Monday, October 21, 2013

Jesus seals the deal

My trusted online friend Fran linked to series of paintings of the American Jesus that are at once really funny  but deeply disturbing. I always listen to Fran even when she going right over my head.
When I was young, as with a lot of protestants, Jesus was too human. That's important because the humanity, the human face, is the spiritual evolution in Christianity  allowing the Easter story to mean what it means. God is humanly comprehensible. The face is every human being, not the guy in the paintings. If you are of a Franciscan temperament, you include the face of the sparrow.

 Later, Jesus became a kind of intellectual exercise I went to whenever it interested me. As my body began reminding me  of my mortality  more than  my intellect did,  Jesus became more elusive & paradoxical.  But elusiveness & paradoxes can stir me up, intrigue me & disturb me, & I chase after them. I think Jesus is being the kind of Jesus I need right now. He has my attention & he's keeping it. He's still human but he's also being spirit, & you feel spirit & even channel spirit but you can't get hold of it.  "How  is it," this spirit seems to ask me, "that I know every subatomic particle in your body, & their history from the beginning of time, & your true name, & you don't know any of these things, much less where every sparrow falls? Yet I remain just as human as you are." He's not an so much an American Jesus as a Jesus who  know how to slip  between the second & third lines of  a haiku.

So what's the real deal from Jesus? It's that the abyss isn't necessarily there. It wasn't there when I was 13 &  looking at the dark winter sky on a bad night in my home & thinking, in some way,  "People die, & you don't get to say goodbye or find out who they really are."   It wasn't there when I was 25 & staring  into  one  believing I had come to the end of art. & it's not there now. But I still see it.

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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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