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If Jesus Were Alive Today…

 
 

 

A progressive, non-messianic Jew who cultivates a relationship with Jesus through mystical dream-work explores the heart of the one called Christ.

It is interesting to contemplate whether Jesus, if he were alive today, would be a liberal or a conservative. Through comparative analysis and an examination of historical data, we can certainly make some plausible and persuasive points in that regard. But, while I believe some worthwhile ideas (on both sides of the argument) can be put forth in the course of what is certainly a stimulating thought experiment, I know in my heart if Jesus were bearing witness to the world as it is today, if he walked among us in sandals and robe he would want us to take care of each other, to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

He would be in the street marching with his brothers and sisters for health care and a living wage.

He would be raising his voice and his fist on behalf of those who claim the right to marry regardless of gender.

He would be raising his voice and his fist on behalf of an earth already dealing with the ravages of climate change, with fires that consume entire states, continents that are melting, hurricanes that wash away cities and towns.

I know in my heart that if Jesus were bearing witness to the world as it is today, he would march with those who protest against racial injustice, not with those who protest against the wearing of masks.

He would seek a middle ground between respect for the life of the unborn and the life of those who actually give birth.

He would be a “terrorist” pulling down the statue of a confederate general because people who fought their countrymen for the right to keep slaves should not for that reason be honored in the public square. Similarly, he would fight for the retitling of schools, boulevards and military bases because the ordinary settings in which we live our lives should not be named after the champions of servitude, should not be daily reminders of a past for which some still secretly yearn, should not be used to inspire fear in those for whom the past betokens the whip and the chain.

Likewise, I think we can safely say he would NOT support kidnapping children from their parents and holding them in cages; or the barring of refugees who are fleeing conditions most of us can barely imagine.

That he would not support using Gods’ name (or for that matter his), to validate conspiracy theories that demonize political opponents, that warrant or justify the various phobias and isms which continue to poison our discourse and culture.

Indeed, if Jesus were alive today no doubt Steve Bannon would want to cut off his head, stick it on a pike and plant it on the White House lawn next to Dr Fauci. Something like that actually happened to him once, didn’t it?

I know these things in my heart and I know them because like many, for me Jesus is alive today, alive in spirit, and alive in my dreams and it is in my dreams that he told me this:

“There’s a lot of minds to change, a lot of music to make, a lot of hearts to open with song.”

It is possible, even likely that Jesus, if he were alive in the flesh today would be looked upon, at least by those with limited vision (on both the left and the right), as stone-cold crazy. As just another off his meds wild-eyed mystic in need of therapeutic intervention. An escapee from the psych ward more suited for hospital gown and slippers than desert robe and sandals. After all, in an insane world, sanity is the province of the loon.

That as a Middle-Easterner he would end up on the no-fly list, a suspected terrorist bent on employing social media for the purpose of radicalizing his disciples.

Most importantly, if Jesus were alive in the flesh today, I expect there is a better than even chance no one would bother to listen to him in the first place.

As it is said, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed…” Matthew 13:9…

Can you think of a better description for individuals who are deaf to the sound of children at the border kidnapped from their parents and locked in cages; who believe a plague which has already killed more than a quarter million people in this country alone, is a hoax or a partisan conspiracy; who think the vaccine is a Microsoft plot to enslave the masses; that the election is a fraud; that a free press is the enemy of the people and Donald Trump is the best thing that’s happened to black folk since Abraham Lincoln? Or that a cabal of Satan worshipping liberal Democrats and Hollywood celebrities who aspire to world domination, operate an international child sex ring that includes drinking the blood they harvest from their victims?

“Gross” indeed. A people like the people Mathew describes are no more likely to recognize the “mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” than the ancient multitudes who gathered on the shore where Jesus preached his parables and sayings.

And speaking of dull ears and closed eyes, on the question of whether Jesus would be a liberal or a conservative, a political blogger I know said to me the following “In regards to truth He is a conservative. In regards to Manmade junk He is a liberal.”

If you invert the statement quoted above it appears to claim that in so far as Jesus reflected or advocated the “conservative” point of view, he spoke or embodied the “truth,” (the Absolute and Eternal Word of God) while in so far as he supported or advocated ideas or values identified by the man as “liberal,” he was an exponent of “Manmade” and therefore ephemeral “junk.” This is just ignorant, divisive trash talk.

“Junk” indeed.

I am not an apologist for Jesus. I’m not on a mission to spread his word (some of which I disagree with – the whole “turn the other cheek” thing goes too far in my opinion) … But because of the way, as evidenced for example by the individual quoted above, I believe Jesus (not to mention the faith perspective in general) has been largely hijacked by the conservative movement, I feel compelled to offer an alternative opinion.

“… Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ Matthew 25:40

This is a powerful statement of sheer empathy if ever there was one, and empathy, while perhaps not intrinsically one “wing” or the other is, at least in the waning days of 2020, in this country and in this political moment, not a trait I associate with the values, proponents or polices of the right.

