Dueling Dynasties

Today is June 21, which Lost Goddess tells me is International "I Don't Care" Day. (I asked her if she wanted me to promote it. Guess what she said?)

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On Friday my parents will celebrate their 33rd anniversary, but since I'm hosting the Carnival I wanted to do something today, so they wouldn't get lost in the shuffle. I asked my youngest sister to do a top ten list, telling her the only requirement is that it be about them in some way. (Upon more mature consideration, perhaps I shouldn't have given her such carte blanche. Oh well; live and don't learn; that's my motto.)

After giving it some thought, this is what she came up with.

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[Haven't had a book review in a while, so I thought I'd start us off with a controversial one]


The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity by James D. Tabor

It is the most difficult of tasks to have a reasonable conversation with someone about the man now known as Jesus Christ.

Just my first sentence has already raised hackles throughout the land.

The problem is what we all bring to the table. You read the first sentence as a member of one of three groups:

You could be a Christian. Even that tells me next-to-nothing. Are you new in your faith or have you believed for a long time? Are you a serious believer or is your Christianity more like your ethnicity; inherited from your family like the color of your skin and the shape of your eyes? Are you open-minded to discovering new aspects of the faith or have you discovered all there is? Did you struggle for years to come to an understanding, or did you accept practically from the womb?

You could be a religion other than Christian. Again, that tells me little. Were you taught to be hostile to Christianity, benign or even open? Do you even know what Christianity is? Is your idea of Christianity governed by those around you who claim to be Christians? Do you perceive Christianity as a threat to your faith?

You could be Atheist, but even this choice offers no help. Did you grow up religious and come to reject it or have you never connected with a faith? Do you really believe in nothing larger than yourself, or are you just adamant that it’s not the “Christian God”? Have you studied for years and concluded that a belief in a higher power is a delusion, or do you simply not care?

You see the dilemma. Every one of us (including me) brings thoughts, attitudes and beliefs to the conversation. We do that with everything, but the subject of Jesus is much more sensitive. There are many who believe that Jesus is God, and to have any conversation about Jesus as a human being is close to blasphemous. (You know people like this. Perhaps you are one.) There are others who have been so hurt by the Church, Church people, or something that happened to them they equate with Church, that talking about Jesus in any capacity (other than as a swear word) will make them shut down totally. (You know people like this. Perhaps you are one.)

Beginning to see the difficulty? The previous paragraphs have contained no shocking information, no bold assertions or allegations; no revealed truth of any kind. A simple recitation of the obvious is all I have thus done, and yet a sizable portion of the audience (still reading, that is) are already tense, nervous, hostile, wary, or any other manner of emotions one generally doesn’t wish for when writing a book review.

Such is life.

For more, see my revew of The Jesus Dynasty in Literary Hype

2 comments:

Dominique said...

man this is like sitting at the mailbox waiting for something good to come - sigh - shuffle shutffle - i'll just sit here until u show

Dominique said...

pace pace pace