Friday, February 12, 2010

Questioning Some Assumptions about Jesus...

Do any of y'all have any clue how long I've sat on this post ...? Yeah, I've shared tidbits, but not put it all "out there" in one fell swoop like I'm about to do (both today and tomorrow) ...

Recalling yesterday's recitation of the Spirit-led paradigm shifts I experienced over the past few years (and go read 'em now if you didn't yet!) ... HOW does all of this affect how I see and understand Jesus Christ..?

Backing up a bit, my previous view of God and Jesus was somewhat of a "bad cop/good cop" perspective. God was the angry "bad" cop ... and Jesus was the placating "good" cop. And they had this shtick down pat. God was pissed, and ready, even eager, to smite folks ... and we were all sitting ducks. The solution, was to get Jesus to be between me and God. Y'know, keep my entire being behind His holy silhouette. No arms, legs, or (egads!) head sticking out, like a smite-target. As I've heard Paul Young say, "quoting" God, "Y'know I love You, Son, but some of Your friends ...!" (envision God frowning, with arms crossed)

Yeah, my previous view of God was that He was rather schizophrenic ... never knew where I stood with Him ... was He mad? was I ok? should I hide? anybody got any spare fig-leaves..?

I don't know about anybody else, but I had to fire that old "god" ... so that the real God could emerge. Turns out He was always there ... always in everything, using it all to continue to draw me to Himself, and into all truth.

So, what about Jesus...? What do I do with Jesus? The old story of "God's justice must be appeased, someone's got to die ... so you'd better accept Jesus as your savior, or else pay for your own sins in endless torment/separation" just doesn't hold up for me anymore. And yet, I knew I had to come to terms with who Jesus is ... and who/what the Christ is. So, I asked God to show me. Y'know, when in doubt, go to the Source...!

Here are some things I just cannot ignore about Jesus:

~ He says He came to show us the Father ... and yet, I notice that we prefer to focus on Jesus. It's like we look at a sign to a destination, and focus on the sign, rather than going to the destination.

~ He said He's the WAY to the Father (I see this as an example - showing us that the Way to the Father is to realize that we are connected to the Father)... and yet we focus on Him, instead.

~ He said it would be *better* if He goes away ... and yet we continue to focus on His historical personality.

~ He speaks of the Abundant Life for all -- and we prefer to create an exclusive club of Christianity (have we not noticed how He came against the exclusivity of the Pharisees? And have we not noticed how Christianity resembles the Pharisees far more than Jesus?).

It seems to me that we've created a cult that focuses on the personality of Jesus, rather than hearing & heeding what He actually taught.

I just no longer believe that God had to kill God, in order to appease God. Doesn't pass the straight-face test for me.

Here's how I think we got to that:

~ Israel came out of the pagan practices of human sacrifice. It's not a far cry to go from tossing first-borns and virgin daughters into "angry volcano gods" to keep them from destroying your fields and villages, to thinking you heard God say, "sacrifice your only son." (Actually -- as Tim King said during this conference, the god that told Abraham to do this was "El" -- the generic god. As in, I have an El, you have an El, everybody has an El. This would be the god Abraham was familiar with, back in Ur. BUT -- the God that provided the ram, and who said to not kill Isaac, was Yahweh -- the Creator God -- the one who was revealing Himself to Abraham, as he could bear it.)

~ Moses gave forth the commandments from God -- very simple laws. Practically kinder-garten level rules -- how to be nice. Here's how you love God, and here's how you love other folks. Be nice.

~ When Israel returned from Babylonian captivity, the priests/scribes wanted to get the folks in line ... to obey in order to make the Messiah come, and return them to the Davidic glory days (short-sighted view of the Messiah, huh? Abraham was told it would be as a blessing to ALL people on earth). So, the priests/scribes added to the text (this wasn't seen as wrong) ... heaping on minute details to the law ... complicating a simple set of guidelines into achingly stringent requirements and an entire measure-up system (the Spirit is simple - the ego is complex). I mean seriously, read Leviticus. Does it even sound like God to you? Sounds more like a bunch of power-hungry egoic men sitting around, devising ways to make folks straighten up ("Add this abomination!" "Oh, wait, we have to make that forbidden!" "Let's not forget that women are uber-unclean - make them go away while they're all PMSy." "Don't forget this requirement." "Wait, we already mentioned that." "No problem -- say it again!").

~ And so, a complicated and blood-saturated sacrificial system was developed over time ... as a way of "atoning" for the sins committed by those people (as IF they could keep from violating various laws, just by waking up and breathing!). Here's where we get the "scape-goat" ... the animal that had everyone's sins transferred to it, and then it was cast out of the camp, to die. And the guilt-absolution lasted until the people felt good and guilty again ... had to be repeated every year (though there were numerous daily sacrifices being made ... scores of animals were slaughtered over guilt).

~ But then, speaking through the prophets, God later says, "I desire mercy, not sacrifice!" What if the sacrificial system was never God's idea, but man's? What if God met them where they were, in their egoic insistence that "something's got to die!" What if God led them from human, to animal sacrifice, as an improvement ... and eventually to letting them devise a "final" sacrifice to end all sacrifices for once and for all? But, what if that wasn't God's requirement, so much as man's insistence..?

~ What if we humans interpreted Jesus' death as God's sacrifice for us? What if we framed it in our egoic insistence of needing a scape-goat?

~ What if God always forsaw this happening -- for the Lamb was slain from the foundation of the world. I see that it was always done -- we were always reconciled.