A person who cares about the “least of these,” whomever they may be is not a person who would turn away the refugee, cut taxes for the rich, or as I suggest in my opening declaration, do whatever they can to keep people of color “in their place.”

I am not a scholar conversant in ancient things or ancient people, but I would venture to guess that a scholar is not necessarily better equipped, at least in certain respects than a poet, a mystic or a dreamer to understand what made Jesus, himself a visionary, Jesus. It is the visionary, the one who enjoys a more direct experience of the unseen (available perhaps to all of us if we are open to it and seek it), the one who lays hold of truth as the kabbalists say, by suckling on the teat of wisdom; by utilizing their intuition, their 3rd eye, their poetic imagination rather than the scholar, we should perhaps rely on when we seek to know the heart and soul of a man who, as the voice in my own dreams suggests “had a lot of dreams and thought about the dreams he had.” I am familiar with the gospel record of Jesuses’ life, but when it comes to understanding the kind of man he would be if he were with us in the flesh today, I know what I know or think I know at least for the most part, because like Jesus himself, I too read “the book of the dream,” a medium in which to my surprise, the dusty carpenter from Galilee began to appear many years ago.

It was a surprise, because unlike my Christian friends, as a person raised in the Jewish faith, Jesus was, for better or worse completely absent from my religious education and family culture. Thus, my understanding of him is largely based on my independent, adult experience and that experience does not reveal Jesus to be a god or even for that matter, a perfect human being. Obviously, as a child I was aware of Jesus the way I was aware of Santa Claus and other ubiquitous figures held up for worship by the dominant culture, but I was not educated to see him as divine, as what one friend calls a “miracle…by definition.” If Jews have a “vision” of Jesus at all, it is of a false messiah the non-Jewish world used and continues to use as a cudgel with which to “beat” us.

I suspect being Jewish had both a liberating and a suppressive impact on my thoughts. Liberating because I was never taught to see a man, any man as a god, suppressive because at least until I began to see him in my dreams, Jesus had no value for me at all. Neither extreme strikes me as fair… A more reasonable, balanced assessment came to me in the form of a dream-message which offered the following counsel: “Christ is the friend.” Not the savior, not the messiah, not the product of a miraculous virgin birth, just the friend and sometimes in my dreams he takes the form, literally, of a friend. I see him as a friend, sometimes male, sometimes female because there is a “Jesus,” a higher, spiritual part in all of us to which we must give voice if we are to walk in the way of the Lord. And because the associative thinking which holds sway in my unconscious mind, casts the “real” Jesus in that form. Jesus is the friend, and the friend is “Jesus.”

It is part of my beliefs, which again are based not on a scholarly approach but on a 45-year exploration of my own nocturnal dreams, that human beings have a soul and that the soul lives on as a spirit after the body dies. I believe that there are states of consciousness accessible to us when we dream (meditation and certain psychotropic drugs may also work in this regard), where it is possible for the boundary between the world of the spirit and the world of the flesh to dissolve, allowing us to connect with those who dwell on the other side. Many of us have experiences in which we feel the presence in a dream or a meditation of a lost loved one or for that matter of a person important to us in the “real world,” because there is a higher part of the living soul with which I believe we can psychically connect as well. So, just to be clear when I affirm he is alive today in spirit, and alive in my dreams I do not mean to imply that I think of the Jesus figure I encounter there as anything other than the spirit of a person.

Finally, my hope is that more people will come to see Jesus the way I see him in my dreams, as a wise and comforting friend. That he will cease to be a hammer those fake Christians who are as removed from Jesus as the darkness is from the light, use to beat good people down. I know in my heart that is not what Jesus would want. My hope is, that while we may cultivate a relationship with him, we will remember that while he can help us, comfort and inspire us, he cannot save us. For that matter, neither, perhaps can God, but that’s ok because we can help, and sometimes even save, each other.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Text by Daniel David Joseph, illustration by Revuen Ben Samuel (father) and Daniel David Joseph (son)

Daniel David Joseph is a mystic, Kabbalist, dream-teller and interpreter, musician, poet and artist who has spent the last several decades exploring the rich and mysterious world of higher dreaming. He delivers his message of spiritual unity and metaphysical insight in multiple forms and diverse venues, from church and synagogue to hip hop club. He is the former leader of the Eye of the Tree, a progressive Havurah and Bread at the Gate, a world-music, spoken-word poetry group.
 
 
The Secret Window
(Credo of the Dreamer)

I look
When I am falling asleep
Through a window or a gate that forms in my mind
It seems as though the more I drift into oblivion
The more the window opens
And I am able to see the water
Glistening with light from the moon and the stars
On the other side

The more I sleep the more I wake
In darkness shines a hidden light
Who drinks the wine his thirst will slake
‘Tis them that see who have no sight
‘Tis them that see who have no sight
 
Examples of his dream-art, writing and music can be found at:
http://thehouseofwe.org/index.htm

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