Jesus Christ was a Hippy

The Way of The Hippy

            
 

         
From movie: "Jesus Christ Superstar"

There is no character more openly despised by the mainstream of American culture than the "dirty hippy". All you have to do is check out one of the many websites directed against them to verify this observation right from your desktop.

Among Christians, the "dirty hippy" is often thought to be the anti-type of the follower of Christ. Lazy, unsuccessful, a slacker, a scoffer, a sinner who does drugs and has sex indiscriminately, someone who listens to the devil's rock and roll music; ask and many evangelical Christians will tell you: the hippy is hell-bound.

Now, when compared to hippies, we Christians have an image in America that is ultra clean cut. The image people have of us is shockingly like the T.V. show the The Simpsons' cartoon parody of the Christian, Ned Flanders. We are thought to be clean cut, gainfully employed, "clean" mouthed, simplemindedly gullible, little house-holders with nice fences and neat lawns. Christians are mostly known as law abiding, tax-paying, clean-living, moralistic, judgmental, suburban and rural people.

We do nothing to dispel these images; if anything, the American Christians are invisible, living comfortably in an increasingly homogeneous suburban culture, conforming ourselves in every respect to a life-style that demands a certain customary behavior pattern. In turn, we rigidly demand everyone's obedience to that same pattern of behavior. The "dirty hippy" just doesn't fit in, and why should he?

         
 Ted Neeley from the movie "Jesus Christ Superstar"

Among Christians the "counterculture" movement of the 1960's and 70's is widely regarded as actually "anti-Christian" (as in antichrist). Everything it stands for is believed to be ungodly and sinful. People sneeringly deride the "radicalism" and "communism" of the hippy days, and they view the "counterculture" as nothing more than rebellion against God (as if being "counter-culture" was the same thing as being "counter-god"). The term "Dirty Hippy" is able to capture with one simple phrase everything despised in American political and social life: "liberalism", "irresponsibility", "anti-Americanism", "moral lassitude", "socialism", "criminal", "junkie", you name it. If it's bad, it's been said about the "dirty hippy".

Jesus and JudasBut people who know the gospel well should find this ironic in the supreme. So-called followers of Christ sneering at hippies! The fact is, if Jesus was to be judged impartially by the standards of the suburbanized Christians of today's America, He would seem to be a Dirty Hippy!

That's right. If it walks like a duck, and it quacks like a duck, it is a duck. By their fruits you shall know them. Jesus would look like a hippy to most of us. And what you say about a duck you say about a duck.

Jesus' unadulterated gospel has about as much respect as one would expect a Dirty Hippy to get these days, including, if not especially, among Christians. As Jesus himself remarked: "prophets are not without honor except in their own country and in their own house " (Matthew 13:57 cf . Mark 6:4, Luke 4:24).Here at Dirty Hippy's Liberal Christian Home Journal, we can see clearly that the way of Christ is the way of a dirty hippy.

 

           

 

               

  Jesus Christ was a Dirty Hippy
 
A Short Commentary on Jesus' Life and Teachings

         
Live For Today, Be Here Now

Why do Christians despise the hippies? Is it because of their carefree attitudes? Their lack of concern for such practicalities as job, proper attire, "responsibility"? Is it their silly "be here now" spirituality? The "love the one you're with" attitude? Some would say yes.

But consider the teachings of Jesus:

Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. -- Matthew 6:25-26

Jesus taught his disciples by the example of his life. His faith consisted of depending totally on God to provide all needs, food and shelter for the body, grace for the soul. He got by with a little help from his friends. He went into the wilderness, followed by thousands of people, and took no food with him, yet no one went hungry (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-14). When he was hungry, he looked to what was at hand (Mark 2:23), and he didn't worry about social conventions in eating it, like not preparing food on the Sabbath (Mark 2:24) or washing up before eating (Matthew 15:1-2). He would dine with people thought to be sinners, taking no worry about his reputation or resume (Mark 2:15-17). He went where he felt called, when he felt called. He wasn't tied down by daily concerns.

Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What will we eat?' or 'What will we wear?' For it is the nations who strive for all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and its righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; sufficient to the day is the trouble thereof. -- Matthew 6:31-34

When Jesus sat down on the mountain to teach and explain his faith, he taught against the crushing anxiety that gives people cause to compete with one another for the resources of the earth. He taught against the fear for our lives that makes us hate one another. He taught against the striving and the ambition which prevent us from seeing what is truly present here among us already. He taught us to forget about tomorrow, to let today's trouble's alone concern us. The same applies to the moment you live in, every moment. He teaches us to be concerned about our lives NOW, about our relationships NOW. That is the true meaning of his teachings about the kingdom of God and it's righteousness. When we seek it, we find that it is close at hand indeed.

Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming and he answered, The Kingdom of God is not coming things that can be observed; nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There it is!' For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you. -- Luke 17:20-21

Contrary to popular belief, the phrase "kingdom of God" does not refer to the next world. It refers to this world. The kingdom of heaven is not heaven, the abode of God -- it is found wherever God rules. Do not we Christians pray, andaccused live in the hope that "thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven"? The idea is that the kingdom comes about here. And we seek it daily like bread. The kingdom of God, also called the kingdom of heaven, is to be found wherever God reigns among humans here on earth.

The kingdom cannot be stopped by hatred; it is the very condition of repaying hatred with love. The kingdom of God exists, for instance, in Jesus' hanging on the cross, as he prayed for God to forgive the sins of his tormentors. And it meets violence and evil with love and does not resist. The kingdom of God, with its tender, other-worldly ethics, is always challenged by this world. As Jesus said: "From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force" (Matthew 11:12).

