“Why do you come to our church? Most of us don’t want you there. Services used to run an hour. Now, thanks to you, they last longer. I only go there because it is good for business. We don’t want you at our church.” I heard that on more than one occasion when I went to the places God is farthest from.
What’s that, you ask?
The old proverb states, “The nearer the church/synagogue/temple the farther from God, Allah, The Buddha, etc..”
I do know there are few people who see themselves as Christians who would, were they to meet the historical Jesus in the flesh, give him ten seconds of their time.
Well, first off he came from the boonies. Galilee was perhaps just a little bit short of Al Capp’s Dogpatch in his Lil Abner comic strip. Being a Galilean peasant Jesus had an accent that was atrocious. On top of that Galileans dropped their aitches.
Add to that that he was a dirt poor carpenter who had not a single harsh word for the folk good people shun. Jesus had nothing but hard words for the folks who cross the road to avoid what they see as the trash.
“If someone wants your cloak give him your shirt as well,” puts the kibosh on all those folk who say they are Christians while taking all and sundry to court (when did that become turning the other cheek).
This week there is a report that in Toronto some fellows threw piss on a group of Moslems handling out their literature. Can’t find anything from the words of Jesus that say that is the right thing to do. Nope, not one.
People often say to me, “You are the only sincere Christian I have ever met.” When they say that I reply, “You don’t know what I was thinking.”
In his 1999 commencement address at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, Kurt Vonnegut told the graduates: “[Jesus’s] greatest legacy to us, in my humble opinion, consists of only twelve words. They are the antidote to the Code of Hammurabi, a formula almost as compact as Albert Einstein’s ‘E = mc2’…. Jesus of Nazareth told us to say these twelve words when we prayed: ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us….” And for those twelve words alone, he deserves to be called “the Prince of Peace.’”
Right now I have a man running around Toronto putting up posters that say there is a police investigation into myself as a pedophile.
A fellow who says he is a Christian asks me why I don’t take the man to court. I reply, “Well, in Christ I can’t do that.”
He says, “I don’t accept that.”
A lot of folk who say they are Christians don’t accept that.
Conrad Black whose piece that prompted this I am posting at the end has made a life out of taking people to court.
Thus it comes to me as ironic that it is the atheist Kurt Vonnegut who seems most to understand Jesus.
Not the Pope. Not the Archbishop of Canterbury. Not the priests and ministers in the churches.
Was anyone ever more done by than Jesus? I have an authorized replica of The Shroud Of Turin hanging in my home. On it is written the agony on the garden where Jesus sweat blood, the brutal beating by the Romans when he was scourged, the marks of the Crucifixion, the spear wound in the side. It is all there.
And what does this man say before he dies? Does he say, God, avenge me on these fucking bastards who have done this to me?
Nope. Jesus says, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
They did not know then. They do not know now.
A fellow named Simon Brown writes furious diatribes practically daily saying the Doctrine of The Holy Trinity is Satanic. He ain’t the only one.
Meanwhile in his book THE DEVILS OF LOUDON the presumed atheist Aldous Huxley explains the idea of the Holy Trinity better than has any churchman I have read.
Easter is coming. I offered my SHROUD replica to a few churches. Not interested they have told me, “We have faith we don’t need that.”
Well faith, as St. Paul and Jesus have said, is not enough. “Three things are required,” states Paul. Three things? Hey, Simon, here’s that Trinity again.
What are those three things Paul says are required. They are Faith, Hope and Love and the greatest of these, states Paul, is love. He could also have added, “Love is the most lacking.”
Others say, “We can’t go in YOUR home. You are a SINNER.”
I look at them incredulously when they say that. I refrain from saying, “And you are not?”
The words would be wasted. Clearly, in their minds, they are not.
Judge not lest you be judged. Condemn not lest you be condemned taught Jesus.
It is amazing how swift those who see themselves as righteous are to judge and to condemn.
Again from Kurt Vonnegut: I am so smart I know what is wrong with the world. Everybody asks during and after our wars, and the continuing terrorist attacks all over the globe, “What’s gone wrong?” What has gone wrong is that too many people, including high school kids and heads of state, are obeying the Code of Hammurabi, a King of Babylonia who lived nearly four thousand years ago. And you can find his code echoed in the Old Testament, too. Are you ready for this?
“An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
A categorical imperative for all who live in obedience to the Code of Hammurabi, which includes heroes of every cowboy show and gangster show you ever saw, is this: Every injury, real or imagined, shall be avenged. Somebody’s going to be really sorry.
Though Vonnegut described himself as a Humanist — a secular set of beliefs to which Isaac Asimov also subscribed as an alternative to religion — and even called himself an atheist in another commencement address, he points to the story of Jesus Christ not as a religious teaching but as a cultural narrative that bequeaths a valuable moral disposition:
When Jesus Christ was nailed to a cross, he said, “Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do.” What kind of a man was that? Any real man, obeying the Code of Hammurabi, would have said, “Kill them, Dad, and all their friends and relatives, and make their deaths slow and painful.”
