"THE REAL JESUS"
Added May 30, 2003
Jesus in the Four Gospels is the point of reference for me in my spiritual life and my understanding and experience of God.
first step in reclaiming Jesus for your own spirit and life is to
become as familiar with the Four Gospels as you can. Read through
the Gospel of Mark in one sitting at least once a week.
to memorize the content of the Gospels of Luke and John. Spend
some time with these sources every day. Read through each of them
at one sitting at least once a month. Memorize John and then
Luke. As you absorb the exact content of these sources, your
grasp of the Spirit of Jesus will grow and shift and change and
develop. Jesus will become a part of you and within you as the
chief point of reference in your thinking about everything else.
a good accurate translation. I still recommend the New American
Standard Bible. Always read and study from a Bible with large
clear readable type and no additional commentary.
PAUL AS A SOURCE
writings of Paul in the New Testament are the earliest reflections
about Jesus that we have. Go through the letters of Paul and
isolate and assemble Paul's statements about Jesus. These
statements and observations are much earlier than the material in the
Four Gospels. Learn and meditate upon these passages. I
will list them for you later.
with Romans, the longest and most important letter by Paul. When
I taught courses in Romans at Baptist College, I memorized the entire
book of Romans word for word. That was the only way that I found
to keep all of what Paul said in proper context within the total
message of the letter. Later, I did the same thing with
Philippians and other letters. Paul's view of Jesus is clearly
stated in Romans and Philippians.
Ephesians and Galatians also are full of Paul's way of seeing Jesus and
applying Jesus to practical living situations. I and II
Corinthians are helpful, of course, but these two letters give one side
of a lengthy argument and dialogue between Paul and his readers.
We do not know much about what his readers had said or written to
Paul. We have only Paul's responses. It is like listening
to one side of a telephone conversation.
best use of Paul will be for you to read all of Paul's letters for
yourself and select out those passages about Jesus that most clearly
speak to you.
the New Testament, Paul's letters are listed in the order of their
length, not in order of importance, etc. The Book of Hebrews is
helpful, but it is not by Paul or in the style of Paul. The true
author of Hebrews is unknown. The letters to Timothy, Titus and
Philemon were probably written by Paul and Luke (his fellow prisoner)
together after Paul lost all of his sight and was completely dependent
on someone else to write for him. All of Paul's letters were
written from a group of people to another group of people. Most
of the time, the person who did the writing for Paul is named in the
letters to the Thessalonians are brief and are usually considered to be
the earliest letters written. These two letters give brief
statements about Jesus that Paul later elaborated at great length in
SHARE WITH AT LEAST ONE OTHER PERSON
a time and place where you can share in your exploration of Jesus and
your own inner world with one or more other people in a home study
group. A home is a good setting, but any other place that is
available will do just as well if home is not a viable option.
Let Jesus of Nazareth be the teacher and trust that the Spirit of Jesus has been given to you as promised in John 14
Keep it simple. Jesus did.
THE JESUS WITHIN
objectifying of Jesus as the One out there in ancient history (2000
years ago) in a foreign culture (Roman Empire of the first century) and
in the remote inaccessible reaches of spiritual eternity and the
presence of God can greatly impair your own personal experience of
Jesus who is already with and within you.
do not need me or any other teacher to usurp what you will learn from
Jesus directly for yourself. You and I are vastly different in
personal history, temperament, personality, interpersonal
relationships, and education. You have to discover and learn from
the Spirit of Jesus for yourself. Nobody else can do that for
you. Your personality and personal history are unique to
you. Jesus is person, and so are you. To learn from and
grow in Jesus is to take the time to get to know and really trust and
follow the One.
is called the "coming one": "He that cometh". Jesus has
already come to you in your family life, your religious traditions,
some of your formal education, your experience in church and
churches. Most profoundly, Jesus has come to you in your inner
being simply because you are human and the Spirit of Jesus has been
given to the entire human race at Pentecost. So you already have
the Spirit. It is your task to learn to listen to what the Spirit
of Jesus is already saying to you and to be open to the new world that
already surrounds you and is waiting for you.
will not find your truth at the top of a distant mountain, unless going
to the top of a distant mountain will help you shed the distractions
that are keeping you from seeing your truth that is already within you.
is not playing a game of hide-and-seek with you. God is present
in everything and in every person around you and is present with and
within you whether you see and experience God or not. You cannot
run away from or escape from God, for you are God because of the breath
of God that animates and informs your existence.
already have all of the Jesus you will ever have. Now the basic
step in knowing and following Jesus is to look within and be ready to
be surprised by joy, hope, love, peace and eager anticipation of
something better in your life every day.