Whoever recognizes that the kingdom of God on earth is already present among the meek, among the gentle, among the peacemakers, among those who have no anxieties about clothing, food, money, or the troubles of tomorrow, among those who care for all as brothers and sisters, that one will realize that the "counter-culture" was and is on to something fundamentally godly. The "be here now" hippy knows is that the kingdom of heaven is precisely in all those in-between moments, when the rest of the world is still waiting, looking for something that can be observed.

 

 

Dirty, Unclean, Unwashed, Defiled, Offensive

Then the disciples of John came to him, saying: "why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?" -- Matthew 9:14

Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands before they eat." -- Matthew 15:1-2

When he was speaking, a Pharisee invited him to dine with him; so he went in and took his place at the table. The Pharisee was amazed to see that he did not first wash before dinner. -- Luke 11:37-38

Your garden-variety complaint against hippies is that they are "dirty". People complain that they don't wash, shave, or pay attention to their appearance. However, Jesus certainly wasn't known for his cleanliness. He was criticized for not observing purity laws. He was criticized because his disciples did not observe the common religious fasting for the sake of purity. In the presence of Christ (and remember, wherever two or three are gathered in His name, He is there) there is no need for such fasting and concern for purity. As Jesus said, in response to the shocked Pharisee:

Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not the one who made the outside make the inside also? So give for alms those things that are within; and see, everything will be clean for you. -- Luke 11:39-40

It is the gift of God, present in the giving of thanks, in the sharing of love, in the fellowship of resources shared, that cleanses. Neither washing, nor rituals of purity, nor abstaining from certain foods or drink, nor wearing of special clothing, can bring godliness. People who are so concerned about "looking right", about dressing "properly", about "decorum" and the like, have not understood that God's presence is not known or seen in such things, but that the inward love of the soul makes all things clean for us.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. -- Matthew 23:27-28

Jesus criticizes Pharisees for being overly concerned about cleanliness and "ritual purity", while ignoring the inner defilement of their luxuriant lifestyles and judgmental attitudes. Jesus wasn't against sanctification or "moral" purity. It just was not where he started, when he pointed people to the kingdom. Instead he looked at a people who were skilled at keeping pure, and he compared their insides to what they themselves hated: the impure abominations of the corpses of the dead. Absolutely defiling. He looked at a people skilled at keeping the law and its moral codes, and he said they were filled with lawlessness. This is a new definition of law, folks!

Jesus causes offense by criticizing those who reduce spirituality to ritual purity. This helps lead to his rejection by the leaders of society, who bring about his crucifixion. The "world", defined by the actions of those who guard the status quo, thus rejects "god", defined and represented by the words and deeds and person of Jesus. This happens today as well, every time human beings who believe that their cultural expectations of "holiness" are true religion reject others based on their external differences.

 
You don't have to be the Son of God to know when a girl is putting the moves on you, dude.

   
Tolerance and Other Liberal Virtues

The meaning, for us, of Jesus' refusal to observe purity laws, is that sin is no longer to be regarded as something external, but as an internal condition of the spirit. The Way shows us that ideas of cleanliness and purity create strife, division and ungodly exclusion in our human "world". We expect the "world" to judge according to its conventional categories of culture and ideal expectations. We know that people judge according to their ideologies, which are worldly things; ideologies are all idolatries. But we expect more from Christians. When Christians focus on the external conditions of a person's life: judging a person by their clothing, by the kind of work they do, by their inattention to social niceties, by their conformity or non-conformity to social expectations, when they criticize people for not being "normal", or for being "unnatural", they err in the same way the Pharisees erred. What Christians fail to recognize, all too often, is that the "normal" thing is the "world's" thing, not the way of Christ.

Do not judge, lest you be judged. For, by the judgement you render you will be judged, and, by the standard you use to measure you will be measured. -- Matthew 7:1-2

The issue seems to be that all human beings imagine that the standard they use to judge is divine. Any time people judge, they think they do so with good reason. They elevate their idol to the status of a God, and judge by that standard. This is true regardless of whether a person is religious or not. Now do you want to be judged by a human standard of cultural origin, or by God, whose grace is infinite?

The Pharisees would point to the law, and say, "we only judge based on God's Word." They believed that they had God's word in their scriptures and in their tradition of interpretation of those scriptures. In the case of some modern Christians, they hold up the actual Bible and say, "THIS is God's Word, it does not CONTAIN God's Word, it IS God's Word". And by this, they don't just mean the bible simply, but they bible as they read it and teach that it should be read. Furthermore, they are perfectly willing to judge people based on that standard reading they render. But anyone can see the idolatry inherent in saying a BOOK is God's Word... right in the very same book it says: "in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). God, who is God's Word, a living, free being, loves the "world" and desires to save it by a free gift (John 3:16). God's word did not become a book for us to use to judge other people; by God's grace we have the Spirit which teaches us how to love and thus to teach love.

In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. -- Matthew 7:12

Now from the life of Jesus we learn that God's will is summarized in the Golden rule, God's will is summarized in love of neighbor as one's self, found in and with the total love of God. Jesus taught that this was the message of the "Law" and the "Prophets" of scripture. We know God's will is taught by the story of the good Samaritan, by stories of feeding the hungry and poor, and clothing the needy, and sharing table-fellowship with sinners. We hear God's will in stories of healing the sick, stories of selfless compassion, stories of the sacrifice of our resources, teachings of giving away our wealth. We know how to seek the kingdom and its righteousness, and how to hope for it on earth. It doesn't involve slavish literal interpretation of the scriptures. It involves a loving response to the challenges of life, lived moment by moment.

