My mind wandered several times to the various stressors, but I did manage to keep good position and keep count even through the wanderings.
A friend of mine posted on facebook today:
I know these questions may seem "loaded". They really aren't. I ask because I don't feel like I know the truth or understand the issue. I am asking because I am getting tired of hearing and reading things from the 'Right' (The Rush Beck O'Reilly crowd) about how "they are Conservative and they love Jesus Christ" and that "the wretched soulless Liberals hate Christ and organized religion." [Their words, not mine.]My response was this:
So, if you feel you understand who he was (or is); would you call Christ a conservative, or a liberal, or something else. Progressive maybe. I like progressive.
One more question, maybe more important. If it were possible to ask Christ this question, how would he classify himself?
I have follow-ups. You begin.
He[Jesus] was a radical from a privileged background. He was a young man trying to overturn the system, and he was killed for it.
You look at his rhetoric, and you see it: Sell all you have, and give it to the poor. Feed the hungry, visit the prisoner, clothe the naked, heal the sick. The system is not itself the problem, your participation in the system is. When a man strikes you, give him your other cheek.
You look at Islam, or Judaism, Confucianism, Daoism, or Classical Paganism, you see wise old men, trying to show how to get along in the world, to revere your elders, to respect property, to overcome your enemies, to gain power. You look at Christianity, specifically Jesus' parts, and you see a young man, of privilege, who turns his back on status and position to associate with tax collectors, sinners, but also Roman magistrates and members of the Sanhedrin. A man who could talk to lepers and Pontius Pilate on the same footing. He felt that if you were not doing all you could, you were not doing enough (the parable of the widow and the pennies).
He disregarded the world in favor of the Kingdom of God: Where all stand before our Father, who is both loving and stern, teaching and judging our attempts, if not our results.
He was a radical. The world does not work that way. He admonished us to create a better world.
Paul, on the other hand, tried to reconcile the message of Christ to the world. He worked with the Pagans (the unknown god bit in acts), spoke to the people of the world in the language they could understand (the advice about women, about churches) while trying to capture and spread the fire of a young, dead, radical (the bit in Corinthians about Love, the parts about his zeal and his spreading it).
Then there's John, who moved Christ from a radical crying out in the desert to a Divine Being incarnated on Earth. Who admonishes the churches for being weak, who claims the Divine Christ will separate the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats, who brings us everlasting fire for those who are insufficiently motivated to bring the Kingdom of God.
There is who Jesus was, and what has been said about him. He commented upon that himself.
In the end, the more important questions is this: Who do you say that he is, and how do you reflect that in your life?
When you find people who are not behaving as you think they should and saying that they follow Christ, you ask them how the are enacting their love of God and their neighbor, the commandments that Jesus gave. Charity? Volunteerism? Spreading the gospel? The answers will be enlightening.
So, there's my question for you. How do you love God, and love your neighbor?