People wonder why after all my experiences, both good and bad within evangelical Christianity that I don’t ditch the Nazarene for good and just become a deist or theist. Some suggest that I should become a Buddhist, Hindu or New Age guru and have done with it.
I must admit that some days, having just encountered the harshness and judgement of a supposed Jesus fan, I do consider taking such an existential leap. It’s very difficult at times hanging in there with a somewhat dysfunctional gang of folk who’re toxic to one’s psyche-soul. And yet when I’m about to jump, Yeshua usually pops into view, in the hidden caverns of my mind. One also alone and wounded by the religious barbs of believers in the God of Israel, the Nazarene stands and calls me aside.
‘Now you understand my brother, now you understand’.
I can’t leave one who has been so misunderstood and misrepresented by the tribe who go by his name. Thankfully the Galilean isn’t franchised to those dysfunctional expressions of the Christian faith that kill through their words and pseudo-superiority. Yeshua bar Yosef isn’t contained in a belief system, no matter what the guardians of cultural and theological boxes tell us.
No, the Nazarene is free and offers his followers freedom from ego that many haven’t yet taken him up on. The ‘taking up of his cross’ isn’t some macabre act or death wish but a rapturous call to freedom. Only ego suffers. As we let it fall into the ground and die, we shall find a new Self step forward to take its place. The hidden treasure that’s lain buried under the topsoil of ego and its fearful ways.
The Galilean is seen by many as a quality controller, a ‘Lord’ who sits on high and keeps a beady eye on our religious observances. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Spirit Breath of the back to life Jewish rabbi is dancing among the sons and daughters of man. A liberator here to liberate, even from the oppressive power of his supposed religion, and all others to boot.
For many within Christendom, Yeshua is the blood sacrifice that paid for our sinly dysfunction. This in my earlier Evangelical incarnation was my raison d’être. I owed ‘this bleeding saviour’ the haunted one who looked at me suffering and sad, hanging on his Roman gibbet. ‘It should have been me up there,’ I reasoned, following the standard Evangelical line in disciple motivation. Claiming to victoriously deal with guilt my take on the Nazarene’s brutal demise would only increase guilt in the hidden depths of my being, driving me to ever increasing levels of religious ego devotion and zeal.
Today I no longer follow such a path, the one that leads to a debt paid Calvary. Instead I see the Nazarene teaching the masses on the flower filled hills of the Galilee. ‘You’ve heard it said, but I say unto you….’ brings me hope and new life. I guess the Nazarene is still speaking these words to his followers but who is listening, in our modern sermon saturated marketplace of seminars and DVDs. In short, I still identify with this Jewish son of Yosef, son of God, mainly because of his authentic spirituality, one that pierces through the ego defenses of my religious and social self.
Certainly the death of the Nazarene is radically important in its declaration of what God is not. Not a violent Supreme Being, one obsessed by blood and back payments, but One who has experienced mankind’s scapegoat experience as the wounded Lamb of Innocence. The bloody Roman execution of Yeshua shocks us out of our cultural God view and into a new, upside-down awareness that our morality systems are really killers in disguise.
For many of my friends within Mind, Body, Spirit circles may I respectively and humbly suggest that Yeshua is something more than an ascended avatar of the Divine. A manifestation of Divine Love and Wisdom for sure, but one who uniquely revealed the hidden nature of our righteous violence and its religio-politico networks. One roused from the grave in a way that no other spiritual Master appears to have been; a resurrection authentication by Divine Love of his character and message, one that would explode the lie of morality for all time.
So, in following the Nazarene may I suggest that we don’t follow a belief system, but a Living Presence, one that longs to walk with us along the psycho-spiritual lanes of life’s highway. Boxless and free Yeshua bar Yosef can well and truly look after himself without our help. He needs neither security cover nor fervent crusades to spread his touch of psycho-spiritual liberation and wholeness. All that’s required is an honest an open heart and even that’s given. Such hearts are often found in the most unusual of places.