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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Crucified Question

I posted this last year near 'Good Friday' and thought I would once again. I love the cartoon by David Hayward and all that it captures. Click on the link below the cartoon to view more of his brilliant work. 

cartoon drawn by David Hayward @ nakedpastor click link to see other great drawings.

This is the time of year that many reflect on the later days of Christ and his ministry. A Jewish carpenter who, in his thirties, left his trade and travelled the countryside, villages, and cities with a message of hope. Healing few, impressing many, challenging and impacting all. When Jesus encountered others, whether they hated him or loved him, they were amazed. This is what one philosopher, Peter Kreeft, refers to as the "Jesus Shock".  None were bored with Jesus. 

We tend to view Jesus as an answer, someone who came to earth to provide an absolute. While this may most definitely be true, I wonder if we have forgotten a very important aspect of the Christ.

When the Christ was in presence of the people and when he is in the presence of us, he raises the question. We can not help but question when we stand beside him. We question all that has been, all that is present and all that shall be. We question our hearts, desires and motives. All things become questionable in the presence of Jesus.

To question is uncomfortable, uneasy and difficult. For most of us we are afraid of what we shall find, or perhaps, even more frightening, what we will shall not find.

I believe this is why we crucified the Christ... why we crucified the question.


My Little Warriors said...

If Jesus came back in our time today there would be the same response. How absurd to claim to be THE son of God. To BE God himself in human form. He would have been put in an assylum for sure. I would so love to see those who choose to worship him now react to him coming back today... i think they would react the same way and they did when he came over 2000 years ago. I like how you put that he is the question... I feel like he is both a question and an answer... i have more thoughts on this but no time.. maybe later.

CalledtoQuestion said...

MLW- How right you are. I would love to hear those thoughts. :)

My Little Warriors said...

interesting enough.. If Jesus were to come back today i think he wouldn't be hanging out in our churches.. i think he would be going to our churchs tearing them up and screaming at how stupid people are.. and breaking things.. a good old smash fest.. and he wouldn't apoligize for it.. then he would go hang out with all of the "unclean" and "unloveable" people. And many today would be saying things like " well that's not the Jesus i know, that's not the man that i follow". I wonder sometimes if people REALLY TRUELY open thier eyes and understand the man that Jesus was..oh you know they say they do... but i think they read "perfect" and they let thier own mind go from there. Jesus was perfect... check, so that means that i have to do everything "right" all the time according to these standards of the church. But the truely hillarious thing is that modern current christian (i'm generalizing here) is so stuck on rules and rituals and what they don't see is that they are RIGHT BACK at the begining.. right back at exactly where Jesus came in and was talking about abolishing the law... the modern day so called christians have brought back the law. There are countless numbers of churches at least in our community that are getting deep into the jewish festivels and traditions. So many getting caught back up in the law. Not nescarrly the same laws that they had 2000 years ago.. but still laws and rules and a life to live by. ONE MUST BE A HEATHEN IF THEY DO NOT GO TO CHURCH ON SUNDAYS, NOR READ THEIR BIBLE EVER SINGLE MORNING, OR TEACH THEIR CHILDREN ABOUT OTHER WAYS TO LIVE!!!!!! Christans have so far drifted from the very essence of what Jesus was. We have drifted so far that those who need love, are not loved, they feel condemded....
I could go on and on and i know i am rambling.. i'm just so fed up with those who claim to know and follow christ but when it comes to push and shove they are just following the current churches laws on what is socialy acceptable, they really aren't catupring the true essence on who Christ was.. even though the qoute him when they can and like to use the words " GOD SAID...." (*side note.. i know some people love the reminders and the meditating on certian times of certian events.. that is wonderful that lent speaks to one and helps them to focus.. but the expectation that if everyone is not doing it it is sin is absurd)
TO ME.. Jesus is the answer to the questions in us.. he is the answer on how to live.. he is the answer that we are loved and worthy... he is the very model and fullfillment of that question. And that question to me is not "how can i be perfect? How can i get to heaven?" the question to me is "Am i loved? Am i worthy? How can i live a meaningful life that relects the beauty that i am, I am a beautiful creation, and what does my creator want to show me with that beauty and what does he want me to do with that beauty?" In his life Jesus demostrates the WORTH of a person.. he answers the question " Am i worthy?" and he gives a resounding YES. He reaches out and rips apart the laws that make a person work towards worthiness but still question and he says "YOU ARE ENOUGH".
hmm i think i got that all out right.. well if i didn't MEH! life goes on! :)

CalledtoQuestion said...

