Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

I'm having one of those weeks where I'm "thinking heretical thoughts". I get those once in a while. Many of these thoughts I've harbored since childhood, only expanded on them a little as my mind expanded.

We're always told that Jesus was "fully human and fully divine." (We've been "officially" saying that since the adoption of a doctrinal statement created at the Council Chalcedon in 491 C.E., anyway.) Fully human. Fully divine. That is just a really hard concept to wrap one's mind around. Allow me to expound on my heresy:

If we totally bought, hook, line and sinker, the concept of a "sinless Christ" (which seems to be the party line in more fundamental denominations)...Wouldn’t anyone have noticed that Jesus, while growing up, was one weird little kid?

I mean, if you follow the notion of Christ’s deity and sinlessness literally, here’s this kid, who’s God made flesh...who never does anything wrong. Never gets sick. Never beats the crap out of his brother. Never taunts little girls with frogs or snakes. Never got his buns warmed by his parents. Never had a temper tantrum.

That notion creates in my mind this extremely un-endearing, disgustingly perfect little kid that, had I been one of Jesus’ playmates as a child, would have schemed up some way to get his little goody-goody behind in trouble. (Now THERE's another concept to wrap one's mind around--I have to live with the notion that I am flawed to the point I would, as a child, like to have left Jesus "holding the bag" on some scheme to get him in trouble. If there's a great white throne of judgement, I'll certainly be squirming while answering that one.)

Wouldn’t the other kids in town have ragged on Jesus for being such a goody-two-shoes?

Wouldn’t Mary and Joseph had ever thought, “Wait a minute...what’s wrong with this kid????” (Sure, they know the score about who He was, but they would have HAD to have some wild dinner conversations....)

"Joseph, doesn't it ever bother you that Jesus never does anything wrong?"

"Well, yeah, but I've never reared the Son of God before, Mary...what do you want ME to do about it. Besides, really, he's more YOUR kid than mine."

How could a kid like that NOT have attracted attention in town?

"What's up with that Jesus kid anyway? He never steals fruit off my fruit stand like the other kids."

"Yeah, and who does he think he is anyway, talking about 'his father in Heaven' all the time. Everyone knows he's the carpenter's kid."

"Well, maybe he's not REALLY the carpenter's kid. I heard she was already knocked up by someone else--I heard some Roman soldier got to her--and Joseph just didn't want to make a big deal about it. That Joseph is a bigger man than I am, if he could do that."

But then I find I have to reconcile myself to the notion that the human form of Jesus had to have SOME kind of human frailties somehow. I say that b/c of the temple story. Let’s look at what happened:

He took off away from his parents for 5 days. Obviously, his parents would not consider that being “led by the spirit.”

If I had told my dad, “Don’t you know I’m in my Father’s house” after they found me, he wouldn’t have gone, “Oh. Ok.” It would have been more like, “We’ve been looking all over Hell’s Half Acre for you for 3 days, don’t you DARE give me any lip! Whaddy’a mean ‘my father’s house’? I’M your father, you ungrateful little turd!” and would have dragged my sorry smart-mouthed butt out of the temple and whipped it raw.

My mom certainly would not have “treasured” that incident, either. “Look, I know you’re smart, but don’t you be going all prima donna precocious on me here. I didn’t raise you that way. I’m not going to listen to all the mothers in town rag me for you being a precocious, spoiled brat. You need to learn a little more humility. Don’t you ever take off on us like that again, or I’m telling you, there’ll be hell to pay.”

So, really, he did something wrong here. He took off from his parents without their permission and gave them what would have appeared to be a rebellious, smart-alecky answer when they find him after 3 days. So Jesus the human HAD to have some human failings. He may well have been a perfect soul, but he HAD to be an imperfect human or at least had committed some acts that people around him would have deemed “wrong.”

I think where the mental disconnect takes place when one thinks about this problem is we undervalue Christ's humanity and at the same time, undervalue our divinity. We tend to virtually ignore the possibility that Jesus was truly "one of us"--fully human. To be fully human means you make mistakes, or at the very least, commit acts that others perceive as "sin". There are plenty of statements He makes in the Gospels that I think, "Well, gee, that was a little harsh." (Cursing the fig tree comes to mind. That smacks too much of impetuous parlor magic to suit me.) See--there I go again. Curses were considered to be "wrong" in His day, or at the very least, not fit for polite company--but there He is, ragging on the fig tree.

(I won't even begin to go into how Mark has him cursing it BEFORE He entered the temple, and Matthew says it was AFTER he went into the temple--that's a subject for another day.)

I realize this might attract some grief from the more fundamentalist crowd, but I just have one request if I'm going to be nailed for heresy--use wet wood when you burn me at the stake so I die of smoke inhalation first.


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I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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