Jesus as “The Other”

Mark 15:1 As soon as it was morning, the head cohanim held a council meeting with the elders, the Torah-teachers and the whole Sanhedrin. Then they put Yeshua in chains, led him away and handed him over to Pilate. 2 Pilate put this question to him: “Are you the King of the Jews?” He answered him, “The words are yours.” 3 The head cohanim too made accusations against him,4 and Pilate again inquired of him, “Aren’t you going to answer? Look how many charges they are making against you!” 5 But Yeshua made no further response, to Pilate’s amazement.
6 Now during a festival, Pilate used to set free one prisoner, whomever the crowd requested. 7 There was in prison among the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection a man called Bar-Abba. 8 When the crowd came up and began asking Pilate to do for them what he usually did, 9 he asked them, “Do you want me to set free for you the ‘King of the Jews’?” 10 For it was evident to him that it was out of jealousy that the headcohanim had handed him over. 11 But the head cohanim stirred up the crowd to have him release Bar-Abba for them instead. 12 Pilate again said to them, “Then what should I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” 13 They shouted back, “Put him to death on the stake!” 14 He asked, “Why? What crime has he committed?” But they only shouted louder, “Put him to death on the stake!” 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the mob, set Bar-Abba free for them; but he had Yeshua whipped and then handed him over to be executed on the stake.
16 The soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the headquarters building) and called together the whole battalion. 17 They dressed him in purple and wove thorn branches into a crown, which they put on him.18 Then they began to salute him, “Hail to the King of the Jews!” 19 They hit him on the head with a stick, spat on him and kneeled in mock worship of him. 20 When they had finished ridiculing him, they took off the purple robe, put his own clothes back on him and led him away to be nailed to the execution-stake.
21 A certain man from Cyrene, Shim‘on, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country; and they forced him to carry the stake. 22 They brought Yeshua to a place called Gulgolta (which means “place of a skull”), 23 and they gave him wine spiced with myrrh, but he didn’t take it. 24 Then they nailed him to the execution-stake; and they divided his clothes among themselves, throwing dice to determine what each man should get. 25 It was nine in the morning when they nailed him to the stake.26 Over his head, the written notice of the charge against him read,
THE KING OF THE JEWS
27 On execution-stakes with him they placed two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. 28 [a] 29 People passing by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! So you can destroy the Temple, can you, and rebuild it in three days? 30 Save yourself and come down from the stake!”31 Likewise, the head cohanim and the Torah-teachers made fun of him, saying to each other, “He saved others, but he can’t save himself!” 32 and, “So he’s the Messiah, is he? The King of Isra’el? Let him come down now from the stake! If we see that, then we’ll believe him!” Even the men nailed up with him insulted him.
33 At noon, darkness covered the whole Land until three o’clock in the afternoon. 34 At three, he uttered a loud cry, “Elohi! Elohi! L’mah sh’vaktani?”(which means, “My God! My God! Why have you deserted me?”)[b] 35 On hearing this, some of the bystanders said, “Look! He’s calling for Eliyahu!”36 One ran and soaked a sponge in vinegar, put it on a stick and gave it to him to drink.[c] “Wait!” he said, “Let’s see if Eliyahu will come and take him down.” 37 But Yeshua let out a loud cry and gave up his spirit. 38 And theparokhet in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw the way he gave up his spirit, he said, “This man really was a son of God!”
40 There were women looking on from a distance; among them were Miryam from Magdala, Miryam the mother of the younger Ya‘akov and of Yosi, and Shlomit. 41 These women had followed him and helped him when he was in the Galil. And many other women were there who had come up with him to Yerushalayim.
42 Since it was Preparation Day (that is, the day before a Shabbat), as evening approached, 43 Yosef of Ramatayim, a prominent member of theSanhedrin who himself was also looking forward to the Kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Yeshua’s body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead, so he summoned the officer and asked him if he had been dead awhile. 45 After he had gotten confirmation from the officer that Yeshua was dead, he granted Yosef the corpse. 46 Yosef purchased a linen sheet; and after taking Yeshua down, he wrapped him in the linen sheet, laid him in a tomb which had been cut out of the rock, and rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb. 47 Miryam of Magdala and Miryam the mother of Yosi saw where he had been laid.