MLW-Love it! Love it! Love it!
Your passion and speech are worthy of praise and are comparable to that of Kings, Queens, and the leaders of old, inspiring their armies before the blows fall. You have me clashing my sword against my shield and raising my voice in response to your call of courage. Like Theoden King summoning his men to courage, so you also have me ready to charge, though 'fell deeds awake', into the army of orcs.

Ok, Kmarie is right, I am obsessed with Lord of the Rings.

Amy said...

Such the truth, Philip... Jesus never spoke in ultimates and in defined answers. He told these outrageous tales and stories. He explained things in "like" terms.. "The kingdom of God is like this.. and it's like that." SUCH the truth..

Rob Bell is one that reminds me of how Jesus spoke. Lots of questions and no answers. :) Thankyou for brings me comfort to remember that, just like people do today, man crucified the question. Woow. What a thought! And man still does today.. they call names and stone the teachers and messengers of our day. Killing isn't as ok, tho some have done so...but man, they sure crucify with their words and their actions. That thought brings me comfort to know that I am in good company :))

Ben said...

Interesting reflections Phil. To think of Jesus as confronting people with a question or "the Question" I think is absolutely right. I know what I believe that question to be but I would be interested to hear what you think it might be. Or are you saying that he himself is, or embodies the question/Question? If so, then I would say that he is the question and the answer.

Was he incarnate to provide an absolute? Ultimately yes as he is the Word made flesh that upholds every thing in existence by his own word. If he were to withdraw that word then all reality as we know it would unravel. I believe he came within a very specific time and place for the reasons set out throughout the entire OT. That he is the culmination of centuries of prophecy all the way back to Adam and that the Jewish leaders of the day would have known exactly what those prophecies were speaking of though they perhaps did not understand how a man of peace and love and anger and righteousness would inhabit them as God in their midst.

So the question is posed to the Jewish people: here is your God, whose coming is the summation of the Law and the Prophets. He comes with tenderness now and shows you the answer to the question if how you should live your lives in relation to him. Will you accept that, live and thrive in that and all the incredible nuanced explosion if life that means?

Of course their answer to that (some but definitely not all) was no. The Christ, the Jewish Messiah, who's not some poor sot wandering around preaching happy thoughts and kumbaya, the fulfillment of every Davidic prophecy and the hope of Israel posed that question to them and as your comic indicates (though I am sure it does more) he was crucified.

Same question now, except now he is risen. Another insanely beautiful moment that affirms God's love for reality.

Anyways, some of my raw thoughts. Thanks for sending this around.

Love you bro,

CalledtoQuestion said...

Amy- Your welcome!:)
Christianity's terrorism is spiritual not physical. Christianity, at present, may not have its radical murderers as that of Islam....wait I'm forgetting George W. Bush, Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik, Milwaukee's Wade Michael Page and the list could go on. Killing is not ok, physically or even spiritually.

Thanks for your thoughts!:)

CalledtoQuestion said...

Ben- Thanks for stopping by Ben.

I believe that Jesus is the Question and that that may just be the answer. Notice that the question remains more affirmative then that of the answer.

Many within Christianity believe wholeheartedly that Jesus is the answer and within that belief system they very well may be right? But to be an answer something must be provable and without doubt. I do not believe that Jesus is provable, perhaps his humanity may be in history, but what about his claims? Can what he claimed be proved? If so then does that not negate the concept of faith? What is there to believe in if one already has the proof? This is one reason I think analytical philosophy, when taken into the hands of theologians and bible college professors, is so harmful. It becomes all about proving your stance and faith, rather then just humbly sharing your faith, a hope in something that can not be proved, within a civil conversation with another.

