Jesus against Empire

On this day of rebirth, although I am not a Christian, I resonate with the essence of Christ the rebel; Christ who came to subvert the slave-holding Roman Empire and who ultimately contributed to the end of Rome and the beginning of feudal Europe, later paving the way for the Renaissance and the birth of capitalism as we know it today. From an individual emancipatory point of view, Jesus helped the psychological and spiritual advance and autonomy of the individual, although the Church repressed this. Now that global industrial capitalism has had its day, we need new messiahs of all genders, be they entrepreneurs, community leaders, revolutionaries or others -to rebel against this patriarchal kingdom that is taking humanity to the brink of extinction, to allow the rebirth of humanity. This isn’t some vague New Age concept. I do not talk of ‘ascension’ by willing it to happen. No, preaching the coming necessary energy Descent of humanity, and engaging in the hard work to enable that to happen smoothly, requires action.

Jesus was not nice. He was not nice and he was not safe. Even in the patriarchal version of his teachings that made it into the Bible, we can see this. Jesus is purported to have said:

‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 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 -a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household”‘ Matt. 10:34-36

To me this clearly means that speaking the truth of one’s times is to risk being alienated by dear ones, friends and family who do not have the courage or are too comfortable or brainwashed by the industrial capitalist story of ‘business as usual’, to follow suit, or to take action. Although the spirit of Jesus is also compassion and forgiveness, his sword of truth must not waver, however uncomfortable that truth is to hear. Today, millions of rebels use Facebook and Twitter; it is a peculiar evil of our times that renders these voices relatively mute. The reasons may be that firstly, ‘things haven’t gotten bad enough yet’ (but oh, they will) and also, hypocrisy is so well-designed into the modern capitalist system, it is one of its most crucial cogs. The ‘rebels’ are the antithesis to the capitalist thesis of the ‘bastards in power’, and we all hold both poles within us. Each pole defines and strengthens the other. What we haven’t seen is true synthesis, necessary for the next stage of civilization.

But until we find the synthesis, rebel we must! As the state of global civilization becomes more dire due to climate change, increasing biodiversity loss (including soil failure) and increasing fossil fuel scarcity, we can expect radical changemakers, including entrepreneurs, spiritual leaders and maybe even a few heads of state (!) to stick their necks out more and more, and take increasing personal risks in order to safeguard our collective future. They will be shot at by the ignorant, jealous and hateful. Jesus is purported to have said:

‘Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ Matt 5:10

Perhaps you find me too hopeful. I am not a religious person, but on this important day -this day of import- I hope that Christians and non-Christians alike can draw strength from the rebel Jesus: Jesus who stood against hypocrisy and Empire. Jesus who was a catalyst for civilizational change.

 

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