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Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of Luke 4:21-30 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.01.31 (Sunday)

The Prophet at Home

Jesus began to speak in the synagogue: ‘This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.’ And he won the approval of all, and they were astonished by the gracious words that came from his lips They said, ‘This is Joseph’s son, surely?’

  But he replied, ‘No doubt you will quote me the saying, “Physician, heal yourself” and tell me, “We have heard all that happened in Capernaum, do the same here in your own countryside.”’ And he went on, ‘I tell you solemnly, no prophet is ever accepted in his own country.

  ‘There were many widows in Israel, I can assure you, in Elijah’s day, when heaven remained shut for three years and six months and a great famine raged throughout the land, but Elijah was not sent to any one of these: he was sent to a widow at Zarephath, a Sidonian town. And in the prophet Elisha’s time there were many lepers in Israel, but none of these was cured, except the Syrian, Naaman.’

  When they heard this everyone in the synagogue was enraged. They sprang to their feet and hustled him out of the town; and they took him up to the brow of the hill their town was built on, intending to throw him down the cliff, but he slipped through the crowd and walked away. (NJB)

Calling, Gifts, and Responsibility

There is a pattern in the Gospel narrative that plays itself out through all of the books. The pattern is this; the people who purportedly know Jesus best, understand his mission least. He is best understood by the marginalized, the stranger, the outcast, and the voiceless.

Those who are best acquainted with Jesus, the people of his home town, the disciples, Saint Peter--chief among them; they are quick and eager to accept him, but are often confounded, and left bewildered when Jesus does or says something unexpected.

The reading comes to us near the beginning of Luke’s narrative and it highlights this dilemma. In the first paragraph the are delighted by Jesus and love the things he says, but Jesus discerns something in them that causes him change his tone, he cautions them; give them a warning. He reminds them of how quick people are to turn against the ones they love and revere, to turn against their leaders and prophets as they did in the past with Elijah, and Elisha.

The warning is stern, the blessings of God will not flow if you are only looking after your own interests, and if you are uncaring about the interests of your neighbor, of the alien, and of the stranger.

Justice and mercy, love and hope, these things flow from God only insofar as they flow from the human heart. This is not quid pro quo. God is not in the business of matching our contribution, our gifts of compassion are God’s gifts of compassion, human agency is the only path by which God enters the lives of human beings.

If we are not doing the good work of God, the good work will not get done.

The people of Jesus’ village mistook the power that Jesus had; to heal and restore, and the fame that was gathering around him, as something belonging to them, something they had a right to, something to use for themselves, and because of this self-interest they were not able to receive it at that time.

In the same way the disciples continuously misunderstood Jesus’ ministry. They chastised him for talking to women, for eating with outsiders, and they abandoned him on the night he was arrested. Saint Peter, the rock of the Church, denied him publicly. Only a handful of women, remained by his side until the very end.

Most Christians today are in the position that the townsfolk of Nazareth were in, at the time Jesus delivered this teaching. They believe that being a Christian gives them some special status in the world, as if God loved them more than God loves any of God’s children. The believe that God will reach down and save them, while letting so many billions of others go to burn.

People who believe this could not be more wrong.

The only thing you receive from being a follower of Christ is the burden of responsibility to love your neighbor as God loves them, to love them as you love God.


4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Voting for Hillary, Part One - Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

01.30.2015

Voting for Hillary, Part One

I did a couple of things this week that I have never done before.

      1.      I made a financial contribution to a political campaign.
      2.      I committed to caucus for a candidate.

I took these steps in support of Hillary Clinton. I have been a vocal supporter of hers for many years, since I was first introduced to her, in her role as First Lady of the United States.

I favored the high profile role she played in the first Clinton administration. I was both disturbed and amused by the reaction the conservative talkers had toward her in those early years. Rush Limbaugh coined the term “feminazi,” in relation to her; in order to spread paranoia, and mistrust of her agenda, but not just of her agenda...they were afraid of her.

The conservative movement in American politics is afraid of women, of a woman’s independence, of a woman’s intelligence, and of a woman’s perspective on the world. This is not to overlook the fact that there are women in positions of leadership in the conservative movement, both in and apart from public office, but those women only succeed insofar as they are willing to undermine efforts to strengthen and support the role of women in our society, to undermine public policy in regards, to pay, health, privacy and self-determination.

