Remove target. How then can shooters fire? Be Jesus-like, an ideal humane human being, “Son of Man” (darling of humanity) as He called himself. He brutally condemned proselytizing (Mt.23, 15). Becoming a Christian you become part of a divided house which can’t stand. Jesus’ prayer (Jn.17) was for unity of his followers beyond all ecclesial or religious divisions. Dr. James Kottoor.
Persecution here, persecution there, persecution of Christians everywhere! How to wipe it out from the face of the earth? How to make it a thing of zero tolerance? How to make it impossible to happen? Yes, that is what is meant precisely. It’s easy, very very easy and simple. Just follow Jesus, better, be Jesus-like, stop being or becoming Christian. If that sounds crazy, heretical or hard to digest, as a first step stop calling yourself Christian.
Let us try to be reasonable, not too emotional. The targets of persecution here are those who call themselves Christians, churches. Once the target is removed, what can the attackers aim at? It is not that simple or simplistic as one may think. But why not, if it has a lot of rational and theological basis?
Reason Number One
You or I cannot be Christian and Jesus-like at the same time. Why? The very moment you say you are a Christian you have to specify to which of the over 2000 Christian denominations or Churches you belong. You are instantly proclaiming that you Christians are a house divided against it. And Jesus cannot be part of a divided house. That is anathema.
Reason Number Two
Jesus did not come to found a newreligion. He came to redeem a divided, infighting humanity destroying itself spiritually, physically, materially and socially. He came so that the whole of humanity may be saved (Ut omnes homines salvus fieri.) Recall also the “Our Father” he taught. In it we say “Thy kingdom come here on earth” not in my Church, your Church or in any of the divided Churches fighting for domination.
Reason Number Three
Jesus never became a Christian. Hewas born a Jew, lived a Jew and died a Jew. The clearest proof is the epitaph put up on his cross (INRI = Jesus, Nazarene, King of Jews) I wrote it several times before. The theological evolution or transformation (or should we laugh at ourselves and say Transubstantiation which no one understands?) of Jesus into Christ and calling the followers of Jesus Christians is the handiwork of a bunch of ardent devotees who went into ecstasies due to unbridled devotion which of course was no fault of their own. It was in Antioch (Acts 11.26), long after Jesus’ death, AD 90 or so, that the disciples of Jesus were first called Christians.
I’m better than thou. Are you?
Reason Number Four
When you call yourself a Christian belonging to the Catholic Church or to any other Church, you are proclaiming to the whole world: “I am better than thou, I am not like the rest of the ever so many heretical Churches,” imitating the Pharisee and publican praying in the temple. That is the most unchristian thing to do if we are to take seriously what Jesus said: The publican went out justified before God, not the Pharisee.
Reason Number Five
When you call yourself Christian you arebearing counter witness to Jesus, who presented himself as the Son of Man, 85 times in the Gospels, meaning, he was the ideal humane human being for all times, all places, all peoples, all cultures. He always readily identified himself with the people of the place of his birth. It means, if Jesus were born in India he would have been a Hindu. In case you argue that Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life, Jesus would have been an Indian eating rice or wheat and drinking tea, or tapioca and toddy (in Kerala) instead of wine.
To be Leven is your Role
Reason Number Six
What indeed is the meaning ofincarnation? What is the incarnational principle? It consists in having the capacity to transform something from within, like the leaven in the dough or salt in the food, in the earth. It means humbling yourself, without revelling in show-business like a peacock, to use Pope Francis’ language. You have to be a “miracle of humility in an era of Vanity” as Francis is described. You have to place yourself at the lowest as Jesus did, in a cattle shed to begin with. Like the leaven and the salt, from a hidden place, you have to sweeten human life and make it tasty for every one with the salt called, love and care, serving those in distress, marginalized and exploited to the point of laying down one’s life even.
Reason Number Seven
What does salvation brought by Jesusmean to human race as a whole? Philosophically man is described as Rational animal — animal always, rational sometimes (Aminal rationale, animal simper, rationale aliquando). Animal instinct led Cain to murder Abel. Jesus reversed that brute instinct into human and humane when he laid down his life for his friends. “I am Jesus the Nazarene, take me and let these friends of mine go free,” (Jn.18.5) didn’t Jesus says when detachments of Priests and Pharisees came to arrest him with lantern and torches? For me what Jesus did was suicidal like placing the neck on a rail track and I wrote so long ago.
Reason Number Eight
Good news about Jesus was broughtto India, by the doubting Thomas. Purposely, I didn’t say, he brought Christianity because even in 52 AD when he landed in India, the concept of Christianity did not exist anywhere. Preaching the gospel was teaching the way of life of Jesus for Thomas. Just as Hinduism is just a way of life, Thomas was teaching the way of life of Jesus. So he called those who joined him “Margam Koodiyavar” (Margam=Way; Koodiyavar=joined, meaning those who joined the new way of life.) I for long, describe myself just one in the line of “Margam Koodiyavar” may be the last in the line due to my idiotic imperfections, nothing more, nothing less, but not one of the divided Christians.
