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Posted on 2003.30.12 at 21:34
Soundtrack: Johnny Cash - Here Was A Man
I'm not a Christian, but when I hear Johnny Cash narrating these words, I realise what an influence the man Jesus has had on this world. I wish that people could listen to his words and not to his followers:

Here was a man, a man who was born in a small village, the son of a peasant woman; he grew up in another small village. Until he reached the age of thirty he worked as a carpenter, then for three years he was a travelling minister. But he never travelled more than two hundred miles from where he was born, and where he did go, he usually walked.

He never held political office, he never wrote a book, he never bought a home, he never had a family, he never went to college, and he never set foot inside a big city, yet...here was a man.

Here was a man, though he never did one of the things that you usually associate with greatness, he had no credentials but himself; he had nothing to do with this world except through the divine purpose that brought him to this world.

While he was still a young man the tide of popular opinion turned against him; most of his friends ran away. One of them denied him, one of them betrayed him, and turned him over to his enemies. Then he went throught the mockery of a trial, and was nailed to a Roman cross between two thieves. And even while he was dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead, he was taken down from the cross and laid in a borrowed grave provided by a compassionate friend.

More than nineteen centuries have come and gone, and today he's the centerpiece of the human race, Our leader in the column to human destiny. And I think I'm well within the mark when I say that all of the armies that ever marched, all of the navies that ever sailed, all of the legislative bodies that ever sat, and all of the kings that ever reigned, all of them put together, have not affected the life of man on this earth so powerfully as that one solitary life...here was a man.


the day you left was just my beginning
patchfire at 2003-12-30 19:22 (UTC) ()
One of the books I read this past year (One of the Spong ones, actually) was discussing the unlikelihood of Jesus's birth actually being a virgin birth, but the way he put it was amazing. He basically said, imagine the profundity of their experience with this man that the only way they could express it was to make him the child of a virgin, to say that he physically rose from the dead, and I think that really sums it up for me.

(Also related, he pointed out that Paul, the earliest chronicler of Jesus's times, did NOT seem to know about the virgin birth, but almost suggests that Jesus's status as 'God's son' was conferred upon Jesus during his life.)

One day I'm going to find a church that just listens to the spirit of Jesus's words. One day...
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2003-12-30 20:13 (UTC) ()
UUs have a sorta good insight, basically. *g*
The Foo Queen
erebor at 2003-12-31 06:33 (UTC) ()
Some of the clergy at my church don't hold with the virgin birth, and they actually even teach that in classes. We don't feel it's necessary to stick blindly with the old stories when they aren't necessary to capture the real impact of Jesus' life and message. There's not enough evidence to support many of the stories being more than myth (as you point out), and they really are beside the fact anyway.

P. S. Bishop Spong rocks.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2003-12-31 06:37 (UTC) ()
*adds Sprong to already looong list of Books to Buy*
The Foo Queen
erebor at 2003-12-31 06:55 (UTC) ()
Heh, you'll like him. He renders Christianity down to what it should (could?) mean, strips it of all the myths and things we probably fabricated ourselves over the centuries (and that keeps a lot of people away from religion because they look at that stuff and say what silly nonsense, how could religion mean anything when it's so full of fairytales?). Gets back to what Jesus intended. And this is the point we liberal Episcopalians (and many others in other denominations) make: If you can strip away all the bells and whistles and still find insipiration for living and a feeling that the Divine exists in the universe, THEN you have real faith. Yes, it's harder to do when you don't have the Bible standing as the monumental Word to reassure you. That's why it's Faith.

I think his first book was "Rescuing the Bible from Fundamentalism". Quite good. I seem to recall a lot of people wanted to burn him at the stake when that one was published. "This Hebrew Lord" is also quite good. I haven't checked in recent years on what he's published. Gonna do that today!
peacey at 2003-12-31 05:38 (UTC) ()
As a Christian, I believe in the Virgin birth and I believe without hesitation that Jesus rose from the dead. I believe in the mystery of Jesus Christ, both man and deity in one living human body. However, if you listen to Joseph Campbell - who's teachings and books (esepcially "The Hero With a Thosand Faces") on myth are remarkable, you'll find that most religions in the world have a virgin birth somewhere within them. It is a "staple" in myth.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2003-12-31 06:35 (UTC) ()
Have you ever seen the PBS series on Campbell's "The Power of Myth?" They play it during pledge drives these days, and it's wonderful.

I'm intrigued with the historical Jesus; early Christianity is a cool thing to look into. I'm planning on buying Lost Christianities which talks about early Christian sects, and Lost Scriptures, which from what I've heard (I heard an interview with the Author) has a lot of info on how the current Biblical canon came to be.
The Foo Queen
erebor at 2003-12-31 07:02 (UTC) ()
Goodness, yes. Early Christianity is fascinating. I think everyone needs to read the Apocrypha and open their minds to the fact that the canon may not be the end-all and be-all.

I've long been interested in Mary Magdalene as one of the earliest Apostles. As you can imagine, she's gotten tons of bad press over the millenia in an attempt to suppress her role in things. I've not read this book yet, but it's on my list. We really do need to update our knowledge when new texts are discovered, but of course that doesn't happen until church authorities have discussed them for a couple of centuries.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2003-12-31 14:29 (UTC) ()
That one's already on my list. Dude. A gospel from a woman's perspective.

Heart of Wine
heart_of_wine at 2004-01-02 06:23 (UTC) ()
Thanks so much for posting this. It was so beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes.

try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2004-01-02 14:28 (UTC) ()
You're welcome! *hugs*

If you can hear the Johnny Cash recording, do it. You'll be even tearier.

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