His greatest legacy to us, in my humble opinion, consists of only twelve words. They are the antidote to the poison of the Code of Hammurabi, a formula almost as compact as Albert Einstein’s “E = mc2.”
Vonnegut makes sure his disposition toward religion isn’t misunderstood and the religiosity of these tales doesn’t obscure his larger point:
I am a Humanist, or Freethinker, as were my parents and grandparents and great grandparents — and so not a Christian. By being a Humanist, I am honoring my mother and father, which the Bible tells us is a good thing to do.
But I say with all my American ancestors, “If what Jesus said was good, and so much of it was absolutely beautiful, what does it matter if he was God or not?”
People ask, :”Aren’t you angry this man is blaspheming you?”
Well, truth be told they don’t say “blaspheming.” They say “smearing.”
Blasphemy is Greek for Smear. What they really say is, “Aren’t you angry this man is smearing you?”
Truth is I am saddened. I am saddened because the one unforgivable sin is Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
Now not all spirits are holy. Which are not holy? Again Jesus. “You shall know them by their fruits.”
Fruits means works. So all those folk running around shouting that those of us not like them are going to burn in Hell are really unholy spirits. This man and those who help him are committing the one unforgivable sin.
That is why the old saying goes, “The nearer the church/synagogue/temple the farther from God, Allah, the Buddha.”
The fellow smearing me filed a report with the police. I guess he was taking it around the city to show people because a copy was found on the sidewalk. It was given to me. I called the police. The police said, “You can’t have that.” “Well, I do have it,” I replied. “Read from it,” they said. I did. The police said, “Yes, you have it.’
Then I went in and spoke with them. I brought along with me the records of nearly twenty years of hate.
“Do you want him punished?” they asked.
I replied, “No. I’d just like him to stop.”
The cops replied, “Good. That is the kind of answer we like to hear.”
Well, that was a couple of years ago.
The smearing has not stopped.
But what does God say? Well, God says, “Don’t concern yourself. Vengeance is mine. I will repay you.”
I can either trust that and trust God or I can choose not to.
A young fellow who works with the man shouted at me that I am a monster.
He is a Pentecostal. I had invited him by to have a look at the Shroud. I said, “Pick up a beer from across the street at The Beer Store.”
He snorted in contempt. Then I remembered Pentecostals are forbidden alcohol.
Pardon me kid but Jesus did not turn wine into water, he turned water into the best wine those who drank it said they had ever tasted.
It is true that people who have said they are Christians have done some pretty gawdawful things.
In the same issue of THE NATIONAL POST in which Conrad Black wrote his piece is a story about some pretty hideous goings on in Ireland (a place, it seems to me, that has had more than its share of hideous going on). The link to that is at the end as well.
For its first three hundred years Christianity was an illegal religion practiced in the privacy of people’s homes.
When it got made legal it became a bureaucracy. Then it did want bureaucracies do.
Oppressed people freed from oppression often become oppressors.
All that does is show how little those folks had and have of love in them.
As I said, Love is the rarest of all things.
Twenty-first. Night. Monday.
Twenty-first. Night. Monday.
Silhouette of the capitol in darkness.
Some good-for-nothing — who knows why–
made up the tale that love exists on earth.
People believe it, maybe from laziness
or boredom, and live accordingly:
they wait eagerly for meetings, fear parting,
and when they sing, they sing about love.
But the secret reveals itself to some,
and on them silence settles down…
I found this out by accident
and now it seems I’m sick all the time.
I once was sick. Now I’m not.
The greatest sinner is not the one who does wrong but the ones who by doing nothing empower them.
Mel Gibson makes a movie called THE PASSION OF CHRIST.
When a stranger comes hoping to pray with him Mel calls the cops.
That, to me, sums up conventional Christianity.
Do you know the word “hypocrite” is Greek for “actor.”
The better an actor lies the more they get paid, the more they get honored.
We are in a time which honors and rewards the fake while it dishonors and robs the real.
If this isn’t the end times what is it?
Well, it certainly is topsy turvy.
Let those who speak evil speak evil.
Let those who choose to be silent be silent.
Conrad Black states “There is no comparison between my religion and these crimes.”
The problem is, there is. He, himself, is one of the proofs of it.
We don’t get grapes from thistles said Jesus.
Ain’t that the truth?
Drop by. Drop by THE BEER STORE across the street or, if you’d like something stronger, THE LIQUOR STORE around the corner to the west on College.
Have a beer with THE SHROUD OF TURIN.
The man whose image is on that shroud was condemned by the world.
Jean Cocteau, a homosexual (and thus one who knew a thing or two about being condemned) said, “Whatever the world condemns you for make it your own. It is yourself.”
Yes, it is. Shoulder your cross. March with me to Golgotha, the hill of the skull, so called because, according to legend, David buried there the skull of Adam.
It makes sense that the place where lies the skull of he who brought sin into the world should be the one where He who drove it out drove it out.–Reg Hartt 03/04/2017.