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Friday, April 22, 2011
finding jesus through the back door
i love jesus. he lived the perfect life. i think we all agree, we know this is true. whether you are christian or jewish or muslim or buddhist. we know he was the righteous bomb. as much as i enjoy him now, though, i was never really into him until recently. as i've said before, i didn't grow up learning about him. but when i explored my spirituality through the new age movement, i was able to interpret and admire jesus through my own better-developed spiritual beliefs and realized just what an awesome miracle he was. a-ha moment. paradigm shift. all that.
there are two major things about jesus that i've never been able to wrap my head around. two major things that keep me from giving myself over to loose christianity. immaculate conception and the resurrection.
as magical and mysterious and powerful as i know god is, i don't think for a minute he got mary preggers without the aid of a real live penis. so in my opinion, joseph is mary's baby-daddy and there's not shame in it. jesus is still the rockingest dude on the planet, immaculately conceived or not. [on a side note, i'm always curious if, as a toddler, jesus bit other kids or threw his oatmeal on the floor like my son does. i'm sort of thinking, no, though. he was just too good to start off naughty. anywho...]
that said, immaculate conception makes a damn good story and begins the magical mystery tour called christianity with a big hazzzzaaaahhhhh! so i get why the holy roman empire pinched that bit of the story from those filthy pagans. (thank you, dan brown, for bringing this fact to light.) no disrespect to my jesusy friends who believe in the vatican's accepted truth. you very well may be right on the money and i will someday be burning in hell for writing these words... and just about every other word i've written in this blog.
throughout jesus' life, he said loads of amazing things. he is the most quoted man in history for a reason. his words were loving and peaceful and inspiring... prophetic, full of light. his direct connection to god and the universe was undeniable and incomparable. he was absolutely given heavenly gifts, because he had an enormous responsibility. god sends us all here for a purpose. jesus' purpose was extraordinary. he had to save the world. in jesus' time, people were fucking crazy. killing each other, stealing from each other, overpowering each other, raping and burning and pillaging. the planet was a shit show. god was like, "damn, baby, i've got to send some bad ass spirity peeps down to clean this disaster up."
so jesus was born, completely equipped with every weapon in god's healing arsenal.
orator skills? check.
diplomacy skills? check.
healing hands? check.
positive attitude? check.
balanced chakras? check.
rugged good looks and long shiny rocker hair? check. check.
his gifts were spectacular. and entirely possible. again, looking through my new age lens here. the japanese call healing hands "reiki". christians call healing hands miraculous. there is modern day evidence of gifts like his - people who have snip-its of his abilities to heal and connect and inspire. john of god, gandhi, oprah. but no one has had it all like jesus did. jesus got the whole bag of goodies.
with these gifts, he was able to prove to the world that he was delivering the word of god. he worked miracles to confirm he was harnessing some seriously powerful energy. "listen up, y'all! i'm going to heal the blind, feed the poor and let you know that our loving and forgiving god is everywhere! i'm the real deal, yo, so check me out! follow me around! clean my feet! love this divine universe!" so, yes, i believe without a doubt that he performed miracles and delivered god's word.
okay, moving on to the whole dying and resurrecting and moving the rock thing. as i said before - i never believed it. thought it was all a horseshit. but a couple years ago, i was sitting in church, a congregational jobbie led by a truly inspirational pastor named skip waterbury. it was easter sunday and my husband and i had just returned to the crowded pew after dumping our kids in the church's super-fun basement playroom. skip began his sermon by reminding us that we're christians and christians believe in christ's resurrection. (is that giant red arrow above my head blinking the word "hypocrite" meant for me?) he retold the story of the first good friday through easter sunday with all the drama and reality and inspiring interpretation he could muster. an extraordinarily gifted speaker, skip had (and has) the ability to make you WANT to believe. and for the very first time, this magical jesusy door opened up to me. i was bawling. but, then again, i always cry in church.
i wanted to believe but my logical self still said, me thinks no. i had already started my new age studies and felt the pull away from the doctrine of church and toward this east meets west universal spirituality. and i loved it. but the more i learned about new age, the more i thought about jesus. i realized how perfectly possible it was for jesus to work miracles and to move that big effing rock. this is why:
have you read the book "eat pray love"? in it, elizabeth gilbert mentions saint teresa of avila. teresa's this nun who meditated non-stop. she was totally addicted to her connection with god. she'd become so deeply entranced that her sisters couldn't feel her pulse. so this is my theory on jesus' resurrection. he had mastered meditation and his peace delivered him through pain. how he could bare being nailed on that cross is so far beyond the scope of my pain tolerance, and i've gone through natural childbirth three times. so in his agony and struggle during his crucifixion, he turned to god. he prayed. he submitted. he gave himself over. with his deep awareness of and love for god, one could only assume his full consciousness was with god on that cross, entering another dimension of this universe while his body suffered on earth. and much like saint teresa, his pulse would have become so weak he would appear to be dead.
so the bad guys consider him a goner and his body is transported to this cave. but while in the cave, jesus recovers enough to sit up and assess his situation. he remembers that while he was comatose, god was like, "son, you've gotta get up and finish what you started! i need you in the game right now! you can do this!" he knows he's got a job to do but there's a gigantic boulder in his way. and you know what happens to people when they're facing the worst odds... they find a way. (start humming rocky theme song while you read.) he heaves that bad boy aside, veins popping, lips quivering, muscles crunching. it's like those stories you hear of a car wreck when someone is trapped and the person at the scene drums up this superhero strength and lifts 2,000 pounds of mangled steel to pull out their loved one. call it adrenaline, the will to survive, a miracle from god - it doesn't matter. the point is, it's possible. it makes sense. and it's magic.
so i believe now. in my own way. who knows what the truth is? this is our mystery to explore and discuss.
this is what i call "finding jesus through the back door". i realized his greatness for myself, on my own terms. no one told me to do it. no one forced me to study the bible. no one convinced me i'd go to hell without accepting christianity as my sole chance for salvation. i don't want to believe in a god who damns people to hell for eternity. that's just mean. and actually, i don't think jesus would do that to anyone, and those who think so don't understand jesus' message of peace and acceptance.
i do think that jesus will welcome me into his arms when my body dies away, just like he has after all of the other lifetimes i've lived. ;-) he loves us all. and i think he sits upstairs in the universe without judgment. because he knows we'll do a fine job judging ourselves when the time comes. (read "life after life" by raymond a. moody.) i could be totally wrong. but to me, this theory makes such beautiful sense and feels so good. maybe my mind will change someday. i still haven't read deepak chopra's take on jesus. i might have a different viewpoint after that. and that's okay, too. but for now, i'm holding tight to this pigskin and sprinting for the end zone. haazzzzzzzaaaaahhhhh.
there's no one like jesus today, but bits of the gifts god gave him are spread out among each one of us. we are healers, we are teachers, we are troubadours, we are soul workers. we are working to propel this earth's energy in a better direction. working to heal the planet and heal ourselves through mindfulness, kindness, compassion and love. ain't that just what jesus would do?
in developed countries, most of us are living civilized lives; but the state of the affairs on earth is still disasterous - a big bowl of spaghetti that's splattered upside down on the kitchen floor. will jesus come back down to help us clean up our collective act? or is jesus spreading out his resources this time? allowing a piece of his infinite self to exist in each one of us in hopes that we will individually hear his call and collectively transform? hmmm...