Intro. I’m naming this talk, “Christ as the Other”

In the past I’ve made note of Christ’s “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?” Today, however, I am going to explore another element of this chapter. The notion of ‘the other.’ And more specifically, our betrayal of the other.

So, what exactly to I mean when I talk about ‘the other?’ In short, when I speak of ‘the other’ I am talking “the not same.” To borrow a phrase from John Caputo. That person, idea, or thing that doesn’t “fit.” That position that we’ve been talk ought not. Those people that we tend to point the finger to in shock, because they’re not like us. Or at least, not like the us that we want others to see. Lets try to flesh this out.

1. Take the example of Jesus. Why was He crucified? I’m suggesting that He was crucified because He refused to bend the knee to the then currant social constructs. He stood strong. Calling for unconditional love. Calling out the religious leaders in their hypocricy. Declaring that God is love, not obsessed with ritual. And when he found out some political leaders were hunting him down. He taunted them. Calling them powerless.

He embraced the position of “the other.”

And how did His contemperaries react? They reacted with fear. They realized that He was bringing change. And they were not comfortable with it. So what do they do? They decide, “We need to snuff him out.” “One must die for the many.” In the words of one of the high priests.

However, in their attempts at saving themselves, they killed God. In their infatuation with their notions of god, when He came to visit, they killed Him.

Are we doing the same? How quick are we to shut down, to mute the voices that question our perceived norms? Are we ready to listen? Are we ready to really listen, even to the “outsider?” I guess I’m asking, “What if salvation is found in “the other?”

For instance, Jesus’ contemperaries, again, were planning to rise up and destroy their oppressors, the Romans, kill them all. But Jesus came with an alternative idea.

“Love your enemies.”

Calling warnings that,

“Those who live by the sword, will perish by the sword.”

And did they listen? No, not really. And did He then stop? No, He was willing to pay the ultimate price. Death. And still they marched on their “Make Jerusalem Great Again” campaign, and were destroyed. Wrecked by the Romans.

Where are we headed? Are we listening to the outsiders? What pain could be saved if only we were to learn to ask,

“How do we look to you?”

Of those who we perceive as strange and ugly. Who is calling out warnings to us? Who are we shutting down? Where does your faith lie?

2. This takes us to level 2, concerning ‘the other’

So does this mean that any group, or person or thing should then define itself as ‘the other?’ Can I call myself ‘the other?’ No thats called complaining. ‘The Other’ is more like an unconscious placement of those/that which we don’t like, not a chosen position.

For example, I remember, when growing up that one of the focuses seemed to be our persecution. How we, the mennonites, used to be persecuted by the rest of the church. We were strange to “them.” And were tortured for it.

And on the opposite side of the coin. The end times would be here very soon and we would be tortured for our faith. So stand firm!

And honestly, I think that’s, at least partially, great. The choice to remember. To never forget the price that our ancestors were willing to pay to remain true to their convictions. That says something about courage available to us.

And on the stance of remaining aware of the fact that we’re on a dangerous path where pain and struggle may come at us at any time is also, I think, a good position to remain aware of.

However, the danger is also there, for us, to become so infatuated with the idea that ‘they’ are always coming for us. That we always are our guard and we forget to love. We believe we are ‘the other’ and therefore are constantly standing on alert with our swords in hand so that before we even become aware of it we’re running around hurting others. We become the predators, because we are so scared of losing out. I’m afraid we see a lot of this, especially in the north american church today. We’re loosing our religious empires, and we’re terrified.

Will we attack? Like Jesus’ contemperaries? Or will we learn to truly love? In the midst of struggle?

So again, the danger in naming ourselves ‘the other,’ the persecuted outsiders, is that we begin to fight back, not realizing that we are the empire attacking ‘the pesky other.’

Outro
We may do this by writing a “Nashville Statement,” while hurricanes cause real damage to people’s lives. Or in our attitudes toward single people or married people. The rich or poor people. People from other religions or those fundamentalist christians. People of other races or gamers or business people or the messy or the perfectly sparkly etc etc etc.