The burden of Jesus' teaching in this area is that the dirty, unclean, offensive, unwelcome, unacceptable, defiled, sinful person cannot be judged by human standards. Christians may reason with one another about behaviors they view as inappropriate to the body of people who are supposed to bear witness to God's infinite love here among the dirty, unclean, offensive, unwelcome, unacceptable, defiled, sinful human beings. However, we are not to bring judgment. Our witness is to the good news of salvation for all. Liberal Christians would like to claim credit for giving birth to the spirit of tolerance so despised by conservative Americans. As a preacher I know is fond of saying, "we're just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread." The bread of life might help us sanctify ourselves, but no amount of sanctification can ever overcome the defilement of being an intolerant people. The truth of a holy life with God begins with a life lived without judging other people's sins.

 

     
Peace, Love, Justice, Understanding, Man

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." -- Matthew 5:6
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God." -- Matthew 5:9
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." -- Matthew 5:5
"You have heard it that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in Heaven; for he makes the sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." -- Matthew 5:43-45

Today, even some Christians complain that "the no good liberals are always talking about peace and love and understanding". There is a reason why good Christians emphasize love and peace! Jesus taught us these things, above all else, as the center of God's will for us. Nothing else is central. No little command or law takes precedence over it. When we say that we are called to hunger and thirst for righteousness, we aren't talking about wishing that everyone else would stop being immoral. We are talking about a burning thirst for the end of violence and the end of hate. We are talking about the ravaging hunger for the end to war, for the end to the violence of greed, for the end to the violence of nations who hate other nations, to and end of the violence that lets one man defraud another of his very life-blood.

The petty sins of this world are of no concern to someone with this kind of thirst. To the person who hungers and thirsts for righteousness, if one man controls a bad habit, it is only the tiniest mist-like drop of water in the searing desert of injustice that is the mass of humanity's way of dealing with each other and their world. There will always be egos, always be selfishness, always be someone who needs some help with a personal shortcoming. But what we are taught to seek is much greater, more ambitious, more a part of the realm of the dreamers. The foolish idealism of certain Christians is legendary. Glory be to God! We do not abandon hope that we can be filled, by the simple path of love and charity and compassion.

This optimistic, non-judgmental thirst for righteousness is what drives the activists to the streets to stop a war. It is what drives the dirty hippy away from the world (seen for what it is: unjust) and into a "counter-culture". That counter- culture isn't anti-Christian... it is against the human manifestations of evil that have sucked us all complacently into their web. It is against human-culture, not God's ineffable peace. And the fearful, hateful, compassionless, judgmental world is so far from the kingdom, as they bar-b-que behind their fences in their exclusive walled communities, and sit behind T.V. trays in comfortable living rooms, that they look at their T.V. screens and say: 'what is wrong with those protestors and agitators? they are all a bunch of communists'... and then they hope that the police get rid of them. They never once wonder what it might mean to be a peacemaker.

       

     
The 'Glutton' and The 'Drunkard'

For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon'; the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, 'Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' Yet wisdom is vindicated by her deeds. -- Matthew 11:18-19

The Pharisees' concern with the external matters actually prevents them from seeing the truth of the kingdom. They look at Jesus and they see a defiled person, a sinner among sinners, one who, because he eats with people they call gluttons and drunkards, is himself to be called a glutton and a drunkard. They don't look and see the presence of God. This is what Christians see when they see hippies. And if they saw Jesus among the hippies, they would not recognize him. In fact, however Jesus were to come, if he came again, it seems likely that many people who love the Christian "faith" would not recognize him as their God, and would ignore him... many are called. It is our private conceit to believe we would have been one of those followers of Christ in his day. Most of us would not have done so.

When most modern Americans think of a hippy, they think of a druggie. And in today's age, that image marks a person as an enemy in the "war on drugs" (how can you fight a war without enemies?). We want to punish those druggies and their dealers. But we modern Americans aren't the only ones who thought that the rebellious and disobedient free-living flower children ought to be punished. Deuteronomy chapter 21, verses 18 through 21, instructs that parents with a "stubborn and rebellious son" are to bring him before the authorities, denounce him as "a glutton and a drunkard", and "then all the men of the town shall stone him to death." The text goes on to say: "so you shall purge the evil from your midst; and all Israel will hear, and be afraid." Ancient Israelite Law, at one point, prescribed death for addiction. And ancient near eastern wisdom had taught that the "glutton and drunkard" would come to poverty and rags (Proverbs 19-21)!

But this is of course precisely the way Jesus appeared, himself a veiled fulfillment of the prophecy found in the wisdom literature and the law. He did not teach his disciples to avoid this reputation. He embraced it, and it got him killed. It has helped him (and some of his followers, down through the years) win persecution.

The dirty hippies are hated in part because of the association they have with the use of intoxicants. The hippy, in so far as he or she is associated with such things, is therefore a despised and pitied character.

Now the Christians of America have a long history of condemning the use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs (it was Christian activists behind alcohol prohibition in the twenties and thirties). And yet Christians do not tend to oppose these things in a "counter-cultural" way, but by actively politically supporting things like the "war on drugs". Today's Christians, because of their bias against drug use, are not averse to making use of all the powers of the state to try and control and combat drugs and the people who make and take them. But you don't have to be a Christian to support the drug war. Most people seem to be willing to criminalize, imprison, even execute those people who supply and/or use illegal drugs.

What Christians fail to realize is that, however justified our principled criticism of drug ABUSE, Jesus also had this reputation of being a "glutton and a drunkard". When we condemn others for USE of drugs and alcohol, and condemn people for enjoyment of food, sex, and other so-called "worldly pleasures", we join in with the crowds who crucified Jesus in chanting "crucify him!"

Jesus and His followers freely drank wine at celebrations like the wedding of Cana, passover, and in other appropriate places of celebration. He and His disciples had a reputation for not following the ritual calender of fasting and abstaining from food and drink which was practiced by other religious orders like the Pharisees and John's Baptists, see: (Mark 2:18-20), (Matthew 9:14-17), and (Luke 5:33-39), as well as other passages. This fact disturbed many people in their time.