Update added May 31, 2003:
"IRRESISTIBLE FORCES OF THE FUTURE"
who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat
them. Even more powerful are the irresistible forces of the
future. To ignore the clear movements and trends that are setting
the stage for the future is to make mistakes that can destroy us and
the world in which we live. The terrorism of 9/11/01 really did
change the world and indicated a vastly different future than we had
is the name given a few years ago by Alvin Toffler to the rapid changes
in our culture and society that cause the same kind of shock and
difficulties of adjustment as "culture shock" when one goes from home
to an unfamiliar alien culture or society. The rapidly developing
future before us is so shocking that we dread facing it and avoid the
realities of its demands. Traditional religion dwells on and
insists upon a highly fanciful and unrealistic view of the future that
fits a multitude of contradictory eschatological schemes.
has distracted us from the real future with an imaginary medieval world
view full of angels, demons, heavens, hells, cosmic wars and a hardcore
dichotomy between God and Satan that leaves everybody confused and
dependent on so-called religious experts. The end of the biblical
world has already come, and nobody noticed!
is the future of the unrealistic misinformed irrelevant legalistic
judgmental religions that dominate the spiritual life of contemporary
culture in every country and society in our world? How can you
afford to "hitch your wagon to a star" when that star is obviously
illogical, un-objective, unrealistic and impractical? The future
of traditional organized religion at every level is bleak but continues
to be extraordinarily compelling!
recent e-mail requesting that I add the writer to my update list
included this quote: "People who don't read newspapers are better off
than those who do because it is better to be uninformed than
misinformed." (Thomas Jefferson). People who stay away from
churches are better off than those who go to churches for the same
churches, like the Titanic, seem to be riding high and rejoicing in
their power and glory, but they are at the mercy of the icebergs and
storms of reality and are sinking fast. Why, then, do so many
otherwise clear thinking GLBT people struggle to jump on board and go
down with the ship into the inevitable oblivion of deep darkness and
can your resources be better used than trying to get unrealistic
impractical failed religions to accept and affirm you? You don't
need to be affirmed by anybody. Your existence speaks for
itself. You are not broken and do not need to be fixed by people
who are more broken than you will ever be!
LESSONS OF THE TSARS OF RUSSIA
hope you watched or will get the video and watch the History Channel
presentation of the Tsars of Russia. Absolute monarchs who firmly
believed they were appointed by God controlled Russia for 300
years. Industrial and social changes that were creating a brave
new world were ignored by the rulers. Finally, the end came as
the gathering storm of irresistible forces of the future broke like a
tidal wave upon the crumbling foundations of Russian monarchy.
1917 and the Communist revolution changed the world just as much as
ignore the lessons of the future is just as unrealistic and destructive
as ignoring the lessons of the past. The Age of Reason and the
legacy of Socrates are still gathering momentum in trying to bring a
new level of sanity to civilization.
remarkable message of The Gospel of John in chapters 13-17 builds a
clear picture of Jesus preparing his followers and therefore you and me
to face and deal with the future, whatever it might be. Jesus
gave his followers what they needed. He did not give them a
book. He gave them his Spirit to be their teacher and to show
them "things to come". (John 14:25-27 and 16:12-15)
knew that all of us face a constantly changing world, and no book, set
of rules or commandments can prevail and be adequate and relevant in
the uncertain threatening future. So Jesus gave us himself
through the Spirit to teach us and guide us into understanding and to
show us how to handle the unexpected future that is always looming
before us like a great dark unknown storm full of lightening, thunder,
hail, floods, tornados and destruction as well as offering fresh
opportunities for learning and growing and a glorious ever expanding
light to illuminate all things.
THE CHURCHES DON'T KNOW
churches have yet to learn to use the invention of printing (1495)
responsibly. Instead of using printing, the Internet, and modern
media to tell the facts and help people learn to think for themselves,
the churches have misinformed the world and sought to control the minds
and thinking of people. Churches and church institutions and
schools do not teach people to think for themselves. Some did at
one time, but they have retreated into mind warping systems of
teach people what they are supposed to think and what they should and
should not read and details of who and what to believe. Different
churches practice a variety of methods and levels of thought control,
but all of them are more interested in "brain washing" their victims
than in liberating their minds to enjoy personal freedom in the Spirit
and really think for themselves.
can you learn to think for yourself with a healthy, objective, logical,
realistic, practical mind if all you are fed is misinformation and
self-serving religious opinions and teachings by those who claim to
speak for God?