So what? What can we do?
Paul gives us a hint toward a better way in Galations 3

26 For in union with the Messiah, you are all children of God through this trusting faithfulness; 27 because as many of you as were immersed into the Messiah have clothed yourselves with the Messiah, in whom 28 there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor freeman, neither male nor female; for in union with the Messiah Yeshua, you are all one

Peter Rollins explores the radical implications of this verse in his book “Insurrection”
(read mid page 165- early 167)

So. How do we remain awake? How do we continue to live by love when the temptation to point fingers is so strong? How do we allow our connection in Christ to draw us together? I’ll close with a short story. And hopefully we talk about some of these questions after.

See “Betrayal” page 117 in the book ‘Unorthodox Heretic’ (by Peter Rollins)

-Love and peace

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This is a journey

Intro:

I was born on March 21, 1989. I grew up in a family of 8. Mom, Dad, four brothers and one sister. I’m about in the middle. Two older brothers and two younger brothers. My sister was born between my two younger brothers. We grew up 10 miles north of Arborg.

I grew up in church. It was a pretty conservative close knit community, quite set apart from the rest of the world.

Stage 1:

My first memory is sitting in my bed in the middle of the night, crying. Because you see its so dark. And I’m alone and its scary. I feel alone.

At age 12 my guilt get the better of me and I knelt by my bed and said “the prayer,” the sinner’s prayer. It eased my guilt. For a while anyway.

A few years later, I imagine, I found myself once again reading from “The Scriptures.” I just wanted to please God.

Anyway, I found myself reading these words of Jesus,

“You can be forgiven for any sin, except one. If you blaspheme the Holy Spirit, you can never be forgiven.”

I didn’t really know what that meant, but to my horror I noticed the words slither through my mind.

“I blaspheme the Holy Spirit. I blaspheme the Holy Spirit. I blaspheme…”

-over and over and over-

And the more I tried to stop thinking it, the stronger the thought coursed through my mind. Terrified I rushed for the stairs to find my dad. Halfway to the stairway I again flung myself down onto my knees, “Please God, please God, please God.”

But I knew that it was probably too late. My soul was doomed to follow the devil’s bidding, straight into hell.

“You’re ok. Dont worry.” My parents consoled me, “If the Holy Spirit had left you, you wouldn’t be feeling this desire. He’s still here.”

I still remember the music I was listening to as I slowly drifted off to sleep. It was some kids music called “Psaltys.” Starting with the letter ‘P.’ Like Psalms. I could never enjoy that album again. And the horror of that night haunted me, for years.

I was baptised a few years later at about age 17 and became a member of the church.

Stage 2:

I started questioning.

Should we always be nonresistent? Surely there is a just cause for war, sometimes. Is rock and roll really of the devil? Always?

I quit my church, moved to a new church. A church that didn’t remain silent about the supernatural, the miraculous, the demonic. A church that didn’t demonize the rock n roll. Surely now I would feel at home.

I did, for a bit. But quite often, I still felt alone. Alone as the people danced around me in joy. What’s wrong with me? Why so reserved?

“Is this it?”

A pastor told me, you won’t always be alone. That was nice.

But I still felt alone.

“Maybe the focus on the supernatural is not the answer. Maybe violence is never the answer.”

I prayed.

While reading a book, now unknown to me, the author challenged me to pray.

“God, do whatever it takes. Have your way in me. Wreck me.”

So, I did. And God did. Bit by bit.

“Please God,” I prayed

Then I came to the conclusion. Maybe big church and explosive shows and explosive growth are not the cure. I quit my “Signs and Wonders” church, and joined a smaller conversationist church.

A small group, that will aid in feeling connected, right?

A while later I distinctly remember realizing, “I don’t trust God.”

Stage 3:

Shortly after, I was introduced to the work of Irish philosopher and radical theologian Peter Rollins, and the concept of deconstruction.

Then I decided, I’m gonna move away.

So I did.

In Alberta I remember a friend mentioning to me that sometimes she doubted God’s love. To this I responded with “great wisdom.” I noted that though I had questioned just about everything, but, God’s love to me had always remained a constant. An almost prophetic statement of what was to come.

Shortly after, I moved back into Arborg. But something had shifted. The radical deconstruction had begun.

“Who am I?”

“What is this?”

“Where are we going?”

“Who is God?”

