About Jesus…

Having just read G. K. Chesterton’s The Everlasting Man, so much stood out as, frankly, pure genius.  However, these few lines were among many that were just stunning, and I hope they inspire you to read this incredible journalistic and dare I say, playful, account of history, religion and the fact of Jesus of Nazareth….

IMG-4218“‘The first rational explanation of his life was that he never lived…

Then the idea that he was a divine being who did not exist gave place to the idea that he was a human being who did exist.

In my youth it was the fashion to say that he was merely an ethical teacher in the manner of the Essenes, who had apparently nothing much to say that Hillel or a hundred other Jews might not have said…

Then someone said that he was a madman with a Messianic delusion. Then others said that he was indeed an original teacher because he cared about nothing but Socialism; or (as others said) about nothing but Pacifism.

Then a more grimly scientific character appeared who said that Jesus would never have been heard of at all except for his prophecies of the end of the world… Among other variants on the same theme was the theory that he was a spiritual healer and nothing else…

There is another theory that concentrates entirely on the business of diabolism… as if Christ, like a young deacon taking his first orders, had got as far as exorcism and never got any further.

Now each of these explanations in itself seems to me singularly inadequate; but taken together they do suggest something of the very mystery which they miss.

There must surely have been something not only mysterious but many-sided about Christ if so many smaller Christs can be carved out of him…

It were better to rend our robes with a great cry against blasphemy… rather than to stand stupidly debating fine shades of pantheism in the presence of so catastrophic a claim… when a strolling carpenter’s apprentice said calmly and almost carelessly, like one looking over his shoulder: ‘Before Abraham was, I am.'”

Thursday: Identity

Below is my script for Pause for Thought on BBC Radio Devon:

 

Using the brilliant Disney film ‘The Jungle Book’ this week, we’ve thought about following, anxiety and trust.  Today we look at identity.

The monkeys had kidnapped Mowgli and taken him to their leader, the orangutan King Louie, who wanted the power of fire that humans had.  

He sings, “I wanna be like you, I want to walk like you, talk like you, …”

 

Human beings learn by copying others.

It’s as if we copy others in order that we become ourselves.

So while we maintain our unique identity; to reach it, we need community.  We need others.

loius

Continue reading “Thursday: Identity”

Your absolute and indestructable identity

EATING YOUR TRUE SELF

“Jesus says, ‘If you eat this bread you will live forever’ (John 6:51).  It is so interesting that he chooses taste, flavour, and nutrition as the symbol of how life is transferred and not intellectual cognition.  If you live by the momentary identity that others give you, that’s what dies when you die, and you’re left with nothing.  Your relative identity passes away, but it is like the painful erasing of an unwanted tattoo.  When Jesus says he’s giving himself to you as the bread of life, he’s saying, as it were, ‘Find yourself in me, and this will not pass or change or die.  Eat this food as your primary nutrition, and you are indestructable.’  This is your absolute and indestructable identity.

We all slowly learn how to live in what Thomas Merton would call the True Self – who you are and always have been, in God.  Who you are in God is who you are forever.  In fact, that’s all you are, and it’s more than enough.  Everything else is passing away.  Reputations, titles, possessions, and roles do not determine our identity.  When I hand out the Eucharist bread I love to say to the assembly, ‘You become what you eat.  Come and eat who you are – forever!’ You access Great Truth by absorption and digestion, almost never by analysis or argumentation.”

Richard Rohr, YES, AND…

Humility is….

Humility-is-concerned

I came across this little gem today in a great book named below:

“It is easy to play the world’s game which is the power game, the game which depends on setting myself apart from others, distinguishing myself, seeking the limelight and looking for applause.  I find that it is only too easy to become compulsive in my continual need for affirmation, for more and more affirmation, as I anxiously ask Who am I?

Am I the person who is liked, admired, praised, seen as successful?  My whole attitude towards myself becomes determined by the way in which others see me.  I compare myself with others, and I try to emphasize what is different and distinctive about me.  Those three temptations which Christ faced in the wilderness are equally my own temptations:

1.  to be relevant.  2. to be spectacular.  3. to be powerful

Am I able, like Christ, to put them down?  Am I prepared to shed all these outer shells, of false ambition, of pride?  Am I ready to admit that the mask is a disguise put on to cover up the insecure self? and the armour a shield to protect the vulnerable self?

Am I ready to receive a new self, based not on what I can achieve, but on what I am willing to receive?

Humility is….. facing the truth.”

Esther de Waal, Living with Contradiction, p.96

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