Archive for the ‘jesus’ Category

Love conquers all

August 31, 2008

Just recently I was playing on Googlefight with the kids. It’s a site where you put two words in, and the one with the highest number of hits on Google wins. It’s hilarious fun, and they loved it. We started out with ‘bacon’ vs ‘brocolli’, then for each word that won, tried to find another word that would beat it. Fairly soon we got from foodstuffs to famous people. We jumped around between famous people and superheroes for a while, for example ‘batman’ beats ‘britney spears’, but ‘jesus’ beats ‘batman’. ‘Jesus’ is fairly hard to beat. The ‘devil’, at 158 million hits, can’t do it, and neither can ‘satan’.

‘God’ (598 million) is pretty much the only one that’ll beat ‘jesus’ (236 million). It’s quite hard to find a word that’ll beat ‘god’, but unsurprisingly ‘sex’ (767 million) will do it. ‘Money’, at just over 1 billion mentions, beats sex [when I did this with the kids I skipped over ‘sex’ to ‘money’, but came back and checked later]. By this time I was starting to get somewhat despondent about the fate of the human race.

The only word I could find that would beat ‘money’ though, was ‘love’. ‘Love’ is mentioned 2.39 billion times on the web. ‘Love’ beats ‘hate’, ‘sex’, ‘money’, ‘drugs’, and ‘god’. My faith in humanity has been restored. Love conquers all.

12 Days of Christmas

December 23, 2007

At Meeting yesterday we had carols and some readings. This was led by the resident Friends, one of whom explained one of the reasons she’d heard as to why Quakers don’t generally sing during worship. Apparently because they weren’t prepared to say things they didn’t believe, and a lot of the conventional church hymns had phrases that fell into that category for many early Friends.

I must admit there were a few phrases from the carols we sang that I hummed along with rather than sang out loud, in particular references to the virgin birth, and Jesus as ‘Lord’. There was one fantastic carol that I was very happy to sing right through though, a modern interpretation of the 12 Days of Christmas, called “12 Days of Christmas in New Brighton”.

“On the 12th day of Christmas we all shared together peace and goodwill for all to share, 11 excited children, 10 dancing pirates, 9 carol singers, 8 local artists, 7 sausages a sizzling, 6 sand castles, 5 expressions of love, 4 moments of joy, 3 vigils for peace, 2 messages of hope, and a great love for all to share. “

Jesus for the Non-Religious

December 2, 2007

Today I listened to this podcast from National Radio’s Spiritual Outlook programme*. I listen to all the episodes of Spiritual Outlook as they come out, but it’s only rarely that one inspires me to blog about it.

This one was an interview with Bishop John Spong. He is a liberal theologian and has written many books, including recently Jesus for the Non-Religious. His views resonated very closely with mine.

Historically agreed facts he cites:

  1. Jesus lived between 4 BC and 30 AD
  2. The gospels were written between 70 and 100 AD
  3. The gospels were written in Greek, a language that neither Jesus nor his apostles spoke
  4. The gospels were written by people who had never met Jesus, and were going on two or three generations of stories passed down by word of mouth

Bishop Spong argues that the literalist interpretation of Jesus as a supernatural figure in the Bible, capable of performing miracles, leaves people today with only two alternatives (at least from the point of view of the Christian tradition) . To be hysterical irrational fundamentalists, or to give the whole thing up as a lost cause and be secular. He thinks it’d be nice if there was something in between that was possible. An interpretation of Jesus that sees him as a man who was so open, so fully human that he was able to be so utterly filled with the energy of the Universe, the ground of being, the divine spirit, what Quakers call the inner light.

This is the Jesus I want to believe in. I want to believe that it is possible for any human to be as filled with the spirit as Jesus. To me it is so much more impressive that he did this as a man, rather than as a supernatural being with special powers.

Bishop Spong also talks about prayer, critical of prayers that are ‘adult letters to a Santa Claus God’. Rather, he sees prayer as a way to become more human, more open to the spirit.

Again, this is very close to the way I see prayer and worship, a way inward, to walk on the journey toward being more fully human. To me the historical Jesus is a guide on this path, someone who walked it with integrity, insight and love.

* if the podcast is gone by the time you read this it’s because National Radio only keep their podcasts up there for 3 months or so. If you’d like a copy of it just email me.