wimp Jesus

What if Jesus was a wimp?

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About David Hayward

David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church. He also runs the online community The Lasting Supper where people can help themselves discover, explore and live in spiritual freedom.

  • Paul

    The amazing thing to me is that Jesus was somehow able to find a balance. He was no wimp yet he wasn’t overbearing and full of bravado either. He was able to live with confidence yet humility… I’d certainly like to find that balance.

    Great thoughts on a Monday morning :-)

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com Sabio Lantz

    And indeed he didn’t go back out there in the real world. He only hung safely with his old buddies for a short time and then floated up to heaven to sit there forever — nice and safe with his dad.

    Man, what is so brave or sacrificial about dying when you know how comfy it will be afterwards. He appears wimpy to me in the garden and after rising. The Jews were expecting a tough Messiah, — a Messiah ready to do some heavy lifting, create a peaceful world – not run off to heaven and promise it for later.

    No wonder so many Jews rejected this wimpy version.

  • Carol

    Since the Three Persons of the Holy Trinity are One, Jesus is still with us through his union with the Holy Spirit, who is also recognized as the Spirit of Christ.
    Jesus is also united to us through his humanity; so his suffering is hardly ended by the Ascension. Mother Teresa used to say that she saw Jesus in one of his distressing disguises in the faces of the poorest of the poor.

  • Carol

    When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her.
    It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.
    –Mother Teresa

    We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.–Mother Theresa

    “The fullness of our heart comes in our actions: how I treat the leper, how I treat the dying person, how I treat the homeless. Sometimes it is more difficult to work with street people than with the people in our homes for the dying because the dying are peaceful and waiting; they are ready to go to God. You can touch the sick and believe, or you can touch the leper and believe, that is the body of Christ you are touching, but it is more difficult when these people are drunk or shouting to think that this is Jesus in that distressing disguise. How clean and loving our hands must be to be able to bring compassion to them!”
    ~Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    An innocent man willingly goes to a cross to be staked to wood to die an agonizing death…for his enemies…and he is called a wimp?

    He could have skipped town. He could have brought an army down from Heaven and kicked serious keester.

    No…he went like a lamb to the slaughter…for our sakes…that we might life forever with Him in Heaven.

    A wimp. Give me a break.

  • Gary

    You are right on Steve. The point our atheist mocker seems to miss is the incredible courage and inner strength that was required of Jesus to make the sacrifice for our sins.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Nor did the Jews in general reject him. Many of his followers and all the early ones were Jewish, and many Jewish individuals over centuries have become Messianic. Proselytizing Christianity is forbidden in Israel, today, because becoming Christian is seen as a cultural holocaust. Many places Christianity is opposed by oppressive measures.

    Violent, bellicose heroes the world has had plenty of. Nothing new, there. We don’t need any more of them and not linked to religion, for sure.

  • Sarah

    :-)

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com Sabio Lantz

    @ Steve Martin:
    Lots of innocent men (and women) have willingly given their lives for those they love. And they did it not knowing if they would come back to life at all, yet alone in 3 days and then float to heaven to be a god. They did it as mortal knowing this may be the end. They ‘sacrificed’ their lives to benefit only a few, perhaps. Yet Jesus knew he was benefiting ALL of humanity (or so the story goes) and he would pop up alive right away. So I see no special sacrifice there — the mortals made a bigger sacrifice. And Jesus begged for this “burden” to be taken away while many of those mortals rushed in bravely to their sacrifices. Jesus sounds wimpy to me — especially given all the circumstances. The mortals went in like lambs to the slaughter for the sake of others too — the same jargon applies. (think of firefighters, civilians saving others during floods etc…)

    I hope that is the ‘break’ you were looking for.

    @ Gary:
    I love your repeated use of the word “atheist” in your comments as if is dirty and contemptible word.

    My above comment shows why Jesus did not have “incredible courage and inner strength” — it wasn’t until the writer of John’s Gospel muscled-up Jesus that he looks anything like you are imagining. Reading the gospels separately, we see different images of this fellow and in the early images, he appear wimpy. I think John intentionally tried to change that.

