Monday, March 28, 2005

Resurrecting Jesus

OK, not your typical Easter-time post, but my gosh have we got some remedial work to do as a supposedly "Christian nation", getting this Jesus thing to synch with what's REALLY going on around here. As it is, we're not doing too well at being either a Christian nation or as a secular nation. We're pretty mixed up about the rules of spirits (our distracted and distraught consciences) and the "rule of law", the basis of fairness, social tolerance, conscientious compassion AND civil justice.

As many might know and many others might guess, I'm not a fan of this "son of God" stuff, but hey, ok, there probably WAS this rather charismatic guy named Jesus from Nazareth or thereabouts, back in the days of water buckets and ox carts, and he seemed to have some pretty good, if radical things to say - radical then and now - never a guy accepted by polite society, even decades after he'd died.

A couple of millennia seem to have confounded things so much. There is that notorious comment by the little old woman who said, "If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me." But don't westernize Jesus: he wasn't a westerner. And don't Anglicize - much less Americanize - Jesus: he died centuries before English was invented, centuries even before anyone ever spoke "thees" and "thous." He'd never heard of democracy, and even our contemporary notions of religious "freedom" and human and women's "rights" would have seemed pie in the sky to him, though having tread so lightly and having remained childless by choice, he does seem to have been one of the original environmentalists.

Are we a Christian nation? Surely, there is plenty of sentiment to think so - but almost no reality. "WWJD?" "What would Jesus do?" the bumperstickers ask. Well, for starters, he'd probably walk or ride a bike to church, maybe drive an efficient hybrid car or carpool, rounding up his friends. Yes, Jesus was not a suburban kind of guy, nor was he a family man. He was more of a communal bohemian, hanging out day and night with his cohorts, rather a beatnik lot of fringe characters.

Even these days, a gen-U-INE Christian, a true "follower" of Jesus would not own much of anything really (plain and simple) and would in fact shun most worldly possessions - most but not all - I'm thinking you could keep your toaster oven but not a Nintendo set. A true follower would certainly be a pacifist to the point of not accommodating or encouraging any use of force. (Don't make excuses here for your patriotic friends and family in the armed forces - nothing suggests Jesus would have defended defenders using rocket launchers, sorry.) A true follower would be an anti-materialist and against the use of overly conservative, greedy or authoritarian power.

Jesus the man, the whatever, was communal, humble, a righteous moralist, a lover of allegory and fable and myth and hopes for even humbler people. It seems he was a pacifist but at the same time aggrevated by and indeed angry (outright angry) at authoritarian power. He would have loathed the imperialist American character as he seemed to loath the imperialist Roman character, taxing babies to pay for bayonets or bombs - or the slave-drawn bath water of the elite cronies and corporate vultures in power. (In his day and in ours, much is the same.)

If we were to really resurrect Jesus as a role model and hero in this culture, we would put Wal-Mart and Wall Street and the Detroit dinosaurs and Lockheed Exxon/Mobil on the skids in a month. If we were to really resurrect Jesus as the iconic and defining character of the "American character" we would rehire our soldiers to be builders and restorers and recyclers and rescuers. Our weapons of mass destruction would lose their luster, and we, as a people, would muster not for churning consumption and the religion of Capitalism but muster for fragality and satisfaction and diplomacy and tolerance and patience and peace. We would go to great lengths to curtail our anger and bitterness and austentation and imperial/material audacity.

We would be a better nation, a vastly different nation, like so many others now already adhering more closely to what Jesus practiced and preached.

More soon on this.


At 3/28/2005 10:52 PM, Blogger genetic mishap said...

interesting post... i'm new to this blog but just wanted to comment

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