Sunday, March 28, 2010

Jesus: Path-blazer of Radical Transformation

For Holy Week last year I shared reflections from various authors, along with the powerful artwork of Doug Blanchard, in a special “Passion of Jesus” series. It turned out to be quite the undertaking!

This year I aim to be less ambitious, though hopefully no less inspiring for those of us drawn to love Jesus and to emulate his embodying of the Christ Spirit.

What I’ll be doing is sharing insights from Andrew Harvey’s book,
Son of Man: The Mystical Path to Christ, beginning today, Palm Sunday, with the following excerpt in which the divinity of Jesus is explored.


Jesus is not claiming to be uniquely divine; what he is claiming is to have realized his divine identity and to be doing works in the power and with the effectiveness that such realization brings. He is implying that everyone who realized like him their “oneness with the Father” would also be able to perform miracles and inflame others to compassion and justice. Later in the Gospel of John, Jesus makes the astounding prediction (John 14:12): “He that believeth in me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do.”

Had Jesus wanted to be revered as a “unique” savior with “unique” powers he would never have made such a promise; the “belief” he is asking for in him is not as a “savior” but as a path-blazer, as one who has opened a path for others to follow and to come to live in exactly the same atmosphere of truth and empowerment. Like the historical Buddha, the historical Jesus presented his enlightenment as a sign of what was possible for all human beings if they gave, suffered, and struggled enough and realized the divine truth of their natures. As Jesus says in Luke 6:40: “The disciple is not above his master; but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.” To become “perfect as his master,” the disciple will have to take on the burden of realizing, as his “master” did, the truth of his divine identity; a far harder task than merely “adoring” the master or following superficially some of his or her injunctions.

As Jesus says in Luke 6:46: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” What Jesus clearly wanted was not even the most exalted kinds of lip service or celebration; he wanted to inspire everyone to become like him, their complete human divine self, and live consciously and actively in the holy fire and charity of the Kingdom. What else could change humanity?

Another set of dogmas or laws, even another “religion,” would not change anything. Only a radical transformation – the way Jesus knew he was pioneering and representing – could alter the conditions of power on earth and reveal the mercy and splendor of the Kingdom to anyone who underwent its rigors with faith and sincerity.

Being called a “master,” being set apart from others, would only unravel and destroy the core of his message to the world – that everyone would live in the divine glory of joy and power as he did; what Jesus wanted was a far more demanding intimacy of recognition. In the Gospel of Thomas, he is reported as saying, in Logion 2, “Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds. When he finds he will be troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished and he will rule over the all.” The “safety” of being a “follower” has to be abandoned for the “trouble” of discovering the vastness and majesty of one’s own and everyone’s divine identity, and for the “astonishment” that follows on such a discovery and such an effort (an astonishment that dissolves all previous categories of understanding and reveals the divinity of the universe). The safety of being a “seeker” has to be exchanged for the “trouble.” “astonishment,” and responsibility for rulership of being a “finder.” Only then can the truth of what Jesus is and knows be recognized as the truth of all beings, and known not through worship but as he knows it himself in direct, suffering, astonishing, ecstatic knowledge.

- Andrew Harvey
Son of Man: The Mystical Path to Christ
Pp. 60-61

NEXT: The Essential Christ

For more of Andrew Harvey at The Wild Reed, see:
Toby Johnson on the Mysticism of Andrew Harvey
The Passion of Christ (Part 4)

See also the related posts:
Why Jesus is My Man
An Enlightened Exploration of Integrity and Obedience
Revisiting a Groovy Jesus (and a Dysfunctional Theology)
What We Can Learn from the Story of the Magi
Bishop Gumbleton: A Priesthood Set Apart and Above Others is Not the Way of Jesus

Recommended Off-site Link:
Andrew Harvey’s Official Website

Image of Jesus: Artist unknown.

1 comment:

Anders Branderud said...

"Historical J...."?!?
Using that contra-historical oxymoron (demonstrated by the eminent late Oxford historian, James Parkes, The Conflict of the Church and the Synagogue) exposes dependancy upon 4th-century, gentile, Hellenist sources.

While scholars debate the provenance of the original accounts upon which the earliest extant (4th century, even fragments are post-135 C.E.), Roman gentile, Hellenist-redacted versions were based, there is not one fragment, not even one letter of the NT that derives DIRECTLY from the 1st-century Pharisee Jews who followed the Pharisee Ribi Yehoshua.
Historians like Parkes, et al., have demonstrated incontestably that 4th-century Roman Christianity was the 180° polar antithesis of 1st-century Judaism of ALL Pharisee Ribis. The earliest (post-135 C.E.) true Christians were viciously antinomian (ANTI-Torah), claiming to supersede and displace Torah, Judaism and ("spiritual) Israel and Jews. In soberest terms, ORIGINAL Christianity was anti-Torah from the start while DSS (viz., 4Q MMT) and ALL other Judaic documentation PROVE that ALL 1st-century Pharisees were PRO-Torah.

There is a mountain of historical Judaic information Christians have refused to deal with, at: (see, especially, their History Museum pages beginning with "30-99 C.E.").
Original Christianity = ANTI-Torah. Ribi Yehoshua and his Netzarim, like all other Pharisees, were PRO-Torah. Intractable contradiction.

Building a Roman image from Hellenist hearsay accounts, decades after the death of the 1st-century Pharisee Ribi, and after a forcible ouster, by Hellenist Roman gentiles, of his original Jewish followers (135 C.E., documented by Eusebius), based on writings of a Hellenist Jew excised as an apostate by the original Jewish followers (documented by Eusebius) is circular reasoning through gentile-Roman Hellenist lenses.

What the historical Pharisee Ribi taught is found not in the hearsay accounts of post-135 C.E. Hellenist Romans but, rather, in the Judaic descriptions of Pharisees and Pharisee Ribis of the period... in Dead Sea Scroll 4Q MMT (see Prof. Elisha Qimron), inter alia.

To all Christians: The question is, now that you've been informed, will you follow the authentic historical Pharisee Ribi? Or continue following the post-135 C.E. Roman-redacted antithesis—an idol?