Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas!

First of all, merry Christmas everybody! I haven't really had time to update lately because of Springfield Ballet's production of The Nutcracker (I had the honor of being the Nutcracker Prince!) and I got kicked out of campus housing on Friday. It's been a bit haphazard since then, but things are a bit more settled now.

So I've been sitting around the house with my family watching TV all day. It's just what we do. It gives me ample time to ponder, which is what I do best these days. Seeing as it is Christmas, most of my thoughts have been centered around this Jesus character we've all been hearing so much about. Specifically, what does it mean to say that I am a Christian? I say that I am a Christian mainly because it's a title that, try as I may, I cannot escape. I was born into a Christian family and see the world through a Christian lens, so I'm okay with living with it and making it something I can be proud of instead of running away from it. So what is it all about then?

Okay, ground floor: Being a Christian means believing in Jesus Christ, right? That isn't very simple though, is it? Am I believing in Christ as some metaphysical savior, like I have some ethereal soul that is lost in limbo or something? Or am I believing in Christ as a man who figured out how to live?

A lot of people say that Jesus "saves" us, but then the question becomes this: What is Jesus saving us from? Are we being saved from ourselves? From our "original sin"? From each other somehow? Seeing as I don't really think original sin makes any damn sense and I don't really know how to make sense of any of this "panicky metaphysics," as Daniel Dennett puts it, that Christians try to posit when talking about the soul and all of this "sin" stuff. What that tells me is that perhaps all of this stuff exists, but if God really meant Jesus to come save us metaphysically he would have given us another sensory aparatus to understand exactly what we're being saved from, right? Thus, let's toss it out.

That means that Jesus's role for me must have something to do with life in this world. More and more I'm becoming comfortable with putting Jesus in the same boat as Gandhi, King, Mohammmed, and Mother Theresa. All amazing people who helped usher in new social systems of equality. They've all learned to tap into some deeper sense of humanity and taught us to come together and love one another more fully. I don't really know why we need Jesus to be more than that anymore. Why do we need him to be above and beyond this world hanging out in heaven fixing our "soul," whatever the hell that is? I don't really understand it. I am, however, plugged into a community which sees this as a necessity for our happiness as human beings. So I'll learn to deal with that.

For the time being, I'm celebrating a day which reminds us of one who wanted to teach us all how to be at peace with one another, to turn the other cheek, to pray for our enemies, and to care for the least of us. Today is a day for humanitarians. Let's enjoy it!

1 comment:

Blue in Green said...

Hello Mark,
Merry christmas to you too. I stumbled upon your blog and love it. Would like to follow you...please bring me back here?
Best wishes