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Time For Some Biblical Exegesis


JadedAtheist

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I was waiting for a friend to get a taxi today out a "Jews for Jesus" store today. The store was well located if I do say so myself, it's right at the heart of the "Jewish district" here (you see HEAPS of men with their payots and/or kippahs walking around, not to mention a lot of grocery stores have "kosher" sections). Looking at the store got me to thinking about a passage in Matthew that I use to really enjoy. It was Matthew 11:28-30:

 

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

 

It's interesting that Jesus here doesn't say that there is no yoke and there is no burden, instead he says you them but they are easy, they are light. You are still owned and set to task by someone. You've switched slave owners. You can see that this concept was well understood by the writers of the various epistles in the NT as many begin their salutations referring to themselves as slaves (many translations preferring the terms servant/bond-servant) of Jesus Christ. For a Christian they see this as a distinction between being a slave to sin or a "slave" to Christ. Often times when you hear this passage exposited the preacher will quote "Sin will always take you farther than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and cost you more than you intended to pay". Yet Jesus is upheld as being a gentle taskmaster who will not even tempt you above what you are able (1st Corinthians 10:13).

 

Now for a Jewish person at the time Christianity must certainly have been a blessing. All the laws and regulations he had to uphold were swiped away. It would be a blessing to many Jews and Muslims today as well but it nevertheless is bondage. To the 'pagan' mind then and to our minds today, Christianity certainly is bondage and not a "light" one at that. I think the above quote would be more accurate if you replaced "sin" with "Christianity". Christianity is warped and I'm surprised it took me so long to realize it. Christianity is a burden, not the "godless" lifestyle. It's the one putting people in bondage while godlessness is what is setting the captives free. Christians paint Christianity's prison walls as "protective fences" and it takes a lot of someone to realize that they're not meant to protect us but to enslave us.

 

So, I look at this verse now which use to provide me comfort and now all it does is anger me and disgust me.

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Jaded,

 

The good thing about being a thoroughgoing eclectic is you can take (cherry pick) what any one has said or supposedly says and work with it in any manner you like without fear or reprisal. What the church says and what others say (options are only as good as your own) is irrelevant. You can come to your own conclusions about what any philosopher, teacher, writer, poet etc. was or is trying to convey to their audience. Discussion helps but ultimately you decide for your self. And you will regardless of what the talking heads say. Whether you share it with anyone else is up to you and a good rule I've found was something that I believe it was Jesus who was supposed to have said. Something about "casting your pearls...," I think.

 

What Jesus said or supposedly said means something completely different to me now. Even when I read what Matt. said Jesus said in your post I come to different conclusion about what he may or may not have meant.

 

What was paramount for me was to work through my anger about being 'hoodwinked'. That is being angry about allowing someone else to authorize my life (even though early on it was out of my control), whether it be patients, peers, priest, preachers, prophets or politicians. Once the "free rent" for my mind ran out those "authorities" were evicted. It took some time but once I claimed ownership of my life, got my land legs stable and began to plot the lay of the land before me, my anger subsided just long enough for me to catch a sweet taste of reason and sanity. Once I tasted that sweet sherry wine there was no turning back. No way, No how!

 

Derek Wolcott's poem Love After Love depicts the way things have worked for me.

 

 

The time will come

when with elation,

you will greet yourself arriving

at our own door, in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the other's welcome,

 

And say sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

 

All your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

 

The photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit.

 

Feast on your life.

 

 

saner

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