“The way of Jesus is thus not a set of beliefs about Jesus. That people ever thought it was is strange, when we think about it — as if one entered new life by believing certain things to be true, or as if the only people who can be saved are those who know the word “Jesus”. Thinking that way virtually amounts to salvation by syllables.
Rather, the way of Jesus is the way of death and resurrection — the path of transition and transformation from an old way of being to a new way of being. To use the language of incarnation that is so central to John, Jesus incarnates the way. Incarnation means embodiment. Jesus is what the way embodied in a human life looks like.”
― Marcus J. Borg,
Adapted from: https://www.tamu.edu/faculty/choudhury/culture.html
Today is the beginning of Holy Week when we once again, individually and collectively, reflect on our core values and their implementations in our practices as manifested in our rituals, our heroes and the symbols of the narrative of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as presented to us in our recorded Sacred Scriptures. And each year as the unified framework of meaning and understanding grows and matures and becomes more coherently inclusive of all that I have learnt via discoveries from the scientific method and spiritual meditations, the insights gained from participation in those practices take on a new-found enlightenment.
Today was no exception as I participated in Palm Sunday celebrations with my family and the readings of today along with Father Emmanuel’s spirit-guided sermon linked for me the three temptations of Jesus in the wilderness at the beginning of his life-ministry with the three main protagonists in his sphere of influence most associated with his death. The first deals with the world within and its connection with the social systems without, and the later deals with characters within and their connections with the responsibilities of society without.
Let me explain.
The three temptations of Jesus were as follows:
- Make bread out of stones to relieve his own hunger
- Jump from a pinnacle and rely on angels to break his fall…
- Worship the devil in return for all the kingdoms of the world.
All three temptations represent the outward expressions of inward desires to not be governed by the rule of life that:
- requires coordinated production, distribution and consumption of sufficient universal human life necessities,
- requires the understanding of the frailties and vulnerabilities of the human condition and the healthy boundaries that all levels of life must optimally function within, and
- requires all members of society to be empowered to appreciate the minimum requirements of the floor of the universal human life necessities and the maximum limitations of the ceiling as it pertains to the healthy boundaries of functioning be it the home, the community (or at the planetary level). This is in contradistinction to the power over subjects where they are dumbed down and dependent on the whims and fancies of rulers, as opposed to the rulers empowering them to be self-sufficient in their understanding of the floors and ceilings of life’s flourishing.
From a system’s point of view, we are dealing with:
- economics – the management of the universal life necessities,
- education – the management of information, knowledge and wisdom as it pertains to understanding the needs, limitations and empowerment of life beings and
- politics – the management of power, not the irresponsible use of power to rule over others, but the responsible use of power to enable a healthy nurturing environment to empower others so as to actualize their full life potentials, capacities and capabilities in communion and in unity (i.e. in community) with one another.
With regards to the end of Jesus’ life, the three main characters are:
- Judas – the Betrayer,
- Peter – the Denier and
- Pontious Pilate – The Abdicator of Social Justice.
Judas betrayed Jesus and initiated the beginning of the end of Jesus’ life ministry and revealingly that of his own, after being bribed to do so with money – the main agency of corruption in our economic relationships.
Peter denied any association with Jesus and his life-teachings in order to save face (and his own life), and was prepared to spread misinformation and misunderstanding – the main form of corruption of our education system. Thus he plausibly denied to himself and to others (as the closest confidant of Jesus) the value and worth of Jesus’ life’s work and teachings when the going got tough.
And finally Pontious Pilate, as governer and regulator of the province, abdicated his responsibility of adjudicating justly when the high priest had Jesus arrested on trumped-up charges, and had a violent criminal released in his stead, as Pilate made Jesus the designated enemy of the state to assuage the deep state insecurities of the religious authorities after he turned over the tables of the money-changers in the temple. This abuse of power is the corrupting influence in politics.
All three parallel stories crystallize in my heart, mind and soul the corrupting influences of money, ignorance and power in the world then and in our world today as it pertains to the integrity of life sustenance, understanding and empowerment for continuous life regeneration. Revealingly this connects directly to the new systems view of life where matter, mind and life are connected in a new unified vision of autopoesis (self-making) and cognition in a life-empowering environment as shown below:
Having tried to connect the dots from the recorded wisdom of an ancient moral philosopher, and having been guided by the embodied wisdom of another in the life’s work of Professor John McMurtry, we are now in the best position to understand the life-dysfunctional money-valued cultures that have been dominated by market rituals, war heroes and misguided life-disabling symbols that serve to suppress the life’s truths expounded above.
We should however be comforted and bolstered by the undeniable fact that truth never lies!! Truth never deceives, distracts or destroys, but informs, attunes and creates. Truth always provides the way to life’s enlightenment. The veracity of this statement lies in the irresistible power of unarmed truth to ground our dialectic dialogue with nature in the scientific and spiritual arenas. Furthermore, this dialogue would serve to unify the differentiated analysis of patterns of life needs, life understanding and life empowerment into a holistic life-valued onto-axiological synthetic whole (ie. the unique solution to the world’s problems that provides the life-ground and governor of understanding and thus a life-compass and steer so as to guide and regulate all of our economic, educational and political inspirations and aspirations.)
And not only that!!! By helping to till and tender our cultural gardens of life understanding around the life-valued wisdom of the traditional and indigenous teachers, we would be able to co-create a socially just, environmentally sustainable and truly peaceful life-view through and through. Even more, this would now no longer be one centered around the cancerous money-valued sequencing, but now would be one centered at its core on life-values, and surrounded by life-rituals, life-heroes and life-symbols interconnected in a life-affirming narrative that respects all of life. In so doing we will always be able to resurrect the integrity and coherence of the truth of life’s providential capacities in all of its radiant and bountiful manifestations. Thus, from the ashes of delusion, despondency and destruction that have been thrusted upon us by the life-blind vested-money interests, life’s truth will once again rise from the ashes, as it always has done before in the past!!
It is my faith, hope and love in this new transformative lens of seeing our way through now guided by the truth of the rule of life, that we all can be resurrected from our life-betraying, life-denying and life-disempowering mindset and be born-again into “the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible.“
“Jesus was killed. This is one of those facts that everybody knows, but whose significance is often overlooked. He didn’t simply die; he was executed. We as Christians participate in the only major religious tradition whose founder was executed by established authority. And if we ask the historical question, “Why was he killed?” the historical answer is because he was a social prophet and movement initiator, a passionate advocate of God’s justice, and radical critic of the domination system who had attracted a following. If Jesus had been only a mystic, healer, and wisdom teacher, he almost certainly would not have been executed. Rather, he was killed because of his politics – because of his passion for God’s justice.”
― Marcus J. Borg,