Jesus is not fair.
Despite everything we want God to be…God is not. Before the incarnation (that the Christian tradition believes in)…we viewed God through our lens of what we think things should be. What Fundamental literalists don’t understand or perhaps wish to accept is that they read the bible with a framework…and if that’s true…perhaps it was written with one to. This is why Jesus seems to swim against the flow of all human understanding when he opens his mouth to teach.
It was through this lens that the many of the scriptures were written – not that it was wrong, and not that the scriptures weren’t inspired – but we must always remember – the co-writers of the scriptures were still humans and therefore through the lens of humanity.
We need to take no further look than Noah’s Arc…and juxtapose this with the words of Jesus…to see the grand canyon difference between the perception of God’s “fairness.”
In the story of Noah’s Arc we learn that God finally had enough…I have this line in my comedy act that says…we are told God loves us…and then… one day He woke up with a case of the grumpies and decided to make everyone H20 intolerant by drowning them.
And on the other hand we have Jesus being crucified on a cross exclaiming “ Father forgive them – THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO…”
Murder is murder. We must never forget that the murder of Christ was a sanctioned government action, therefore legal, therefore “acceptable” in the eyes of the state and CULTURE. One cannot help but see iron, especially here in America, for those that call themselves Christians and support the death penalty.
Let’s not go down that rabbit trail.
So if we can momentarily put our differences aside, and at least begin to ask the hard questions of why we have a God who is trigger happy in the Old Testament and suddenly God’s son shows up like a character that time-traveled from Woodstock (the 60’s version – not the 90’s)…and appears mild and meek and talking tongue and cheek with his message of grace and love.
Again, don’t close your mind or heart just yet…what if it’s not a puzzle to be put together through systematic theology…but an evolving perspective of the character and disposition of the heart of God for humanity?
Okay, feel free to go back to wherever your fixed notions…but I would invite you to join me into NOT GOING BACK…
I, for one, am not going back…my heart and consciousness as been awoken to a deeper reality and perspective of God through Jesus (which yes…has been through the scriptures)…
…and that perspective…?
Jesus is not fair.
Fair would be the law of the day.
Fair would be the woman stoned for adultery.
Fair would be Lazurus staying dead.
Fair would be the murder on the cross next to Jesus, not being invited into Paradise.
Fair would be Noah’s Arc…
But Fair would not be Jesus.
Jesus comes in saying…you’ve heard of fair…”eye for an eye”…I come to say…forgive 77 x 7…I say turn the other cheek…I say bless those who curse you….I come to say…my grace is sufficient.
I believe all the beautiful metaphors that we have transformed into the Atonement theory…a theory that protestants teach as dogma…they are very beautiful and needed when we feel like shit for our shit….
We need them…not because we need them…but we need them…we need those biblical metaphors to get it through our heads and more importantly into our hearts…that “It is Finished”….that “all is grace.”…He has forgiven us 77×7…to really hear…I now call you my friends…
The brokenness, the flaw, the bug in the system..or what St. Augustine calls “original sin”…is in my opinion this craving for “fair”…
It’s our blindness to all that we need is not “out there”…”but in here”…
I love the story where my friend was going on a hike and met a hermit. And the hermit said to my friend…You go and preach all over the world…please…tell them…tell them (the hermit points to the sky)…God is not out there!!!!
In Genesis…we read how Adam and Eve left the garden….this was the flaw, the brokenness, and sin…and ever since we have been looking “out there”…instead of “in here”….
and in our blindness we have been shouting “this isn’t fair”…
I wonder how many of us can hear the words of the Father in the story of Luke 15 and the prodigal son…when the Father says to the elder son…”Everything I have is yours…and it’s always been here.”
Out of our blind resentment towards God…we have been either been running away…or building our own tower of babel…trying to get to God….both shouting the same lie…”this isn’t fair!”…
and it’s that box that we put God in…it’s that lense that we interpret both scriptures and our life…and that’s largely the framework humanity has ever known…
and this is why we keep killing our prophets, mystics, and saints…because they preach a message that dwarfs and belittles this idea of “fair” …or rather exposes it for the bullshit it really is.
Fairness is a math equation that carries no weight in the gospel of grace and in the kingdom of God.
Read every story and interaction of Jesus …and you won’t have to look long…to see that everything about our idea of fair…Jesus flips this on it’s head and says, “Nah. Fairness has nothing to do with it. Everyone gets a get out of Jail card. Everyone gets in because everyone is in.”
The only way you’re not in…is if you don’t want to be. The heaven or the hell you want is exactly the heaven or hell you’ll get – that’s not fair…that’s grace.
And those that know – enter into heaven now – those that don’t are in hell now…as one of the great saints…Saint Catherine of Sienna said, “It’s heaven all the way to heaven…or hell all the way to hell.”
The same grace that God gives you to come to him…is the same grace he gives you to walk away.
Do you see how both sons in the story of the prodigal son…in a sense…ran away from home…Jesus was not only a spiritual genius…but a genius storyteller…I love great lines that use the theme of a story deeper into the audience members heart…
”everything I had was always here”
…both sons ran away from God…as one preacher has famously said, “one to his badness…and one to his goodness”
…or you could say…one to the sins of the flesh…and one to the sins of the spirit….
or you could say…
they ran to their cheaper desires…because their deeper desires just seemed to good to be true…
Don’t we all do that…77×7 times a day…which is why maybe God knows we need an infinity pool of grace for our gushing well of disbelief.
But before the story ends…they learn…that was a lie…the prodigal son learns…that while he was still a far way off …
…God is filled with compassion and is running towards him…and the Elder son…whom was home…he too was still a far way off and God was filled with compassion running to his son…as the Elder son learns…”everything you’ve wanted has always been here.”
As those who are still clinging onto the Christian tradition by grace…and to those who have been railroaded by this I implore us all to …look into our own hearts to see if we see Jesus in us…if not…look deeper…the deepest place of your silent prayer…the place where there are no words…the place where you…”Gaze at God…until you see God gazing at you.”
And when that happens look into the eyes of your God…and see that He is our God…and see if eyes you see the fairness of the Story of Noah’s Arc…or the compassion of Christ.