~ I see that Jesus didn't come to accomplish anything, but to demonstrate what had always been..! I see that this is part of the "much more" that Jesus wanted to show His followers, but they couldn't then bear it. I see that most cannot bear it now. And, if we think that we've already arrived at all truth, then we're not going to be open to the much more. May we be willing to increase our "bearability."

Next, I'll go into what I've come to believe, about Jesus ...

Shalom, Dena


MysticBrit said...

I can't help this feeling that you're totally correct in just about all you say, Dena.

No sacrifice needed, 'cos there never was any 'sin' - separation - in the first place, except in our own immature minds, our untransformed awareness, which created its own reality.

And yet the majority still cling to their tribal deity, and even kill, literally or figuratively, those of a different 'tribe' 'cos they think their deity requires it.

Human knowledge has advanced exponentially in every other area, but in this we're still stuck in the world of 3000 years ago. What profound questions arise from that, and how wonderful to see that things are now changing, and we're at last throwing off our self-imposed chains and beginning to LIVE.

Dena said...

You're seeing this as I am, Harry ... and I can't help thinking that there's still "much more" here to see, beyond even this. Bring it on ..!

chris said...

"I just no longer believe that God had to kill God, in order to appease God. Doesn't pass the straight-face test for me."

I totally agree! The problem for me is that I am not sure I can call myself a Christian anymore.
After all, the whole of Christian theolgy is based on that belief.

Amy said...

YES!!! See now this has become something that I have been pondering... what do I do with Jesus?? LOL!! Fantastic insights... same thing the Father has been showing me, Dena! YES YES YES!!

The Father has spoken to me so many times, " What did Jesus' life look like? What did He do?"
He was our example of what it looks like to walk with Father... He obviously was the bridge back to relationship with Father... but He was also the example!

Can't wait for your next post!

Hugs. Amy

Dena said...

Chris - I so hear you. I've had to shed Christianity -- as I grew it got too tight, and pinched. I had to shed it. I go into that a bit later.

But, I've come to see that shedding Christianity (which I see as a wholly manmade entity) is a *good* thing. 'Course, sometimes growth can require a grieving ... go deep with it. Honor it.

And Amy - what a delight it is to read your comment! Nothing thrills me quite as much as seeing/hearing my inner thoughts expressed by another! Such a confirmation! I hope you enjoy what I share for the next couple of days ... it was good for me to put it out.

Frank said...

What would keep your "ego", or anyone else, from creating something just as "man made" as the Old Testament sacrificial system or Christianity?

Dena said...

Good question, Frank! You're really looking deeply at this concept.

Nothing would keep any of us from building with our egos. Hence, our institutions of government, schools, business, medicine, and churches, etc.

I see that God lets us concoct all manner of insane things, and we're meant to learn from them. We're meant to learn what works, and what doesn't work. The problem, AISI, is when we sanction the egoic systems with the name of God ... we claim that God approves, and even promotes, the hierarchies, the suppressions, the enslavements, the greed-fests, the wars. We don't recognize the complicitness of our own egos. As long as we THINK that God is violent, angry, vengeful, and war-promoting, and that God favors some over others, we will be the same.

We don't realize that we've created this god in our own egoic image ... the "cure" is to experience the true nature of God for ourselves. When we finally KNOW how much we are loved, here and now, as we are ... then we respond to that love, and overflow that love onto others. When we finally realize that God is All in All, that we are One with God and one with each other, everything changes.

For me, it comes down to this litmus test: is it fear? Then it's of the ego. is it love? Then it's of God.

Perfect love casts out all fear -- including the fear of God.

Frank said...

Thanks Dena. You're right about us not being able to keep our "ego" in check. You use the term "ego", I would use the term Adam man or Adamic nature within all of us. This "ego" is the anti-Christ in Revelations or the "abomination that causes desolation" in Daniel. And you're right about the cure being found in discovering our true identity in Him. There is though, a specific way, that Jesus has shown us to journey into full union with the Father. He's showing us how to put to death our life-death in His death-life. The laid down ego, put to death in Him by faith, is the only way to enter into full reconciliation.

Frank said...

Let's just make the assumption that the Old Testament system and the New Testament Church were actually God's idea, not man's. What would he be trying to show us by them?

Dena said...

To be honest, Frank, I can no longer make that assumption.

I did, for about 30 years (even longer if you count before I met Jesus at age 15). But it no longer works for me. The God I'm experiencing is not like the God others told me about.

Like Peter, when he encountered God on the rooftop, I'm willing to let go of tradition and even scripture, when they don't line up with God, as God reveals God to me.

Dena said...

Adding ... if there's something you're wanting to say, or wanting me to see, feel free to just say it. I'm willing to hear you out, whether it fits for me or not.

Dena said...

Sorry, Frank - missed your previous comment.

Yes, what you describe would be the conventional and traditional view of Christianity (at least as formulated in the past couple-hundred years ... we just think it's always been this view).

Yes, I see "ego" as "carnal nature" -- or the "Adamic nature" ... that which we THINK we are, but really are not.

I see that our true identity is The Christ ... but we have to discover this (and I see that the traditional message of Christianity can work to keep that from happening).

I'm no longer as sure as you seen to be that it has to be done, approached, or experienced in a "specific way". I see that while we all end up *to* the same thing, we each may have to go *through* unique things, in order to *undo* certain things. Your healing may not look like my healing ... and the way you need to see God may not be how I need to see God.

For me to tell another how THEY have to experience God, or to insist that they do it MY way, is an arrogance I do not wish to entertain.