by Kathleen Rose Winter
One of the youngsters who I communicate with and counsel was missing for almost a month. Since she has a pattern of doing this, I was only a little worried. She often ends up in jail. I just waited for her return. This young woman impressed me because she wrote a moving piece on hate and how it personally affects her as a young lesbian. We spoke about this piece and discussed the ramifications of hate. When I saw the youngster again, I was surprised to discover that she had been in jail for a hate crime...she was involved in vandalizing a synagogue.
I held back on lecturing her about hate. I asked her why she did it and she replied, "Because they killed Jesus." This is a litany I have heard all of my life...Individuals who worship a Jew, while hating Jewish people, because they believe that "Jews killed Christ." That is a pretty significant accusation when one considers that Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the manifestation of God here on earth...essentially God. I, individually or as belonging to a group, would not want to be accused and judged as killing anyone's God.
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When I asked her to explain Jesus and Christianity, she was vague, inaccurate, incorrect, and confused about Jesus and the practice of Christianity. She responded, that Jewish people "they think they are the 'chosen people.'" I told her that according to the ( Hebrew ) Bible ( Old Testament ) , God had made them the "chosen people." According to Steven Molin, in his work "A is for Advent-Daily Devotions," "The Jews were ( and are! ) God's chosen people. We do not know why, but we cannot argue with the biblical evidence the God chose the Jews." Molin continues with, "Gentiles were outsiders. But Christmas changed all of that!"
I'm not going to argue any political aspects of religion. God and Jesus are not politicians. Human beings, in all their beauty and imperfection, turned the sacred worship and love of God into politics. So please keep me out of the religious wars. I just want to say some things that I have thought over, studied, and worried over. The Holy Spirit of my Parent, God and Jesus has compelled me to bring the thoughts of my troubled soul to write about this situation of hate. The following is the teaching of Christianity. I am practicing to be a Christian, so therefore I write about it. This does not mean that I invalidate any other religion, faith, or spiritual actions by other people. According to my religion, Christianity, I am mandated by God and Jesus to love everyone, do no hate or harm, and respect all people. ( That is why Christianity is a practice. It's so hard to follow Jesus, that everyday one must ask for forgiveness and try to follow the teaching of Christ. The practice never ends and is usually imperfect. )
It was mandated by God, for Jesus to be born only to die for the sins of everyone. He was supposed to die. If He did not, there would be no Christianity. No one group of people can be blamed for what God made destined to happen. Jesus was a Jew, and here on earth as God manifested in flesh. His people were Jewish ( some who after His death and resurrection followed his teaching and became Christians ) . It was only natural for Jesus' own people to question and resist Him. Remember that an individual is usually more vulnerable to the people closest to him or her. So Jewish people had issues about Jesus. These issues were basically innocuous because the Jews were under the control of ancient Rome. They had no power. Therefore anything they did or said did not have power unless Rome approved.
If you consider, at the point where Jesus was tried and then sentenced to crucifixion, Pontius Pilate, a Roman leader, had the power to make the final decision. He decided to ignore the irrationality of a mob ( probably not unlike the mobs that surrounded my Black ancestors as they hung from trees and became "Strangefruit" ) . Pilate, as a leader, made a decision, using poor judgment...he did not want to be involved in the "politics" of the Jewish people. After making the ultimate decision to crucify Jesus, he made an elaborate show of "washing his hands" of the blood of Christ; absolving himself and Rome of any responsibility for the blood of Christ. Why isn't anyone calling the ancient Romans or the present-day Italians "Christ killers"? I'm not trying to infuriate any one group...I am only trying to give people the opportunity to THINK about what they believe.
As Advent ( the coming of ) is in motion, and as Christians wait to celebrate the birth of our savior, we should at least be able to follow a basic teaching of Jesus Christ; "Love your neighbor as yourself." ( Matthew 22:39 ) I know that this can sometimes be impossible, but the least we Christians can do is not hate. Ultimately, in order to practice Christianity, one must learn from the Bible, which includes the Hebrew Bible ( the Old Testament ) ...the word of God for Jews. Advent is the time to reinvent ourselves, so that we can honor God through respect, devotion, love, and as Christians, through the Prince of PEACE, Jesus Christ.
I am not a theologian, just someone trying ( with imperfection ) to be a Christian. If I or anyone else cannot try to follow the word of the Lord, we cannot celebrate His birth. Peace.