    @ Brigitte:
    Most Jews rejected Jesus just as most Americans rejected Joseph Smith but both grew later. But I agree, rejected or not, has nothing to do with truth.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Sabio, I mean to say this in sincere bafflement, it just seems really such a foreign way of thinking for me: I’ve heard from “atheists”, such who confess themselves as such, often now, these complaints of “why wasn’t it like this or that.” Well, I just don’t get it. We did not chose it. Or is it the assumption that it was all made up that makes it sound like this all the time?

    The other day, I think I provided the links, I watched 12 short installments of Dawkins talking with Allister McGrath. In there somewhere Dawkins says: “Why isn’t there some almighty being somewhere out there in the galaxy that just beams forgiveness and grace like some kind of rays?” It just baffles me. That would be better for Dawkins if there was something in the galaxy that just beams forgiveness or grace?–???

    Another man of Facebook said “Well, he does not like the idea of judgement.” — What the heck is it up to him to like or not like judgement. What difference does it make, how he feels about the idea of judgment? I don’t get it. Some people think it is a great idea that someone like Hitler come into judgement and that good and bad actually matter.

    And now, here, we have you not quite liking how the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension went and Jesus according to you is a wimp, therefore. How is it that these things should be exactly to the atheist’s liking?

    He does not believe in God, a priori, anyhow, so what’s the point of all this liking and not liking?

  • Gary

    When you stop your mocking…I’ll stop pointing out the obvious. I have no idea what kind of perverse pleasure you get from repeatedly coming in here and attacking everything Christians believe. But it shouldn’t surprise you that you get called on it.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com Sabio Lantz

    @ Gary

    (1) I wasn’t aware that this was suppose to be a Christian playground. David’s drawings seem to mock and attack much of Christianity too.

    (2) You didn’t “call me on” anything. I pointed out how Jesus could indeed be seen as wimpy depending which story you read and how.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com Sabio Lantz

    @ Brigitte,
    I’m not clear on your point, nor does it seem you are clear on mine. Why don’t you post something about your gripe about Dawkins and other atheists on your blog and we could continue the conversation there to some extent. (if possible)

  • Gary

    What the hell ever Sabio.

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    You are right, Sabio, I should write on my blog, but I have myself wrapped up in e-mail, FB and NP, and should cut back on all of it.

    I am reading on Hinduism and also on Germanic religion and the Nazi’s right now. I am also surprised at how many famous authors and poets had some sort of admiration for a man named Swedenborg. Even an author Walser, featured in an 85th birthday article in the Frankfurter Allegmeine Zeitung has something for Swedenborg. Interestingly, this author Martin Walser (I haven’t read any of his books), also appears in The European http://theeuropean-magazine.com/578-walser-martin/579-meaning-faith-and-franz-kafka, speaking about atheism and justification in current culture. You might find it interesting.

    Anyhow, I just can’t seem to understand the objections of atheists which have to do with hypothetical improvements to religion or religious figures. Dawkins would really find this suggestion of his helpful? Or he is just ridiculing or fooling around with something people believe in dead earnest, such as grace and forgiveness became possible through the work of Christ, vs. grace and forgiveness beamed from a planet. Dawkins would find that better, or it is just another spaghetti monster type ridicule.

  • Stu

    I’m with Sabio.

    To die for others knowing that everything is going to be fine and dandy afterwards takes much less courage than to face death not knowing what will come of you or your cause but having the guts to try anyway.

    I come here precisely because this is not a safe Christian zone. I’m glad for the freedom from trite answers for a change and the permission to ask real questions, however dangerous some find them.

    We make Jesus a wimp by covering him in doctrines and viewing his death from the viewpoint of an understanding of what “Christ” is. If Jesus didn’t face the real desperation and risk and potential meaninglessness of a human death at the hands of power-seeking empire then he was not truly human.

    Execution is horrific and raw. If Jesus’ death is just a necesary bump on the way to resurrection then we have made him into a wimp and an anesthetic against the realities of death.

    I believe that is what Sabio was driving at in part – and I’m glad that he can say these things here.

  • Carol

    I doubt that David intended his cartoom to start a theological pissing contest.

    ——
    THE BLIND MEN AND THE ELEPHANT.
    A HINDOO FABLE.

    i.

    IT was six men of Indostan
    To learning much inclined,
    Who went to see the Elephant
    (Though all of them were blind),
    That each by observation
    Might satisfy his mind.

    ii.

