August 30, 2007


Icon of the Archangel Michael.

This week on Goat Rope, El Cabrero is responding to a challenge from a reader to write about the five things I admire most about Jesus. The hardest part was figuring out where to start.

If this is your first visit, please click on earlier posts.

The fourth thing I'm going to write about is Jesus' way with words. Official Goat Rope verdict: he had one. Big time. Whole libraries have been written on the sayings of Jesus and more could and will be written. I'm going to focus today on his awesome one liners.

My personal favorites include some of his comic visual images, like when he nailed hypocrites who made a show of religion while neglecting simple justice and compassion:

You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

And speaking of camels, let's not forget this one:

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God

How about these for cutting through the #$&%:

No one who puts his hand on the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God.

What goes into your mouth will not defile you, but what comes out of your mouth, that will defile you.

Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.

To save your life is to lose it; to lose your life is to save it.

Follow me and let the dead bury their dead.

The first shall be last and the last shall be first.

Exalt yourself and you will be humbled; humble yourself and you will be exalted.

I could go on and on but I'm sure the Gentle Reader knows where to find more.

WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS. In light of the new Census report on poverty, health coverage, and incomes, the American Friends Service Committee calls for new priorities:

Congress should redirect the $720 million a day the U.S. is spending on the Iraq war to programs that reduce poverty at home, urged the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), responding to Census Bureau data released today.

“For $720 million, we could provide over 400,000 children with health care, or over a million children with free school lunches,” notes Joyce Miller, the American Friends Service Committee assistant general secretary for justice and human rights. “America’s shameful poverty rate should lead everyone to ask ourselves how we want to spend our tax dollars — on war or on education, health care, job training, affordable housing, and the like.”

CONSIDER THE LILIES. Did you ever want your own Spiderman suit? As in a real one? A group of Italian scientists say nanotechnology could make it happen.

MORE ON THE CAMEL/NEEDLE'S EYE THING. CEOs of major U.S. companies made more in a day than the average worker in a year.

MORE ON THE WHERE YOUR TREASURE IS THING. Here's an interesting essay by David Korten on rethinking the meaning of wealth in terms of life.



Anonymous said...

El Cabrero, you may ignore this post if you wish but I don't know any other extremely gifted person to ask, and Im not sure how to word it in a small space, but I'lltry. Jesus spent most of his time with his apostles, yet not one of them ever wrote about him or passed on his teachings. Much of the teachings/rules of the New Testament comes from Paul, who never met Jesus nor quotes Jesus nor talks of his teachings. The church i go to lets Paul define his own views on how we view/accept salvation because he heard a voice in his head supposedly from Jesus to be the main spokesperson of how everything 'is'. I guess i'm just saying that it seems the New Testament is The Gospel According to Paul, and I don't get it.

El Cabrero said...

Good point. Paul's writings take up quite a bit of space in the New Testament. Some of them are also probably the earliest NT writing, as soon as 20 years after the crucifixion.

Also, many scholars don't thing Paul actually wrote some of the letters attributed to him.

The thought of actually writing down the gospels didn't seem to occur to people until 40 or so years after Jesus died. The earliest gospel was probably Mark. John probably wasn't written until 100 AD or so.

I agree with you that what passes for Christianity today is often based on somebody's (probably bad) interpretation of Paul rather than on the person of Jesus.

At some point, that ought to fill up another week on Goat Rope...


Anonymous said...

I know your blog is WV economics and concerns but I hope you can do a little more addressing of theological issues, just once in a while. Whenever I ask my pastor or anyone who I consider a "religious type", the only answer i get to valid questions is 'the Bible says it and I believe it'.

El Cabrero said...

Hello anonymous,
Thanks for your suggestion. I don't know how long you've been reading Goat Rope, but religion has been a frequent topic. I suggest you search the blog for the following tags: religion, Christianity, Jesus, Gospel of Thomas, Paul Tillich, and similar topics. There will be more to come.