“Christ drove the Money Changers out of the Temple. But today nobody dares to drive the Money Lenders out of the Temple because the Money Lenders have taken a mortgage on the Temple.”– Peter Maurin+
The narrative of Jesus and the moneychangers/AKA the cleansing of the Temple is told in the four gospels [good news] about Jesus and his disciples who arrive at the Temple in Jerusalem during Passover.
Jesus vents his righteous rage over the desecration of a faith in the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, for it had become big business perpetuated by “the den of thieves” among the upper echelon in the hierarchy of High Priests.
The priests made their living by convincing the ancients that the only way to be OK with God was to pay their way out of their ‘sins’. These men with minds that believed the earth was flat wrought rituals such as baths and sacrificing livestock that only the Temple priests could perform upon a sinner seeking repentance for what ever they had done or had not done unto God and neighbor.
The root of all ‘sin’ is selfishness-meaning putting one’s self interests and desires foremost without even a thought of another’s and ‘sin’ is enabled by ignoring one’s conscience.
The ancient Hebrews ascribed to 613 mitzvahs [commands] of Judaism. Jesus did not seek to create a new religion but to bring in a deeper connection with the Ultimate Mystery of the Universe-God, for lack of a better word. Jesus taught one must forgive to be forgiven, one must Love God first, “love your neighbor as yourself” and “Love your enemies.”
Too few who claim to be Christian have actually done what Jesus commanded; but Clifford Stanley, Episcopal Priest and Professor of Theology noted, “Any god who can be killed ought to be killed” and as John Lennon sang, “when it comes to destruction you can count me out. In.”
The last words Jesus/AKA The Prince of Peace commanded his community of followers before being hauled away to his trial, torture and murder was “To put down the sword.”
His last prayer before he died on the cross was, “Father, forgive them; they know not what they are doing.”
Jesus also said that he came so that we would have life to the full; abundant life [John 10:10] and that takes deep thought and then taking action.
Two thousand years ago, there was lively debate about whom the Christ-the very first WIDE AWAKE man was; and until the Church got in bed with Emperor Constantine, churches were diverse hot beds of individuality and not the institutions that have become big business today.
In 1994, Bishop Shelly Spong wrote, “Resurrection: Myth or Reality?”
Spong faced the fact that viewing the resurrection of Jesus as PHYSICAL was a late developing tradition in early Christianity, which until the third decade had been called The Way-meaning the way Jesus taught one must be-Nonviolent, forgiving and loving.
St. Paul as well as the gospel writers of Mark and Matthew made NO claim that the burst of life, light and energy that accompanied the birth of Christianity was dependent on any orthodox theology or dogma.
In 1996, Spong wrote, “Liberating the Gospels” and contended that the writers of the synoptic gospels-Luke, Matthew and Mark- were NOT eyewitnesses to the life and death of The Prince of Peace and these gospels/good news were not even based on eyewitness memories.
Instead, they were liturgical works organized around the Jewish liturgical year and were NOT to be taken literally, but probed within the Jewish context…
Israeli Nuclear Whistle Blower, Mordechai Vanunu was born into a Moroccan Jewish Orthodox Zionist family on 13 October 1954. When Vanunu was 9, his family resettled in the ethnically cleansed Palestinian village of Beersheva and by his mid teens Vanunu had became an atheist. After leaving Israel in 1986, Vanunu wandered into a social justice Anglican church in Australia and was baptized a Christian just a few weeks before being kidnapped by Mossad, enduring 18 years in jail and 8 more under 24/7 surveillance and still denied the right to leave Israel:
During my 2005 interviews with Vanunu, he told me that he quit being a Jew even before he knew about Jesus.
I laughed as I told Vanunu, “You can change your religion but you can’t change your DNA. You and Jesus both had Jewish mothers and that makes you both Jewish.”
Vanunu did not respond but when I asked him, “How was it being crucified for telling the truth?”
He readily replied, “My human rights have been denied me because I am a Christian. When I was on trial I was treated just like a Palestinian; no human rights at all and cruel and unusual punishment, all because I told the truth. The government spread slander about me, that I was a homosexual, that I hated Jews, that I wanted fame and money.
“What I did was sacrifice my life for the truth. In prison I really began to feel like Jesus and Paul. When Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the temple, it was like me in Dimona exposing the Israelis dirty secrets. I felt like Paul being thrown in prison for speaking the truth.
“The only real way to worship is in loving one’s enemies. It was not easy to love my tormentors, it was only because I felt so much like Jesus crucified on the cross, and me crucified in prison, that I could do it. It was not ever easy.
