Friday, July 15, 2005

When Jesus Came to Harvard

I've just started reading the book with this name by Harvey Cox, my hero of the sixties (He wrote The Secular City, which informed the perspective and values of a whole generation of ministers.)

I've just begun the book, but I found something on page 16 that seemed worth blogging on:

Most of us know that Jesus died at 33. We also know that his most prominent followers of the last century may have been Gandhi, MKL, and Bonhoeffer, all of whom died violent deaths for their witness.

I can see how this young man will be of great interest to people early in life. But what about us old timers? What might Jesus have been doing if he had lived to be 80? Harvey said he couldn't imagine Jesus drawing social security or playing shuffleboard at Ft. Lauderdale. Nietzsche imagined that he might have outgrown his "youthful exuberance". How do you imagine?


david said...

I think I might have read soemthing by harvey Cox about a bazillion years ago (something about not leaving it to the snake?).

Jesus at 80? I dunno about that. He likely wouldn't be playing shuffleboard in Ft Lauderdale but you never know. He might be in a nursing home wiping the spit of some poor woman's face because the Parkinson's meds are messing with her swallow reflexes.

Liz Opp said...

He might be in a nursing home wiping the spit of some poor woman's face because the Parkinson's meds are messing with her swallow reflexes.

Yeh, maybe Jesus would be blessing and officiating at same-sex marriages in the U.S. Maybe he'd be in Africa among the people and children dying of AIDS. Maybe he'd be turning the tables in the White House...

I wasn't raised to believe in Jesus, but the witness I've heard and seen from Friends about the practice of Jesus to be among the outcast and marginalized people of his time (women menstruating; lepers; etc.) is something that stays with me.

...Actually, come to think of it, I think Jesus IS doing these things at 80. He just looks different these days, if you know what I mean.

Liz, The Good Raised Up

Larry said...

This post was dashed off without much thought (as often happens with my blog). Thinking about it for the next couple of days it began to look like a double proposition:

First I put Jesus in the present, and second considered his age.

Reflection led to the conclusion that age is not really a factor. Karl Menninger taught that we generally die for our sins ( Man Against Himself, suggesting that we all manage to kill ourselves one way or another (autos, drink, food, etc.).

Wasn't Jesus exempt from these suicidal tendencies? Then he would have to be killed by someone, as so many innocents are.

Of the other commenters Liz's third suggestion seems very apt: Jesus would have turned all kind of things upside down and created all sorts of disorder to the ordinary movers and shakers.

Jesus certainly helped a lot of people; he had the means, and he did it. But he realized that helping people one by one is like trying to empty the ocean with a spoon. Needy people are symptoms of a larger spiritual, social and political malady.

He did what he could in that area, and wouldn't he do the same thing again?

Larry said...

what next?