I think that when Jesus entered the picture it was a challenge for all to examine themselves and ask the 'question/questions' What is it that I believe? What am I longing for? and To who's benefit do I do it? My own or that of others? Even within his answers, that of which seem to be definitive, we find that we are led to more questions. Perhaps, it was a challenge, that it is more important what is in our hearts than what is in our minds. For it is far more important how we treat ourselves and others, then what it is that we believe.

If Jesus gives an answer, then it is that of the Question.

The resurrection... well that is another great and wonderful question.

Love you too.

Miriam (Pete) Rashleigh said...

I'd say war is necessary - Christ brought His own war, and allowed Himself to be the main casualty, but His followers all over the world continue to be casualties of that war. Killing for killings' sake is not acceptable, but unfortunately, eg. in the case of the Taliban or other murderers, it's more than acceptable to use their means to stop them, as long as you're willing to also die for your own cause. Christianity as a system has done wrong; as a personal way of living to follow Christ, we will continually offend and be put to death in big or small ways, just as Christ also was killed even before His physical death. The main thing He did was upend the status quo, which in many religious people's mind is worthy of different kinds of death. Am I willing to die in different ways other than physical as I continually challenge those who use authority for their own ends? I hope I will continue to be willing to do that, even physically if necessary. But I may take a few with me, of the status quo pushers. ;)

CalledtoQuestion said...

Miriam- I do not think Christ brought a war but a message of peace, humility and love, however, he knew full well that this message would not be welcomed in an age where many wanted violence, victory and power. Those who carry this message do not look for war, but at times war comes upon them none the less. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that is what you mean by Christ bringing His own 'war'. We all know that there are consequences to all of our actions, for good or for bad. Some can not handle a message of love, forgiveness and grace when what they want is revenge and justice. So those who share that message are clearly in their way and may just get run over.

Jesus, most certainly upset the statues quo.
Love how you do that here and now:)

Kmarie said...

This is a post I wanted to leave alone...(But I know you love me to comment- it makes you feel heard:) It's simply a stage I am in...years ago I would have passionately responded and I think that is important too...and I almost miss that automatic feeling of either for or against...but that is so rare now for me...For me I am fully comfortable with uncertainty. I obviously prefer the question...but I understand why some believe in or need answers. It is too bad when the answers are used as weapons or judgements but when they are used as comfort- who am I to judge? YET, I do have a stance I suppose and that stance is somewhere in the middle or perhaps more so on a different topic. I just want to live and love passionately...I still am not sure what to say on this topic but I can say I appreciate all the responses in bravery and passion and HONEY I love your gentle wisdom mixed with humility.
I agree with the fact that Jesus would not be accepted today by most evangelicals or most "proper" folks...I know they preach "If Jesus came today we would still crucify him" YET I don't think they get what they already do...what judgements, exclusivity, and religious structure actually looks like and how their reactions even to something like the Shack with a black woman form of a God shakes them up...Jesus would shake them up more. It would be improper to say the least- to witness that life. I think that is very important to say and I am glad those before me in this post gave such wisdom in that.
I just know to live unapologetically in me- with temper, compassion and who I AM. Because the great I AM told me I Am and when we ARE, we Become. When we listen to our inner voice it is more clear and most times I know I am being true to what I need to be true too even if it comes in paradox...Anyway, thanks for always bravely being true but putting what you need to out there despite the great flack you sometimes get and the "I'm not judging you or telling you what to do BUT..." I love that you stand for yourself and in doing so for greater life:)

CalledtoQuestion said...

Kmarie- Thanks for hearing me, my love:). Your words are wise and your heart is pure. I guess what it all comes down to, at least for me, is that nothing is truly provable, which in turn means everything is questionable. Uncertainty is the magnificent question residing within us. Mystery still lingers in our world of answers.
I, too, prefer to put the person before the answer and/or the question. I must never clutch to anything, not thought nor person, as though I possess it, but rather provide a place of rest and shelter for it upon my open hand.
While I do not think that this sort of topic need be the essence of ones' person, it is an important issue to take note as it is the most humbling of all thoughts. The thought that the answers may only just be questions, has the ability for humanity to draw nearer to one another in humility rather than in violence.
Love that you live unapologetically and are who you are. Thanks for your words.