With no further ado, here's that conversation (enjoy!):
A little chat to clear things up
This is a transcript of a recent conversation. This is not intended to be a complete theological treatise, it is a fictional representation of how I believe Jesus might respond to some questions.
Me: It really is amazing to finally to get to talk directly with you, face to face. I have so many questions I really don’t know where to begin. What shall I call you?
Jesus: Jesus is fine. I don’t really care what people call me. My mother called me Yeshua. Sometimes when she was mad she called me other names.
I remember this one time when I wandered off at temple. When she caught up with me she was in a real tizzy. She grabbed me by the ear and drug me all the way home. Joseph, my dad, just laughed but that only made her madder. Do you believe it, I got grounded!
Me: You are kidding? The Son of God got grounded?
Jesus: Well she calmed down after a bit when I told her I was, “about my Fathers business.” That line got me out of a lot of trouble when I was a kid.
Me: So you called Joseph your “Dad” and called God your “Father”?
Jesus: Yes, that seemed to work out best at the time. It’s pretty much like you do today I think. Father is me and I am Him and the Spirit is in us and I am in you. Kind of blows your mind doesn’t it?
Me: Yes, the concept of the “Trinity” and union has been hard to comprehend so most people don’t even think about it.
Jesus: They were actually two of our best ideas. But like most of our ideas some self-righteous, religious type people managed to create a lot of confusion and chaos out of them. We love them anyway but they sure put a lot of people through the wringer with their beliefs.
Me: You sound a bit critical of religion?
Jesus: Hey, religion was not our idea. For us it has always been about relationship, with each other and all that I created.
Me: So you are saying that dressing a certain way or behaving a certain way or participating in religious rituals or believing certain things are not necessary to get close to you or gain your favor?
Jesus: Exactly, but you look so serious when you do that stuff, it is kind of cute. We usually get a pretty good kick out of it.
Me: But what about the 10 commandments, the “Golden Rule”? What about repentance and confession? What about going to church? What about not drinking, not smoking and not dancing? What about lust and pornography and fornicating?
Jesus: You know why Baptists are so against pre-marital sex?
Jesus: They are afraid it might lead to dancing! Love that joke, wrote it myself.
Me: Very funny, but you didn’t answer my question.
Jesus: I am sorry. I forget that you guys are always so serious about “spiritual” things. I had really hoped you had gotten past that a couple thousand years ago.
Ok, here it is, one more time. Listen up, I am only going to say this a few trillion more times, I love you man!
Me: Just love? What about justice? What about holiness? What about sin?
Jesus: I took care of it.
Me: What do mean you took care of it?
Jesus: We, Father, Spirit and I, planned it all before time even began. You think we were surprised by Adams disobedience and unbelief? This has always been Plan A, to involve ourselves into your existence and let you know we love you. Always have and always will. Did you actually think we expected you to be perfect before we could love you? King David will get a real charge out of that idea.
Me: Well maybe not perfect, but surely those who are trying should get more credit then those who do not.
Jesus: You remember when I jumped on my disciples because they tried to prevent some kids from being near me?
Me: Yes, I read that in the Bible.
Jesus: Why do you think I said my Kingdom will be made up of children such as these?
Me: Because children are innocent, pure, and trusting?
Jesus: Well they are that, but they are also selfish, noisy, fickle, messy, largely ignorant and much more prone to play rather then work. They exhibit all the stuff that I put into them when I created them. So do you.
Me: But don’t we have to believe in you? Don’t we have to believe correct things about what the Bible teaches?
Jesus: You have to trust me to live in the power of my love, but whether you believe in me or not, whether you trust me or not, I still love you.
I think you can trust me when you realize that I have already forgiven you, already believe in you, already chose you and already received you into Our embrace.
Me: But your Book, your Word has all those rules and regulations?
Jesus: Unless people use those words to love each other better they are missing the point entirely. They might as well be reading a dictionary. You can’t really think we inspired those words so that it would cause people to separate themselves from each other do you?