It began by reading a rereading of the crucifixion. Brought it into a fresh light. It exposed me to my sense of alienation. Allowed me to acknowledge it. Jesus’ cry,

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

This opened me up to a new understanding. Jesus didn’t repeat the phrase, “I believe, I believe.” He didn’t pretend. Or attempt to put on a mask. Rather he openly acknowledged his sense of betrayal.

“Do I trust God enough to acknowledge that I feel like God has betrayed me? Or is my God too small?”

I chose to no longer run. Rather i choose to face the pain. The fear. The loneliness. The ‘what if.’ Slowly nihilism crept up to me.

“What is there’s no afterlife?”

“That means nothing matters.”

“If nothing matters why do anything?”

This was hard.

“Accept that you’re accepted, accepted by that which is bigger then you and the name of which you do not know” -Paul Tillich

Slowly some things came together.

“Even if you live in a meaningful world, but dont love, you will experience it as meaningless. But even if you live in a meaningless world, but love, you will experience it as meaningful.” -Peter Rollins

So maybe, “If we learn to love You think what you want is to get to “that thing”

But what if what you WANT is something else

To connect with other “sinners”
Those outside the status quo

“You were not made to remain in the walls
The walls were supposed to protect you thenin each moment. Even if it were the last moment of our existence it would be meaningful. And if it goes on forever, but you live by love, it will be meaningful.”

This gave me great hope.

I still feel the loneliness from time to time. But slowly I’m learning to enjoy the unknown. The incoming unknown. And as I’m learning to experience both the highs and the lows. I’m experiencing a deep joy.

Sometimes.

I’m learning to breath. In the letting go.

I call this faith.

-Love and peace

The Stories by Bob I (A fictitious retelling of the tale)

Bob 1:1 There once was a human in a land far far away. He came to the people to tell them that everything was going to be okay. To tell them all that it was, better then we thought, everything will be okay. This human was said to be conditioned by the gods in some special way. A sort of anti-king was another swing, another thing that they would say. A king who dominates in liberty. A paradox I know, but what if it could be so? And three, He was also said to be, alikened to an emperor. But similarily so as to the notion of the “anti-king,” he claimed the dominant ought not dominate by violent means, but rather from their knees. In humble service and love to the other’s pleas. And he in humility he came to us and said, “Wash me please.”

1:2 Rumour has it that instantly following the washing of the man, the skies ripped open, as the god-as-super-being surrendered his essence and slowly it fluttered down in the form of a dove. The transition of God. Superbeing to Being. The giving up of superiority. God giving up his throne. The surrender of God. God with us. 

1:3 Immediately following the transition, the man is guided from within, into the wilderness. Pain is the quickest way to surrender, they say. 

1:4 After this episode the man arose and walked into town. The game is on! “Do NOT worry. Its better then you think! Love wins!” He would shout from the rooftops, in the religous buildings, in the hills. The dominion of love is just around the corner! Its here!”

1:5 “But remember, for love to win you have to fully let go of control. You have to fully face the hate within. For love to take over. It has to start with you! Then let it grow, let it grow. And, only then, Love wins!”

1:6 One day as the man and his posse got back home the man right away walked into his old church. Found the pulpit and just started preaching! Everyone was blown away! “Isnt he the dropout?” They pondered. 

1:7 Suddenly he was interrupted, “I know what you’re up to!” It was the town drunk. “Theres something special about you. Something. Different. You must be…”

1:8 “Hush up now!” the Man quickly interrupted. (We later realized he wasnt too interested in being placed on pedestals.)

1:9 Immediately following this interaction the guy just freaks! Went right into a seizure and started puking everywhere. The Man walked to the kitchen and came back with a glass of water. Placed it beside the man, the seizure had already stopped, and walked out.

1:10 After the seizure incident The Man and his posse walked over to have dinner at the house of one of the moms. When they got there they found out that she was sick. The man just touched her, and she felt better! Was this a physical miracle? Or relational? Or was it ‘merely’ emotional? After this, he again helped a lot more people.

1:11 Including a couple more drunks and loudmouths. But whenever they began to mention how special he was, he would quickly tell them to “hush up.”

1:12 Then he walked off again. Into the woods.

1:13 And people freaked. 

