By Douglas C. Sloan
Jesus is not the reason for the season.
(Jesus would have been shamed and insulted by such a view and attitude.)
The reason for the celebration in any season is the message and the path and the way taught by Jesus.
This season, we celebrate the Advent of an old message renewed and reborn and retold to replace the way of the world:
- Empire – war, conquest, piety, peace – or Tribal Justice or Honor Codes are not the way to live.
- It is wrong to allow individuals to accumulate or attain or have access to such wealth and power that they are able to take the homes, farms, land, property, and livelihood of others.
- It is not about copious conspicuous consumption, short-term planned obsolescence, or easy disposability.
- It is not about the supremacy of the individual or the community.
- It is not about beliefs, creeds, canons, literal interpretations of ancient texts, holding ancient texts as obligatory and controlling, original sin, guilt, fear, hate, exclusion, divine narcissism and capriciousness, divine interventions, sacrificial atonement, eternal rewards and punishments, or making a post-mortal existence more important than how we live here and now with ourselves and with each other.
Advent is when we celebrate the arrival and presence of Good News for all people:
* The Divine is unrestrained love and unconditional grace.
* The purpose of community is education and stewardship and justice and compassion:
- Education as the respect for and nurture of each student as an individual with unique gifts to be discovered and developed while introducing students to the best of art, knowledge, scientific inquiry, logic, and philosophy and encouraging play, creativity, self-confidence, self-reliance, self-expression, independence, collaboration, and community.
- Stewardship as the long-term protection, management, and replenishment of renewable resources, and that non-renewable resources require minimum use and maximum protection and recycling and reclamation;
- Justice as repair, rehabilitation, restoration, and – where possible – reconciliation;
- Compassion as feeding, quenching, clothing, sheltering, healing, visiting, welcoming, …
* The goal of the individual is to seek resurrection and transformation and then to live
- fearlessly and joyfully and hopefully,
- gently and peacefully without violence and without vengeance,
- with graciousness untainted by jealous or passive-aggressive intentions.
* The purpose of the individual is to provide inclusive hospitality and joyous generosity and wise and healthy service to others.
* As individuals in community, we are to embrace and internalize the Good News message
- then live it and exude it and provoke it
- here and now, constantly and forever.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
You can get a pdf of this article here.