First, allow me to introduce myself–kind of.
Although I am currently writing anonymously, I will share with you that I am an educator and public speaker. Through my graduate studies and professional work, I help people discover their barriers to learning as well as the tools that can help them learn more wholly and organically. I do this–and have done this–for decades in almost all academic areas with all ages and in various settings. I believe that we can learn how to act and think compassionately and with love. It takes work and it takes practice–as all learning does. But it is possible, regardless of religious affiliation, political leanings, educational background, etc.
Okay, so Bible “Rebel”?
The New Testament contains stories of those who rebelled against the power and judgmental hierarchy of Jesus’ time–which is much like modern times.
Jesus not only declared that everyone deserves to be regarded as equal–the leper AND the king–but that everyone has or is “God” (or a sacredness) inside. Everyone, no exceptions.
So then…how can it be justified that most of the power and riches belong only those on the “top” or only to certain people?
It can’t. That’s the point.
This view was groundbreaking and new–within his culture and social structure. It was peacefully and lovingly and compassionately rebellious.
Jesus not only talks to outcasts and people he’s not supposed to mingle with (foreigners, woman, the sick, and other outcasts), but he touches them! This was NOT to happen, even for a lowly carpenter.
His every interaction seemed to be infused with this gentle rebellion.
But tragically and ironically, the Bible (and specifically the New Testament) is used to justify keeping “certain” people at a distance and stripping them of their rights or even their chance to have those rights.
It’s not the “Bible” or “religion” or “Christians” who do this. It’s humans who do this. They miss the entire point.
We’ve been doing this (misusing messages of love) for thousands of years now. Jesus recognized it 2000 years ago and chose to live differently.
Wow–the concept that we ALL are precious and equal was so refreshing and so much needed that people equated it with being given a new life.
That perspective–seeing oneself as precious–may not affect the outcome of one’s situation. You may still be oppressed. You may never get them to see that you hold just as much value as they do and deserve equal treatment.
This is the kernel inside the crucifixion and resurrection story. No one can take your value from you or remove the God/love within. Even if they kill you.
Don’t read anything into that besides what is written.
The point: People can and do harm others. But those violent actions do not diminish the worth or the “God” inside each one of us.
Does that mean that we should allow people to do hurtful things because hey–everyone’s God?
Of course not. We still need to hold people accountable, keep safe, and draw boundaries. Yes, it gets complicated.
But in my thoughts and my actions I need to remember that love (or “God” or kindness or whatever you may want to call it) gets to define everyone, and I have no right to say it doesn’t–no matter how “awful” someone is.
I strive to let that be what directs my thoughts and actions:
Love gets to define everyone.
I strive to be a gentle rebel.
From this point, I will discuss particular New Testament passages and how they apply to today’s world or how they illustrate this rebellious love and compassion. My goal is to learn, always learn, about love and compassion–and to share that learning process. There is much to learn.
As always, feel free to comment.