We need to acknowledge that not all USE is ABUSE. We need to acknowledge the role of eating and drinking, in a celebratory manner, in the ministry of Jesus. We need to see that, while abuse is always a concern, there is nothing inherently evil in the sharing of fellowship, the enjoyment of food in community, the sharing of intoxicants among friends. Christians traditionally have hated the "hippy lifestyle", the care-free, celebratory, "partying" that they engage in, without cause or reason. It is just another example of how being caught up in worldly ideas of propriety close us off to joy and bring about our participation in tyranny, oppression, and the evil of authoritarianism.

There may in fact be a time and a place for moderate, celebratory consumption of food and drink and even so-called "drugs". We should be careful to condemn those who feel the need to USE these things, and not assume, with the crowd, that the appearance of eating and drinking makes someone a "glutton and a drunkard" worthy of death. Jesus taught us that, if we fast, if we abstain, we do so for the sake of our own souls, and he wanted us to be sure we did not do so simply for the reputation of being "holy". Do not let your fasting be seen by others. If we have a wisdom about the importance of abstinence for our spiritual lives, we should share it modestly, temperately, and lovingly, without making it a hard and fast "doctrine" by which we condemn others, or sentence them to jail terms, or God forbid, to death.



The Hippy is Homeless and Poor

The wandering, rootless, care-free hippy is one of the most feared characters in the American psyche. This is because that person, unlike the normal down on luck homeless person, has CHOSEN their lifestyle. There is no greater contrast to the nuclear family and the picket-fence ideal of the American dream than the voluntary vagabond longhair hippy. In some ways, the Christian reaction to homelessness is exemplary: we start soup kitchens, shelters, job-training services, and so on. But we hope to help the homeless person make it in a society the hippy tramp has left willingly, and mostly we envision them living out a piece of our "American Dream". In contrast, Jesus addressed the issues of economic and social justice and homelessness by himself renouncing all money, property, and household. He took to the streets, and lived, like a dirty hippy, DELIBERATELY as a homeless person.

A scribe then approached and said, 'Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.' And Jesus said to him: Foxes have holes, and birds of their air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." -- Matthew 8:19-20

As the scriptures tell the story, after his baptismal experience, Jesus gave up traditional family life, and he never again settled down in any one place. He travelled from town to town, accepting the hospitality of householders, but his advice to them was always the same:

Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is there your heart will be also. -- Luke 18:32-34

You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me. -- Mark 10:21

Great crowds did follow him! Jesus led them away from their settled lives as house-holders. The gospel of Mark, chapter 3, tells the story of how, when Jesus came back home to Nazareth once he had his little "conversion" experience in the desert, he was followed by a great, aimless, poverty-stricken crowd, his family thought he was crazy, or possessed. In today's day and age he would be thought of as a kook or even, as a drugged out hippie. Wouldn't you think that of your son, who suddenly dropped out of college, gave up his career plans to wander the hills preaching peace followed by a bunch of people with nothing to eat and no business being there?

This aspect of Jesus' Way is usually ignored or interpreted away in contemporary Christianity. We know that, if we acted like Jesus told people to act in his time, we would not be able to stay in our homes, jobs or apartments for long! We would lose everything, and the world would make examples of us. That is, however, precisely the point. That's what Jesus advocated for his followers. Try to go to your nearest church, and explain this idea to the board of trustees. Try to live it yourself! I tell you, you can't even begin to imagine it! I know I can't really do it. Yet this is Christ's teaching! And we have the gall to despise a poor aimless hippy!

Do not judge a poor dirty hippy, who has found a way to live day to day, trusting in providence to provide, living on a hope and a prayer, on a miracle and a ride. That person's faith may be more real than your own. We Christians act impertinently audacious when we dare to imagine that our clean-living suburban life style is superior to the very life style advocated by Christ.

 

The Hippy has Tuned In, Turned On, and Dropped Out

Then I heard another voice from heaven saying
Come out of her, my people,
so that you do not take part in her sins, and so that you do not share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. -- Revelation 18:4-5

The Christian knows, following Jesus, following Paul, following the visionary who wrote Revelation, the world to be fundamentally at odds with the "kingdom of God". Under the sign of "Babylon", the city of humanity is indicted for prizing wealth above humanity, for prizing power with no thought to the cost of blood, for prizing her divisions and idolatries above the truth of God's kingdom of peace. The "world" is that term which Christians use to refer to the dynamics of worldly power, control, strife, violence, and the economics of human idolatry. Shortly later in this prophetic vision, 'John' sees the merchants of the world weeping at the sight of the city of splendid wealth and opportunity vanish in flames.

From what has already been said about Jesus' way, it is clear that the radical way of Christ is incompatible with the usual commitments and compromises which humans make with the human world. But we have difficulty following Jesus. Therefore Christians have always dealt with the having an ethic of "being in the world, but not of the world" (cf. John 17:16-18, 2 Corinthians 10:3, Colossians 2:20, 1 John 2:16, etc.) And yet, taken at face value, what Jesus' life and demands upon us signal is that we must try to live 'out' of the world.

Consequently, there is nothing more ironic than the fact that members of this holier-than-thou brand of Christian religion view the "drop-out" lifestyle and mentality of the dirty hippy with scorn. By trying to live an alternative lifestyle, to mold and maintain a "counter-culture", the "dirty hippy" attempts to do nothing more than to follow that Way to which the Christian is also called. To live within the world, but not in conformity with the world. The dirty hippy is just trying to flee Babylon.

If the architects of our culture and the powers-that-be had their way, every American would eat at the same chain restaurants, wear the same, mass produced clothing, and consume the same mass-produced art. The materialistic, plastic, disposable culture of the suburban sprawl, the homogeneous, monopolistic and bland culture of consumerism would shape every thought and reduce America, or even our entire world, to one uniform, predictable morass. We would fund the lives of a few fabulously wealthy people, while all the rest of us hope that every worker chasing the dream of a secure retirement will succeed.

