The Real Jesus

There was a time when the sight of the cross made me want to throw up. That’s how bad it was.

I have long been skeptical about the existence of God, due to the usual questions of allowing all the evil in the world. After all, what God would allow Donald Trump to be US President?

Come on…

Maybe God has a sense of humor, but at our expense?

Anyway.

buddha.jpg

Surrounded by a whole batch of family members as self-proclaimed Christians, some of them zealots whose Facebook posts are all, “Yahweh” this and “Yahweh” that, who pretend to be some type of authority on the subject while they steal from you, rob your parents, abuse your disabled sister and smear vicious lies about you all over the internet and among extended family members, well… That is enough to drive anyone far away from whatever their religion is.

I’m the misfit among these church-going, self-righteous evangelicals. I don’t go to church — oh, far from it. If church is host to people like this, I don’t want to be there.

Despite all my doubts and my horror at the activities of those who call themselves Christians, I have always really liked the idea of Jesus, his parables, his lifestyle, and the stories about him. He is, to me, utterly fascinating. But I picture the real guy — an untidy Jesus, tramping around in the wilderness eating figs. What about him was so magnetic that it caused people to leave their homes and follow him around? How could he speak to the masses with no microphone, and still be heard? Didn’t all that wine get him just a little tipsy now and then?

The best thing about him is his gentleness and the way he listened and cared for all people, hookers and little kids, while still having the strength to not abide hypocrites. The stories of his empathy — how he wept at the grief of Lazarus’s sister, telling him he was too late to save his friend, already three days dead. His tantrum in the Temple, throwing the money changers out who were exploiting the sacred ground of his father — I can relate more to that now than I ever have.

So, for those of you who have been raked over the coals by people who think they are Christians, who want to hold this over others and act like they are better than everyone, and their version of religion is the only right one, I had a revelation that I feel compelled to share.

I was watching a TV movie about Jesus and the actor said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the father but by me.”

This quote is from John 4:16 and of course we have all heard it a gazillion times. But the word that resonated with me was, “TRUTH.”

I am the way

the TRUTH

and the life.

The idea of God as someone who IS the truth — the real truth — gave me much comfort. How can one find God through lies?  It seems to me that anyone whose life and values, stories and rants is based on lies, is not going to be right in the eyes of God. People who twist facts to justify their own bad behavior, no matter how much they “Yahweh” out loud, are not honoring themselves or God.

You can Yahweh until you are blue in the face. If you are a liar, you ain’t getting there.

This realization was sent to me at just the right time. Jesus was not placed here to use at our convenience. He is an example of how to live. Tell the truth. Be kind. Treat others as you want to be treated. Live with empathy and care for others. Help when you can. Drink wine. Wash your feet.

The truth is not subjective. Those of us who live by the truth; we are doing just fine. Hang in there. You are not alone.

faith

 

 

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About Nancy J. Bailey

Artist, author, bad karaoke singer. Woodsy ragamuffin. Mom of a horse named Clifford who plays fetch and paints with watercolors. He visits libraries and schools with me, to promote literacy and making the world a better place. Yes, he is house trained, no, he doesn't live in my house! I have written three books about Clifford. But my newest book, THE NORTH SIDE OF DOWN, is co-written by my awesome sister Amanda, who has Down syndrome. Her unexpected one-liner wisecracks can always make me laugh. If you make me laugh, you've made my day!
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3 Responses to The Real Jesus

  1. Carol Hobza says:

    Nancy, I AM a Christian but I agree with a lot of what you said. If you feel Jesus in your heart just trust him and he will be there for you. I do not hold with man made religion, but with the Christianity that Jesus taught. I, too, picture him as a simple man, looking like the Jewish man he is; not the “pretty boy” he has been portrayed in art through the arts. Oh how I wish we could sit down together over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and discuss this. By the way, wine in Jesus’s time was not always fermented. It was the strong natural juice of the fruit. Some was fermented and usually drunk by the nobles. God bless you Nancy. You are blessed. Let’s continue this conversation if you are interested., By the way, I have several of your painting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Carol, thanks so much for your kind reply. I have long thought that finding the Maker of All Things shouldn’t be that hard. It is treated as a matter of rules and secrets whose clues are only given to a select few. I don’t think that’s true. We are all children of God, therefore, he lives within all of us. It seems to me that those who do harm to others, be it other people, animals or the earth, are upsetting the natural balance intended and are therefore not right with the universe — or God. Most religions have this golden rule. So isn’t it just a matter of self-regulation? Of kindness? Narcissism is rampant and it has become socially acceptable to look out for #1. I think that is really unfortunate. It’s better — and smarter — to live a life of caring for the earth and each other. If only…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Fran says:

    I was told many years ago, sometimes when we look at “regular” church goers and those that are the loudest at proclaiming their faith and a higher cloud than the rest of us….. well they go to church every Sunday because they need to, They just don’t get it, so they have to keep going back. It did make me feel a little better, Seriously Nancy, we all have our moments, Mine was while watching the movie Amish Grace with my Granddaughter… it moved us both and at the same time, the realization of what true forgiveness is. To this day I cannot say in words what that is, but watching that movie, I did understand it.

    Like

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