Friday, August 5, 2016

Jesus before Christianity

An early appointment disrupted my usual morning pattern today.  It is amazing how important the early hours of the day have become for me and how much that experience shapes my day.  I missed that time of quietness, of praying and pondering, of reading the scripture, and journaling this morning.  

My Facebook Post for August 5, 2015, showed up on my timeline this morning and I thought it worthy to post again as today’s blog.  The Christian Church, since it’s beginning, has warped the message of Jesus by stripping him of his humanness and stressing his divine nature (somewhere up in the heaven—sitting at the righthand of God).  By stressing that Divine nature we fail to grasp the essence of his humanness.  Albert Nolan wrote a book titled, “Jesus before Christianity.” We miss the essence of Jesus’ life and what it reveals when we emphasize, as Christianity has done, only his divinity.   We emphasize him as the “Son of God” and we forget what he called himself, the “Son of Man.”

Have you ever thought about Jesus being a revelation of who we really are (human beings)?  He may be the revelation of God, but isn’t Jesus also a revelation of what human beings can be? I see in Jesus what we human beings are meant to be.   This is how I understand his life and message.  He calls us, in the light of his own life, to reinterpret— which I don’t think we’ve done—the divine possibilities of the human nature within us. If we see God revealed in Jesus, then why can’t we see the divine possibilities of our own human nature revealed in Jesus?

St. Paul suggests that Jesus is the “new Adam,” the first born of a new order of humanity. If this is so, then we cannot really and truly know what we are or what we can become until we have seen our humanity reinterpreted in Jesus’ humanness.
Lake Annecy, France

The Pharisee, the inquisitor and the bigot are ever with us and within us too. But Jesus came to reveal what we really are, and who we are really meant to be—and through this revelation, St. Paul, himself an ardent Pharisee, became a new kind of person. He took on a new inner nature, experienced a new dimension of life, and felt a new joy and sense of triumph in his soul. He became a new man!  And he shouts from the pages of his letters in the New Testament:  “Adapt yourselves no longer to this present world (the way we are now), but let your minds be remade and your whole nature transformed…(to become all you are meant to be)…” (Romans 12:2).

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