Sometime, maybe about 33 BC, a child was born. During those 30 odd years it is told he took a fish and a loaf and turned it into many. Then about 33 years later they executed him…
The spikes driven into his wrists and ankles were probably the most painful thing he knew anybody had felt. Is this what they went through? All the pain, all the questions: though he knew the answers, he could see life, for them, was filled with questions… filled with pain. It wasn’t as easy as anyone looking down upon their creations might think.
For maybe there is knowing all.
And then there is actually “knowing.”
Having human form made all the difference.
But he never expected what that last jab in the side would actually feel like.
“Why have you forsaken me,” indeed.
Finally it was “finished.”
The story goes that his body was prepared, taken to the tomb. You know the rest. Or do you?
Since he often taught with parables let’s the expanded story much the same way…
After his followers took him off to prepare him they tried to tell the story, teach the lessons, as best they could: as well as they understood them, each from their own perspective, their own experience. Surely some of what they felt, believed, was mixed in. Even they knew he had been frustrated with them because too often they didn’t understand, couldn’t “get it.” They knew enough to warn of the dangers of those who understood far less than they did. But soon the story and the lessons became bigger than them, spreading far beyond their reach. People joined the followers in time: people who never knew him but claimed to have had visions, be inspired, or…The Ebionites, the Gnostics, the followers of Marcion, and others, put what parts of him they liked into a big blender and mixed in what else they liked, left out what they didn’t.
In Nicaea they tried to straighten this all out, but it was not to be stopped. Catholics, then Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists: so many different groups, took parts of him and mixed in what they preferred. Sometimes so little, and so self absorbed or wrong, what that they created became not unlike poisonous Kool Aid.
For this is the story of humankind. We can take great good and create great evil, and though harder: turn evil to good.
Some might consider it a miracle, though if you stepped back and looked at the vast carnage over the many centuries you might use far less charitable terms.
So on it goes unto this day. One of the most recent controversies “Jesus white, or Jesus a man of color?” misses the whole point behind what Jesus said, and why he was here. His color doesn’t matter. What we think he said, and what we do with that, does.
Jesus keeps going into the blender, but we are so far away from that time even using some book or source to supposedly purify what goes in we still get it wrong as much, or more, than we get it right. Just like the disciples sometimes did when he was with them.
We all know where colored eggs come from, or gifts under the tree. We honor him for our bounty, but tis still up to the followers, and even non-believers, whether to dress in Santa suits, or color the eggs, and especially up to us to take this one life and spread the good, or use it for evil.
The real miracle however, despite the abuse, the misuse, the horrors, is like the fishes and loaves there’s always be more Jesus to go into the blender.
How much good we mix in, how much evil?
Well, that’s up to us.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
All Rights Reserved