Responsible For Jesus
It was a sunday evening, and there was nothing good to say. Rather than not saying anything at all, PG decided to go into his archives. This post is from May of 2007. It is about responsible behavior, and a religion that does not encourage it. This repost might be hypocritical, but no one forced you to read it. Part two is another rerun. It is written in first person. The pictures, from “The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”, need text between them.
It all started when a girl went to a back room with a former boyfriend. Her current bf stormed out of the party, and flipped his car when it went off the road. Being a star quarterback did not prevent the fatal consequences. The local radio whiner had a few things to say. Since alcohol was a suspected factor, the question became, “how do we teach teenagers to drink responsibly?”
PG is a retired drunk, and has a few dozen opinions on this issue. His wandering mind settled on a related subject…Jesus. G-d’s love baby is similar to alcohol. Both are legal, both have potential for good and ill, and neither works for PG. The thought occurred “How do we teach Teenagers to Worship Jesus Responsibly?” Now, this may be the first time those two concepts have been paired like that…Jesus and Responsibility…but it should not be the last.
A central concept in the world of Jesus Worship is the avoidance of responsibility…”Jesus paid the price for my sins on the cross”. While you may feel better to think you are forgiven, that does not help the person who was hurt by your actions. If star the quarterback had run into someone, G-d might forgive him, but this does not help with the medical bills.
Today’s seminar is about the Worshiping Responsibly. It is about having respect for your neighbors who do not agree with you, and do not want to hear about your “salvation”. It is about not creating ill will for Jesus with obnoxious behavior in his name. It is about not dragging Jesus into your personal quarrels, using his name in anger to hurt your neighbor. It is about Responsibility. Your actions have consequences, and just because you are doing it for Jesus does not eliminate that reality.
There are two big reasons why PG is not a Jesus Worshiper. The first one is, he simply doesn’t agree with the teachings. The Bible is not the word of G-d, Jesus was killed because he was a troublemaker. The death, and reputed resurrection, of Jesus has nothing to do with what happens to people when they die. If you don’t agree with the dogma regarding life after death, the Jesus worship church has little to offer you. Christianity is more a scheme for life after death than a religion.
The Second reason is the sorry behavior of Jesus Worshipers. This prevents PG from having a cosmetic, social oriented membership in a church. He does not want to pretend to worship a spirit which causes him misery.
Responsibility is not valued in the Jesus Worship community. Respect for non believers is seen as a sign of weakness. And, while not all Jesus Worshipers are fanatics, many admire and support the loudmouths who give their faith a bad name.
When it comes to belief, moderation is not valued. Fanaticism is admired. There is little responsibility taken. It is just the Jesus talking.
Christopher Isherwood once said, in a magazine interview, that the doctrine of a religion is not as important as the person who tells you that doctrine. (If anyone can find this quote on the internet, please leave a comment with a link.) It is a common belief that religions are about beliefs, but many find that it is the person who draws you into the community. A corollary of this is when you have a bad experience with a person who represents a religion. This person can drive you far away from wanting to have any participation in a religion. The idea that G-d would send a person to hell because he knew an offensive Jesus worshiper is tough to believe.
So much for world affairs. It is time to tell a story, with no moral and no redeeming social value.
In 1980, I was staying at a place called the Sea Haven Hostel, affectionately known as Sleaze Haven. This was in Seattle WA, as far as you can get from Atlanta, and still be in the lower 48. I was working through Manpower, and staying in a semi private room for $68 a month.
There was a Christian group that met in the basement on Sunday Night. Now, as some of you may know, I am a recovering baptist, who hasn’t been to church since 1971. However, the lure of a free meal was hard to resist, so I went to a few meetings.
One night, after doing quality control work on the local beer supply, I cheerfully joined in the discussion. This was the night when I realized that the Bible is not the Word of G-d, a concept that has been very handy in dealing with the clumsy efforts of our Jesus-mad culture to convert me.
They seemed to like me, though, and welcomed me back. Maybe it was the southern accent.
One Sunday, after the dinner was finished , it was time to have a prayer to begin the meeting. I raised my hand. Now, Jesus Worshipers enjoy prayer as entertainment. When they bow their heads, you see them stretching and deep breathing, in anticipation of a good, lengthy, message to G-d.
My message was a bit of a disappointment. Instead of a long winded lecture about Jesus and the magic book, I said what was on my mind. Lord, thank you for letting us be here today.