25 December 2020

The Jesus of Christmas 2020 - Radical or Revolutionary?

My perspective of Jesus' life and the various organized religion denominations collectively referred to as Christianity, differs from that of many.

Although it is possible to understand the well-intended thought process associated with labeling Jesus as a "radical", imho, that label misses the mark by labeling him in the way "the enemy" chose.  Because words have power, I experience it is a semantic difference associated with the connotative and denotative meaning of words in the English language. 

It is difficult to deny that the English word "radical" has earned a reputation of being closely associate with violent anarchy.  For that reason the label of "revolutionary", more precisely "spiritual revolutionary" seems much more fitting as a way to describe the historical Jesus.

As a Jewish friend reminded, Jesus was born and raised in Occupied Palestine, so although he was labeled as a dangerous vocal rabble rouser who threatened the political aspirations of the occupiers, Jesus is not known to have advocated resorting to violence in response to those who feared the success of non-violent spiritual resistance; that hardly seems "radical" and riotously reactionary.

When an understanding of the purpose of Jesus' life moves beyond the obstacle of it being primarily defined in terms of the political environment of place and time in Palestine, which aimed to limit that purpose and the breadth and depth of his work, then the revolutionary concept of collectively overcoming through spiritual transformation at the individual level, seems much more clear.

I suggest it remains a revolutionary concept when first recognized by all who choose to take the path of spiritual transformation in life.  Only dictatorial occupiers would consider those who choose to live their lives in ways that empower spiritual evolution, to be ill-intended reactionary radical "threats".  History repeatedly demonstrates that the political intent at the time backfired, and continued to when it intended to silence recognition and teaching about the concept of spiritual evolution through an organized collusive effort to first victimize an outspoken leader whose life's work was to promote individual and collective spiritual evolution, then targeted later leaders under the banner of Christianity, as martyrs also.

Whatever the combination of fact and mythology about Jesus' life at the basis of each denomination of Christianity, altogether it becomes a collective cultural history of Christianity that, as intended, leads to individuals recognizing the concept of personal and collective spiritual transformation.  Although the unfortunate politicalization of organized religions has popularized the concept within Christian denominations that only the Christian approach to teaching about spiritual evolution is valid, what Jesus taught neither negates nor limits earlier and later effective approaches to understanding and teaching about spiritual evolution.

One does not need to embrace Christian theology, in general, or the religious tenants of any specific Christian denomination to be able to appreciate, love, and respect the work that is attributed to Jesus as an outspoken advocate and leader of spiritual evolution in time and place as his purpose for living.  And that purpose, friends, remains a revolutionary concept of personal discovery, regardless of one's religion or lack thereof.