In the twenty-four years since she became First Lady, through her eight years as Senator from New York, and her term as Secretary of State; those conservative talkers have relentlessly kept up their attacks on Hillary, and have succeeded in shaping the public perception of her in such a negative light, that the majority of the country sees her as “dishonest,” without being able to say exactly why (or exactly why she differs from any other politician for this quality). This is true even among those who support her candidacy for President of the United States.

I reject the efforts of conservative talkers to shape my view of this strong, intelligent, powerful, intellectual woman.

I support Hillary’s candidacy because I believe that she, and the team she will bring with her to the White House, have a better chance to advance the liberal and progressive vision for the future of our country than any other candidate. I believe she will protect the advances made by President Obama, and she will add to them. This belief is rooted in the notion that it requires more than talking points, more than speech making to enact the kinds of legislation that will be required to advance that vision. It requires a President that is not only willing to compromise, but able to do so in a manner that is adept.

On a more fundamental level I support her candidacy because I believe that it is time for a woman to hold the highest office in the land


Hillary is the right woman, at this time, to take on that burden.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Emergence: Section One, Jim and Kathy; Part Three, Loss & Discovery, Collected Chapters



Loss & Discovery; Part Three,
Chapter One: Watching

Pt. 03, Ch. 01
Jim left.
Kathy followed him with her eyes, and when he turned the corner; with her thoughts, which were disturbing.
#Emergence

Loss & Discovery; Part Three,
Chapter Two: Connected
Pt. 03, Ch. 02
Kathy was with him, looking through his eyes as he drove away. While she was connected to him, she felt his despair.
#Emergence

Loss & Discovery; Part Three,
Chapter Three: Portents
Pt. 03, Ch. 03
Jim projected a sense of doom. It lingered as he departed. Kathy was filled with unease; like everything was ending.
#Emergence

Loss & Discovery; Part Three,
Chapter Four: Unrequited
Pt. 03, Ch. 04
Jim left a pen. He always left something. Kathy stared; imagining it with the others, reassembling them in her mind.
#Emergence

Loss & Discovery; Part Three,
Chapter Five: Impression
Pt. 03, Ch. 05
Kathy felt that Jim wanted to tell her something. Like a stone; it pressed on her, the turbulence of despair in him.
#Emergence

Loss & Discovery; Part Three,
Chapter Six: Finding
Pt. 03, Ch. 06
Kathy stayed at her table; sensing a fragility in Jim she never had before. Life as she knew it was about to change.
#Emergence

Loss & Discovery; Part Three,
Chapter Seven: True

Pt. 03, Ch. 07
Kathy often felt the “weight of the world on her;” that she was “too sensitive,” never suspecting how real that was.
#Emergence

Emergence:
Section One, Jim and Kathy
Part Three, Loss and Discovery,
Collected Chapters
Section 01, Jim and Kathy
Part 03, Loss and Discovery
Chapters
01 Watching
02 Connected
03 Portents
04 Unrequited
05 Impression
06 Finding
07 True
#Emergence
#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
@jaybotten

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.01.24 (Sunday)

Purpose and Witness

Seeing that many others have undertaken to draw up accounts of the events that have taken place among us, exactly as these were handed down to us by those who from the outset were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word, I in my turn, after carefully going over the whole story from the beginning, have decided to write an ordered account for you, Theophilus, so that your Excellency may learn how well founded the teaching is that you have received.

  Jesus, with the power of the Spirit in him, returned to Galilee; and his reputation spread throughout the countryside. He taught in their synagogues and everyone praised him.

He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up.

The spirit of the Lord has been given to me,
for he has anointed me.
He has sent me to bring the good news to the poor,
to proclaim liberty to captives
and to the blind new sight,
to set the downtrodden free,
to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.

He then rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the assistant and sat down. And all eyes in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to speak to them, ‘This text is being fulfilled today even as you listen.’ (NJB)

Following Jesus

Something happened in Palestine, something happened in old Judea, a movement began in Galilee, and spread throughout the world.

The Gospel of Saint Luke purports to have been written by Luke, who was physician, and a follower of the sainted Apostle Paul. Together Luke and Paul brought the “good news” to the diaspora, and to the gentiles. In the good news, there was hope, and trust and love; it was the blue print for a community that was not of this earth, in it was the promise of salvation.

Luke’s Gospel, however, was not written by a man named Luke, it was written by the community he formed, decades after his passing, and it was not dedicated to a man named Theophilus, but to all of God’s children, everywhere.

This passage tells us of the beginning of the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth; a Jewish man who taught in synagogues, as his followers would do in later years. He was a Jew of the diaspora. People called him Rabbi, this marked him as a Pharisee, a teacher of the law.