“In Israel, a life sentence is 25 years. Even murderers go free after 17. They imposed the same restrictions on me that Palestinians receive; no human rights at all. No phone, no visitors except family and only through an iron grill. No vacation, no holidays, no gifts. Even murderers get out for vacations! I was locked up for 18 years and still cannot go on vacation, I cannot leave and that is all I am asking, just to leave here.++
“The USA needs to wake up and see the truth that Israel is not a democracy unless you are a Jew. Israel is the only country in the Middle East where America can right now find nuclear weapons. America can also find where basic human rights have been denied Christians, right here in Israel.” 
A recent study published by The Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel, Jerusalem Inter-Church Centre and the World Council of Churches exposes “the grim realities of life under Israeli military occupation, and the impacts that it has on the Palestinian people in general [and sheds] some light on the fact that Palestinian Christians are indigenous to the Holy Land.” 
The report nails Israeli and Christian Zionist propaganda that blames the Christians Exodus from the Holy Land on Muslim fundamentalism and shines the light of truth on Christians who do not even know their own faith for they support Israel’s brutal military occupation-the greatest threat to the existence of the indigenous Christians of the Holy Land.
“As long as Christians all over the world can freely visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem but Palestinian Christians are denied their right to freely worship there, because they need a special permit to enter Arab East Jerusalem, regularly denied by the Israeli occupation forces, there is something fundamentally wrong within the Western value system.
“Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Christian population of Palestine had greatly diminished. Their proportion in the population decreased from more than 18 per cent in 1948 to 2 percent today. Once, Christians in Bethlehem comprised more than 90 percent of the population. Today Christians make up only 15 per cent in the city. The main focus of this study is built around a case study about the impacts of Israel’s military occupation of Palestine and how Christians are affected.” [IBID]
The report also presents excerpts from the “Kairos Palestine ‘Moment of Truth’ document” of 2009 that declared “that the military occupation of our land is a sin against God and humanity, and that any theology that legitimizes the occupation is far from Christian teachings because the true Christian theology is a theology of love and solidarity with the oppressed”.
The study concludes that Palestinian Christians are “disproportionately affected by the occupation” and “further Christian emigration not only from Palestine but also from other Middle Eastern countries could transform a political conflict into a religious one between Islam and Judaism. The West bears heavy responsibility for the exodus of the Palestinian and Arab Christians because its one-sided alignment with Israel’s occupation and its attacks on Iraq has led to a mass flight of Christians. If the West keeps trying together with its Arab allies to topple the regime of Bashar al-Assad, the consequences for Christian and other minorities will be catastrophic…The root of Palestinian sufferings is founded in Israeli military occupation of their homeland and the occupation of Arab land by Western occupation forces helped by their Arab allies.” [IBID]
Living in the past has got no soul and the future of Christianity will not be found in antiquity, but in our ability to re-IMAGINE the ancient stories, symbols and concepts with modern eyes.
The ancients believed the Universe consisted of three tiers; the earth at the center was flat, and the judging, all knowing deity was up in the sky and hell was the place below.
The ancients ascribed to a tribal, male supernatural being who validated warfare as a noble and divine enterprise and his foreign policy was pro-Hebrew.
The Christian god “evolved’ from tribal roots and the power of the Church to control knowledge and public opinion in an invasive deity dominated civilization for 1,600 years until a new concept dawned.
Copernicus and his disciple Galileo concluded that the sun did not rotate around the earth but that the earth rotated around the sun. This revolutionary evolution in consciousness began the shift from a god who was not so involved in the daily affairs of humans.
Galileo was condemned a heretic and not until December 28, 1991, did the Vatican officially admit he was right and the Church and Bible had been wrong about the universe and humankind’s place in it.
When Freud exposed the childish neurotic elements in religion he was vilified and demonized by Christian leaders.
Carl Jung offered a bridge of reconciliation when he recognized the historic process necessary in the development of Consciousness; which is the quality or state of being aware of something within oneself.
Albert Einstein introduced relativity as present in all things including “eternal and unchanging truth.”
Astrophysicists raised awareness of the emptiness in the heavens above and that hit at the heart of human loneliness.
“We are all born and someday we’ll all die…to some degree alone. What if our aloneness isn’t a tragedy? What if our aloneness is what allows us to speak the truth without being afraid? What if our aloneness is what allows us to adventure – to experience the world as a dynamic presence – as a changeable, interactive thing?”-Rachel Corrie, January 2003.
The theistic concepts of a supernatural big daddy in the sky, an errand boy just waiting to fill our desires, and a deity that will punish us and thus motivates behavior is a god that must be killed-or at least fired.
Only we can free ourselves from “gods that can be killed” and perhaps that is the first step to resurrect the Divine within our own heart, and wouldn’t that be revolutionary?
I am Eileen Fleming and I approve of all of my messages.
Posted by Eileen Fleming on April 3, 2012, With 1706 Reads Filed under Art, Books, & Entertainment, Education, History, Life, Of Interest, Peace, Causes & Activism, Religion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.