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The Bliss Blog

I am beginning this blog with a  few rhetorical questions that may ruffle feathers, but like the man about whom I am writing, I am not averse to controversy and mind opening.

How can those who claim to honor the birth, life, and death of One who came in the name of love, espouse hatred? Do they realize that as they promote anti-semitism, they are taking a major swing at One who lived as a ‘nice Jewish boy’ who was called Rabbi?  If I could come face to face with people who support racism, homo/transphobia. sexism, Islamaphobia, xenophobia, I would ask, “Who would Jesus hate?” Asking for a whole buncha friends.

I was raised in a Jewish home, having attended Hebrew School until I  was 16, became a Bat Mitzvah and later, was ordained as an Interfaith Minister via The New Seminary in New York City. My relationship with Jesus was a meandering one over the years. In my early years, my parents allowed me to attend church with Christian friends, even as they told me to remember who I was and not stray from the faith tradition we practiced. My father was first generation American born of Russian immigrant parents who fled their homeland during the pogrom. He experienced anti-Semitism as he grew up, even in the Navy in which he served during the Korean War and WWII. A fellow sailor even looked in his hair for horns, since he was taught that Jews sported them. As a result, there was an element of fear for him and those of his generation since Jews were persecuted in Jesus’ name throughout the ages. Tales of the Holocaust loomed large throughout my childhood. I had not experienced overt anti-Semitism, except the bizarre statement, “You don’t look Jewish.” which I never understood, since there are Jews all over the world, whose appearance varies.

In my young adulthood, I began studying A Course in Miracles which is said to be the channeled messages of Jesus, via a secular Jewish Psychologist named Helen Schucman. As much as I was drawn to the ideas, I experienced headaches each time I immersed in the teachings since they flew in the face of my upbringing. It was then that I called on my friend Alan Cohen who taught the work and lived it in his life. He was raised in Orthodox Judaism at one point and was close to his mother, who I imagined wouldn’t have been happier than my parents would have been had they known. He uttered these words that I can hear as if he is saying them now, “A mystic meets on the point of agreement.” Since I was an adult, he reinforced the idea that I had the right to my own spiritual beliefs and if my parents wouldn’t have been comfortable with it, I need not tell them until I was ready. As I breathed in the thought, the headaches faded and I could turn the pages of the books and drink in the solace without pain.

Now my relationship with Jesus is companionable. We chat. He reminds me of my own ability to tap into Divinity and healing and love.

When I posted those questions that began this article on my Facebook page, I received a variety of responses:

“Religion from the beginning of time has produced groups of people who perceive themselves to be the only way. Once we know that every religion has the same truth at the core we drop the judgment and feel compassion for those who feel anything but love.”

“I am a Christian. As a church pastor, I have drawn the ire of many folks in churches and communities when I have rocked their world with the shocking news (to them) that Jesus was a Jew. If you were to ask most of them, and many others, “Who would Jesus hate?”, they would, without hesitation or the slightest sense of irony, provide you with a very long list.”

“Pastor Tony’s Sermon-Writing 101: Ready? “Thank you, God, that we’re cool . . . And we’re really clear that everyone else sucks.” That’s a big chunk of sermons.”

“Have you ever read The Shack? There was a line in the book that I found pivotal, it was when Jesus was talking about love of all things “So, Jesus is that what it means to be Christian?” Jesus’s reply “I don’t know I am Jewish”. The line was removed from the movie as to not offend evangelicals or hard-line Christians.”

“Edie, not being well versed in the Bible, a verse from it came to me just as I read your post. Luke 23:34 New Living Translation
“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.”He spoke these words while still on the cross— Ultimate forgiveness and Unconditional Love. He came to show us Unconditional Love — what that is, how that feels in our everyday lives. At this point of my awareness, it feels like a lot of “religious” rules which were interpreted/created by man, separates this group from that one. If we were to ask ourselves simply “Is this the most loving response I can make” before any thought or action, this world/universe would be amazing. I just said out loud to my family the other day, “If Jesus was physically here on this earth today, I believe He would weep.” It is up to all of us to keep the Light of Unconditional Love burning brightly inside each of our hearts. Keep our vibration up and be wayshowers not just with words, but with action. This is especially true now in these times.”

“Well said. As a child and young man, I studied the history of the oppression of the Jews by Christians, the persistent murder, defamation and lying shaming. They all wanted to be Jews by replacing Jews. Their failure to understand that murdering Jews while worshipping a murdered Jew did not make any sense. Christianity does not make sense.”

“Fundamentalist Christians have come to believe that forgiveness of sins means they can do whatever the f**k they like.”

” I often say that if Jesus came back today he would be horrified at what has been and is being done in his name. From the Inquisition and probably before that. Very sad.”

“Ongoing problem that was probably worse back in Jesus’s time, and one that he often addressed—the Gentiles, Pharisees, Sadducees, Jews, Romans…all of them hated and were the recipients of hate. Then there were those who pretty much were only on the receiving end—Samaritans and tax collectors (they may have hated, too), the disabled, the ill, the mentally ill, prostitutes, and slaves, and a tiny bit even Jesus’s mother for having a surprise baby. (There is only one small biblical reference on that one). Compared to back then, we’ve made a lot of progress actually —well, in some areas, I guess. We certainly have more protections and avenues of recourse in place, depending on where you live. Even so, people who claim to follow Jesus should not be promoting prejudice against Jews or anyone. They should be working on eliminating prejudice within themselves. Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done, as history has shown us. As humans, even the best of us have prejudice, hate, and judgment within us. Now and then, the latent societal prejudices bubble to the surface for all to see and correct.”

One of the tenets to which I hold true is that Christianity was not the religion of Jesus, but the religion about Jesus. And his religion (and mine) is Love.

 

 

 

 

 

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