Monday, March 2, 2015

Jesus, Poetry and Fine Wine

When I think of the way Jesus spoke, so many levels of wonder come to mind. It plays on my imagination like fine wine and good poetry. Like fine wine plays on my senses, indulging me to explore the pallet so does good freaking poetry.  Except it plays on my inner senses, my perceptions, my surroundings, my heart.   Good poetry or good art have so much meaning behind them that every time you read or study them, you walk away with something different every time.  One of the many reasons I'm inspired by Jesus is his creative plays on words and stories.

If you say he's not a poet, well you need to go take a poetry class and you would waaaay more understand Jesus and the Prophets and appreciate the poetic justice they bring to the table.  No really!  Before I started reading it like this.  It just felt like a salad kinda reading(blah).  Now I dive in like it's a divine chocolate treat!! The bible is loads more fun to read if you open it like an ancient scribe with playful clues and open your senses to the beautiful imagery they use to make us question things on every aspect of religion and politics while subtly and fiercely laying out the bare weaknesses of the human heart and saying "Just relax and let God fix it."

Only we don't just let God fix it.  We think we have to help too but we end up just putting a bandaid with the word Jesus on our wounds shout "Healed" and go on praising God as if he has totally restored our souls and we're just sitting around here, eating and waiting for his return while all the world goes to pot.  Sure we do charities here and there but our lives are devoid of his Grace in them everyday as if we somehow earned Grace the day we got saved and by keeping strict morals. We make sure we fall in line with the definition of what a Christian looks like.  Play it safe with normal Chrisitianese, do our rituals, work our day jobs and start back falling in step with the rest of the world.  Only we don't think we fall into step with them because we gave up cussing, drinking, scantily clad clothes and don't look at nudie pics and make sure we "fight" in God's name.  Do you see how this just sounds kind of ridiculous?  Or am I the only one?  Didn't Jesus come for so much more than me looking a certain way so that everyone knows what a "real" Christian looks like?

Seriously no other human being besides Jesus has said so many words that thousands (maybe millions) of books have been written trying to explain, contemplate and figure out what they mean.  No wonder we turn back to the Old Testament and give the old law just as much weight as what Jesus says, I mean, that's strait text from the law givers themselves, Moses and Elijah. It's easier for us to digest. Only Moses and Elijah aren't God, Jesus is. And he made it a point to tell Peter that on the Mtn Transfiguration. They can only point vaguely with little hints like the 10 commandments to Jesus but Jesus shines brightly at God and shows us full on what God's heart really is.  God didn't change his mind from the old Testament to the New.  And Jesus didn't just die so us terrible people could finally have a real relationship with God. That's a cheap knock off of the gospel and we sell it forwardly and wonder why people aren't buying.

Well, I'll tell you why people don't buy that: It's because it paints God with less dignity and Grace than we humans have for our own children.  I heard a preacher say a while back that "There's going to be soo many people you won't see get to Heaven, but you won't care because you'll be shouting anyways." Rrrreally? And you wonder why people don't see Christians as nice and caring.

First off, it is NOT our job to say who gets into Heaven and who doesn't.  We are NOT called to do that! Adam and Eve were deceived in thinking that they could distinguish between good and evil.  And we thought that till Jesus came and somehow we still think that when we devoid Jesus' teachings and equalize everything he says with the bible and somehow we justify that we can and do have the right to do that.  No honey, ya don't, and that should actually feel like a relief like ACTUAL LIBERATION.  Your Savior came not only so you can be Liberated from this unquestioning Obedience to the law but he came to show us the faithful questioning of the law.  Because if you notice, Jesus and Paul were big examples of quoting Old Testament scriptures and then not finishing them (like a boss) when they start talking about killing enemies and wanting to see their enemies killed.  They're like "God's about love" and booom drops the mic or in Jesus' case he just rolls the scroll up when it gets to a disagreeable place and sits down.  (he read Isaiah 61 this is found in Luke 4:18-19)Which was a very scandalous thing to do back in the day.  Well actually still is, for some reason.  A lot of us think if you question the bible, you're somehow slipping off the bandwagon.  When actually should we even be on a bandwagon to begin with?

I'm finding I think bandwagons are lame and I don't like cliche.  I don't like saying that because I belong to a certain political party I'm more Christian than some that don't. I don't like comparing my Christianity to others. Why? Because there is no substanence in that!  Someone who expects Jesus to come to others the same way that Jesus came to them really doesn't appreciate diversity, creativity or see beauty in the raw humanness that God has made.  Seriously if God were simple enough to box up into religion and look at people as binary 1's and 0's, in's and out's, then why the heck are we ALL different?  Why do we even have brains to think and process stuff if all God really want's us to do is follow rules and look a certain way and then most people think were Christians when we fight for Christian things like "In God we Trust" on buildings more than human rights, then we're good.  For real?? Who we trying to convince God or people?  Because I KNOW God say's I demand Mercy over sacrifice and Love over Law.

I believe in fighting for human rights more than oppressing them.  I believe in fighting for an unborn child's right just as much as a gay person who wants to get married.  Jesus cared more about loving someone you don't agree with than keeping a "biblical tradition". Last time I checked Love was about liberation not oppression.  Law was about oppression, pharisees were about oppression.  Jesus was about love and liberation.  He was about leveling the playing field.  He was about all people getting paid equally even if they worked all day or the last hour. And I think it's funny that because I'm not on any certain bandwagon besides the fact that I just love Jesus, that people would write me off as not Christian enough or being deceived. I love Jesus, I just sometimes don't love being a Christian because then I know I'm lumped up into this one category of characteristics that don't some up my beliefs and somehow I should adhere to them if I want to "prove" my Christianity.

But really who gives a crap what other people think? I'm not called to have other people confirm me and I think that's where we get it ALL wrong. Only Jesus has that position not us, remember we're not equal to him.  We're just equal to each other.  Enemies or not, muslim, gay or straight-laced.  We ALL fall short to the Glory of God.  I think realizing that is what will separate us from the world.  It's the appreciation of God's goodness in our enemies.  It's the realization that no matter how hard we try God is going to do what he says He's going to do.  He's got this.  We don't have to fight! We just have to love and love unconditionally like God loves us.

I love the idea of the Kingdom of God being found to those who come like little children.  Looking at the world in full wonder, mystery and thinking it is a magically beautiful place.  Children just enjoy the here and now they don't worry about the future or the past. They know everything will be taken care of and they live in the moment.  I want that kind of faith.  Where I know everything will be taken care of.  I just get to sit back and enjoy the moments, love infinitely, learn about my Creator and the created.  Revel in the mysteries of the unknown, sip my wine and think about the different flavors of creation and the created bodies the same way.  And while the rest of the world gets obsessed with measuring each other's moral muscle, I'll just sit here and love each one of them, whether they change or not and just trust my God that his mercy outshines the bad in them like it did in me.  Cheers!!

(Also Paul's interpretation of scripture changed after his conversion on the road to Damascus.  He followed the Law to an almost perfection and was very zealous before that.  After the conversion he still read the same text but in light of Jesus teachings over them.  He found he was no better keeping the law or not.  I love Paul's teaching because it sounds like straight up zealous dude.  He loved to tell the crowd about how despicable some people were then like flipped the script and was like Nope, your just as guilty. Paul understood Grace and played well on the proud to show them just how their righteousness looked in light of God's goodness. He expresses true liberation as a believer which is why somethings he says are the most controversial too and he coins his own phrases in Greek which have hard interpretations even to this day.  I just love Paul and his unique zest for the gospel!)

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