Jesus taught in the prophetic tradition. He exhorted people to action, he performed works of service, and he told the truth as if it had descended on him like the Spirit of God.

Any of us who have taken on the work of carrying the mantle of Christ; we must adhere closely to the central point of this reading:

Our ministry is to bring good news to the poor; to proclaim liberty to captives, to restore sight to the blind, and to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the jubilee (a year of favor, the forgiveness of debts).

This is working is never done, even though it is fulfilled every day.

As long as the world endures, this ministry will need to be proclaimed, the year of God’s favor, the jubilee; that year never ends. It is God’s year, it is eternal.

If you envision yourself as a servant of God, then you must be a servant of the people; there is no other way to serve God. Your teaching must be joyful, and full of hope.

If you are going to proclaim liberty to the captives, you must set people free. In the time of Christ the captives he spoke of were the populations of people who had been taken from their homes as the spoils of war. The Romans called these people servi, servus meaning servant, meaning slave. The slave economy of the ancient world does not look the same today as it did then, but there are hundreds of millions of people living in servitude, without rights, without recourse to the law. If you follow in the footsteps of Jesus, you must call for justice, and the freeing of these people.

You must restore sight to the blind, which is to say you must convince the rulers of the world, and their armies, the powers that be; you must convince them that there is other way to peace, and security than for them to relinquish their power, give up their wealth in order to foster justice for all. 
The blind are the world’s elite, the 1%, and the only cure for their blindness is the truth.

This is how you will set the downtrodden free, forgive their debts, not just once every seven years, but now and forever.


3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Deal with Iran - Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

01.23.2015

The Deal with Iran

The United States of America; our government did something good this week. We entered into a fundamentally new, and different relationship with the nation of Iran. Iran which has been our “enemy” for these past thirty-seven, the theocracy of Iran, Iran took our people hostage in 1979 and held them for four hundred and forty-four days, Iran who leaders refer to America as the Great Satan, Iran who we name as the world’s chief sponsor of terrorism, Iran whose people gather to shout in ritual “death to America” and “death to Israel” our ally; we struck a bargain with Iran, and we are keeping it.

The United States of America, together with the United Nations asked the Iranians to give up their program to develop atomic weapons. Their pursuit of those weapons had brought severe economic sanctions to the Iranian people, locking them out of trade and commerce, and locking us into a mode of antagonism with their government that to many observers seemed intractable.
In the United States Congress there was united opposition among republicans, together with some opposition among democrats, those office holders did not even want us to talk to Iran, let alone make a deal.

Our ally Israel lobbied vigorously against the deal once the structure was in place. Their prime minister came to America and spoke directly to congress urging them to oppose it, threatening unilateral military action against Iran, and cheered on by the bellicose right wing in our country.
Nevertheless, the wheels turned, diplomacy prevailed, the bargain was made, and the initial terms of the agreement were met by Iran, this week. Allowing the United States and all of those other nations who came with us to the bargaining table to announce an end to those sanctions, providing relief to the Iranian people, freeing billions of their assets, and creating a basis for future cooperation between them and us.

The first fruits of that new relationship came the first day, as the Iranians released a number of United States Citizens from prison, allowing them to return home, and we did the same for them. This exchange of prisoners was not formally built into the agreement on nuclear weapons, but most people believe that it was “baked in.”

What is best about this deal, as far as I am concerned is the prospect of having normal relations with Iran. “Normalizing” relations is a long term goal, no one our government will even use those words, but with these steps we are moving in that direction, whereas one year ago, we were still drifting apart.

This is what we should all hold in mind. Iran is Persia. All of the Iranians I have ever met refer to themselves as Persians. Persia is a civilization stretching back in time for thousands of years, they are cultured, they are modern, they have split the atom…of all of the nations in that region, they are our natural ally, more so than most of the Arab states, more so than the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, whose tribal societies are so corrupt they may as well be lawless.

The Islamic militants that we are struggling with in the Levant come from that lawless Arabian culture. There backward interpretations of the Qur’an come from the fundamentalist madrasas funded and operated, exported to the Muslim world by the House of Saud.

This is not to say that the Iranians are free from the coercive forces of rightwing militant fundamentalism, they are not, they are a theocracy. The United States is not free from the forces of rightwing militant fundamentalism, there are many in our country who believe we are a “Christian” nation, and that have a sacred obligation to wage war on the enemies of Israel (as they perceive them to be), or the enemies of Christ (as they perceive them to be), even though Jesus himself had no enemies.


