Blog Infiltrators Revive Jesus: The Difference Between Christ and Christian
It is an interesting time to be Larry Lyons. Recently, I've experienced an suspicious influx of responses to my satirically titled January 20th post, "Jesus Appears at Inaugural Ceremony". In it, I call attention to the wonderfully creative and subversive organizing of 10000jesuses.org, a group that intervenes in America's public discourse by challenging the "hijacking of Christian terminology and thought by institutions on the far right of the political spectrum". Essentially, the group draws attention to the blasphemy and hypocrisy that inhere the invocations of Jesus' name as a means to support fundamentalist agendas, highlighting the very poignant distinction between the example of Christ and Christianity itself.
Why did I blog about it? The November 2004 elections reminded me just how prominently faith figures into the American political system. Surely, the injudicious dichotomy of republican=religious, democrat=irreverent hedonist played a considerable part in the outcome of the election. It appears that nothing invigorates voters like talk of fire, brimstone and the cautionary tale about the dangers of moral slippage that echoes throughout every single election campaign. Too frequently, the "return to the trusty moral standards upon which this mighty nation was built" equates to a return to a mythical edenic state where the hegemony of Christianity is sovereign and uncontested. How's that for the land of the free?
The work of groups like 10,000 Jesuses is essential in that, true to its name, it democratizes Jesus. Jesus is not the exclusive possession of the religious right. In fact, if Jesus' message meshes with the platform any partisan group at all, it is with those of us who rally for a greater distribution of wealth, more peaceable means of addressing conflict and compassionate treatment of the less fortunate. Now, that's the Jesus I know and love.
Which brings me back to this recent influx of responses. I don't know how these conspicuously anonymous folks have found their way to my blog (particularly to a blog entry that is now SEVEN months old). What I do know is that, true to form, they've missed the point of the entry altogether and used my comment section for their grammatically-challenged prayers, confessions, judgments and damnations.
For example, one anonymous poster writes: "God loves us all more deeply than we can imagine, but it doesn't mean that we can believe anything we want and still be correct, nor can we behave any way we want and still be physically, spiritually and emotionally healthy."
I don't disagree with you, kindred. We can not behave any way we want and expect to maintain our health. We can not bomb poverty-stricken developing countries and amass our wealth through self-interested profiteering. We can not ensure tax cuts for the upper class while cutting healthcare and educational programs for the poor. And this is precisely what the folks at 10,000 Jesuses are saying, verbatim.
But perhaps you were talking about me in particular. Perhaps the gender of the person I share my life with is of greater importance than all of this. Perhaps the exploitation of entire nations pales in comparison to the gender of the person that Larry Lyons loves. If this is the case, then it's clear that you do not believe that God is Love. If you did, you would understand that any manifestation of Love is a manifestation of the Divine, and that anyone that desires to police, invalidate and vilify such manifestations of love are contradicting the fundamental essence of the God of Love.
If this be the case, all I can offer is an old quote of mine:
"You create your own reality - the conditions of your own suffering and the means for your own liberation. Consequently, you are subject to the God that you cognize - the God that you create. Show me a god who hates his own children - who sanctions bloodshed, endorses war and requites his displeasure with wrath, and I'll show you the man-made God of a defective and terroristic theology."
In short, you and I do not serve the same God. Your God has been made in the image of man: jealous, wrathful, hierarchal and gendered. This God looks entirely too much like man to serve as my supreme being and central pillar of my faith. For me, yours has been a terroristic theology and it has failed to affirm the beauty, complexity and precariousness of the universe as I have experienced it.