I realize this post may offend some, so I will ask in advance for you to recognize my intent is not to challenge or ridicule any one's beliefs. I would ask that to borrow a phrase from my colleague and teacher John Scherer, http://www.scherercenter.com/
that you give me the benefit of MRI
, or most respectful interpretation.
What instigates my post is a post I read from another colleague at http://www.punkrockhr.com/
about the day and what it represents and my own thought processes over the years.
This is the day that we Christians "celebrate" or acknowledge the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Let's be clear it wasn't just an execution it is a particularly brutal ritual meant to inflict the most pain and humiliation on the victim as possible. Biblical accounts describe it in vivid detail; the trial, the scourging, the crucifixion itself and his agony on the cross as his mother watched her only son suffer and perish.
There are many who blame the Jews for the crucifixion even though the sentence was imposed and carried out by the Roman governor. Much violence has been committed against the Jewish people based on this event.
Even if you are not a Christian I would ask you how the ritual torture and execution of a man who was by all accounts a kind and gentle spirit who spoke about concepts like empathy and inclusiveness and withholding judgement of others represents anything "good"? I don't get it.
The life and death of Jesus is one of our great mysteries and great controversies. Some accounts even say that there was no Barabbas, the "zealot" who was released in Jesus's place. That this account was created as to not portray Jesus as a political activist who was executed because of the threat he represented to the established hierarchy of both the Jews and the Romans.
Jesus said some scary things; like the idea that there is a higher spiritual authority, that we have a duty and responsibility to our fellow man, and that we should be hesitant to judge others until we examine our own motives and behaviors. I also see the gospel Jesus preached as one of commitment rather than compliance. He didn't demand you accept him or his teachings, he invited you to "join up". While he did say that those who didn't eventually accept his teachings would not enjoy the benefits he didn't threaten or condemn. He invited and forgave.
One of my other brilliant colleagues, Reut Schwartz Hebron http://www.kindexcellence.com/
has a model which includes other things the ability to "see reality", to appreciate a worldview and perspective other than our own without feeling threatened. It would appear that Jesus was an early practitioner.
I will admit to not being religious, but I like to think I am spiritual. I observe how much of the controversy and strife with religion is associated with this unwillingness to "see reality". Many of the various denominations of the Christian faiths are based on things like his birth, his divinity, and even his relationship with his followers.
The Catholic Church and many of its followers were abhorred by the DaVinci Code
and its inference that perhaps Mary Magdalene was not only not a prostitute, but Jesus's wife and partner. I remember reading a book by Irving Wallace, The Word,
much earlier that described a similar Jesus as a man who was very human and beautiful in spirit and empathy rather than countenance. The Church condemned that one too.
I will admit to being troubled a bit by the current Pope, who seems more interested in compliance than commitment, especially when I see some of what is being uncovered. Again don't mistake this as a condemnation of the Catholic Church. I don't know that the issues we are seeing don't exist in every large diverse body of people from corporations to political institutions.
I am not trying to change any one's beliefs, but I am reminded of a quote by John Lennon when asked about a Beatles reunion replied, " the Beatles are a little bit like Jesus, people should spend more time thinking about what he said than who he was."
Over 2000 years ago he talked about tolerance, inclusiveness, empathy, compassion, and giving people the opportunity to choose to join rather than comply. That still resonates with me, but I have to be honest referring to the day they tortured and ritually executed the person who shared those ideas "Good" Friday still troubles me. What do you think.......?
Labels: Barabbas, Catholic, choice, church, commitment, compliance, Easter, empathy, empowerment, faith, Jesus