    The First approached the Elephant,
    And happening to fall
    Against his broad and sturdy side,
    At once began to bawl:
    ‘God bless me!—but the Elephant
    Is very like a wall!’

    iii.

    The Second, feeling of the tusk,
    Cried:’Ho!—what have we here
    So very round and smooth and sharp?
    To me ‘t is mighty clear
    This wonder of an Elephant
    Is very like a spear!’

    iv.

    The Third approached the animal,
    And happening to take
    The squirming trunk within his hands,
    Thus boldly up and spake:

    ‘I see,’ quoth he, ‘the Elephant
    Is very like a snake!’

    v.

    The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
    And felt about the knee.
    ‘What most this wondrous beast is like
    Is mighty plain,’ quoth he;
    ”T is clear enough the Elephant
    Is very like a tree!’

    vi.

    The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
    Said: ‘E’en the blindest man
    Can tell what this resembles most;
    Deny the fact who can,
    This marvel of an Elephant
    Is very like a fan!’

    vii.

    The Sixth no sooner had begun
    About the beast to grope,
    Than, seizing on the swinging tail
    That fell within his scope,
    ‘I see,’ quoth he, ‘the Elephant
    Is very like a rope!’

    viii.

    And so these men of Indostan
    Disputed loud and long,
    Each in his own opinion
    Exceeding stiff and strong,
    Though each was partly in the right,
    And all were in the wrong!

    moral.

    So, oft in theologic wars
    The disputants, I ween,
    Rail on in utter ignorance
    Of what each other mean,
    And prate about an Elephant
    Not one of them has seen!

  • http://theoldadam.wordpress.com Steve Martin

    Sabio Lantz,

    I didn’t write that dies for loved ones, but rather he died for his enemies.

  • Carol

    Fr. Richard Rohr seems to have really understood the Easter Message:

    EASTER
    Tuesday, April 10, 2012
    Easter Tuesday

    The voluntary self-gift of Jesus on the cross was his free acceptance of all creation in its weakness and imperfection. He chose to become a divine brother to humanity, and by giving himself to God totally, he invites all of his brothers and sisters with him into that same relationship of belonging. “Chosen in Christ from all eternity” is the way Ephesians puts it (1:4).

    The raising up of Jesus (which is the correct way to say it) is the confirmation of God’s standing and universal relationship with what he created (“covenant love”). Jesus stands forever as our Promise, our Guarantee, and our Victory (1 Corinthians 1:30) of what God is doing everywhere and all the time. The only way you can absent yourself from this victory is to stand alone and apart. Inside communion you are forever safe and saved.

    Adapted from Radical Grace: Daily Meditations, p. 151, day 161

    Prayer:
    Christ is risen! Alleluia!

    Becoming a Christian is not so much inviting Christ into one’s life as getting oneself into Christ’s life.~Orthodox Study Bible

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com Sabio Lantz

    @ Steve Martin,
    So when Jesus died for all of humanity, he died for all his enemies? Humans are the enemies of God? Yeah, I guess you are right about Yahweh, for when we read the Old Testament, it sure looks like it. He could have just flooded the Earth and killed off all us dirty humans again but with Jesus he did a blood sacrifice instead to satisfy his thirst. That is the sort of god I intend to stay the enemy of.

  • Carol

    Sabio that is Anselm’s Satisfaction Theory of the Atonement. It is speculative theology from a juridical rather than a relational perspective. The Orthodox Churches of the East would never consider such a legalistic Theory. It is only one among several theories of the Atonement.

    Unfortunately it has become the de facto Theory in the Latin/Western Churches, especially for those in Reformed (Calvinist) Protestant Tradition.

    I suggest you check out the Christus Victor Theory:

    http://therebelgod.com/cross_intro.shtml

    Of course, we are contemplating a Christological Mystery here; but it seems to me that the Christus Victor theory is much more compatible with the witness of Jesus to his Father as Loving and Merciful than Anselm’s legalistic theory.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com Sabio Lantz

    Thanx Carol. But I am actually very familiar with the different versions.
    Please see my post here which spells them out.

    I think you are right, some are much kinder and less dangerous than others — as far as theology goes. And you are also right that the vast majority of Christians buy into the bloodier version.