What Iran does have, is a society and a culture that is thousands of years old, that is rooted in law, and order, and science and technology, which is something that our other, so-called allies in the region are not.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Emergence: Section One, Jim and Kathy; Part Two, Departure, Collected Chapters



Departure; Part Two, Chapter One: Funeral

Pt. 02, Ch. 01
Jim hurried from the café; afraid to miss his flight. He did not need much; black suit, a tie. “I’m dead;” he mused.
#Emergence

Departure; Part Two, Chapter Two: Regrets
Pt. 02, Ch. 02
“I never should have seen her.”
Jim couldn’t help himself. It was all over; for everyone, and nothing could be done.
#Emergence

Departure; Part Two, Chapter Three: Doom
Pt. 02, Ch. 03
What was about to occur would be a global catastrophe; affecting everything on earth, changing humanity irrevocably.
#Emergence

Departure; Part Two, Chapter Four: Cycles I
Pt. 02, Ch. 04
Earth endured episodic calamity. Storms, floods, earthquakes were minor events compared to the power of the caldera.
#Emergence

Departure; Part Two, Chapter Five: Cycles 2
Pt. 02, Ch. 05
Seventy thousand years had passed since the last caldera blew; only a few people survived it. This would be greater.
#Emergence

Departure; Part Two, Chapter Six: Lament
Pt. 02, Ch. 06
If civilization had developed further, it would have harnessed the geological power of the caldera; but no disaster!
#Emergence

Departure; Part Two, Chapter Seven: Goodbye

Pt. 02, Ch. 07
Jim flipped a switch. The embolism in his doppelganger burst, ending its life. He entered the wormhole. He was home.
#Emergence

Emergence:
Section One, Jim and Kathy
Part Two, Departure,
Collected Chapters
Section 01, Jim and Kathy
Part 02, Departure
Chapters
01 Funeral
02 Regrets
03 Doom
04 Cycles I
05 Cycles II
06 Lament
07 Goodbye
#Emergence
#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
@jaybotte

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

January 19th

The news is coming out of the television-background noise-chatter.

Presidential politics, and a new relationship with Iran, ancient Persia…warm coffee on my desk in a tall, yellow painted mug. My gray and white, tawny, tabby cat is watching me, as she usually does this time of day; 4:00 am, when I am sitting at my desk; writing. I lean back in my chair, and reach for my hoodie. It is chilly in the room, and I need an extra layer. As the radiators come to life, hissing and spitting steam. The house had just hit the low point in the heating cycle. It is below zero in the January morning. The thermostat told the furnace to turn to turn on; such small devices, with so few moving parts, that you can hardly call them machines. They sense the temperature, and trigger a flow of electrons along a thin copper wire, sending them down into into the basement, to the gas main, where the flow of gas is increased in the giant, asbestos covered octopus. The flame comes to life and the water in the boiler-boils, steam rises up through expanding clanking pipes, whistling through the valves.


Kitty is always interested in the sound of the house warming up. She turns away from me.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Homily – The Gospel of John 2:1-11 ©

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.01.17 (Sunday)

Miracles as Apologetics

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited. When they ran out of wine, since the wine provided for the wedding was all finished, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said ‘Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not come yet.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ There were six stone water jars standing there, meant for the ablutions that are customary among the Jews: each could hold twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’, and they filled them to the brim. ‘Draw some out now’ he told them ‘and take it to the steward.’ They did this; the steward tasted the water, and it had turned into wine. Having no idea where it came from – only the servants who had drawn the water knew – the steward called the bridegroom and said; ‘People generally serve the best wine first, and keep the cheaper sort till the guests have had plenty to drink; but you have kept the best wine till now.’

This was the first of the signs given by Jesus: it was given at Cana in Galilee. He let his glory be seen, and his disciples believed in him. (NJB)

Jesus, the Second Son

Where is the truth in this myth?

Jesus was not magic.

God is not a miracle worker.

Read literally; this story is a lie. Jesus never turned water into wine. It is likely that the entire event never happened.

There was no wedding at Cana.

Mary did not call on Jesus to work wonders. People did not follow Jesus because they saw him to wonderful tricks.

So what is happening here? It is a narrative regarding the reversal of expectations.

It may be a story about Jesus and John the Baptist. It may be an apology of sorts; a defense of Jesus given to the followers of John.

John came first, but John was the lesser of the two. The people might have expected the best to come first, like the wine at the wedding, but like the stories of the Patriarchs, the second son was favored.