 

 
You Can Draw Your Own Conclusions

The average "hippy" already has everything in place to be a good Christian. All that remains is for the "hippies" to meet Him, to have faith, to love God, and to love other human beings as themselves. Despised as he or she is, the "dirty hippy" is closer to the Kingdom of God than his or her critics.

The case has been made. Jesus WAS a dirty hippy. Yet although this is true, most Christians will probably find ways of justifying to themselves their own rejection of Christ's teachings about wealth, clothing, housing, food and drink, love and trust in God. Christians will simply invent new standards, or hold to traditional standards of behavior which suit "church" life and "suburban" or "civilized" life much better than the "care-free" (anxiety-free... the key to Christ's teachings about ethics) life of the hippy.

 

 

The Hippy and the Local Church

One fellow Christian web-master shared the following "funny story" with us which illustrates this situation very well:

It seems there was a hippy who had a personal revelation of Jesus Christ, believed and got saved. After reading his bible, it became clear to him that he needed to fellowship with other believers and join a local church. The hippy chose the local independent, fundamentalist Baptist church. Upon arriving on Sunday, he was met at the door by a deacon who informed him, "You can't come in here looking like that." The young man replied, "But sir, I'm a new Christian and I want to come in and worship my God." The deacon sternly told him, "Well son, go cut your hair and come back next Sunday looking respectable."

The hippy left, rather disappointed, but determined to do whatever it took to get to worship his God. And on Monday morning, he got a haircut. The next
Sunday arrived and again the hippy was met at the door by the old deacon who said, "You can't come in here looking like that." The young man replied, "But sir, I'm a new Christian and I have come to worship my God." The deacon sternly told him, "Well son, shave that beard, loose those bell bottoms and the love beads and come back next Sunday looking respectable." The hippy left, rather disappointed, but determined to do whatever it took to get to worship his God. On Monday, he went out and bought a new suit and a new razor and he shaved his beard.

The following Sunday arrived and again the hippy was met at the door by the old deacon who said, "You can't come in here without a bible." The young man replied, "But sir, I'm a new Christian and I want to come in and worship my God." The deacon sternly told him, "Well son, you ought to know that you can't come to church without a King James bible."

The hippy left, rather disappointed, but determined to do whatever it took to get to worship his God. On Monday, he went out and bought a brand new twelve pound, King James bible like he had seen the other church people with. Sunday finally arrived and the hippy was convinced that he would finally be allowed into the church to worship his God. Again he was met at the door by the old deacon who said, "You can't come in here." The young man replied, "But sir, I'm a new Christian and I want to come in and worship my God. I've done everything you've asked. I cut my hair, shaved my beard, bought a suit like yours and a bible like yours." And then the deacon said, "Son, don't you understand? We just don't want your type in here."

In tears of anger and frustration, the hippy left and began to call out to God, "Father, I've followed your word and sought out other believers to fellowship with and I've done everything they've asked and still they won't let me in. What have I done wrong?" Suddenly, a light shined down from the sky and a voice from heaven saying, "Don't worry my son - you have done nothing wrong. I've been trying to get in there since they built the place and they won't let me in there either."

-- heard on a tape from Quail Ridge Bible Church in Baton Rouge - Pastor Frank Friedman.

This story is pretty damn sad. But it holds more than a few kernels of truth. We do not know how Christians have ever come into this ironic situation, where they forgotten the fundamentals of their own religion. And yet many socially "conservative" Christians will call themselves fundamentalists! It seems that we do not know what it would mean really to be fundamentalists! We Christians have exchanged the pure, unadulterated gospel and teachings of Christ for a message based on safety, fear and exclusion. Safety for ourselves. Fear of difference. And exclusion of "outsiders". So-called fundamentalists make sexuality, "moral" behavior, and the impending judgment of the so-called sinners (the dirty hippies) the center of their gospel message... but never preach grace for the sinner, the radical path of discipleship in its challenge to worldly forms of life, or the Jesus Christ who lived and died a radical existence two thousand years ago. Here are people who boast that they take the bible to be "inerrant", and yet do not follow its teachings on the most basic doctrines of discipleship (Luke 6:46). We are all EXACTLY like the Pharisees of Jesus' day, we are neo-pharisees. Jesus said of us:

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against human beings; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in.-- Matthew 23:13


 

Following the Way

A minority of Americans still live the "hippy" lifestyle, shunning working in the corporate world, shunning the wasteful, disposable, plastic, materialistic, polluting lifestyle of our increasingly "sub-urban" America. Such "liberals" live among us all over the place, and "normal" Americans fear them, pity them, and treat these "dirty hippies" like second class citizens. The "pot-smoking liberal" is a fairly common and clichéd phrase in American social language, dating from the sixties and the counter-culture, but applied today all the time, by regular, hard-working, suspicious and judgmental Christian people. But we have demonstrated that the so-called "dirty hippy" is actually closer to the Kingdom of God than is the clean living American ... Christian or not.

If one could compared a "hippy" Christian to the "suburbanite" Christian, one finds that the latter looks more like a kind of neo-pharisee, while the former resembles Christ. The suburbanite more or less embraces the human world as it is without questioning its forms, its authority, or its social behaviors. The hippy questions, resists, and embraces a way of life that is ready at hand, that is opposed to the world's evil, but that opposes war with peace now. If necessary, the "radical" will take the cross upon itself and die rather than oppose war with war. That is the Way. That's the true meaning and spirit of the "counter-culture" and of Christ. A war not fought with the weapons of this world, but with a sacred heart.