  • Carol

    Brigitte, many people who claim to be *atheists* are actually agnostic and have an intuitive rather than a theological faith.

    I believe the reason that atheists/agnostics have become militantly anti-religious is because many fundamentalist Christians with a disordered, negative belief system are attempting to establish a defacto Christian theocracy. We have been subjected for many months now to an attempt to turn a Presidential Primary race in one of the major U.S. political parties into a pulpit search.

    Protestant Evangelicalism and Traditionalist Catholicism have become more of a Civil Religion than the Christian spiritual Tradition revealed in the N.T. Scriptures.

    I don’t worship/serve Calvin’s Cosmic Bully, either and it grieves me to see our faith being trashed by dogmatic absolutists and judgemental moralists.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com Sabio Lantz

    @ Stu,
    Thanks. Indeed. I think David’s art allows all sort of people on the playground. I think David smiles when Christians curse at people who disagree with people they don’t like on their playground. David seems to have had this happen to himself in spades! I personally think there are some versions of Christianity that are far less harmful than others. And since Christianity affects the politics of my country in a very negative way, obstructs science and medicine, and causes families to make fun of my family (even curse at them), I like to cheer for the better versions of Christianity so as to make our country a little safer. I do the same for Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism too, BTW. I like to cheer for the better sides of all of us — even myself.

  • Carol

    Becoming a Christian is not so much inviting Christ into one’s life as getting oneself into Christ’s life.
    ~ Orthodox Study Bible

    When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and, when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support [it], so that its Professors are oblig’d to call for help of the Civil Power, it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one. ~ Benjamin Franklin, letter to Richard Price, October 9, 1780

    Religion is at its best when it makes us ask hard questions of ourselves. It is at its worst when it deludes us into thinking we have all the answers for everybody else.
    A man who lives, not by what he loves but by what he hates, is a sick man.
    ~Archibald Macleish

    Evangelical Christianity, as everyone knows, is founded upon hate, as the Christianity of Christ was founded upon love. –H. L. Mencken

  • Gary

    Some good quotes there Carol. Those who know me will testify that I abhor the militant “cosmic bully” mindset within the evangelical Christian camp. I find no truth there…no compatibility with Jesus. Mencken was right. Evangelical Christianity is founded upon hate.

    Sabio my beef with you has nothing to do with your belief system. It has to do with your intense need to control everyone’s views in every discussion. I encountered this head on in your blog when I was having a productive discussion with another poster and you swooped in and stopped it because it was (so you believed) wandering away from what the conversation needed to be. Reading your blog I found countless examples of exactly that same behavior with others. This coupled with the fact that you have repeatedly been deliberately dishonest with my comments and twist them into all sorts of false pretense that I have found any attempt at discussion with you to be utterly pointless.

    In other words…it has nothing to do with your theology and everything to do with your behavior. I simply don’t buy your shtick any more.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com Sabio Lantz

    @ Gary: Yes, we understand that you are upset.

  • Gary

    Thanks Sabio…for clearly illustrating my point.

    LMAO

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com Sabio Lantz

    Gary:
    You may have left part of your Evangelical theology behind, but you are still defending your Jesus with the same vigor you did your old one. You tell us what should not happen on this site and want to hear only one choir. And when challenged, you swear and belittle. It would be nice if you actually just addressed the points discussed like others have.

  • Gary

    Keep making it up as you go Sabio. Again…complete lies. (Was going to say misrepresentations but that does not really address what you just said.) The accusation that I only want to hear one choir is a falsehood and you know this because you have read my comments here for a long time. Still you lie about it.

    I have views…you have views. My issue is not in their differences…but in your behavior. Now go ahead and twist it again into something self serving. Perhaps it will make you feel good.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com Sabio Lantz

    OK, Gary, then you keep being the behavior cop and keep leading by example.

  • Gary

    I knew you wouldn’t disappoint me…LOL.

    Still laughing my ass off.

    (Thought I would throw in a little gratuitous profanity for you. You seem to really like it.) ;-)

  • http://thoughts-brigitte.blogspot.com Brigitte

    Hi Carol, thanks for comments. I like some of them, though I would not draw such sharp distinction between Christus victor and atonement. He is the lamb and the lion. The lamb, since passover, had the blood smeared on the door frame so the angel would pass over. This is analogous to what we do. Judgment will pass us over for the having of the blood of Christ.

