No quotes, no headlines from articles. This post is from the heart.
Today we celebrate the birth of arguably the greatest Teacher in the history of this measly little rock in space (which brings up most of this article). Be he God, or God-like, or merely an unusually gifted man is irrelevant to that point: He has been more influential than any other inhabitant of this planet, ever.
And yet, we learned so little from Him.
If you believe, as I do, that Jesus was sent here by His Father to save us from our sins, then you have a lot of questions:
1) First and foremost, why? There are an awful lot of subqueries to ask here. A couple that spring to mind:
a) Why aren't we perfect in the first place? God made us in His image. Is He not perfect, then?
b) Why didn't God just wipe us all out like He did during Noah's time? After all, murder didn't go away when He flooded the planet, neither did theft, or lying or adultery, all of which are mortal sins according to Moses. Did God admit He failed the first time He created us? Then for heaven's sake, couldn't He have chosen a less sinful family than Noah's to repopulate the planet? I mean, you know, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent...why a sinner like Noah? Did God run out of the clay He made us from in Genesis? And so quickly?
2) When is God going to get tired of these numbnuts who hijack His name for earthly purposes? The "War On Christmas," indeed! Can we expect another massive flood to level the planet?
3) If Revelation is accurate (a book written 300 years after Christ, by a stoned monk), then heaven only holds 144,000 souls. There are 6 billion people on the planet now, and since "souls" could mean anyone who's ever lived, we're talking about something on the order of ten billion souls. Heaven sounds harder to get into than a WASP country club for a minority.
4) Doesn't this behavior sound odd to you? A God who destroys (Noah) and humiliates His subjects (Adam and Eve, Abraham, David, Job...I could go on) in one book turns around and gives them a beautiful gift in the next? Was not an omniscient God in charge? Could He not see the failures of man ahead of time and prevent them? Didn't He get bored of running around behind us like a kindergarten teacher?
5) In fact, does not Jesus sound more like a Father than His Father does? I'm reminded often of the Star Trek (first gen) episode, The Squire Of Gothos, and that the Father is Trelane, and Jesus one of the beings that scolds him in the end. One can begin to imagine the conversation they must have had ahead of time.
6) And yet, even Jesus' teachings have failed where they count the most: the human heart. Who amongst us can claim to never have had a sinful thought?
7) Which leads me to the place Jesus' teachings should have succeeded wildly: the human mind. After all, the logic is impeccable. If you don't want to be screwed around with, don't screw around with someone else. You get what you put in. Every major religion and belief system has this at its core, this magic bank account where you deposit good will and you withdraw good will, but if you deposit ill will, you withdraw ill will (and in some systems, you even earn usurious interest rates on the order of three-fold!). Why have His teachings failed to impress the one place humans CAN control, their own minds?
Now, I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, and His Son, Jesus Christ, who was born unto men, died for our sins, arose to Heaven where he will sit in judgement of the quick and the dead, and the Holy Spirits, the last leg of the Triune God.
I just don't believe in religion. I don't believe that man, any man, can tell me how to follow my God. Either God is so involved in the day to day affairs of each man, as He was in the Old Testament, that a priest or minister becomes superficial, that we each have a direct line to Him in our hearts, or God is so uninvolved in our lives that, through Jesus, he gave us blanket immunity from prosecution by just believing that Jesus died for our sins, in which case, priests and ministers become irrelevant (again) as we each must find our own path to salvation, that the most a priest can do for us is to point out what needs forgiving in God's eye.
A tale is told of the man who dies. He enters a large chamber, a vestibule of a sort, high vaulted ceilings bathed in white marble and white plaster ornamentation.
Across the marble floor from him are two doors.
The first door, grand white oak, with brass handles and two sentries posted in the finest guard uniforms, braided gold epaulets , which has a lonnnnnnnnnnnng line of people snaking forth from it, has an huge gilded sign over it: "Lecture On How To Get To Heaven."
The second door, perpetually open with many cobwebs across the entrance, musty, old pine, with a simple knob, is marked with a simple hand carved (by a Carpenter?) wooden sign: "To Heaven".
That doorway is empty.
And to conclude today's services, a hymn...
Fairy Tale of New York (Hi Bandwidth Real Player)k
Fairy Tale of New York (Lo Bandwidth Real Player)
Fairy Tale of New York (WMV Hi Bandwidth)
Fairy Tale of New York (WMV Lo Bandwidth)
Merry Christmas, all. Happy Hannukah, all.
Aw, hell, Merry Happy Christmahannukwanzaakah, everyone! Especially Jesus' General.