The basis of Christian ethics is to imitate Christ, who is the pattern of God's perfect way for us (1 Corinthians 11:1, cf. Matthew 5:48). Therefore, we must take the resemblances between the "hippy way" and "the WAY" seriously. In our local churches, and in our homes and families, we need more of the freedom of the hippy way. We need more tolerant, laid-back, anxiety-free, counter-cultural lives. We need more radicalism, more activism, and more opposition to the ways of the world: war, violence, imprisonment, control, dominance, power, money, "business", "law", etc. We need to be more giving, more hospitable, more "wacko" in our dedication to the faith. Otherwise we look nothing like Christ and we understand nothing of his real demands on our lives. Of course, of course, we have to "render unto caesar" -- but we also have to "render unto God". Like Paul said, we are supposed to give ourselves as a "living sacrifice".

Christian, you want an enemy to fight? How about Mammon!! Stop worrying about the economy... and your daily bread. Tomorrow will worry for itself. That's God's economics. Yes, yes, being a good steward of your money is fine. But being a good steward of your love is more important. Jesus taught us to spill out our love. He showed how to stand up and sacrifice "life" in order to save it. That is the investment that yields a hundred fold that the parable speaks of. Instead of worrying that the lesbians are in florida and the teens are smoking pot, we should perhaps be concerned that we haven't rebelled against the culture of consumption, against the huge, government subsidized international conglomerates which are trying to control our destinies, against the crushing spirit of conformity which grips the world and squeezes us for "market share".

The spiritual emptiness of the suburbs, and the accompanying social problems that go along with it, aren't caused by marijuana, teen sex, underage smoking, family values or welfare. The problems are caused by the widespread behavior patterns dominant in our culture among believer and non-believer alike. We have placed material comfort, success, and the safe above every other value. In our emptiness, we focus on "sins" because they are actually viewed as impediments to "success" as the WORLD has defined it. People flee the homogeneous, brain-dead, T.V. hypnotized, culturally flat, inhibited, loveless, dysfunctional, economically unjust, racist, violent world around them and fly into things like drugs and sex and so on. This is normal rebellion. And these things probably don't work very well, or for long. But for the world to struggle against such sins is very much like a disease trying to fight its own symptoms -- it only makes them worse.

Luckily, there is plenty of hope! Human beings are very creative. They can make unique ways for themselves. They possess the GOD-GIVEN creativity of spiritual beings. We can always find alternatives to the vacuity of the mass-produced commodity which passes for culture in our nation. Divine creativity can and does and always will challenge the human "world" which we have created. Thus, we see God at work in those people who volunteer, who forsake everything and stand up for justice and for one another, who share community life, who celebrate, who seek the meaning of life in the creation of Art, who make music together, who know the beauty of nature, who commune with the divine heart of all things. These people keep hope alive for all of us. We should celebrate all people in their uniqueness, and to the extent that they have successfully managed to escape the "world" and to bring the "kingdom" back into it through the spirit welcome the coming of the kingdom among us all.

We should look to the back-to-the-land, slow-me-down-lord values of the original dirty hippy himself, Jesus. That Way is freedom. We should stand up for this freedom politically. Stop voting for politicians who live for the corporate hand-out, who maintain the national security state, who feed the military industrial complex with your tax money, who want to arrest your neighbors for smoking weed, who would rather be invited to a rich man's fundraising gala than themselves go teach in a poor school. Let's get out and vote instead for people who respect true and complete freedom for all people regardless of "lifestyle". Let's get out and vote with all our bodies and souls and minds and strengths, loving God and neighbor as our selves.

Can you do it? Can I? I don't know. Maybe with God's help. For Christ answered Peter who skeptically wondered if any person could do without wealth or the ways of the world with the cryptic phrase: "with humankind this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." God is merciful to those who are merciful.

Taken from the dirty hippy liberal christian home journal. 

 

 

 What Is Sin?

by Rev. Matthew Baldwin

Nobody Believes In SIN Anymore. Most people are familiar with the word "sin", but in this age, very few people have any use for the term. It's not that modern, secularized Americans are uncomfortable with the idea. They by and large just don't believe in it. And while almost everybody agrees that certain things people do are not good, not nice, or just plain wrong or bad, very few people understand what it adds to talk about these things as sins. It is just not a very fashionable idea anymore, even among mainline and liberal Christians.

Sin, after all, is a theological concept, and it makes little sense in a society which no longer understands human behavior in relationship to an idea of God. Human behavior, our secular society believes, is best explained and regulated by psychology and psychiatry, criminology, market-studies, history, and polling data, by brain chemistry, genetics, environmental factors and animal nature, by social influences and structures. In other words, whatever idea of good and bad we have is usually related to one of these areas of knowledge. People assume "sin" is incompatible, as an idea, with these ways of understanding human behavior, that it doesn't take into account the subtleties of real life.

Modern people refuse to talk about "sin" when they are serious about dealing with human problems. But this is a result of a misunderstanding of the term. And this misunderstanding has been perpetuated by the prevalence of a simple idea of sin which is believed by the majority of conservative Christians. This idea of "sin" is that it is a "thing" (an "action") which is a part of a list of "things" which God wants to prohibit human beings from doing. So people believe that the Christian faith teaches that God has defined a certain number of particular actions as off limits. People think that true Christians must believe certain things to be sins, and that God has promised to punish human beings who "do" these "things" .Since modern people accept as accurate this misrepresentation of sin which has been offered by the conservative Christians, they are unable to find any use for the term. Their consciences and their experience and their reason tell them that there is no such list of things which God (if there is a God) has disapproved of. Their understanding of the "bad" is much more nuanced and useful than the common Christian idea. The trouble is, when people accept this popular idea of what "sin" is, whether they want to believe in its truth and value or not, they end up being wrong about sin for the same reasons that people were wrong about sin in the time of Jesus. So both modern liberal secular people and conservative Christians, who both believe that Christianity teaches only certain things about sin, are both mistaken.