This is the best understanding. The Wedding of Cana is not a miracle story, it is a parable. It intends to convey this simple truth; Jesus does not carry the mantle of John, he carries the promise of the covenant.


2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Flint Michigan - Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

01.16.2015

Flint Michigan

The story coming out of Flint Michigan is not new. I hope you are following it. This week Michigan Governor, Snyder made an official request for aid from the federal government to help resolve the grave, and likely criminal problem with the water supply of Flint Michigan. President Obama approved the request, and so it appears that some help may be on the way.

The problem is this; more than one year ago an “emergency manager” appointed by the republican governor, made the decision to switch the water supply of Flint Michigan, from the clean waters of Lake Michigan, to the dirty and polluted water of the Flint River. The “emergency manager,” who reports directly to the governor (and not the elected local government), and the republican administration of Governor Snyder claim to have done environmental testing of the waters before making the switch, but it was obvious from day one that they did not, because the water coming out of the faucets throughout the city, was brown, brackish and caustic.

This water was so acidic that it corroded the century old system of pipes in the city’s water system (which many cities have), more importantly it corroded the lead welds (which were common one hundred years ago when the water system was built), and it released that lead into the water. The entire town has been poisoned with lead, and the republican administration of Governor Snyder ignored the evidence of this for more than one year. They fought its publication, and produced fraudulent, contradictory reports about the hazards to the community.

Now, in the face of persistent, overwhelming evidence, they have admitted that there is a problem. They began a feeble effort to provide the one hundred thousand citizens of Flint with bottled water, and “Britta” water filters, and they have asked the federal government for help.

These possible solutions, whatever may come of them, do not address the fact that the citizens of Flint have been poisoned, not by their own elected government, but by the government of Rick Snyder.

State and Federal criminal investigations have begun.

This is what happens when the right wing gets total control of a state government. The Michigan government is completely controlled by a republican legislature and a republican governor. In 2012 they passed a law to giving the governor the right to strip local governments, elected by the people, of their powers, putting in place “financial managers” with sweeping powers, to purchase, sell and reallocate community assets. The disaster in Flint is the most grave, and deadly of the disasters they have caused, but it is only one among many examples of right wing incompetence and corruption.

Pay attention to these stories. Join the chorus of people demanding justice in Flint.


If you empower republicans, this could happen to your community.


Friday, January 15, 2016

Emergence - A Novel on Twitter - Section One, Jim and Kathy

A Private Sorrow, Collected Chapters

Chapter One: Call


Pt. 01, Ch. 01
Kathy answered the phone.
“Hello” she said.
“I need to see you,” said Jim, in his typical tone; detached.
“Café?”
“Yes.”
#Emergence

Chapter Three: Morning

Pt. 01, Ch. 02
“Coffee,” Jim orders.
“Chai;” says Kathy.
They sit in the sun, and read. It is busy.
Jim weeps, and he won’t say why.
#Emergence

Chapter Two: Lies

Pt. 01, Ch. 03
“What’s wrong?”
“I can’t say.”
“Why?”
“You wouldn’t get it…I’m not talking about it.”
“I don’t get it.”
“I said as much.”
#Emergence

Chapter Four: Closure
Pt. 01, Ch. 04
Kathy sensed the emptiness inside her friend; a hollow, where normally there was active awareness, and perceptivity.
#Emergence

Chapter Five: Confusion
Pt. 01, Ch. 05
Now that she was here; Jim was not sure why he asked her to see him. He could not tell her what was going to happen.
#Emergence

Chapter Six: Insight
Pt. 01, Ch. 06
It was clear that Jim had something to tell. Kathy sensed that it was very bad news; for him, for her, and everyone.
#Emergence

Chapter Seven: Liminality
Pt. 01, Ch. 07
They sat with one another; speaking little. Jim enjoyed being with Kathy; their thoughts synched. It felt like home.
#Emergence

Emergence:
Section One, Jim and Kathy
Part One, A Private Sorrow,
Collected Chapters
Section 01, Jim and Kathy
Part 01, A Private Sorrow,
Chapters
01 Call
02 Morning
03 Lies
04 Closure
05 Confusion
06 Insight
07 Liminality
#Emergence
#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
@jaybotten



Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Homily - The Gospel of Luke 3:15-16, 21-22

The Gospel of the Day – 2016.01.10 (Sunday)

Mythology and Ministry

‘A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people, who were beginning to think that John might be the Christ, so John declared before them all, ‘I baptise you with water, but someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Now when all the people had been baptised and while Jesus after his own baptism was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily shape, like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.’ (NJB)

Politics and the Subversion of Mission

In the calendar of observances today is a feast day. It is the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus. We have just concluded our celebration of his coming, and his birth. Now we are celebrating the beginning of his public ministry; the journey that led to his death on Golgotha.

