Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Jesus I Want to Know

The ideas, the universal, perhaps metaphysical ideas, images, symbols, thoughts, myths – all of the abstract phenomena that represent universal thought are patterned after something. They are an imitation, a representation of something that already exists… in our minds and ‘out there’ somewhere. And these theories of super-consciousness, un-consciousness, consciousness, while in many respects are hard to discount i.e. if something empirically exists one can hardly dismiss the validity of that something, I keep getting a sense that they complicate a very simple yet vital fact. A very important factor that is sometimes obscured in all of this universal thinking is the individual, or what is the personal-ness of the individual.

We are individual, personal beings and we cannot function properly, or I should say we cannot function optimally without connection to other individual, personal beings. We need to love and be loved, we need to know and be known, we need to feel joy and pain and we need to feel the joy and pain of others. Our joy and pain, all of our feelings serve nothing, come to nothing but suffering in the absence of another. And somehow the universal ‘stories’ of the hero’s journey through life, salvation, redemption, death and rebirth, all of these concepts come to nothing unless they are shared with another. To be sure it is a universal truth that no man is an island.

I have come to the conclusion that I want Jesus to be real. Lately I find myself questioning if he was, not so much whether a man named Jesus actually existed in the flesh – that part is easy to accept. It is the part that says that Jesus was God incarnate as human being, as one of us. But this much I know, I desperately want him to be who the Gospels claim he was. Because it is God as man, divine in human form that tells me that God knows us, that God understands our struggle as human beings and not-God. That he knows the pleasure and pain of humanity that is endured daily and moment by moment for so many. In Jesus is represented the God that we need, the God that must be in order that we have hope for something more. In Jesus we see kindness and gentleness, love and forgiveness, the power to heal and the promise of so much more beyond the harsh realities of our existence in this life.

This is why I want Jesus to be real and I know that there probably will not be any definitive answers provided to me as confirmation of my wanting and sometimes I don’t understand that. But I also know that in the acknowledgement of these things, in the realizing of my desire for this to be so I may also be stating the reality. I may be recognizing the pattern, the basic structure that has been there from the beginning.

I think it safe to say that Jesus is everything we human beings need him to be.


  1. Reminds me of one of my favorite poems (because I struggle with these thoughts about Jesus too!)

    Savior by Maya Angelou

    Petulant priests, greedy
    centurions, and one million
    incensed gestures stand
    between your love and me.

    Your agape sacrifice
    is reduced to colored glass,
    vapid penance, and the
    tedium of ritual.

    Your footprints yet
    mark the crest of
    billowing seas but
    your joy
    fades upon the tablets
    of ordained prophets.

    Visit us again, Savior.
    Your children, burdened with
    disbelief, blinded by a patina
    of wisdom,
    carom down this vale of
    fear. We cry for you
    although we have lost
    your name.

  2. That is wonderful. So many people wanting the same thing. Has to make you wonder.

    Thank you so much for posting that.

  3. Lately I worry less about what is 'true' than what I can believe, and whether that belief helps. The most one risks by a conviction that's mistaken is being factually inaccurate. If the Jesus of the Gospels exists the way they say, then you make the proper choice by having faith. But even if He does not, you get what you engagingly describe as the 'the promise of so much more beyond the harsh realities of our existence in this life.' In my opinion, that promise is worth the risk of being 'wrong.' I'm in favor of leaps of faith.

  4. Faith, I have found is something quite different from what I had initially thought, my concept being a by-product of what I had been taught to believe. It is my evolving experience that faith does not require any leap at all, it in no way excludes reason and it is most definitely not a suspension of reality. Quite the contrary I would say it is more a dawning recognition of reality.

    What it does not do is provide all the answers but I would emphatically state that it provides the impetus to search, to seek out the path which is no doubt specific to the individual. I have come to believe that our general definition of faith exhibits an inherent misunderstanding of the true nature of the experience of faith and I have come to know that faith is less a concept and rather more an experience.