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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Musing on Jesus

Recently a Facebook Friend asked in a post, "What if Jesus had not been crucified? What would his life have been?  Would we even know of him today?  My friend's questions stirred my own imagination.

Who was Jesus?  I often muse about this. There was a flesh and blood person who lived two thousand years ago in the eastern Mediterranean region called Palestine. He was a baby who absorbed through his senses, learned, developed and grew, like all humans do.  He was a boy who played, got into mischief, tested his boundaries, and loved his parents.  He was young man who worked, studied, worshipped, dreamed, struggled and enjoyed life.   He had all of the life experiences that every human who has ever lived has had or will have.  His teachings of love, compassion, justice, forgiveness, and grace really aren't that exceptional when placed among the wide array of religious, philosophical, and moral traditions of his time and prior.  Like many prophets, priests, teachers, and shaman before him, he brought hope and transformation into the lives of people who encountered him.   He eventually died at the hands of imperial power because of his political and religious convictions, an end suffered by countless people through the ages.  Then his story took a dramatic turn into the world of mysticism, myth, belief, spiritualism and cult.  Eventually the story was institutionalized, appropriated and domesticated by the same empire that killed him.

Today, over two thousand years later, on the other side of the earth, in a culture that would be unrecognizable to Jesus, I sit and muse about who he was, and have dedicated my life's work to this musing.  Through it all Jesus' life, teachings, and story still bring hope and transformation in people's lives.  I think not so much so that we may believe he is God, but because he is so much like us.  For me, this means hope and transformation come through following the humanity of Jesus, more so than worshipping his divinity.


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