THE INEVITABLE REVOLUTION
people vote for a revolution with their feet. They simply walk
away from the ludicrous claims and practices of abusive misinformed
religion. GLBT people are leading the way. We have walked
away and started our own churches. But is that really the
revolutionary new spiritual future that we need and want? Other
GLBT people have worked hard to get traditional churches to accept and
affirm and love and appreciate and employ us. This has been a
really retarded revolution so far. Most churches still welcome
and enjoy the support and services of GLBT people only as long as we
remain IN THE CLOSET!
of this has so far catapulted us into the realistic future that is
beckoning us to higher nobler ground. We are dragging too much
baggage along with us on the steep upward climb to the top of the
mountain. Unless we have the courage to let go of the
totalitarian religion of the dismal defeated past and move on in
totally new forms and frames of reference, we will never get to the top
of the mountain to view the Promised Land beyond.
WHY NOT TRUST YOURSELF?
tells you to trust something outside yourself and not to trust
yourself. Your inner thoughts and desires and feelings are
somehow not right for you and should be replaced by the "group think"
of the religious establishment. This is beyond hogwash and
BS. It is stupid and unrealistic. If you deny who you
really are, then who are you? You can always give in and become a
very uncomfortable hypocrite and pretend that you believe the
absurdities of contemporary religion. There is no integrity in
that. Without integrity, you cannot even trust yourself.
That is a dismal dead end road that the church wants you to
follow. Don't do it!
you walk away, you will be tempted to give in to panic and fear that
you have been conditioned to feel when you disobey the Great Super Ego
of your particular culture. You will be tempted to call your new
freedom "a sin" and "running away from God." You are not running
away from God! You are escaping from prison. You are
learning to enjoy God in an entirely new holistic dimension that really
is relevant to you, within you, and encouraging and affirming to you.
your freedom to be you. Enjoy telling others about it.
Enjoy writing down your new spiritual adventures in a daily
journal. Look for ways to help others share in the truly good
news of accepting and trusting yourself. You will not have any
trouble finding the words to say, because you do not have to be taught
the "formulas" and "the words." Your words and feelings and your
enthusiasm will come naturally to you and bubble up from the depths of
your own spiritual being. God is with and within you. You
are not alone ever again. There is no longer a wall erected by
religion to separate you from God or from other people. You don't
have to break down the wall; just walk around it, and there you are:
If you do make the break and begin your own personal journey into future freedom, write and tell me about it.
updates are not an attempt to think for you or to give advice about
what you should do or believe. They are intended to stimulate and
inform you to think for yourself and be free to decide and act on what
you really think is best for you.)
See my most recent study of "THE REAL JESUS".
Look at "Alvin Toffler"
on your browser and discover his other books in addition to "Future
Shock" (1970) and his work as a "futurist" in viewing and interpreting
our world from the perspective of where the future is leading us:
"THE HOMOPHOBIC AGENDA"
Update for August 22, 2003
I recently secured a copy of The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today
by Alan Sears & Craig Osten, published in 2003 by Broadman &
Holman Publishers, the fractured publishing arm of the Southern Baptist
Convention. This 229-page book is the most recent Southern
Baptist attack against GLBT people that builds an elaborate argument of
misinformation and distortions in order to attack discredit and destroy
This book begins with a misrepresentation of the life and career of John Paulk, the discredited "sexuality expert" employed by Focus on the Family until he was caught cruising in a gay bar in Washington,
DC. See my web site material on John Paulk and my review of his work.
The entire book is made up of bogus research, fabricated statistics and
other "tricks of the trade" of homophobic "scholarship" and polemics.
book claims that the homosexual agenda is primarily aimed at the
destruction of religion and the attempt to turn public opinion into
hate against anyone who opposes homosexuals. The book is based on
fear and inaccurate information that would be ludicrous if it were not
being taken seriously by so many millions of Southern Baptist leaders
and obedient church sheep!
Press for many years was the SBC organization that published many of
the best works by the various scholars and seminary and college
professors in Southern Baptist Institutions until the radical
fundamentalists took over the denomination in recent years. The
name is built on the name of Dr. John A. Broadus and Dr. Basil Manley,
two of the four founders of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
in Greenville, SC, in 1859, and now dishonors those two great men by
using their names in dishonest destructive scholarship and publications.
Broadman Press published the 12-volume Broadman Bible Commentary
beginning in 1969 written by the best seminary and college professors
in the SBC. Almost immediately, the convention attacked the
commentary and ordered the first volume to be withdrawn and rewritten
from a conservative point of view. Now the entire commentary has
been withdrawn from the Baptist Seminaries and other bookstores and is
unavailable anywhere for purchase.
definition of "religious fanatics" is religious people who have lost
their sense of direction and redoubled their efforts! Southern
Baptists certainly now fit that definition.
