Friday, 2 November 2007

Jesus the Liar: the Trilemma Pt.1.

The real reason I’ve taken so long to get this post up has nothing to do with contentious title: it’s just that I couldn’t find an appropriate picture, and I’m not confident in my ability to convey what I mean with words alone.

You see, by “liar” I don’t mean someone who says what they know to be untrue – like the stereotypical used-car salesman, or politician. Jesus wasn’t a con artist, so please don’t start frothing at the mouth in a delusion that I’m trying to claim he was.

Yet so many things Jesus said contradict the golden truths of our age that it’s impossible for me to not tick the "liar" box. “Blessed are the poor”; “the first shall be last”; “leave tomorrow for tomorrow” – all these (and countless more similar sayings) cut so deeply against the grain of our society’s accepted wisdom that most churches I’ve experienced prefer to ignore them, or else explain them in such away as to suggest they actually mean the diametric opposite.
I’m not comfortable with these exegetical sleights-of-hand. I’d rather just admit that in some kind of absurdist game Jesus contradicted everything society taught me to be true.

Where that leaves giant pencils and mock ballot papers, I’m not sure. This one was sticking out above the footpath, ready to impale anyone not prepared to vote according to the parish mission’s party line. I wanted to ask if it would be ok to tick more than one box, but there wasn’t anyone to talk to. Perhaps it wasn’t really an imitation pencil at all, but a giant missile prepared for remote launching against people trying to complicate things.


Wormwood's Doxy said...

What does it say about me that it looks like a giant, lumpy breast?

And I agree with you about churches trying to explain away the hard sayings---it makes me uncomfortable too.

I'm no literalist---but when Jesus says "It's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven," I don't buy that "What he REALLY meant was...[fill in rationalization of your choice]."

Same with divorce, lust, etc. I think he calls us to a life of struggle in one sense---but I also rest in the knowledge that he said "My burden is easy and my yoke is light" and "Peace I give you, my peace I leave you."

Contradictory fellow, that Jesus. Probably one reason he appeals to me so much...