Conservative Christians today still believe in that traditional list of "sins" which has occupied the "evangelical" message of American protestantism for around 180 years. The list goes something like this: No drinking. No dancing. No smoking. No swearing. No chewing. No playing cards. No skipping church. No heavy petting. No sex before marriage. No living together before marriage. Of course, the list goes on and on, including a hodge-podge of rules old and familiar and new ones formulated to deal with modern inventions (like photography and movies and musical instruments and pharmacology). 

So, for instance, a modern tract from the conservative branch of Christianity encourages kids to avoid going to hell by praising them for refusing to accept a cigarette offered by a "bad seed", even though the bible never addresses the issue of smoking anything.

Nobody should be blamed if they don't believe these things on the classic list are "sins". People shouldn't be blamed for not believing that these things are sins, because they aren't!

 


Jesus teaches something quite different about sin.
 

He dealt with a similar situation in his day, when he addressed the morality of the Pharisees. In Jesus' time, people thought that to "do" certain "things" was "sin". They spoke of a person who had sinned as "defiled" -- in the same way we speak of certain things as being "dirty" today. The gospel of Matthew tells a story where Jesus is caught eating a meal with the Pharisees, who were people overly concerned with religious purity, but eating that meal with unwashed hands, which was an offense to the purity of the Pharisees' table. It defiled Jesus and everyone at the table. When he was challenged about it, Jesus replied: "hear and understand: not what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man." (Matthew 15:10 and following)

We can easily perceive the truth of what Jesus says. It is not the wine, nor is it the drinking of the wine, that is a "sin". Those are just things. They are potentially neutral actions. But if a drinker, after getting drunk, beats his or her spouse, or values drinking so much more than family, friends or job that he or she loses these things, then the drinker is making a mistake, using bad judgment, and needs to get "straight".

 In religious language, that person "sins"... he or she has become separated from God precisely because of the separation which has taken place in his or her relationships with others (Galatians 5:13). Drinking alcohol doesn't necessarily lead to "sin", that is, to human problems. What matters is what happens as a result of what you do, to yourself and the people who share your life. Obviously, the same is true of dancing, playing dice, using drugs, looking at pornography, having sex, and every other kind of behavior which "Christians" usually call sinful.

Things that the Pharisees thought were "sins" were in fact outside of the body and could not defile the soul: dirty hands, pork, shellfish, dead bodies, etc. With one saying, Jesus changes the whole focus of the traditional idea of sin, as it was defined by the Jewish Law. Instead, Jesus points out (Matthew 15:18-20) that "what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a man." Now clearly, Jesus is speaking in a metaphor. For Jesus gives a number of examples of what he means by "what comes out of the mouth", and few of them are things that actually come out of people's mouths.

To claim, as some conservatives have, that in this passage Jesus is only interested in talking about "sins" of a culinary and dietary nature -- as if this passage only deals with the issue of whether Christians should keep Kosher -- is simply wrong. When he speaks about that which "goes into the mouth" he is speaking on both a literal and metaphorical level. Not only is he talking about unwashed hands and the rules of keeping Kosher, but he is talking about all socially, legally defined "sins" that are merely associated with some more or less feared or dangerous substance or behavior. He is talking about every rule in the law which discusses "abominations": behaviors which were once thought to make God disgusted. Instead, Jesus teaches us that God only looks at the heart and what "proceeds" from it through the "mouth"; God is not concerned about the abominations of contact with defiling things, but with the abomination of our inner lives being filled with hate and selfishness and illusions.

God only cares about the state of our "hearts". Though Jesus seems to go on in this passage to offer a "list" of "things" that are "sins", actually he is only offering some examples of what happens when we are "defiled" in our "hearts", when we have evil intentions. In his list, the "sin" has already taken place in the heart, before the action, and the "sin" leads to the action. When we act, we act out of our heart and our intentions. If our heart is "defiled", then acting on our hearts in that case just gets us deeper into the same trouble we're already in. If we really look at the list he makes we notice something: each of these "sins" involves hurting other people, it involves being in a bad relationship to other humans; each of these "sins" is something that happens when we proceed from something other than love in our hearts.

  1. Evil Thoughts: This should really be translated as "evil plans" or "devisings". This first item on the list is the beginning of all the others. It is when the mind becomes occupied with itself first, second, third and fourth, and not at all with the neighbor and God. The mind is a tool which underlies all of our action. When we "put our mind to" something, we can do it; and when we want something evil to happen, we may think of a way. It is when we act on it that it comes "out of the mouth".

  2. Murder: the "second" human sin, the sin of Cain, breaks the fundamental rule of human life, the logic of the golden rule. It breaks the great unspoken understanding among people that we are to allow (if not actually to help) each other to live. It values the self infinitely more than the other, and cares not at all what other people feel, need, deserve. Again, it comes "out" of us... into our relationships.

  3. Adultery: when you hurt your life-partner by breaking your promise, by trying to hide it, and by placing a hidden relationship into the space between you, you cause pain and suffering, some might say some of the worst that there is. Obviously, the problem with this "sin" is that it is a transgression against trust, understanding and love.

  4. Fornication: most people think this simply means "sex before marriage" or "outside marriage". They are really quite wrong. "Fornication" is really is a catch-all term in the New Testament referring to two things: sexual immorality and idolatry of false "gods". Put in modern day context, we could and should understand it as referring to everything from, on the one hand, sexual addiction to sexual harassment and rape, to worship of money, power, and influence on the other. The term covers all unwanted, violent, unhealthy or unloving sexuality, as well as obsessions which bring about misery because they are founded in greed and desire to gain power and influence with the "gods" of our age. There can most certainly be innocent sexuality outside of marriage. The bible does not value virginity simply for its own sake. Virgins are not necessarily morally pure or even free from "fornication".

