands dirty and who also saw a radically different way to relate to life, to the All that is our source, to each other as an honoring community- God incarnate amongst us came with a message of how to be more fully human, more truly honoring of lifes gift. I call this message radical in the sense that what he teaches us cuts right to the root (radix, the origin of "radical") of what is still wrong with our world today.
In a society that was constellated around family and the mutual benefit inherent in village social groupings Jesus advocated ownership by the group- predating Marx by nineteen hundred years the people in power found his threat to their class order just as threatening all the way back then.
Mary pointed out the prefferential option for the poor well before Vatican two: "God fill the poor with good things, sends the rich away empty" she sings in her canticle glorifying God and her pregnancy.
Jesus said the famous line about "...rich man having a better chance getting through the eye of a needle rather than getting into heaven" showing he was concious of the corruption of money and power in his ancient society.
Whom one ate with in Jesus day was really important; societally one would not eat with those who one did not call equal. What we are told of this man from Gallilee is that he surrounded himself with the rabble, fishermen, farmers, shephards, even tax collectors and prostitutes. "We the People" warts and all were welcome at the table of Jesus.
You'll note who scripture does not see honoring God incarnate. The religious hierarchy of his day. The people who collaborated with the occupying Rome to have power over their own fellow citizens. The religious fundamentalists who percieved as their power (and thereby their station in life) threatened by this simple man's simple message. Jewish folks have been roundly accused and persecuted throughout the centuries as "Christ Killers", when Jesus, an observant Jew was put to death by religious fundamentalists due to his threat to the status quo. He was killed by state power. Romans crucified, Jewish folks did not. Those who collaborated with Rome, who sought to keep their power, crucified Jesus.
I have read somewhere that Japanese folks need special ministering to when missionaries proselytize over there. These perceptive people "get" the fact that Jesus died at the hands of the state- and in Japanese culture the state is seen as overwhelmingly correct- making Jesus a criminal. A cultural fact that gets in the way of a quick conversion...
Jesus as he walked this earth was a progressive. A favorite scene of mine from the Bible shows Jesus writing in the sand with his finger as we see him saving a woman from stoning. Most remember the "... who is without sin cast the first stone" line but how many grasp the significance of Jesus' actions in that scene. Where in the Old Testament we saw the finger of God writing Commandments in stone, in the New Testament we see God as man reacting situationally, using reason tempered by love, figuring in the sand. As though embodiment gave the Most High perspective.
So we see that the God of the New Testament is not the warlike tribal God of the older book. God in the New Testament doesn't bash babies heads or wipeout whole towns. We are no longer shown a God of vengence but one of love. Humankind has it's freewill acknowledged not through some seedy bet and it's accompanying afflictions as in one of the Bibles oldest books, the book of Job but as the people are allowed to hear and learn from the Messiah, or not. Simple stuff. A nonjudgemental, loving God is what Jesus offers us. One has to wonder what the Pharisees and Saducees of our millenium, Pat Robertson and his ilk would do with the Prince of Peace today. My guess? We saw what a threatened power structured did to Martin Luther King. Dietrich Boenhoffer confronted a power structure that spoke spiritually but was morally bankrupt; Hitler had him killed.
Fundamentalists. Jesus died at their hands, through the power of the state. These leaders, this spiritual/political elite could sway "the people" to accede to killing a harmless man who preached love- and this was before Fox network News.
When will we learn?
Just as an aside: Today is also the birthday of Karl Rove, known as "Bush's Brain". Mr Rove is an idealogical decendent of Lee Atwater, a man known for his use of political dirty tricks. Mr Rove is widely credited for much of the Republican Right strategy that is seeing the present White House administration faring so well in the public eye despite a total disregard for the truth in both foreign policy as well as domestic. These folks have Fox News in their corner.
Where I given to that fundamentalist favorite pastime of decoding present day life in light of the book of Revelations I would hazard a guess that Bush/Rove represent that greatest of liars, the AntiChrist. Peddling death for big bucks, putting money before God and man and life itself would pretty much seal it, eh? But one thing the fundies ignore is that if the Bible is the innerrant word of God and "the big guy" can't even get four scribes to write consistant accounts of his embodied son's (that is him) life down straight, well suffice it to saythere is a bit of humanity corrupting the heavenly files, some corporeal download difficulties or something... So no, I just think that Bush/Rove are greedy beings lacking integrity- as well as any sense of moral decency. But they sure act the opposite of the fellow who's birth we celebrate today.
Please, if you are a Christian speak out against the people perverting this faith. Fundamentalism, whether Christian, Hebraic or Islamic is what is most putting our freedom and lives at stake. Putting love of power before the power of love may well be the swansong of our millenium...