Tuesday, July 26, 2005

In the Temple

Jesus was in the temple.
Jesus was in the synagogue.
Think about it, for a minute.
He taught from the mountain tops. He taught from boats. He taught walking through fields. He taught in private homes. But He also taught in the temple. In the very face of those who hated him the most. In the face of those who wanted Him dead. When you stop and think about it, you gotta admit, the Messiah had moxie... Kind of makes you wonder doesn't it? Everybody loved Him on the mountain top! At the mere rumor of his presence multitudes gathered instantaneously...before the invention of the radio, t.v. cell phone, or text messaging. They clamored for Him, lay branches across the road for Him, peeled back a roof for him, climbed trees, pressed through crowds for Him, and even when He tried to get away from the crowds, many times He couldn't. Yet He went to the temple and taught in the face of the most inappreciative crowd imaginable. It wasn't as if He was hard up for a gig. What was He thinking? It seems almost... dare I say it ... confrontational?... I mean I know that we all have this sweet little image of the Christ, walking around with a benevolent smile, patting the heads of very clean and well fed children, with a lamb thrown around His neck for good measure... So why did He do it? Why did He walk straight up in the face of the powers that be, the guardians of the status quo, to preach His sermons? And the enormous crowds that followed him everywhere must have made quite a spectacle at the temple. They weren't your normal, "church crowd". Thieves, harlots, tax collectors, the poor, the oppressed... Was Jesus sending a message to more than just those who were willingly there to hear Him? Was it His way of telling the regular "church crowd" that since they had neglected their duty to come out from behind the church walls to care for the least of these, he had brought the least of these to them? Was this the first sit in? We don't normally think of Jesus as an "In your face!" kind of fella. Could it be we need to think again...?


Dan Trabue said...

We don't think of Jesus in those ways because we've not been taught that way. As your MLK quote below suggests, the church has been co-opted by the larger system which is not christian in its nature.

voixdange said...

I often wonder what would happen if we could read the Bible without reading it through the cultural filter we have been raised with. I wonder how different our image of Christ and our interpretation of the scripture would be.

Dan Trabue said...

You remember the story of young Josiah, the Boy King in the Old Testament? In his days, the scriptures had been missing for a long time. Josiah found it, read about the economic and justice rules that Israel had been forsaking and a great repentance rose across the land.

I think that's a good allegory. If we could unbury the scripture that has been hidden beneath our cultural detritus and see it again anew and realize what it had to say, the impact could be grand and far-reaching.

Constantine said...

Dan said, “…we've not been taught that way.” So very true DT. Broad and continual education is paramount and necessary from the dawn of our life to its dusk. It informs our decisions and helps to determine who we become (or don’t become!). Critical thinking has unfortunately become a lost art.

Angevoix Scout (j/k) said, “…if we could read the Bible without reading it through the cultural filter we have been raised with…I wonder how different our image of Christ and our interpretation of the scripture would be.”

HUGE mi amiga, HUGE! It would alter our thinking radically on many, though not all fronts. N.T. Wright (British), a widely known and respected, albeit controversial at times, Anglican Bishop and scholar speaks to just this idea. He’s written prolifically as to the question of the historical Jesus. He has a projected six volume work (many of which are already published and each of which is a tome in itself) that is fast becoming THE standard as to our understanding of the historical Jesus. (By the way, this is NOT the “Jesus Seminar” or even compatible really, though N.T. is a friend of Marcus Borg, the most famous of the JS ilk. They disagree quite significantly on many very important points in spite of their friendship.) By way of a brief introduction to N.T.’s thought please see his “regular size” book called “The Challenge of Jesus: Rediscovering Who Jesus Was and Is” for a brief but engaging outline/overview of his thought regarding this topic. There is another even smaller book I would recommend too by another British author, Steve Chalke, titled “The Lost Message of Jesus,” that also provides some insight along these same lines. It’s a little too evangelical, even overly “emergent,” for my taste, but it’s still well done.

Btw, this idea of the search for the historical Jesus and how it would influence our thinking and hence our way of life is not new or original. The Protestant near-saint, Albert Schweitzer, wrote powerfully to this idea. People are scared of it though. Of course, if 2000 years of history is but the beginning, who knows what shifts might occur in our collective future.

voixdange said...

Thanks C!
I appreciate the information !

olympiada said...

Well actually the way I think of Jesus is as my husband and lover which means he would definitely be a social activist! I mean I am about to turn the same age as He was when he began his 3 year ministry so I have begun a very close and personal relationship with Him. The way I think of Jesus is of having a heart of fire, of sensing suffering and going straight to it and pouring out His love to any who is suffering, and the same time confronting those who cause the suffering. That is how I think of Jesus.

voixdange said...

I like the way you think of Jesus, Olympiada!

olympiada said...

Well if I make it through divorce, the only way I will remarry is if a man can provide me with that kind of love I just described! I am so happy we met Ang!

R2K said...

Very interesting page!

voixdange said...

I am so happy that our paths crossed as well. I am thinking that it was not an accident!


olympiada said...

Ange - no it was not. The place where I found you is a mystical place for me, that is all I can say. Do you know what I mean? I mean, you know where I found you right?