  5. Theft, usually stems from greed and fear, and violates the common trust of people. But even when we think theft is "justified" by need of people, it hurts others by tempting them into hatred of the thief!

  6. False witness, an attempt to hurt another person by telling lies about them before the authorities.

  7. Slander, an attempt to hurt another person by dragging their name in the mud, by engaging in gossip and backstabbing.

Sin is about relationships. Despite the appearance that this is a definitive list, we see that all of these "actions" are mentioned in order to illustrate what happens when the heart is sinful, and they all come "out" of the "mouth", in the sense that they cause pain and harm in our relationships with other human beings.

There is no final list of sins. This is the only place in the New Testament where Jesus offers a "list" of "sins". His usual practice was to cut straight to the heart of the matter. Someone once asked Jesus what were the most important commandments of God. Perhaps this man expecting a list, like the Ten Commandments, which would tell him how to avoid the wrath of God. Instead, Jesus simply said, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40).

Jesus teaches us that LOVE is the solution to human problems. The radical effect of this teaching cannot be underestimated. Jesus taught that EVERYTHING in scriptures, written in all the prophets and all the law, everything EVER written about what God demanded of human beings, came down to two simple principles of behavior, focused on one word: LOVE. The human being lives life in sin when the human being does not love; put another way: anything not done out of love ultimately is sin. The point of every true, divinely inspired scripture which had ever been written could be reduced to one teaching: all you need is love.

Seen in this way, SIN is far from an irrelevant concept. There is an overwhelming need for love in this world. But people are not sure how to love God. People are not even sure if there is a God. To help us on the way, Christianity gives us an insight: love of neighbor is "like" the love of God! When we love one another, when we give life, and follow Jesus' radical way, we show forth the Love of God, and we in fact act out of Love for God. Love of God is love of God's creation. God's requirements of us are simple, and have been made known to us in the deepest parts of our conscience. Sin is a most reasonable idea, when we consider that its opposite is Love. And God's requirements of us are simple. (Micah 6:8)

Jesus calls us to a better way of understanding "sin" than the popular way. There is no final list of "sins" that will be valid for every person. There is only one requirement and one standard used by God to judge human behavior: is it done out of love? God asks whether what we do is done out of love.

The judgment of God is present in our actions. When we share love, we will be loved. When things are not done out of love, they cause things other than love to return to us. For when we sow hatred and indifference, we reap discord, strife, violence and hatred in kind. When we act out of the evil in our hearts, we create evil in the world which affects people. We live in families, communities and a world torn apart by lack of true love. And we make it worse, both by pretending that there is no sin, and that sin is only a list of things one shouldn't do. Increasingly, conservative Christians have adopted a concept of sin which lets them off the hook, which ignores the collective, cumulative aspect of sin. At the same time, the secular "experts" have adopted a futile language for talking about human problems which hides our individual responsibility for our own and other people's suffering. 

But the understanding of sin which TRUE Christianity teaches shows that SIN and the suffering caused by SIN always remains a potential and even inevitable problem for human beings for which we all always bear responsibility. For in our freedom, we rarely choose to act out of pure, all-encompassing divine love. Instead, we recite lists, and proclaim rules, in an effort to justify ourselves by saying: "I don't do these things, so I am not a sinner; but you are!" That's not love! None of our lists of "sins" are complete, none are definitive, none perfect, none absolute. The only thing absolute is that God requires our love of one another, manifested in justice, mercy, and kindness. Since we are always failing at this, we rely on the infinite mercy of God, the divine example of how we are to treat one another. That is how Jesus intends us to be saved from SIN, by following the divine example of mercy, and sacrificing our selves and our claims to holiness and purity upon the Cross.

 

      

       All Pictures Were Added To This Page By GLF

 

   Go to our "Historical Jesus" Page

 


 

WHEN I WAS WITH YOU I TOLD YOU THESE THINGS -
BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL
FOR THEY SHALL OBTAIN MERCY...

Posted By: Gnostic
Reposted From:
Rumor Mill News Website
Saturday, 1-Jan-2011
...Dearly Beloved,
When I was with you I told you these things!
Blessed are the Merciful for they Shall obtain mercy!
I desired to send this message into a very confused and upside down world
to reiterate my earlier message. I feel balance is needed to begin to understand
the mysteries of life and death. My friends, please understand, I did not come
to have failure, thus there will be none. I came to reveal what has happened to you
and how to free yourselves and be an example to others, all of you,
not just some, but it appears those that masquerade as supposedly
being my guardians and teachers on my behalf, have decided to bring a new
message, one I would never attach my acceptance thereto.
So please if you have not understood my message try now to understand
the revelation of salvation, it is simple, easy and there are no complications.
The only discomfort anyone will have are those who for whatever reason
resist the truth and continue to err in their perception. Continue

Six Simple Words
By Mark Glenn

......
They seem so harmless,
so non-menacing, and yet
they are the root of so much
of the present evil that
mankind is facing today.
Just six simple words that
carry the weight of the world
upon them, six simple words
that act as the engine for so
much turmoil and unrest...

In Search of the Historical Jesus
and His Gnostic Message.

The Gospel of Thomas, 
The entire Coptic and Greek translations

Six Simple Words
By Mark Glenn

......
They seem so harmless,
so non-menacing, and yet
they are the root of so much
of the present evil that
mankind is facing today.
Just six simple words that
carry the weight of the world
upon them, six simple words
that act as the engine for so
much turmoil and unrest...

REAL FAITH
Not the fake stuff they dispense
in churches, mosques and synagogues
By John Kaminsk
i

 

 

 

www.chrestos.com

www.marcion.info

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revised: July 18, 2010 .   Communication:   discoverer73(at symbol)hotmail.com     Go to Home Page     Go to Index of All Articles Pages       
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