The holiday season that is now sparkling all around us is exceptional for many reasons, not the least of which is that it prompts us to put aside our work as the days get ever closer to December 25th and to think of family, friends, priorities and our place in the universe. It is warming, genuine and truly profound.
And it all eminates in the name of one man, Jesus. Through the millennium, war, peace, love, hatred, kindness and cruelty have been levied in his name. In all cases, those taking action in his name do so based on a personal
interpretation that may or may not jell with the “Christ”-mas spirit. Or with the true beliefs of Jesus. He is, in a sense, a Rorshach test: people see in him what they want to see and act in his name based on a personal bias that his philosophy is aligned with theirs.
Which makes we wonder how Jesus would see it all now: the world in the midst of the Christmas of 2011. What better way to find out than to imagine a casual game of intellectual ping pong with him, asking a series of questions that unlock the views of Jesus– not from scribes and “holy men”– but from Jesus himself.
Here is what I would ask him as I paddled ideas and questions across the table and waited for his returns:
- Billions use your name in the cause of peace but the world is tangled in war after war. Why does this happen?
- Are you a pacifist? Do you believe in war when property and/or liberty are threatened? Should we always turn the other cheek? Is war ever holy?
- You appear to be anti-materialistic but people love to acquire things: homes, cars, jewelry, stocks, bonds, boats. And for many, the more, the bigger, the better. Is this selfish? Greedy? Is it wrong to pursue material things? Why are houses of worship often decadent palaces? Do they get a pass?
- Is dashing into mobs at Wal-Mart to amass gifts in the Christmas spirit or does it defy it? Denigrate it?
- Are you happy with the state of mankind or saddened by it? If the latter, what went wrong? What do we fail to see?
- The most religious people are often the most intolerant of other religions. Is that a strength or a weakness? A blessing or a sin?
- There is a widely held belief that there should be a separation between church and state. Do you believe this is correct or is it a rejection of all that you have preached?
- Should members of the clergy be held to a higher standard than all others?
If so, why?Email This Post