Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Matthew/Jesus

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Jesus' operative point about difficulty must be read in context of what it is that's difficult for the rich--namely, entering the kingdom of God. What is the kingdom of God/heaven? And why is this concept so antithetical to riches that Jesus would proclaim a blanket judgment (being, of course, that it is impossible for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, accepting the conditions of Jaycee's metaphor)?

Being "rich" means being rich in material possessions--a relative definition that depends, for its meaning, on there being others to be "richer than." If you're richer than enough people, you're rich. And you have become separated from them by that wealth--separated from Jesus, the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of heaven.

There's the point where Jesus stood against the religion of the Torah--the clannish religion of torture and ethnic supremacy--and threw the money-changers from the temple: his recognition of the ways that "riches" (exorbitant, harmful accumulation of more possessions than any one person can use well) separate the "rich" from the rest of humanity. And thus, from the kingdom of heaven, where endless souls may everstream.

("I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through [my message].")

Gospel Jesus would not be camping outside Wall Street shouting slogans, but rather, getting tasered and imprisoned for trying to throw the money-changers out. Fault the chanters, if you will; fault the money-changers more.

I don't deserve the money someone else has worked for and someone who doesn't believe doesn't deserve the Heaven the believers work for.
Firstly, believers don't "work" for Heaven, even biblically; they are gifted it by God & JC, and taking credit for it, as though it was something rightly "earned," while an American way to look at it, is a bit presumptuous on the holy side. If you show up there, and the whole setup is the way you've been promised, it's probably better to drop to your knees and be thankful, instead of congratulating yourself for your hard work. :-)

More importantly, humans do deserve money that humans work for. Connecting that in any way to Wall Street is more degrees than connects Kevin Bacon to the guy who scooped dung behind Cleopatra's party wagon. I.e., remotely related by a great stretch of the imagination, but not in a useful way as regards justifying cashflow. You, dear NAZ, deserve the meeting of your basic needs, inasmuch as we all deserve the meeting of our basic needs. To what other end, society? To what other purpose "civilization"?

More later, but for now, this one will leave you with a quote from an Inuit, courtesy of researcher Peter Freuschen. He describes the tale of how he returned unsuccessful (hungry, empty-handed) from a walrus hunt, only to find another hunter, who had caught something, bringing him several hundred pounds of meet. When he tried to thank the man for the charity:

"Up in our country we are human!" said the hunter. "And since we are human we help each other. We don't like to hear anybody say thanks for that. What I get today you may get tomorrow. Up here we say that by gifts one makes slaves and by whips one makes dogs."

This is recognition of the intrinsic value of humanity--the kingdom of heaven, if you will--where we realize that none of us would be alive without others, and that while not "equal," we all owe our every breath to the rest of us. Generations past, present and to come, all so that we can have a whisper of life, nurtured through infancy, sleep, weakness, old age and passing. In the meantime, those who hoard all the stuff (again, money-changers, if you will) make things very unpleasant, and inhuman, for the rest of us.

Lightspring embrace.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent. This is what the human contract is about.

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