Reason Number Nine
Following Jesus or being Jesus like, (forthe moment forget about being Christian) means living the life Jesus lived. “Foxes have their holes, birds of the air their nest, but the Son of Man (He didn’t say Christ) has nowhere to lay his head.” How many Christians or their Episcopal Excellencies or Beatitudes can say that of themselves? Where then is the place for exhibiting a Rs.50 core financial wonderland to house the followers for the world’s outstanding homeless?
Reason Number Ten
Jesus lived a hand to mouth existence,saying “enough for the day is the evil there of” not storing up anything for the morrow, living the life of an iterant preacher, receiving hospitality where it is offered and leaving cities and people who refused to listen to his message. Who on earth will ever think of persecuting or exterminating such a bunch of innocent do-gooders? Jesus was exterminated, not for calling himself Christian, but for calling high priests “hypocrites” and Herod a “fox’.
Equality not Hierarchy
Reason Number Eleven
Jesus never imposed himself as theSupreme Commander of a bunch of vagabonds or company of Jesus (first members of his company were sheep, cattle and donkey). Nor did he just call himself the “Servant of Servants” but lived it by washing the feet of his ignorant, know-nothing disciples, most of whom were fisher flock. Then whoever built up the eye-sore of a hierarchical structure, imitating literally the caste system in Hinduism with laity as Sudras at the bottom? When you go about like Maharajas or Brahmins throwing your weight around, trampling under foot every trace of equality of God’s children what do you expect except attacks (you may call it persecution) aimed at exterminating the proud and arrogant, lording it over?
Reason Number Twelve
The followers of Jesus are expectedto be the Little Flock (Pusillus Grex) not the majority community. So it is pointless to highlight our minority status of 2 or 3 % as reason for demanding privileges, prerogatives and perks. Our role as followers of Jesus is to be a moral force that does not bend its knees to insolent might in any field – spiritual, moral, intellectual, social, political or financial. The mills of God grind slowly, but it grinds for sure. The yeast transforms but invisibly and substantially. Be sure, it does, it will.
Reason Number Thirteen
Jesus was not only a liberal, but aradical, a revolutionary and an iconoclast. Yes indeed he was sweet Jesus meek and mild but also bitter Jesus rough and wild. Mt.23 is enough to explain the rough and bitter side of Jesus. Religion into which one is born is just a little fence to protect a tender plant to outgrow its need of any such fence. Take the case of a tender coconut plant. Once grown up an elephant can be tethered to it. Similarly Jesus grew beyond the boundaries of all religions to become one with the whole of humanity. So should every one of his followers.
Reason Number Fourteen
Personal life patterned on theexample of Jesus has to grow into a family level first, then to the community, national and global levels. Striking example is the first Christian community in the Acts. A shining light house indeed it was to those around. It thus becomes a bottle of honey attracting all the bees around because of the love and care it exuded. There was no one in want. So every one was persuaded to join them and the community grew fast. None thought of attacking or persecuting them. To what shall we compare the present multitude of churches? To bottles of honey or barrels of vinegar?
Let not Bishops touch Money
Reason Number Fifteen
In the first Christian community the Apostles never touched money the source of all evil. It was handled by seven wise men (laity) while the spiritual leadership (there was no hierarchy then) confined themselves strictly to prayer and preaching. That role is reversed today, bishops handling all money matters and the laity doing the “pray, pray and obey” which has to go. Nay the present pyramidal hierarchy should be buried lock stock and barrel and installed there in the equality of the children of God, who is not to be a “Catholic God,” as stated by Francis.
Reason Number Sixteen
Jesus was other-centered, not self-cantered. The first community of Jesus-fans came to an abrupt end with the advent of Constantine and imperial life style producing luxury related chaos and corruption. Similar thing happened, when Israelites led by God wanted to be led by a King. “We too want a King like other nations,” they cried and got Saul. That brought only internal feuds and external wars, misery and discontent as in the church today which Francis Papa tries to set right.
Reason Number Seventeen
Think of the one non-Christianwho imitated the spirituality of Jesus with the saying: “One God, one Religion and one Caste, the human Caste”, Sri Narayana Guru. When a Muslim from Sri Lenka came to become his follower, he advised him to live as a good Muslim. “You hypocrites! You sail the seas and cross whole countries to win one convert; and when you succeed you make him twice as disserving of going to hell as you yourselves are,”(Mt.23,15) is what Jesus said of proselytizing.. What is of utmost importance is to live a refined humane human life practicing equality, fraternity, unity and universality which wards off the possibility of anyone attacking or persecuting you.
Stop being Militant Member?
Therefore why not stop saying you’re a Christian, never a Militant Church member. Stop being a Christian like the ever so many divided Christians. Start being a civilized human being fully concerned about the rest of humanity, starting first with the lowliest of the lowly cultivating an attitude to bring them up to your level of comfortable living. Didn’t Jesus himself say that it is in giving that we receive, in dying that we are born to eternal life? The only thing we have to fight might and main is to live out Jesus’ burning zeal to die in the service of those more in need than you and be assured, no one will come to kill you, no one will target you as a target of Christian persecution, because you are Jesus-like. Even today no one is against Jesus but only against Christians. Even Gandhi had to say “I love Jesus but not the Christians” because he could not accuse Him of sin, as in the time of Jesus. Be Jesus-like and stop being a member of any of the divided Christian armies of “militant Churches” multiplying like rabbits.
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