Friday, September 19, 2008

WWJD? WWBCWD?

Although a lot of people laugh at the old, What Would Jesus Do? thing, it is really not a bad way to examine an option. I would also ask, What would SakyaMuni Do?. Add your own favorite wise and or holy guy or girl. What would White Buffalo Calf Woman do? How about St Claire?
Anyway, many winters ago, when I was in seminary, studying the Gospels to beat the band, I got re-radicalized. I read about how the lillies of the field and the birds of the air were in better shape than us and how we shouldn't worry about what we eat or wear. Of course, JC was an apocalyptic preacher saying that the Kingdom of God was about to be ushered in before their very eyes. At least that's what it says in some parts of the Gospels. In another place however, he admonished everyone to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned. Short term actions or way to pattern a righteous life? And how about that lay not up gold and silver stuff. Man, did Christians ever toss that one out the window faster than a 16 year old boy can shtoop! So, if we aren't going to save up and we aren't going to worry about eats and threads, how we gonna survive? In the Book of Acts(Gospel of Luke part 2) the early Jewish followers "had nothing they called their own, but shared all things". In other words, they lived communally. The pattern didn't take, and of course Jesus didn't specifically say, 'form communes', but throughout the Christian writings are the calls to love one another and care for one another. And when Jesus described the life actions that got the sheep into the Kingdom, he didn't say,'pray for the sick and the hungry', he said, visit, feed, clothe. Pretty practical stuff. How best to care for one another? Through capitalistic consumerism and trickle down wealth right? I rather think not. I believe those early followers had it correct. You throw in your lot together, you actually share livelihoods and living spaces and clothing and food. And what you have left over, you give to them what aint got enough!
Is that going to get you into heaven? Who knows, if by heaven one means some ethereal after-life in the presence of the Great Mystery. Who cares? Wouldn't it be heavenly if we didn't have babies starving and people gouging out each other's throats for some crappy McMansion on a hill? A life of peace, sharing and enough for all- that sounds like the Kingdom to me. SO-how we gonna do this? More to come.

2 comments:

Fr. Peter Doodes said...

You have really hit at the heart of this. Jesus owned no property, wrote no books, had nothing apart from the clothes he stood up in and was executed as a criminal, yet the things that he said are still resounding today.

As for the Christians ‘tossing out the window the instruction to not lay up gold and silver’, well, not all of them have ignored that I promise you, but sadly most certainly have. I could cry when I visit churches that are raising thousands to repair their building but barely hundreds to help the needy.

A mother in Africa whose baby was dying of starvation would sell her body to any taker or her soul to the devil if it would save her child’s life, and I for one would not blame or condemn her.

As for communal living, I certainly would prefer living in a community that lived, worked and cared for each other and then, as you hinted at, we may well have heaven here on earth.

equa yona(Big Bear) said...

Thanks Father, I know their are actually many followers of Jesus who eschew the consumerist, greed mentality and live simple honest lives devoted to one another and to their faith. The Hutterites, about whom I have written here are one such group. But the vast majority of self-professed Christians, especially in the US, are heedless of Christ's call for radical change and think that because they don't swear or have extra marital sex, they're earnest followers. I have no desire to judge anyone, simply live differently from them.