Friday, November 4, 2011

#47- New Testament Completed

It was in Vermont at a debate camp that I started to read the book of Revelations on late night.  It was a bizarre tale indeed.  I learned a great lot including that there is no heaven.  Jesus is supposed to return to Earth and rule from Jerusalem.

The story was rather weird but it certainly was not so cryptic that I couldn't understand it.  Eventually I went on to read the Gospels.  Matthew elaborated on familiar story lines. Mark was quick and swift.  Luke was more scholarly and informative.  John was a poem at best.  Then I went on to Acts.  That was a very action packed book.  Romans contained the tough philosophical fiber that I've been clamoring for.  I went on to finish all of Paul's letters to the churches and eventually completed the entire New Testament.

Jesus is much more fascinating then I was led to believe.  The gospels are much better, much more elegant and regal then promoted.  It was fascinating and gripping literature.  Jesus was always three steps ahead of his troop of idiot followers.  He had a sharp mind and tongue and loved to embarrass the powers that be with sarcasm and rhetoric.  He even made a joke!  It was very exhilarating and edifying.

Having heard the principles, concepts, commands, and parables straight from Jesus' life story and mouth I found myself asking an important question:  was I really a Christian?

When I say Christian I meant was I copying the lifestyle of Jesus and following the commands to the letter.  I could not plead ignorance anymore.  I added to sugar and no pretenses to the words of the Gospel.  It was in black and white.  Suddenly I realized that I hadn't really met ANY Christians in my life; or at least any consistent ones.

Would I really be able to: take slaps in the face, sell all my possessions, live like a homeless beggar, make miracles?  Would I castrate myself or mutilate my face because I thought of a woman?  Would I hate my family for the sake of Jesus?  Would I go and do the Great Commission?

As good as the Gospels were I could not shake off a few observations:

1.  Jesus was racist and/or sectarian at least some of the time.
2.  Jesus said he came to bring war.
3.  Jesus got his super powers AFTER he got baptized, so was he a god?
4.  Jesus' parents made no big deal of his supernatural birth and the same happened to the locales who heard of it.

I struggled with these questions because I took them seriously.  The Holy Spirit seemed like an agent of God and not a third member of a trinity.  I was told to humble myself and pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance and I did to no avail.  The questions came faster than answers.  Jesus made claims that were not in the Jewish Bible and put his cousin on the spot about him being John the Baptist.  What about the fact that he was not the Jewish Messiah?  What was the Christian answer to this?

The rest of the New Testament taught me one thing:  Saul of Tarsus is the one who started the religion!  He wrote most of the book and that is not taught in Sunday Schools or at churches.  Peter was racist and was the one who was supposed to succeed Jesus.

The Jewish side of the story was told by Christians which drew a red flag in my mind.  Was I going to wash anyone's feet?  My stepfather was the person who I was going to humble and humiliate myself by washing his crusty feet.  I was contemplating doing this for Jesus and to prove to myself that I was a true Christian.

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