THE FEAR FACTOR
rule by means of fear. From ancient warlords, popes, emperors,
kings and conquerors to Hitler, Stalin and Saddam Hussein, submissive
people have been controlled and crushed by fear. Why are informed
Southern Baptists afraid to expose and end the regime of ignorance and
terror that grips and misuses this once great defender of religious
freedom and objective theological education?
was present at the Southern Baptist Convention that voted to reject the
first volume of the Broadman Bible Commentary because a small group of
misinformed preachers was able to convince the messengers that the
first volume on Genesis was a threat to truth and to the will of
God. I saw most of the famous and respected leaders of the
denomination go to the podium and beg that people not to pass this
destructive proposal. But the people followed the fear factor,
and the deed was done that set into motion the downhill slide of the
SBC ever since.
HOMOPHOBIA IS FEAR
several critics of my web site have written to me to tell me that they
were not homophobic because they were not afraid of gay people and did
not know of anyone else who was afraid of gay people! I wrote
back to give the definition of "homophobia," a word that was invented
in 1972 by Dr. George Weinberg in his book on "Society and the Healthy
Homosexual." Homophobia is not the fear of gay people but is the
fear of homosexuality in others and in one's self.
mythology about homosexuals has become religious tradition in our
culture. Bringing objective factual information and logic into
the public mind is almost impossible. The homophobic mythologies
are perpetuated by religion and politics and a massive media attack
against GLBT people that is mind boggling both in its ignorance and its
underlying false assumption of the "The Homosexual Agenda" is the
notion that there is some kind of great homosexual organization that
represents all GLBT people and has worked out and promoted an agenda
that speaks for all of us! How absurd. We can hardly get
together to redecorate the house, have a decent pride parade or sustain
a local GLBT center much less a world-wide conspiracy to destroy
THE HOMOPHOBIC AGENDA
agenda of the homophobic organizations and movements today is emerging
with greater clarity every day. The first principle of homophobia
is the use of fear based on distortions of the facts, the invention of
bogus statistics, citing discredited scholars and other "experts,"
misrepresenting the truth about sexual orientation, and ignoring the
position papers and statements supporting homosexual rights by all of
the professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, legal and
educational associations in the United States.
"The Homosexual Agenda"
book includes 15 full pages of footnotes and references to give the
impression of careful academic research, when in fact; there is no
objective reliable research at all in the book.
basic principle of the homophobic agenda is the use of misinformation
and bogus statistics to try to convince people that homophobia is sound
reasonable thinking. It is not.
is the primary tool of the homophobic agenda. The Bible is cited
as the absolute rule and requirement for right thinking about
everything, and the varieties of scholarly translations and
interpretations are completely ignored in favor of preaching and
posturing based on highly questionable distortions and fabrications of
false teachings and lack of academic credibility is never more obvious
than in the subtitle of the book "The Homosexual Agenda": "Exposing the
Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today." The book itself
expresses the principal threat to religious freedom today! The
SBC and the homophobic agenda, not the "homosexual agenda," is the
principal threat to religious freedom today. Distortions and lies
are always a greater threat to freedom than the truth.
HOMOPHOBIA AND THE EX-GAY FRAUD
"ex-gay" industry has become the primary everyday tool of the
homophobic agenda. The Southern Baptist Convention and the
growing rash of family research and protection organizations promote
and even demand that the bogus claims of the "ex-gay" industry be
accepted as fact and supported with financial contributions and a daily
supply of living victims to be sacrificed to this modern version of the
worship of Moloch in biblical times.
HOMOPHOBIA AS IDOLATRY
other than God is made absolute, the result is idolatry. See my material on
"Legalism as Idolatry".
The homophobic agenda demands blind obedience to ignorance and
misinformation that replaces God with human error and the Holy Spirit
with misguided human opinions. The real Jesus is replaced with a
fake Christ who goes along with homophobia just as obediently as the
Pharisees and Hypocrites at the time of Jesus went along with
idolatrous legalisms that were destroying the people in the name of
God. As always, read Matthew 23 to see again what Jesus had to
say about this powerful abusive form of religion.
homophobic religious establishment led by the Roman Catholic Church,
the Southern Baptist Convention, the Mormons and various "save the
family and marriage" sects like Focus on the Family and Family Research
Council along with individuals like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and
Lou Shelton spew a constant stream of the lies and distortions of the
homophobic agenda into every level of American culture. The
homophobic virus is infecting everybody within reach.
sports, local state and national governments, arts and entertainment,
publishing, broadcast news and the educational system all are being
infected with the homophobic agenda that contaminates the very air we
breathe. GLBT people are not immune. The growing presence
of internal and horizontal homophobia within our own community and even
in many personal relationships is a seeping poison that quickly becomes
a rising flood of homophobic filth.
