A Conversation With Jesus

Just recently, when the topic of funding Hamas within the Palestinian Authority came up, Jesus was brought into the conversation.

I was motivated to explore a fictional conversation with Jesus with my own humble self being involved in the discussion. Here is how the imaginary conversation started:

I do sometimes wonder what would happen if Jesus had been forced to deal with someone like me in a dicussion - grin. Jesus said "Turn the other cheek." Little David then asked "But Jesus, what then if he just slaps the other cheek?" "Turn the cheek again," Jesus replied. But Little David still was not satisfied and asked, "But how long must we go through this? How many times must I turn the cheek? Have I done so enough when my lips are bloodied? Is it enough when the slaps start to knock teeth loose that I stop?" And Jesus replied....

Let me continue this discussion, how I think Jesus might have answered and how it affects my own religious beliefs.

And Jesus replied "How many times did I tell Peter to forgive his brother?" "Ah hah," Little David stated, "Gotcha on that one. You said seventy times seven times. So doing some quick math we see you meant 490 times. So there is a finite number of times then? After the 490th slap in the cheek, THEN it is OK for me to clobber the guy?"

But Jesus was unswayed by this argument. He continued with his lesson, "and what else did I say? Did I not say to love one another as I have loved you? How would you yourself describe my love?" Little David thought for a moment and finally answered "You do seem to do some powerful loving, you will not get any argument from me on that one." Jesus allowed himself a small smile and said, "Let me drive the nail home. Did I ever ask you to do that which I myself was unwilling to do? Was I not myself willing to turn the other cheek? Do you remember what I had to say about forgiveness while I hung on the cross?" "That one is easy" Little David replied, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." "Now do you get my point?" Jesus asked? "Yes, Rabbi, I get your point," Little David said , "but guys like you sure are hard to live with."

End of conversation and now for some discussion.

There are a couple reasons I do not describe myself as a Christian. First, and perhaps most important, at least in the opinion of many of those who do describe themselves as Christians, is that while I love Jesus I am not sure he was himself God. I even describe him as Saviour because I give him the credit for that which is best about my society. Saviour? Yes. God? I do not know.

Second, I do not think I am worthy of calling myself a Christian. Now, personally, I do not think many, (if not most) of those who do thus label themselves as Christians are worthy of the title either, however just because they are hypocrites does not mean I should be one. Jesus was uncompromising in his love. I can not rise to that level of loving, so I am unworthy of calling myself a Christian.

I find the part about "Love thy neighbor as thyself" to be a plateau that I can at least attempt to reach. But Jesus did not stop there, he added the part about loving one another as he loved us. I think I am too much of a wretched human being to ever reach that level. Jesus was just too uncompromising with love, too willing to forgive, for me to ever be able to follow that example.

I simply settle for calling Jesus Rabbi and profess my love and admiration for the "man" who loved so powerfully and who practiced what he preached so effectively that he was able to change (and perhaps by doing so "saved") the world.


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