Thursday, February 21, 2008

My Own Personal Jesus

Christ was very punk rock -- a complete revolutionary out to smash the status quo. I dig J.C. (I love the Baby Jesus too). In typically strange fashion, I didn't relate to Jesus much at all until I read Mikhail Bulgakov's magnum opus The Master and Margarita and, much later, saw The Last Temptation of Christ. (The obvious corruption of Swaggart, Robertson as well as the St. E's priest who slept with my friend's sister didn't exactly encourage me breach the Jesus gap). The Jesi of these"heretical" works rang true to me in a far more vital, visceral and human manner than the King James version ever did.

I have reservations about Deepak Chopra. Part huckster, part spiritual advisor and part snake-oil saleman, Chopra is a very smart and persuasive fellow. He's out hawking his new book The Third Jesus. Here Deepak prods us to greet the new Jesus (same as the old Jesus?). This bit slamming the winger evangees grabbed my attention:

Many believers are satisfied with one or the other Jesus, and yet millions are not. They have witnessed their faith being hijacked by rigid fundamentalism. A teaching of love and peace has been perverted to justify war and bigotry.
Chopra may not have the ear of Dobson, Phelps, Perkins, Wilmon and the rest of the flock but his message will reach viewers of Oprah, The Today Show, The Daily Show, Steven Colbert, etc. He also counts Madonna, Demi Moore, Martin Sheen, Blythe Danner, Goldie Hawn, and Debra Winger among his show biz friends.

Anything that yanks the concept of Jesus back to the actual teachings of Jesus is just alright with me.



Liesl said...

Have you ever read any of Bishop Spong's writing? If not, I really think you'd like him. He's the one people should be reading, not the person who says we can change physics.

Anacher Forester said...

I know of Spong but haven't read his work. I'll check him out.

I do believe strongly in spirituality but most of organized Western religion leaves me cold. I enjoy much of the ritual especially the big production numbers like the candlelight X-mas eve at the little New England Yankee Unitarian church or midnight Easter mass at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

But religion's exertion of power and control, the hypocrisy and the contention their's is the only proper faith leaves me cold. One of the many reasons I embrace Buddhism is that it is inclusive not exclusive. You can practice Buddhism and still be Christian or Muslim or just about anything else.

Chopra comes with caveats a plenty. His physics schtick actually bothers me less than his embracing intelligent design and the stuff I previously mentioned. However, Chopra does have a platform and an audience. If he is successful bringing any Christians back to Christ or at least to more closely examine their faith, that is a good thing.