  • Christine

    Ack! Ok, then. Can I throw in a few cents, for what it’s worth? (Please, read to the end before getting angry with me…)

    1. Sabio – I think you got jumped on, too. When I read there was a tussle going on here, I knew what you said, because you’d said it before, though no one seemed to notice. But I did. And I found it quite thought-provoking and have been mulling it over quite a bit since.

    I get the (I believe completely sensible and legitimate) point you are trying to make. That we would expect God to be beyond human. And while we might expect God to be just or self-sacrificing in the same ways we would ideally hope humans to be, we expect God would be more so (i.e. difference is quantitative but not qualitative). And we can see examples, including in early Christian martyrs, of humans willingly going to excruciating and painful deaths, without the kind of intellectual and emotional assurances of an life after and that everything would be ok, and they did so to achieve much less than the complete redemption of all humanity.

    So, it is perfectly logical for you to say, “So why isn’t Jesus as brave as those people?”. It didn’t strike me as mockery or some off-hand atheist preference out of the blue sky. Just a question Christians generally wouldn’t think to ask – because we learn from the beginning as a given that Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice and gratitude is the only appropriate and acceptable response (not saying otherwise, but it explains why we don’t ask those kinds of questions). It’s out of our box, so to speak. Which is why, when you first made the comment, I thanked you for it, because, whether I ultimately agree with you or not, it took me out of my box, which in such a pure and startling form is a rare gift. Which is also why this should never be anyone’s playground – but I think we actually all agree there.

    In this instance, the term “wimp” might have drawn the more critical reactions. But it is the term in the cartoon, so you can hardly be faulted for referring to it. David said “what if?” and you said “well isn’t that how it is already?”. Perfectly sensible, I think.

    2. Gary – You’re like my new (second) most favourite person around these days. Truly loving everything you’re writing here and elsewhere. It’s the “hell, yeah!” to go with my morning coffee, so to speak. Which is why you and Sabio clawing at each other seems so other-worldly strange…

    I get what you mean about Sabio’s blog (sorry, Sabio). I get the impression (probably, Sabio, because you’ve outright said so) that Triangulations is for particular types of conversations, on-topic with specific parameters. I read regularly but comment only when my comment fits the paradigm, which means more often I don’t. Not my preference – I like the more free-flowing discussions here – but it’s his blog, so he makes the rules, people vote with their feet, self select.

    BUT, I’ve never seen Sabio do that HERE. I’ve seen criticizing, but not attacking. Criticizing out of very real, sincere questions and a totally different perspective. Criticizing I appreciate and would very much like to see continue as much as possible. Criticisms that can’t be engaged are blind spots in our understanding. And here, particularly, Sabio’s comment is one that, whether he is right or wrong, illuminates one.

    3. On the wimpiness or not of Jesus – Sabio is right, I think, to point out the differences in the gospels, but it’s not just John that has the non-wimp. Luke, as I understand it, is emphasizing a more stoic Jesus to appeal to his Roman audience. The agony described is, etymologically speaking, closer to the exertion of athletes preparing for competition than of emotional turmoil. All four are different, even when the time difference in writing is not so vast (and when the oral traditions on which they are based likely overlap in time). Each writer had a message to get across, an agenda, so it is hard to determine how it may have actually happened (particularly with each recording events where Jesus was supposedly completely alone).

    One reason for the more wimp-like version would be to intentionally emphasis a more human Jesus, one with doubts, even, who would prefer to avoid pain if the same results could be achieved without his brutal murder. (And who wants a masochistic God?) One who people could better relate to in their own struggles, so they would be motivated to also overcome their own doubts and hesitations. The point being that the “weak Jesus” portrayal can be more meaningful. An author’s attempt to intentional humanize Jesus needs to be taken in that context.

    Personally, I always found the stoic version quite unrelatable. It seemed to me to send the message that (as Christians are supposed to be like Jesus) we shouldn’t doubt or agonize over painful sacrifices. That we shouldn’t *feel*. With the right context you can see that isn’t the point (Luke isn’t advocating stoicism, but appealing to a culture that already elevates it), but that attitude has permeated Christianity anyway as a result. If other authors took a different tact, I can see the value in it.

