27 December 2010

Christians, Do You Help Shoulder the Cross?

One wonders about Christians, not all of them--but, certainly most of them.

Over the past several weeks I've watched bemusedly (Okay, you got me there. Sometimes with annoyance and hostility) as people calling themselves Christian have demanded that others recognize and accept their right to claim the year-ending,  winter-solstice, holiday season as theirs in recognition of the birth of little baby Jesus. They bleat and blather about Jesus as the "Reason for the Season", one even got holidays confused and tossed in the cross (Easter) as "The True Reason for the Season".  Where I live, in occupied territory in the deepest red zone of East Texas, there are numerous yahoos displaying yard signs reading, "Happy Birthday Jesus".

Sure its sounds snarky to harp on it, but do these people really think their Jesus is driving by taking notes on who is celebrating his birthday (it's not, most biblical scholars think it's probably in September...just when football season is getting under way, and here In Texas, not even Jesus is going to trump that) and who is not--in a minute I'm going to reflect a bit on what he, if there really is such a he might be taking notes on.

You can't imagine the fury I ginned up by challenging, rather gently for me, these arrogant demands that people must shift from what is a pretty much fun, secular-humanist holiday and knuckle under to a puritanical  religious ritual.  "Go to hell", I was told by a sitting judge and one of her supporters.  My brief dissertation on the historic background of Christmas, and why I, and so many others, resent being told that we must cast aside our secular beliefs and adopt the Christian viewpoint, was margenalized as a "rant".

And so it goes.  But, here is what really perplexes me about these folks, and it really has nothing to do with the holiday season and much more to do with, where in the name of hell is the christian outrage at what is happening to so many our brothers and sisters.  Christians, especially the more evangelical fundamentalists, love parables and allegories, so let's give them one.

Jesus is said to have fallen (not really spelled out in their bible--but, one of those, well, everybody knows it kind of things) under the weight of the cross three times.  Only one person helped shoulder it, Simon of Cyrene.  And, here's the thing about that.  He didn't rush out and say, "Let me help you with that old boy".  Hell no, a Roman soldier drafted him to the task!  Which, in my mind, makes him the very first Christian...yeah he did it, but it wasn't out of love or generosity or grace or blessedness or whatever the current catch phrase of the religious right holds sway today.  He was compelled to do so under pressure of authority!

Okay, here's my allegory.  How many of you people calling yourself Christian will pick up and help carry the cross?  Here's some of what it is loaded down with: drug and alcohol addiction and abuse stemming from a desire to deaden the pain of ignorance, unemployment, and institutionalized generational poverty, or men and women selling their bodies in order to obtain that soma against the cruelty of existence in a system which places no value on human spirit, or older and elderly people merely existing, not living, at the edge of starvation in the midst of aloneness. Oh, I could go on, but you surely get the picture.

When you shoulder those pieces of the cross, then I might believe there is some honesty in your sanctimonious posturings.  I'm not talking about tithing, or a few bucks in the collection plate, or a blanket or coat in cold weather, and then back to your life, fading like Simon back to the obscurity of the crowd.

Got it?

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