Thursday, September 20, 2012

Abraham, Jesus, Mohammed, Joseph Smith: how do the remembrances turn so violent?

On the night he was betrayed, Jesus took bread, broke it and said, “Do this is remembrance of me.” As soon as his followers took power a few centuries later, they were chasing each other out of town – or worse – about some interpretation of remembering him.

Father Abraham wanted so much to have a homeland: made friends with the natives, treaties, and he and his sons took on wives (or adds on to the family) from them. Sensible. Last night a friend of mine pointed out there are now 2.4 million Palestinian displaced persons in Jordan. Abraham also had this magnificent dream that all the world would be blessed through his descendents. What has happened is understandable, given the Holocaust, but I can’t help but wonder how poor Abraham would feel about such an outcome among kinfolks?

Then we have this wide spread Muslim outburst over that awful betrayal of American free speech coming out in a movie trailer on the internet. It is easy to understand the anger at insulting one’s revered Prophet, but I can’t help wondering if Mohammed himself would be less embarrassed by being called a “womanizer” than humiliated some of his followers have actually been involved in killing people over it.

Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon movement, was assassinated, as you may know. A couple of decades later some followers massacred a wagon train of people from Arkansas as they were passing through Utah. Smith, of course, had been fleeing his enraged fellow citizens, but courageously chose to return and face them. I suppose, knowing how the followers of the great religious leaders twist and turn in their remembrances, we should give some thought to all of this.

Personally, I grew up as a Christian; it was a given in our little rural town you were either Methodist or Baptist (and hardly anything to all right thinking folks). Being considerably older now, I have decided to be a Christian. Now when the bread and wine is given out, my remembrance is to internalize His teachings a great deal more. Please, God. Please make it so – even it makes me even more universalized in my feelings.  My neighbors are so wide spread.

Please feel free to share with a kindred spirit

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