Thursday, August 27, 2009

This week's lesson: I John 5:1-12

If you're not careful, you'll end up with a Jesus who makes sense.

In John's day, remember, nothing would have been easier or more natural than turning Jesus into a mythic hero -- somebody like Mithras or Osiris. No, all you had to do was tell the people back then that Christianity was just another mystery cult, and they would have caught on immediately.

Likewise, there are a number of templates we could use to build a believable Christ for our day and age. Yes, we could turn him into:
  • a cryptic philosopher (like Yoda),
  • a revolutionary friend of the poor (like Che),
  • a super-patriotic Commander-in-Chief (like Patton),
  • or even a Fairy Godmother (who grants unlimited wishes to good boys and girls).
To be sure, none of these bear much resemblance to the Christ of the gospels -- a Christ who was so puzzling, so disappointing, so different than everyone expected that they had him put to death.

But even if he was only a Christ we'd made for ourselves, at least we could understand him.

And isn't that what we really want?

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