Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve

The house is stuffed full. Of food and wrapped pieces of injection molded plastic, of Barbies and sausage rolls. While I find the burdens of middle class Christmas celebrations ethically suspect and more so every year (more and more stuff can't be the answer to love) I am grateful for the joy I feel when my daughter wonders at every ornament and sometime even dances with happiness. And I draw strength from the ancient assured pronouncements in the carols that this baby is going to make everything all right. That if anything is sacred in this world, it is this baby. Well, more accurately, if anything is sacred in this world it is the veneration of goodness we give to this baby, and the hope for a new world he brings.

We get our cues from the angels, the three kings, the glorious scripture: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

Let me stop Isaiah right there. It's the government part, it's the prince of peace part. Because I am ever mindful that even as we open the good Chablis tomorrow the wind is howling at our doors. The world is in decline, hijacked by a few, a government hijacked by money so that what is truly best for the people is ignored. The poor get poorer, the banks stay rich, the police state closes in, the infrastructure crumbles, conflicts fester all over the world and war profiteers grow ever more wealthy. Billions of our species have no access to education, a billion don't even have clean water. Suffering is everywhere.  But since we work harder and harder for less and less, and since this has been the case for many long years, our will to rise up and put the government on the shoulders of someone who more or less was willing to be prince of peace is not there. Hell, we don't have time to sign internet petitions or show up at a single protest, let alone foment a revolution. 

Everyone just projects their own shit onto Jesus but I am not the only one who really grooves on the revolutionary. On the game changer. I groove on it and what's more, I am freed of all specifics as an ex-Christian, I'm looking for anyone who is willing to lead people to justice. I personally would really like a prince of peace. If you think you might fit this description (gender is not relevant), send me an email. 

I am working on a play biopic of Bill Clinton and the more I learn the more I am humbled and amazed. Don't worry, the play will not be hagiography. But I bring it up because the guy has the right attitude. He has that prince of peace attitude.  He thinks he can change things for the better, and he does. Kosovo, Ireland, the United States, Israel, Palestine, Malawi. If component parts of that personality include a certain lust for life and an unshakeable self-regard, then so be it.  The world could use a lot more Bill Clintons. 

When you look for the people of our lifetime in the running for Jesus-like stature, you always come across some serious personality flaws: Elvis. And you also come across some seriously subversive behavior toward the State: Martin Luther King, Mandela.  (Mandela believed in violent insurrection against the state and was tried for treason) (Want to be as good as Mandela?) (Plenty of opportunities these days)

Mariella Frostrup wrote many years ago about the environmental movement. She said she was longing for a green Jesus. Someone to show her the way about what was right. Everything from getting on an aircraft to using cloth napkins. I agreed. And what's more, now I wish for a regular Jesus too who could save the earth but also bring peace and equality. I don't expect him or her to be anywhere near a church. But I am keeping my eyes open. Because I'm with ee cummings and I think miracles are yet to come.  I think we need them. And I think if we look for them, if we try to attract them, we might find one, and it might be ourselves. 

I realize most Christians find my writing blasphemous so sorry but for me the messiah is hope, it's a feeling of hope, and I don't care if it comes from Santa or Superman or Scrooge after he wakes up, or Bill Murray when he talks about getting greedy for that good feeling in Scrooged, or the reformed Grinch, or George Bailey. I don't care. I don't care if  it's Rudolph or Frosty. It's that veneration of goodness that leads to hope.  It's that new idea for Christians that love wins. 

It's my faith that this hope and this love will materialize in the world, that miracles are yet to come.  The justice is possible. Perhaps futile. Perhaps the glass of wine in a warm house and plenty of plastic for the children is the best I can do. But perhaps not. Perhaps not. And you too, perhaps not. You too. 



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