    The different versions do fuel many Christian debates over the nature of Jesus-on-earth – the extent to which he was human versus divine, how he experienced his flesh and the world. Which is, I believe, a productive and interesting debate, in which your comment, Sabio, is well-placed.

    I’ll just add that, when we see great acts of (often admirable) human bravery and sacrifice, we would be remiss to devalue it, particularly when pre-meditated, only because the people involved had perfectly natural doubts, fears and hesitations at some point beforehand. It should make it no less brave, but more so. (How brave is someone if they feel no fear?) So, if human bravery is the measuring stick, then is it not bravery that Jesus would be lacking. Just the certainty we might expect, perhaps? I don’t know. But it’s an interesting question – thanks again for bringing it up.

  • http://triangulations.wordpress.com Sabio Lantz

    Good evaluation Christine — thanx for the speaking up.

  • Gary

    I could not get mad at you Christine…I have come to value your insights too much.

    As for my issues with Sabio. It genuinely has not to do with his theology. Of course we disagree with each other…and so we should. But my beef has simply to do with the weariness of having my words and comments twisted so many times that I simply have lost the ability to engage him with my usual patience and respect.

  • Carol

    To understand the meaning of the Christological Mysteries, it is necessary to believe not only in historical Jesus; but also the Christ of faith, the Cosmic Christ. Most Western *Christians* have never been taught how to do that.

    Becoming a Christian is not so much inviting Christ into one’s life as getting oneself into Christ’s life.
    ~ Orthodox Study Bible

    THE WELL
    A Center for our Sacred Unity with God, Earth, and One Another.
    http://www.csjthewell.org

    New Melodies Break Forth…

    Sunday, April 8, 2012 Easter Sunday

    Reflection from John Surette, SJ

    As one of many ways to invite us into our celebration of Easter, I choose to read some of my favorite lines from the Indian poet Tagore who died in 1941. His words have always danced in my heart and soul and so I am happy to share then with you on this Easter. He wrote:

    “I thought that my voyage had come to its end at the last limit of my powers…that the path before me was closed, that provisions were exhausted and the time come to take shelter in a silent obscurity.

    But I find that thy will knows no end in me. And when old words die out on the tongue, new melodies break forth from the heart…”

    Sisters and brothers, we thought that our lives had come to a dead end and we found ourselves powerless to do much of anything about our situation. But you, Most Holy One, hadn’t given up on us. At the very moment when we were about to despair and quit we discovered new melodies, new hopes, new possibilities emerging from deep within ourselves.

    When old words die out on the tongue, new melodies break forth in the heart…this is a deep meaning of Easter.

    The Holy One is always making the promise that Easter experiences will emerge out of our Good Friday experiences, out of our breakdowns and rainy day troubles, out of the chaos of modern life, out of our environmental crisis with its biocide including catastrophic climate disruption, out of our personal failures, hurts, sorrows, and out of our personal deaths…Yes, Easter experiences can emerge out of all of these Good Friday situations.

    The Holy One is always presenting us with many possibilities for our lives including the possibility of transforming our present moment and therefore all future moments for ourselves, for our human world, and for Earth itself`. This is one of the things that God does within the Universe. God always promises more. The Divine always promises transformation. The possibility of transforming the present moment…ours, mine, Earth’…his is the Divine promise.

    It is the promise that God, who loves us beyond telling, can meet us in any situation in which we find ourselves, however dire, for example, a recent medical diagnosis, the death of a loved one, or the withering of planet Earth. God meets us in these experiences and activates possibilities for transformation.

    It is the Easter promise that the Divine love knows no end, no limits in us and that even when all is dark and it feels like we have come to the end of our rope, new melodies can break forth in our hearts.

    As we enter into the Easter season let us try to remember those new melodies that havebroken out in our lives in the past. Let us become aware of the melodies breaking forth in the present moment.

    Let us hum these melodies. Let us sing them. Let us dance them during this Easter time.

    Let our humming, singing, and dancing be our Easter prayer!

    Spiritual Development Program

    30. Living Paschal Mystery

    Central to understanding Christ is to understand the Paschal mystery. However, we tend to think of it only as Jesus’ passion and death. Actually, the Paschal mystery is Jesus’ passion, death, resurrection and Pentecost. What were historical events became ongoing process and is at the heart of Incarnational spirituality.

