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Saturday, March 26, 2016

IF CHRIST WERE ALIVE TODAY



Last week Tyler Perry presented The Passion, an American television special broadcast by Fox from New Orleans and retelling the final days of Christ to music. When interviewed by Time Magazine Perry said he believed that if Jesus were alive today, rather than travel from village to village on foot to get his message across, he'd go online and "make use of all these tools." Would he? I have for a long time maintained that if Christ had a website and charged by the hour he would no longer be Christ. Christ was a humanitarian. Charging a fee for services would make him just like the very Pharisees he rebuked for making the temple a place of business. It was that people came to Christ for help, the suffering, the blind, the sick and the needy, and that he helped them without asking anything in return but that they leave everything and follow him (which few did) that truly made him a Savior of humanity. 

There are hundreds if not thousands of so-called saviors today - TV evangelists, self-help gurus, life coaches and the like - who invoke Christ's name as they emphatically dispense advice, provided of course that you part with your hard-earned cash. Christ was a carpenter who lived simply. Unlike the Tony Robbinses of today, he didn't have a yacht and several wives, nor would he if yachts were fashionable and feasible in his time. And surely he didn't have Robbins' $500 million, or the equivalent 1st century AD sum. Yes Christ did speak of higher things, communicating to anybody who would listen a message which to that day in those parts was unheard of, revolutionary, and yet universal and simple. Love God, love your neighbor, love your enemy. 


Now holier-than-thou preachers use these slogans to line their own pockets. If Christ didn't ascend into heaven as the Christians believe then he is rolling over in his grave. And if Jesus did walk the earth today surely he'd chastise these charlatans for their paper-thin message. There are those who talk the talk and those who walk the walk. Few are they who like Christ can do both. Granted we don't know exactly what Christ was doing between the ages of 13 and 30 but it was likely more walking and talking. If JC walked the earth today I think he'd be strutting it off the grid. He'd certainly shun the big cities, divorced as they are from nature, in favor of a quieter, simpler existence in communion with nature. For he liked to speak of the birds and the bees, and not the way you're thinking, saying "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them." 


He'd enjoy a solitary existence in some Alaskan cabin perhaps, or if compelled by circumstances to rub elbows with urbanites, maybe he'd be a plumber, and the coolest one around. He'd probably spend his time doing something simple, yet skillful and practical. And the few seekers who needed to find him, be they in some remote part of the wilderness or simply with a clogged drain, would get their wish. And it would be these humble and fortunate individuals who'd spread Christ's message, possibly via the Internet, as Perry believes, or possibly just by travelling over land and sea as Christ's successors after his bodily death.




Or maybe Christ is alive today. And not just because his name is on the tip of every person's tongue, though usually only when he or she is frustrated enough to exclaim "for Chrissakes" or "Jesus H. Christ on a Popsicle stick!". Maybe his spirit lives on wherever his message is practiced. That's what I choose to believe. And I don't need a website to tell you this, and you read these words for free. I'm just here to help. But don't call on me to fix your toilet, because I'm no good at that stuff. Personally, I nominate Zach Galifianakis, who looks a bit Messiah-like. Sure he lacks the Savior's slimness but he makes up for it with a sense of humor, which if serious Jesus had more of maybe the Passion never would have happened. Imagine such a world...



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