The extent of the anti-GLBT onslaught of the Homophobic Agenda is seen in the fact that Google lists 126,000 web sites
related to the "Homosexual Agenda"!
saw the devastating results of legalistic judgmental religion that
defines itself by who is left out. In Philippians 3:8, Paul used
the Greek term "skubala
" to describe his former abusive destructive exclusive legalism. Skubala
is a rare word, used only in Philippians 3:8 in the New
Testament. (KJV translates it "dung" and others translate it
rubbish, refuse, etc.) The word means "excrement" either animal
or human. It is a very strong word!
If Paul were walking in the barnyard, he would say, "Watch out! Don't step in that pile of skubala! (I checked out skubala
in Arndt & Gingrich; in Moulton & Milligan and in Kittel and
they all supported this understanding of the word. No modern
biblical translation correctly renders this word for "B.S." accurately!
HOMOPHOBIA DENIES JESUS
love casts out fear." "The love of God has been poured out in
your hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to you." You do
not need to be afraid anymore.
churches have always ruled their people on the basis of fear.
Fear of burning forever in hell, fear of falling into the crushing
hands of an angry God, fear of dying unforgiven for your sins, and fear
of who you yourself really are all make up parts of the arsenal of fear
based control exercised by churches.
the homophobic agenda for what it really is: a blatant denial of Jesus
and the mind of God that homophobic people pretend to proclaim and
protect. Homophobia is a disease that must be resisted at all
cost. Homophobia is the virus that kills far more GLBT people
than AIDS or any other human illness.
informed. Know the facts. Challenge homophobia at its
ignorant lying roots. Resist the lies that try to convince you
that your sexual orientation is a mistake and that you are some kind of
"abomination of God" because ignorant preachers say you are!
is not a new problem. The last book written in the New Testament
was probably 2 Peter, which concludes with the following statement in 2
Peter 3:15-18, after reflecting on how the writings of Paul were
already being misunderstood and distorted:
the patience of our Lord to be liberation (salvation) just as also our
beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you,
as in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are
some things hard to understand, which the untaught (ignorant) and
unstable distort ("twist" "torture" "torment") as they do also the rest
of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.
therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard lest,
being carried away by the error of unprincipled people, you fall from
your own steadfastness. But grow in the grace and knowledge of
our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to Him is the glory, both now and to
the day of eternity. Amen."
August 22, 2003
Update for August 27, 2004
FULL EQUALITY FOR LGBT PEOPLE
equality for all Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, Bisexual people is the only
acceptable choice! Equality in the workplace, equality in
marriage rights and benefits, equality in schools and churches,
equality in medical care, equality in political representation and
social life, equality in foster care and adoption are the only
acceptable choices for LGBT people! We have no reason to
compromise our integrity or our demands for equality.
basis for denying equality to GLBT people is misguided, misinformed,
unreliable, and based on bogus statistics and founded in erroneous
misrepresented religion. Now is the time to demand and get
changes whatever it takes for GLBT people to have true equality and
acceptance in this nation of freedom and respect for all people.
FULL EQUALITY NOW
Democratic and Republican Parties are trying to compromise the rights
and the equality of GLBT people to appease certain radical uninformed
and misguided religious/political forces in the United States.
The deadly fallout of these efforts against God's GLBT children are
unacceptable and have to be opposed and fought with whatever
political/protest weapons we can develop and use.
VOTE FOR EQUALITY
of the freedoms and benefits of GLBT people are being debated by the
Presidential Candidates now. Demand attention from them and
expect realistic plans and programs to guarantee equality at every
level of life for LGBT citizens of the United States of America.
Disrupt the Republican National Convention next week in New York if
necessary. Protest the ignorance and lies about GLBT people that
lie back of the anti-gay homophobic nonsense that the religious
establishment has dumped into the lifeblood of America!
Jesus Christ, Martin
Luther King, Jr., and Mahatma Gandhi demonstrated the power of civil
disobedience and changed their world. We stand at a crossroads
that will determine our future for the next four years. We cannot
allow destructive forces to practice emotional and physical genocide
against homosexuals any longer. We have no choice but to fight
back with whatever weapons are at our disposal.
write letters, volunteer for SoulForce, tell people you know in
political office that you are gay or lesbian and you expect them to
respect you and give you equality in all things in our society.
Talk with your pastor, priest or preacher and demand to be heard.
Interrupt church services and yell your protest if necessary.
Carry signs. Get on radio and television to express your demands
for equality. Be creative. Find new disruptive ways to get
attention and make your voice heard.
GOD IS WITH YOU
You can change the world with your collective voices and bodies and
lives. Come out and enlist the support of your family and all of your friends.
is with us. We are not fighting for acceptance and equality
alone. The Spirit of the Living God as revealed in the life and
work of Jesus has been given to us to energize us and give us direction
in our mission of change and our battle for equality.