1:14 Instead of hanging around, the man left town. “Time to go,” he said “Time to continue the mission. The mission being the transmittance of my message to a lot of people. The message being that things are better then you think! That love wins, if you do your part.” 

1:15 As they were still leaving a young man approached from the shadows. “Do you have some healing left for me?” Without a second thought The Man wrapped his arms around the young man and held him for a long time. Finally he let go whispering, “You are accepted. Accepted by something beyond yourself. Accept this.” The young man with aids wept. “Go see your priest.” The Man smiled. “But dont tell anyone else.” The Man frowned, then continued walking. 

1:16 The young man told everyone that he’d been healed. Now crowds kept overcrowding The Man.

on hypocrisy 

PREWARNIG (im a little nervous about posting this, so um, dont take this too seriously. 🙂 ok cheers)

​I’m a bit of a hypocrite

That’s what I’d say if I was honest

(Here’s one way: hold on to your seats.)

I claim to be a follower of Jesus

And that Jesus is found in the incoming of the other

The refugee calling for relief from oppression

The homeless individual begging to be heard

But… I’m full of crap

When the oppressed come to me

Majority of the time, I push them aside

Then try to forget them

I deny Christ

Then put myself into hell

The hell of my selfhate

Then shun all, to save their souls, of course

But, I’d rather stay here

It’s easier then listening to another’s pain

It’s easier then opening up to the possible realization of my deep pain
And you know what’s the worst of all?

I’m saying all this, to show you what an amazingly humble person I am

I’m saying all this because I care about the hurting

I just want their pain hidden, out of my sight

(Please note: not all terms refer to literal notions)
Love and peace, and disruption

-brad

Our fantastic gods

We construct our fantasies

Then appoint priests to guard the gates

Thus creating our gods

Engineered to cut us off 

Refusing us entrance into our fantasy
We clothe our heros in clothes of glimmering gold

To convince ourselves that they are beyond us

We worship in order to excuse ourselves from the struggle

We stand in awe, precisely so that we dont need to become, aware
Becoming starstruck

We are saved from the horrors

Saved from the realization

That our gods are fantasies we’ve fabricated 

Drawing on our projections of self
Stand strong then

So that your gods can do the same

And reduce the risk of facing your harsh reality
Hold them, hold them at bay

And watch them with wonder

With dead eyes

Rescued from wander-ing

The moment

Hello. Welcome to this moment.

Not that I control the rights to this moment.

And besides, that moment is loooong gone.
Nonetheless. Welcome.

We’re talking about the moment.
This is all you get. 

This moment.

Right now.

And now.

And now.
Thats all you get.

The moment.
And…

Now that thats clear. 

(Polite laughter)

We can move on.
Unless this moment matters,

Nothing matters.

Right?
The past is nonexistant.

Our history being but a mere hologram, quickly dissipating. 
The future is not a thing.

Its a set of possiblities from this moment.
So whats up?

You can live like this moment matters.

And everything matters.

Because everything is derived from now.
Or you can live like nothing matters.

And consequently everything is veiled under thick splats of nihilism.
So.

This is great news.

Because under this persuasion,

The moment matters.

Each. Moment. Matters.

And as a result what doesn’t matter,

In this moment,

Is what happens next.

Because in this moment, 

What you do now, matters.
Think of it this way.

Say your existence will cease to exist in the next moment,

That’s nothing to fear,

As long as you make the most of this moment.
And on the opposite side,

Imagine that you are going to exist for the next million million million years.

Not a big deal,

As long as you live as if this moment matters.
Where your career goes, or your relationships, also loose a bit of their sting. How you treat them in this moment, well you get the picture.
Love says “I am with you always.”

And its always this moment.
So breath.

And sense that this moment matters.

Each interaction is powerful.

Each smile is huge.

Everything matters. 
Love and peace

-cheers

Mushy alert! 

Keep scrolling
If you’re still here, hi

Hello

So i remember being criticed for “thinking everything is a joke.” 

Hard to believe right?
Anyway i just laughed it off. (Of course)

However, it turns out i believed the criticism

Because now i keep catching myself

Taking everything too seriously.
So here’s the punch

Dont.

Dont heed the haters 

(of course im not advicing to reject advice)

But be yourself

Shine YOUR light

Only you contain this particuler glow

(So dont attempt to contain it)
-love and peace