    No longer limited by time or geography, the Risen Christ has created through His ongoing Incarnation in us real-time, on-line continuity with Jesus’ earthly Incarnation. Especially with His passion, death, resurrection and gifting us with His Spirit. When we enter deeply into this Paschal mystery, we experience Christ on two levels.

    First, we are connected more intensely with Jesus in His passion and death. When we prayerfully meditate on Jesus’ passion and death, not as something outside of us but as something inside of us, we are not just creating concepts and images of the suffering and dying Christ in our minds. We are unleashing a dynamic process. We are unleashing the indwelling of the Risen Christ, Who gifts us with His Spirit Who pours the love of God into our hearts. Through this process, we identify more closely with the sufferings of Jesus such as those in the Garden of Gethsemane and His death on the cross.

    Second, in encountering the Paschal mystery we are connected more intimately to the Risen Christ as we live our own lives with their many passions, deaths, resurrections and transformations by the Spirit. In his book, Intimacy with God, Cistercian Father Thomas Keating explains the connection in this way.

    As Christians, we believe that Jesus in His passion and death has taken upon Himself all of our pains, anxieties, fears, self-hatred, discouragement and all our accumulation of wounds that we bring from our child hood and our childish ways of trying to survive. That is our true cross. That is what Jesus asks us to accept and share with Him. When we enter deeply into our experiences of the Paschal mystery, we are entering into something that has already happened, namely our union with Jesus as He carried our crosses. Jesus’ cry of abandonment on the cross is our cry of a desperate alienation from God, taken up into His, and transformed into Resurrection and gift of the Spiri t.

    Again, we unleash a dynamic process as we identify our many passions and deaths with those of Jesus. Gradually we place our faith in the Indwelling of the Risen Christ and place our hope in Jesus’ victory, entrusting our wounded lives to Him. Gradually, the Spirit strengthens our faith through the gifts of wisdom and gradually enlightens us with self-understanding, enabling us to fathom our compulsions and weaknesses. Gradually we experience being healed of our emotional wounds and the wounds we have inflicted on our conscience. All of which leads us to greater love of Christ.

    However, the impact of our entering deeply into the Paschal mystery does not stop at our own self-healing. As the love of the Spirit is poured forth in our hearts, we bond with others in the Body of Christ and act as channels of the Spirit’s healing of the world. Fr. Keating writes “We will not know the results of our participation in Christ’s redemptive work in this life. One thing is certain: by bonding with the crucified One we bond with everyone else, past, present and to come.”

    In our spiritual journey we will invariably encounter many deaths—the death of our youth, the death of our wholeness, the death of our dreams, the death of our honeymoons. They can be Paschal deaths, deaths that are real but do not end possibilities if we take them to the crucified One and set in motion the process of identifying with Jesus and allowing the Spirit to empower us to live our new lives. If we allow them, our Paschal deaths will open up Paschal resurrections and achieve greater intimacy for us with Christ.

    First Posted June 19, 2001

    2001 NY Cursillo (English).

    THE COSMIC CHRIST

    When we finally allow life to take us through the Paschal Mystery of passion, death, and resurrection, we will be transformed. At this stage we’ll have found the capacity to hold the pain, not to fear it or hate it or project it onto other people.

    Actually, it’s really God holding the pain in us, because our little self can’t do it. But the Big Self, God in us, can absorb it, forgive it, and resolve it. We know it is grace when we no longer need to hate or punish others, even in our mind. We know someone else is working through us, in us, and for us. Our little life is not our own henceforward, nor do we need it so much. We are now a part of the Big and One Life.

    Adapted from The Cosmic Christ (CD/MP3)

    Fr. Richard Rohr, Founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation

    Starter Prayer:
    Christ fills everything everywhere
    with His presence.

  • Christine

    Thanks, Gary. For understanding.

    I know what it’s like to have raw nerves about being misrepresented over time… Not with Sabio, but you’ve probably seen me “lose it” with others. It can be… tiring. It did seem that that particular feud had a back story.

    I am (perhaps all too much a sucker) for mending fences, though. Hate to see you two fight.

  • Gary

    Thanks Christine. And yeah you understand.

    We’re over it…moving on.


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