Let us take a moment and consider the set of images, and the claims that are attached to them which appear in the narrative.

In Judea, and the broader Palestinian world the average person felt displaced. On the one hand they were a client state of Rome, and on the other hand they were subject to the corruption of their own royal dynasty; the Herodians, on the other hand the had no representation at the Temple in Jerusalem which was not only the spiritual, but also the economic center of their world.

The average person was ardently hoping for and expecting deliverance, the anointed one, the, the messiah, in Greek the Kyrios, in English the Christ.

They hoped for deliverance from both the political corruption of the Romans and the Herodians, as well as the sectarian at the temple, among the temple scribes, the Sadducees, and the Pharisees (returning from the diaspora).

In John the Baptist they saw a figure who might represent part of this deliverance. He was stern, and outspoken, uncompromising, and mysterious. He was an aesthetic, and while he preached repentance, he promised the reality of God’s love; present in the lives of the Baptized, present without an intermediary.

This narrative tells us that John eschewed the title and office that some of the people might have thrust on him. It tells us that John himself had the same hopes and expectations, but that John also had the knowledge of who the Christ was, and it was Jesus of Nazareth. In the statement where John says; “I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals.” John is saying that compared to Jesus, he is lower than the lowest servant.

Had John lived, the history of Christianity would have been very different. But John was arrested and killed shortly after the baptism. The disciples of Jesus, and the Gospel writers who followed them would spend the next one hundred and fifty years writing their narratives and telling their stories in a manner intended to keep the followers of John in their movement. This required a great deal of effort. This effort served to shape the Christian story in a way which ultimately undermined the significance and uniqueness of the ministry of Christ.

It perpetuated questions like:

“Who is greater John or Jesus?”

And it prompted the followers of Jesus, long after his death to amplify that narrative, making it so that Jesus did not merely receive his baptism from John, but the heavens broke open, and the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove, and a voice came out of nowhere proclaiming that Jesus was the favored and beloved Son of God.

The entirety of this is the interpolation of myth into the ordinary story of the man, Jesus of Nazareth. It introduced categories of, ownership, and inheritance, and dominion which, it may be argued that 
Jesus himself did not speak to, even though his followers were very much concerned with this.

The Christian story is best told without artifice, without the fabrication of myth, and without resorting to fables, and magic. It is a story of love, and service, of hope and healing, and the celebration of our common humanity. It eclipses the differences between the sexes, it eclipses tribalism, sectarianism, and nationalism. In doing so it shows us the only path to peace, and justice.


Feast of the Baptism of Jesus

Friday, January 8, 2016

Emergence, A Novel on Twitter, The Prolog in Seven Tweets

Emergence – A Twitter Novel – Prolog


Prolog: Part One - Philosophy

Prolog Pt. 1
The planet is a garden; to some a farm. What is the difference? Farms are harvested; for the greater good.
~ The Manual
#Emergence

Prolog: Part Two - Mission
Prolog Pt. 2
Witness; to touch, listen, taste. Experience their art, speech, culture. Empathize. Do not sympathize with the people.
#Emergence

Prolog: Part Three - Purpose
Prolog Pt. 3
When a culture creates any form of artificial consciousness; ascertain if they are able to transcend their own limits.
#Emergence

Prolog: Part Four - Reality
Prolog Pt. 4
There is one reality, every person participates in it. All of time is one thing. The eternal and the infinite are one.
#Emergence

Prolog: Part Five - Meaning
Prolog Pt. 5
As cultures mature, the meaning it ascribes to its experience evolves. Observe; passive creature to active co-creator.
#Emergence

Prolog: Part Six - Role
Prolog Pt. 6
The Observer’s role is difficult. Resist the urge to influence your subject, become entangled; you must not love them.
#Emergence

Prolog: Part Seven - Character
Prolog Pt. 7
The Observer is not the leader. Listen, move with the culture, be one with them. Do not invest in a particular result.
#Emergence

Prolog in Seven Parts
Prolog
Observer Core, The Field Manual
Pt. 1 Philosophy
Pt. 2 Mission
Pt. 3 Purpose
Pt. 4 Reality
Pt. 5 Meaning
Pt. 6 Role
Pt. 7 Character
#Emergence
#SuperShortFiction
#365SciFi
@jaybotten