Never doubt that you are doing the right thing to go to
war for equality. Just remember, nobody is free until everybody is free.
God bless you and empower you in whatever you decide to do in this unavoidable struggle for equality and acceptance in 2004.
201 W. Washington St. #805
Greenville, SC 29601
Look at my website links to Soulforce and to PFLAG and UFMCC.
"WILL THE REAL JESUS PLEASE STAND UP"
Update for August 8, 2004
MY EARLIEST MEMORY
earliest memory of Jesus in church was a shadowy yellow stained glass
picture of Jesus in a dark hall in the Southside Baptist Church in
Spartanburg, SC, that I attended with my parents when I was less than
six years old. I had to walk through that dimly lit hall every
Sunday morning on the way to my Sunday School room. The picture
was lighted from the back, because it was the picture that had been
placed in the wall behind the baptistery in the main auditorium.
I am sure that nobody intended the picture to scare little
children. But it scared me! My first impression of Jesus
was to be afraid of him.
THE REAL JESUS
is the "real" Jesus? For 2,000 years the images and meanings of
Jesus have changed and developed constantly as cultures, languages,
artists, architects, churches, doctrines, denominations, opponents,
friends and just about everybody who knows that there is a "Jesus" have
twisted and distorted the image of Jesus to fit their ignorance, their
lust for power and their temporary secular need to raise money, to
spend money, to go to war, to destroy unwanted minorities, to build
empires, to destroy empires and to manage and control society and
individuals in the name of a god.
in the twenty-first century, we have inherited this whirlwind of
distortions and misinformation that so blur the image of Jesus that
nobody knows the "real Jesus"! Where can you find the "real
Jesus"? Bibles, books, creeds, dogma, doctrines, churches,
preachers, warring religions, family traditions, the proliferation of
legalistic fundamentalists, rigid orthodoxies, the pomp and
circumstance of spiritual warfare, wealthy television evangelists, and
a plethora of television and movie presentations of Jesus in our
lifetime cannot really cut through the 2,000 years of distortions and
lies that have so mangled the image of the real Jesus that nobody knows
for certain who the real Jesus is!
THE FACE OF JESUS IN ART
have a 2001 video of "THE FACE OF JESUS IN ART", narrated by Mel
Gibson, Stacy Keach, Ricardo Montalban, Bill Moyers, Patricia
Neal, and others. It is a fantastic collection of a multitude of
paintings that represent various views of Jesus. (See link below.)
I first viewed this video, I was struck by the great variety of ways
individual artists viewed the face of Jesus. I realized then that
no representation of Jesus in art or religious architecture and ritual
could be accurate, because all of these secondary sources about Jesus
were radically different from each other. So the question
remains, where can you find the "real" Jesus who fits your personality
and your life?
"STAND UP, STAND UP FOR JESUS"
familiar old hymn helps us to sing of our devotion to Jesus as we
"Stand up, Stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross…" Yet
today, the greatest need and challenge that we face as GLBT people who
are oppressed and denied by the churches is for the "real Jesus" to
stand up for us! You cannot stand up for Jesus if you have only a
vague distorted vision of Jesus. You also have trouble standing
up for or following Jesus if your mental image of Jesus has been
distorted and misinformed by legalism, abusive churches, and religious
wars and greed.
forthcoming book is my attempt to address these problems and suggest
some practical, logical, objective, reasonable ways to let go and move
on in a faith that fits you and a vision of health, hope and life that
make sense to you in today's world. (Take a look at my website
material on "Jesus Bible Studies" in the link below. These are my
earliest explorations into this issue. The final book will build on and
develop beyond these initial studies.)
THE HIDDEN JESUS
problem of finding the real Jesus is not new. A recent book by
Donald Spoto, "The Hidden Jesus: A New Life" (See details below),
is one of the latest attempts (1998) to take a fresh look at the "real
Jesus." The "Quest for the Historical Jesus" that was kicked off
by famous missionary doctor and scholar Albert Schweitzer led to new
directions in modern theological education led by Karl Barth (and his
son, Marcus, whom I met and heard lecture at Union Seminary in
Richmond), Emil Brunner, Rudolf Bultmann, and the host of students who
followed up on these teachers to begin a "new quest for the historical
Jesus" that now has produced the remarkable "JESUS SEMINAR" led by
Robert W. Funk and hundreds of modern biblical scholars. (See
I was a graduate student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
in Louisville, I had the privilege of hearing and meeting two of the
famous scholars who continued the work of Bultmann: Professor Oscar
Cullman and Professor Ernst Kasemann, both of whom have written
important books exploring the "real" Jesus.
historical development and present explorations and research have been
based largely on the historical critical study of the Bible. The
problem for the average person is that very few people can devote a
large part of their lives to learning Greek, Hebrew, Theology, Church
History, Archaeology and the "thousands natural shocks" that biblical
scholarship is heir to!
have been through all of that in my college and seminary education and
in research for teaching and writing ever since. Yet this is not
a path that guarantees that people will discover the "real Jesus" for
themselves! The greatest of the scholars and authors of many
books on and about Jesus disagree with each other just about as much as
the various church denominations disagree with each other while
claiming that each one is right and everybody else is wrong!
