Saturday, May 16, 2009


This entry is inspired by a sermon that I just read on my minister's blog. You should read the sermon...this is the link.... you should also read my recent post titled, The Tale of the Wedding at Cana. That post was directly inspired by the chapter entitled..Water to Wine...The Epicurean Jesus. Both the sermon at James Lumsden's blog and this chapter connect quite directly. Christianity's obsession with sin and salvation can become like a revolving wheel of failure and promise and failure. Like a ball and chain, church, suddenly becomes a guilt inducing, failure driven cycle.....sort of like a hamster on one of those wheels where you think you are going somewhere but your just spinning in one place.

In his sermon James quotes many to make the point that in this century we need a shift in vision...he says, "So in the spirit of Jesus – and his call to love and mature in authentic joy – I want to suggest this morning that I think the time has come to let go of some of our sin talk. And then goes on to say, "You see, I believe that the time has come for us to speak about the human condition with depth and breadth – with nuance and subtlety – with tenderness, honesty, affection and grace. And Christianity’s historic obsession with sin is just… incomplete at best. It is often unjust and even harmful to those who have been wounded by life."

Thomas Moore validates this point by talking about how the Epicurean Jesus models human life. "He distinguishes between legalistic spiritual practice--following rules, honoring authority, observing traditions--and living with compassion. The old way is one of authoritarianism, guilt and constraint. The new law is to honor people not for their position but for their humanity, to serve all people, and to be a healing presence wherever you are." Sounds similar to James and his idea about the obsession with sin and salvation. I say OK...we have been saved...reunited with God....but that is an entrance ticket to live a full life...move on..... live and endure the light and the dark, the sin and the joy, success and failure, all life has to offer with dignity, grace and love.

Lastly, Thomas Moore talk about how society and culture imparts to you what is things are. He says religion has it's own way (Obsession with sin and salvation to name one.) of providing not what we need, but in fact, an escape from what we need, which is a connection with the world and your own "precious identity". I don't know about you but my mind is swirling with ideas! Moore says true Jesus living offers life rather than escape from life! James connects to this by saying, "Let’s find ways every week – in worship and reflection, in acts of justice and compassion – to consciously make a shift away from an obsession with sin. He then goes on to say, "Salvation is about our life together. Salvation is about justice, peace and compassion within community and beyond it, too. It is about shalom – a word that means right relations between all people and creation – about the healing and hope… and joy. Indeed, salvation comes from God although it also involves our response." Hmmm sounds like water to wine and the wedding at Cana. We do need a new vision..people seem to long for spirit not dogma. They need love and!

One last thing and I wholeheartedly believe live this Jesus involves risk since it is pretty radical. Jesus was radical enough to lose his life for what he believed and how he lived. We too can live the way Jesus did and there is risk in a cruel world when you offer this "life affirming" philosophy!

Thomas Moore says, and I have to quote because it is so profound!
"To live this intriguing way of the Dionysian Jesus is to say yes to life every step of the way, in spite of the possibility that you will be torn apart, judged, and crucified. You live and die in each moment. You love so much that you risk separation and loss. You are so creative and original that you shock your friends and neighbors and are lacerated with criticism. You are so loving and so powerful that no one can stuff you into any notion of conventional gender, and , like Jesus, you may be full of contradictory qualities: soft and bold, powerful and tender, radical and simple." Whew! I love that quote! You can't get to this place preoccupied with your entrance ticket to live have to take the ticket and act with intelligence and your own unique, creative self. Again, remember James earlier quote , "You see, I believe that the time has come for us to speak about the human condition with depth and breadth – with nuance and subtlety – with tenderness, honesty, affection and grace." There is such a connection there!

Lastly, I want to include a quote that I used to begin a memorial video that I made in honer of my Father back in 1993! He died at the age of 60 from lung cancer! This quote is so perfect with all that is going on with me!

One must be natural
and easy.
Take the happy with the sad.
Feel as one who
Think as one who
And, when it is time
to die,
remember the day
dies too.
And, the sunset
is beautiful.
And, beautiful too,
the enduring night.....
That's how it is,
and so be it......... Fernando Pessoa

1 comment:

  1. Hey brother we ARE on the same page. Sweet. I am starting Moore's book this evening. Thanks for the kind words. It was fascinating today in church - some folks loved the ideas and some were unsettled. Hmmmmm.... more to come. So KEEP ON WRITING!