Monday, January 31, 2011
I love Jesus, he's my teacher, and yes I know about his church . . .
I love Jesus and the Christian faith. Perhaps, coming to it with the eyes of a Jewish outsider, I was able to seeing its flowers and fruits as beautiful, and its trinity and saints as polytheism, and all the shining promises of a loving and personal god as preferable to the abstract monogod of my childhood, but after my first, clean experience of Christianity, its filthy layers of power and wealth became quickly apparent.
It’s no secret that the church lasted barely 60 years before falling prey to internal politics, that Constantine chained it to empire in the early second century and that the Catholic Church colluded with worldly powers and produced more than its share of state-sponsored murders, wars, and oppressions before it bowed to the capitalist reformation. Okay. I know all that. And I know about the genocide of native people in the name of the church and I know about manifest destiny and the rise of the religious right in the United States. And I know that the corrupt Christian church in America, empowered by politicians, bloated with money, and bowing to its own celebrities, leads its people astray . . . but all of this is our doing, foolish humans that we are! That’s not Jesus.
Jesus, himself, whether as a teacher or a god, is as wise and righteous as any teacher or deity I’ve ever known. Champion of the poor and oppressed, he taught us that the light of the Creator shines in each one of us and the Kingdom of Love is all around us, ours for the asking. He’s marvelous, wonderful! It’s not the Christian religion that’s fucked up. It’s the church! The church sold out long ago, and continues to prostitute itself today. Any power that buys the church is purchasing the blind obedience of its followers, and is able to set cultural norms through the church's claim to ultimate authority, including norms of sexuality, health, politics and economics.
Wake up, Christians! You are being used! Look at all you have: the love of god! Eternal life! Why the hell would you get involved in the world of wealth and power?
Love and mercy rule the Kingdom of Heaven and there’s room enough for everyone. The Kingdom of Heaven is inside of you, all around you. All you have to do to go there, said Jesus, is to love one another. Christians, what are you waiting for? Didn’t he show us the way? Why don’t you vote for universal health care in Jesus’ name? Didn’t he ask us to heal one another? Wealthy Christians, why don’t you sell all you have and give the money to the poor? Isn’t that what Jesus told the rich man to do? And didn’t the rich man hold tight to his bank account and fix for himself a place in hell?
Why would Christians lust after celebrity and money, if they have love and god? Why would they sell out the earth's fragile garden ecosystem? They are selling Eden away! They are selling their own grandchildren’s right to life for cheap sneakers and SUVs! The churches, aligned with political and corporate powers, are blinding you, but Christians, you are the children of love! You’ve been redeemed from the dominator world, bought back from the dominators with the blood of Christ Savior, god-in-flesh, Emmanuel. You are safe. You have nothing to fear. What do you need with armies and guns?