A MORE EXCELLENT WAY
there a "more excellent way" to go about your personal quest for the
real Jesus in your own life? I think there is, and that will be
the theme and substance of my forthcoming book.
"The Word was made flesh" and "The Sprit was given to everyone."
These two affirmations form the heart of the Gospels and the Acts of
the Apostles. The church throughout the ages has focused on the
divinity of Jesus and not on his humanity. The emphasis of
traditional religion has also been on spiritual gifts to the chosen
few, the clergy and religious, rather than on the average person who
can be like the "little child" and be lifted up by Jesus and become a
testimony to the love and mission of God.
religion has built walls and developed a great set of doctrines,
rituals and architectures of "distance" and "separation" between God
and the people. This is a blatant rejection and denial of the
picture of Jesus in the Gospels, whose most famous invitation was,
"Come unto me!"
THE HUMAN JESUS AS YOUR PATTERN
focused on his humanity and his identification with all people, not on
his divinity. Jesus refused to "play god" when he was tempted in
the wilderness and would not turn stones into bread. The
temptation to "play god" always comes from Satan (the adversary).
At his Baptism, Jesus identified with the crowd of sinners coming to be
baptized and not with the prophet John who was doing the baptizing.
the voice from heaven said to Jesus, "You are my beloved son, in whom I
am well pleased," the message was clearly intended for the multitude
with whom Jesus had identified by his baptism as well as for Jesus,
otherwise the multitude would not have heard it. Jesus always
identified with the outcasts, the unclean, and the rejected people of
his time. You can follow the human Jesus by simply doing what he
said: "I give you a new commandment that you love one another just as I
have loved you."
linking of the coming of the Spirit of God upon Jesus at his baptism
and the coming of the Spirit of God on all the nations at Pentecost in
Acts is a clear demonstration of the purpose of God in Jesus to link
with the average person and not with the religious professionals.
I cannot walk on water or turn water to wine, but I can follow Jesus in
accepting and lifting up rejected and despised people! I can love
and forgive people who hurt me! I can treat all people with equal
respect and encouragement! I can follow the human Jesus, and
THE SPIRIT HAS BEEN GIVEN
presence of people from every nation and the multiple languages at
Pentecost make it clear that the Spirit of Jesus has been given to the
entire human race and not just to those who know the formulas and can
recite the creeds! You are already created in the image of
God. The presence of God within you is in the very air you
breathe. You are alive because the breath of God is within
you. To find God, look within. Jesus has given you the
Spirit. To find the Jesus that fits your life, look within.
Nobody else can tell you who you are or who God is for you.
People who try to do that, whether preachers, teachers, priests or
denominations, are merely distractions and not in any way the voice of
God for you!
primary call of Jesus to you as an individual is to "let go and move
on!" That means letting go of anything that keeps you from being
your true self as YOU see yourself. It means letting go of any
religious pressures and abusive church teachings and demands that
demean you and make you hate and reject yourself. It means
sharing the good news of your own personal freedom to be yourself with
as many other people as you can. God is with you and within you,
and don't ever forget it!
A PERSONAL NOTE:
you very much for financial contributions that you have sent to help me
keep my website and e-mail ministry on the Internet! I still need
your help in whatever way you can offer it. You can mail
contributions directly to me or to Chi Rho Press as indicated in
Chi Rho Press contributions are tax free:
Click here and simply state the amount and say for Dr. Truluck.
Or you can send a check by mail to Chi Rho Press at
PO Box 7864
Gaithersburg, MD 20898, USA
Telephone: 301/926-1208 phone/fax
Order my book from Chi Rho Press:
Use my book to start your own small group home study for
dialogue and spiritual recovery from religious abuse.
ME to lead a conference, revival or workshop for your church or
association, group or community. Call me at 510-220-8743 or send
me e-mail so we can discuss a time and a plan. Thank you for
anything that you do to get the truth out to more of our people and to
the rest of the world.
Dr. Rembert Truluck
201 W. Washington St. #805
Greenville, SC 29601
August 8, 2004
Someone recently sent this website to me.
Look at it and realize why my website must remain on the Internet: http://www.leaderu.com/jhs/dallas.html
Click on "THE FACE OF JESUS IN ART:"
You can see all of the pictures in a quick slideshow. It takes a while.
