For Christ's Sake

The Hyperion Chronicles
“Once more into the breach, dear friends”

#86 For Christ’s Sake

I wonder what it took to be great; image-making, shake-the-earth-to-its-core great. I’ve made a study of the people who have achieved this, the people whom history books laud, biographies lavish, and young and old acknowledge as humankind’s greatest examples. What I have found, though, is that these great people who tread the hallways of history and lore were not so great at home to their families and the people close to them. In fact, you could make the case that to achieve greatness out in the world is to sacrifice at home. To have great ideas that move the world means to have great confidence, and to have steadfastness in purpose, but this can also translate into great arrogance and a harsh spirit. In other words, many of these great men, these Generals, these Explorers, these Statesmen, these Thinkers, and even these Peacemakers, were quite simply pricks to everyone around them. This goes for any century up to and including the last one, where the great non-violent resister was brutal on his own family, and the man who told us we should be judged on the content of our character serially cheated on his wife.

I wonder, if there is an afterlife, how the pecking order will go. I wonder if the people that history remember only as heroic will be seen as such in any cosmic heaven. I don’t know exactly how these things will work themselves out, but I’d be willing to bet that up there They don’t see things and cherish things quite the same way we do down here. I wonder if it’s the man who didn’t make it big, but took care of his family, perhaps will have a greater place in line.

And while I’m thinking along these lines, I wonder what Jesus would do if he were here today. I wonder where Jesus would be and what he’d be doing if he were here right now. Having not gotten a return email from Jesus, I can’t speak for him at the moment, but I wonder if the things we see as so important would phase Jesus in the least. I bet Jesus wouldn’t hang out in churches and with church folk all the time. No, I take that back. I know Jesus wouldn’t hang out in churches or with church folk very often. For the most part, church people don’t associate much with those who would need him.

I bet Jesus would be in the bars and brothels, and not think twice about it. I bet Jesus wouldn’t even blink at someone smoking a cigarette, sipping a beer, or using foul language, and I bet it wouldn’t dissuade him from hanging with those “types” of people. I bet Jesus would spend time talking to the Homeless, the Hookers, the Hoods. I bet Jesus would go visit the Felons, the Freaks, and the Faggots. I bet Jesus wouldn’t pay any attention to these labels we give people, whether they roll off our tongues, or just slide through our heads, unspoken, but there all the same. If Jesus were here today I bet we would be collectively shocked to find out what Jesus thinks, what he would say, where he would go, and what he would do.

So, on this holiday that bears Jesus’s name; in this season that commemorates his birth, his life, his message, his meaning, and his purpose; what do you think? What do you say? Where are you? And what are you doing?

December 13, 2002

Thanks to Kimbo for brainstorming help
Thanks to Koz for graphics, editing, the title, and anything else offensive

Motto Explanation
This comes from Henry V; Act 3, Scene 1 Line 1. It is the beginning of a speech with King Henry urging his men on at the scene of Harfleur. I meant it as an acknowledgement that some of my Christmas columns had been majorly controversial in the past (you’re lucky I didn’t resend #22), and that I was voluntarily jumping back into the fray.

Answer the Question

1 comment:

Rachel said...

I love this column.