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An Impractical Man
Whatever else one may say about Jesus, while on earth He was not a very practical man. His teachings are shot through with specific messages that simply do not work in actual life situations. Whether you consider his admonition that only he who is without sin cast the first stone, or the instruction that if your enemy hits your one cheek respond by offering him the other, or the classic requirement that one give away all he has and “follow Me,” or praising Mary for sitting on her ass while poor Martha worked hers off to prepare Him a feast, or even refusing to directly defend Himself against the false charges that led to His crucifixion; there isn’t a workable notion in the bunch. These beliefs, and a host of other examples, create a portrait of a man seriously out of touch with every day reality.
About the only practical thing Christ ever recommended was a reasonable approach be taken as relates to working on the Sabbath. Other than that, it was all children against parents, brothers against brothers and all manner of chaos rendered by those following Him in opposition to the workings and organization of society. You can look it up.
When you think about it, had He not died on the cross and left His ministry to Paul and his successors, everything would have remained in uproar and confusion. Had more practical men not immediately taken the reins of the church, I have no doubt very little would have been done in the way of building western civilization. People would just be lying around forgiving one another and nothing would ever get done.
Certainly, most, if not all the wars fought between His days on earth and now would not have been fought. Imagine all the technological advancements we’d have missed had not our practical need to murder one another in vast numbers not created an imperative requirement for research. Certainly, there would be no nuclear power. Nor would the rockets and miniaturization replacing mechanical systems with electronic systems, that accompanied the need for reduced weight in guidance systems for those rockets, ever have happened. The electronic revolution currently rolling over all aspects of commerce and other human interaction would be merely the stuff of science fiction and Dick Tracy cartoons. It would never have happened without that revolution from the mechanical to the electronic.
Yes, it is a damn good thing that solid, practical men seized the Christian message as soon as possible from its dangerously impractical beginnings. That seizure and redirection has been very beneficial to the western world. In name of the improved Christian spin great fervor for war has been stirred. In its name, other cultures have been denigrated and derided so that the west could roll over them, seize their natural wealth and enslave their people with a perfectly clear conscience. In its name genocide has been perpetrated.
Practical men even usurped older, venerable, pagan religious celebrations and made them their own. The most famous of these is the reputed birthday of Christ, Himself. Christmas, conveniently held about the same time as the old pagan Norse mid winter celebrations, Saturnalia and a few other similar celebrations of other cults, was developed by practical men into the single most economically important day on the planet. Even in nations where reputed Christians are thin on the ground, Christmas sales can make or break not mere stores but whole industries and national economies.
Almost from the day after the crucifixion, religious gimcracks and doodads became an important element of fund raising. Shrines dedicated to this or that aspect of the Savior’s life, or His mother’s, or of some saint or other, sometimes just a piece of some saint sufficed, was enough to spawn a tourist center, a major building project, a market town, or other center of significant commerce. Some such centers, Jerusalem comes to mind, have existed for millennia on nothing more than selling religion by the bucket full.
Yes, it is a damn good thing that, once dead and risen, Christ outgrew His impractical and childish nature and joined the ranks of practical men. Where would the world be without that?
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