Me: Well, no, but a lot of people say they understand the Bible perfectly and that we should think and act like they do in order to gain your favor.
Jesus: I get a rash when people think they know Our mind and what they say about us does not reflect our unconditional love for all of you.
Look, it is not about striving for perfection, it is about love, and you can best love me by loving each other. And others can best know My love by the love that you show them.
Me: Don’t we at least have to go to church?
Jesus: Church is not something you go to, it is something you are. Don’t get me wrong, going to a meeting house with others who trust me is fine, just do not get so obligated there that you miss opportunities to love outside of those walls. Showing love to those who do not trust me yet will bring you enormous joy.
Me: You make it sound so easy.
Jesus: When people can grasp that it is much more about what we have already done for you, in you and to you then they will find the true peace and love we want to share with them.
Me: But what about our free will? How can you do things for us, to us and in us without violating our free will? Don’t we have to “receive” you or accept you and your gifts? Don’t we have to make you our personal Lord and Savior? Aren’t you standing at the door knocking, waiting for us to let you in?
Jesus: That’s a good one, personal Lord and Savior, that kills me. Wait until Brother Paul hears that one. I was kind of under the impression that Father, Spirit and I were ALREADY THE LORD OF THE UNIVERSE. DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT WITHOUT MY INDWELLING PRESENCE WITHIN YOU THAT YOU WOULD EVEN EXIST? IS NOT MY VERY BREATH THE SOURCE OF ALL LIFE?
Sorry for shouting, I just think I already earned the title of the Savior of the World.
Me: Please forgive me
Jesus: I already did, long time ago. That’s exactly my point. Why do you find it so easy to believe that we “violated” your free will to condemn you, but so hard to believe we will not “violate” your free will to redeem you?
Why is it so hard for you to trust that I was more successful at my mission then Adam was in his failure?
Besides once you can see Us for who we really are and not the false image and misguided caricature that religion has made us into you will be able to trust in Us.
Not all gifts have to be “received” to be beneficial. Suppose I went to your bank or mortgage company and paid off your house. I do not need your permission to do that. My gift was applied to your account. Your debt has been paid without any action at all on your part. In fact you didn't even know it happened until you sent in a payment and it was returned along with the deed. You may continue to send in house payments but that would just be silly and unnecessary.
My gifts for you are like that.
Me: So you are saying everyone is saved? Everyone is going to Heaven? No one is going to hell?
Jesus: Shouldn't you at least hope I succeeded in what I came to earth to do?
I am saying it has never been all about attaining rewards or avoiding punishment, it is about life. Life with me, life with us and life with each other. You are wasting your time thinking the goal is somewhere out there, up there or at some time in the future. Quit living in the past or waiting for the future, live now! I am here with you now. I have always been with you. We will always be with you, even when you choose to ignore us. We have always been for you. We will always love you.
Me: What about judgment day?
Jesus: Did I not already pay the price? Did I not already conquer sin and death? Our justice is not about revenge; our justice is about restoration and reconciliation. Our justice is about making things right, not getting even.
Our justice is not waiting for some “big day”, we are always just. Unlike you, we can see end result of our actions. What you may perceive as unjust or unfair in the present may well change over time. Trust us.
Me: Is everything I thought about Christianity wrong?
Jesus: First of all, I never intended to start a religion. That was some mans idea, and not a very good one at that.
Secondly, anything you think you know about the Father, Spirit and I that does not reflect our unconditional love and affection for you is wrong.
Thirdly, RELAX! We always have your best interests at heart, quit worrying about things that you cannot possible comprehend in this lifetime.
Me: That is really good news!
[Dena's note: I've come to see church a bit differently ... I see it as the ekklesia, the called-out-ones who were in the old covenant, called to enter the new covenant ... as I see the rest of us already being IN the new covenant, I see no more purpose for what we call "church" ... but I'm quite open for God to show me more about this ...!]