The video is available from
See my website material on "JESUS BIBLE STUDIES":
(The first unit in this website page sets forth the basis for the book.)
The "JESUS SEMINAR"
Donald Spoto: "The Hidden Jesus":
"FREEDOM TO FLY AWAY"
Update for August 18, 2004
ESCAPE FROM ABUSIVE RELIGION
Livingston Seagull" was a wonderful fantasy several years ago that
invited you to fly away into the freedom of the sky with a little bird
who learned to be free and soar beyond where any bird had gone
before. It was a lot of fun. You can still get the slim
book about Jonathan Livingston Seagull and read and enjoy it for
yourself. (See link below.)
Livingston Seagull managed to escape from the boundaries and
limitations that ordinarily keep all birds bound to the earth and
prevents their real escape and freedom. You and I are bound by
culture, society, religion, churches, the Bible, tradition, and a
thousand natural and unnatural shocks that flesh is heir to. How
do we escape and "fly away?"
REAL FREEDOM IN JESUS
does freedom in Jesus and the "Christian" hope and promise of
liberation, forgiveness and rescue really mean? As I asked in my
recent update: "Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up!"
historical churches, theological education, Sunday School, modern
translations of "The Holy Bible," television religion, millions of
religious books and denominational propaganda and study literature, and
your own personal religious brain-washing by your parents, teachers and
others has failed you! Is there a way to fly away from the weight
and distress of religion that pulls you into the ground rather than
setting you free to fly away into the heavens? I think that there
is a better way.
within yourself. You are not a mistake. You are not a
terrible mess. You are created in the image of God and you
reflect the mind of God in your innermost self. The Spirit of
Jesus has been given to you in your birth as a human being. You
do not need to be "saved" by some ignorant misinformed self-serving,
manipulative evangelist whose grasp of the Bible is distorted and wrong
headed without any logic, objectivity, realism or practical application
to the real world.
TO LOOK WITHIN IS TO LOOK UP
is not out there somewhere or up there somewhere, but the real heaven
in which God dwells is already within you. You cannot run away
from yourself. To run away from yourself is to run away from your
real God within. The "Hound of Heaven" from whom you cannot
escape is already within you and is part of who and what you are as a
fully functioning thinking individual made in the image of God.
can never be free from God. But you can be set free from abusive
destructive religion. That is exactly what the real Jesus offers
to you with the persistent invitation: "Follow Me." That
invitation by Jesus is not an offer for you to become an angel or a
spiritual being but for you to become the fully human person you were
created to be.
become truly human as Jesus was is the ultimate goal of loving your
neighbor as yourself and accepting and affirming others who are
different from you. Jesus forgave his enemies. So can
you. Jesus loved and associated with outcasts and rejects of
life, so can you. Jesus brought out the best in people who hated
themselves. So can you.
THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH, NOT WORDS
is the human that God intends you to be, not the god that you cannot
hope to become in your wildest imagination. Jesus resisted
"playing god" when he asked John the Baptist to baptize him like all of
the other outcasts and sinners in the baptism line. Jesus refused
to "play god" when he was tempted to change stones into bread to
satisfy his hunger. Jesus celebrated his humanity throughout his
life and identified with you and me and not with the spiritual powers
and authorities. Jesus showed you how to be a real man, a real
woman, a real human whatever your sexual orientation might be.
Jesus is the pattern for being the real you.
are not exactly like any other person on earth. You are the
unique you. You were made and formed as a work of God because you
matter and you have a place to fill in this world that nobody else can
possibly fill. You are one of a kind. You are not a copy or
a duplicate of anything or anybody else. You are the only you
that will ever exist. Treasure your self. Recognize the
value that you have. Nobody else can ever be the person that God
has created you to be.
You are not Adam or
Eve or Steve; you are the individual that God created you to be and you
are not like any other human in the history of the world. What
you can do is unique to you. Be your real self. Celebrate
your own uniqueness. Nobody else has what you have. How
wonderful! You are beautifully and wonderfully made. Be the
human self that God created you to be. In that act, you follow
Jesus and are truly "Christian."
CELEBRATE AND ENJOY
and enjoy who you are. Look within your own heart and mind.
What you will find there is your own personal truth that can give you a
sense of direction and strength for living that is positive and healthy.
201 W. Washington St. #805
Greenville, SC 29601
There are thousands of references to "Jonathan Livingston
Seagull" online. This is one of the many:
NEWS: My son Russell and his wife Peggy have brought a wonderful baby
girl into the world. Ashley Lynn Truluck was born on August 7,
2004, weighing 7 pounds 13 ounces. Russell, Peggy and Ashley live
in Raleigh, NC. Here is the most recent picture of Ashley.