Christianity and the Church, there is a difference. To be a Christian means to follow Jesus, the man, humble in birth, the essence of God sent down as man to demostrate how to handle the challenges of life. Jesus, the Spirit, Jesus the man, Jesus the friend, Jesus the Savior. Jesus became The Christ. It is up to us those who elect to call ourselves Christians, to learn the Christ Principles and use them for a guide to our lives. The Christ Principles come out of the two admendments, first to love God and second to love your neighbor. The Christ Principles are manifested through the “Fruit of the Spirit” love, joy, patience, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and selfcontrol. Jesus is the story of a people from the Middleeast, struggling through the deserts of life. Christianity is not the story, of urban Emperos, kings and violent rulers seeking power and control that is the Church, and there is a difference.

Research on the Question of the Validity of a Historical Jesus.

 

Marcus Borg[1] suggests two negative claims about the historical Jesus. First he says that Jesus did not claim to be the Messiah, or have a message centered on himself or his own identity, and second, Jesus did not expect the coming of the Kingdom of God in his own time.

Borg suggests that a “spirit person” someone who took on the hopes and dreams of a depressed people.

There are others who join with this idea that the people living during the time of the historical Jesus needed a symbolic element of a supernatural nature, which had the power to life them out of their conditions. People needed compassion, which was lacking from the impassionate rulers of Rome. They needed someone to would heal the sick and raise their dead loved ones.

The question arises; did the oppression of an occupying force give rise to the Jesus spirit? Will man when pushed beyond endurance seek a savior who will come forth through some supernatural means and save them from life’s cruel adventures?

Earl Doherty[2] suggests that Christianity began with a mystical Christ, which was influenced by the Jewish mystical speculation on the scripture found in the writings of Solomon as well as the influence of Platonism and Hellenistic ideas of the day.

Robert Funk[3], suggests that Jesus was not apocalyptic. Jesus was different from John the Baptist and Paul who were apocalyptic, and preached a message that the end was near, and all who did not listen and perform certain rites were doomed. Jesus did not scare people to him as many of the founders of Christianity have done. Jesus tended to use a more radical approach, and focused on the every day issues concerning humankind.

 

It may make for some exciting intellectual discourse to ponder on the reliability of the scripture concerning the life of someone living thousands of years ago. However, intellectual massaging of the mind does not address the needs of human voices crying out in a hollow universe. If man cannot or will not hear the cries of the masses, then perhaps the spirit world can. Perhaps the spirit world can and did influence the mind until the mind gave form to a savior. The stories of the Old Testament and the New Testament are the stories of a human population struggling with adversity. Most of that adversity had to do with political, social and economic conditions of the time.

The stories that we read over and over again in our Holy books help us to endure our life’s struggles. Women all over the world, throughout time have been in the center of pain, injustice and sorrow. Therefore, it is understandable, that if the universe were going to change some of these conditions, it would have to center around the needs and wants of women.

The Jesus story elevates women from some of the despair they face. Women reading about a young girl having a baby are not concerned if the story is true or not. They are not concerned about the identity of the author of the story, the story fits, and they say yes to it. It does not matter to the oppressed if Jesus said the words attributed to him in the style and manner presented. The language we receive this information in is Shakespearian, is does not matter that Jesus spoke and thought in Aramaic. It does not matter that he is Jewish, and all of his teachings are Jewish, it still works in the minds on non-Jewish peoples.

The recently discovered Gospels of Thomas have not shed any light on why the Jesus thing works. The Gnostic beliefs and writings about a coded body of secret knowledge only available to and for the truly selected do not matter. What matter is that there is power in the scripture as the word of God. The scripture gives value to the meaning and purpose of our lives, and when that meaning has no purpose, the words still give comfort in time of distress.

The writings of the theological scholars are just another way to view events of history for which we have to depend upon the written word. We were not there during the formation of Christian history. We will never know what factors gave rise to a Christ. We may never know about the historical Jesus, any more than were know about Moses, Abraham or Jacob. Words control history and our belief systems. Our lives are influenced by what we choose to believe.

 

Who is here to testify to the reality of the Crusades? Words written by men connect our minds with history. The spirit of the Christ is something else. Jesus is not a historical figure. The historical Jesus could and would not work in today’s Christianity. Jesus has a transforming presence in which he indwells within the human being at this time and at this stage of his existence.

The historical Jesus preaching on a mountaintop to groups of people wearing dresses does not work. However, in the moment of greatest need the spiritual Jesus steps forth and takes his place besides and inside of individuals of the Christian faith. It is important that one should not come to seminary and lose their religion. The discourse is exciting, but the living and transforming power of Jesus, as a central belief system is more powerful. We tell the story because it has power. We discuss the wars centered on the birth of the religion, because that is the path that some travel to find meaning in their religion. We center on the men and epic leaders who lived during this time of spiritual birth, because form a time frame perspective, it gives order to our Roman minds. The exciting stories around the birth of the Christian and the Catholic Church can be viewed as similar to the stories of Moses and the Israelites and the many battles they had to endure in order to give birth to the nation of Israel.  Today in the modern world, there are people of the Cross and people of the Church. Today it is possible to hate your neighbor, lynch him, burn his wife and children in ovens, and still be called Christian. Today, wealthy men can drive expensive cars, own mansions on beautiful Islands, and travel in private jets because they have under paid their employees and over charged on goods and services. Today, Christianity may mean showing up in a building,  singing a few songs reading a few Bible verses, but still remaining the same self. Jesus is the Spirit within each who calls himself a Christian, Jesus is also the behaviors we show to others in thought, word or deed. Are we doers of the “Word” or is it just a political title?

[1] http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html

[2] ibid

[3] ibid a founder of the Jesus Seminars

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