Thursday, July 13, 2017

Jesus' Goal of Breaking Up Families

How is this good news?
Matthew 10:35-36
35 For I have come to turn
“ ‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.”
When I think about the things that divide my family, words from the Gospels come to mind not Micah. This is reportedly a quote from Micah 7:6.

Last night, there was a cookout at the church I grew up at. Regardless of our financial situation, I didn’t want to attend, but other family members attended. Had it come down to the option between skipping a meal, and attending a church cookout, I would have skipped the meal. As far as taste goes, I probably would have preferred the food served at the cookout. This is not about taste or allergies. It is about principle, and frankly Jesus was not good enough for me to believe that he was the messiah as a king, or as a deity, such that I want no part in that.
The “Gospel” story is about a man, Jesus, who is psychologically disturbed. Yet, Jesus wins on this one. The words of Jesus come true in Matthew 10:35-36, a quote from Micah 7:6. Yet, it didn’t take a messiah to say that. Anyone with access to Micah could have read it long before Jesus walked the earth.
So, what’s so bad about Jesus that I refuse to attend a church cookout? It is because I reject many forms of human sacrifice, and animal. Fasting, studying Torah, giving to charity, and/or cognitive reframing are ways to go to achieve forgiveness. The sacrifice of Jesus accomplished nothing that I would call “Good,” but get this; Jesus may have agreed with me in Matthew 10:38. The Tanya, a Jewish compilation of sacred spirituality, sometimes called the Hasidic Bible has this to say:
"whoever would be affected by many fasts...
is forbidden to undertake numerous fasts...
But whoever cannot fast yet does so, is called a “sinner” in Tractate Taanit, ch. 1.2...
comply with the verse that says,4 “Redeem your sin with charity.” - from Igeret HaTeshuva , middle of Chapter 3 available at

Igeret HaTeshuva does not resemble the Christian claim of the power of the sacrifice of Jesus. Jesus may have agreed with me given Matthew 10:38.

Matthew 10:38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Before jumping to conclusions that this is the answer, realize, there are many contradictions to this New Testament quote. Most Christians I know report praying to Jesus for forgiveness is the way to go, because that is what the sacrifice of Jesus supposedly accomplished, but praying is hardly carrying one’s own cross. Here, I agree with Jesus demand to metaphorically carry one’s own “cross,” meaning taking responsibility for one’s own actions. Thus, the local Christians that celebrate the supposed death and resurrection of Jesus, are placing Jesus on the cross as a form of shirking their sins, such that they aren’t worthy of my company via attending the cookout. Yet, if Jesus told that his followers that they must take responsibility, then what good is it beyond what had been already known for hundreds of years? That would place Jesus in the category of a teacher, and certainly not a messiah, or deity.

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