Welcome to our second pause in Lent. Whilst managing to browse most of the contributions last week, I don't think I commented - this week I'll try to do better! You can find all the participants in the blog list to the left, and it's great to read around and find out what other people are thinking and doing as Lent progresses.
So, last week I considered that my role models are Christians. Despite my doubts, they have an enthusiasm, a vitality and an honesty that I want. This week is looking at the person who is central to Christianity: Jesus.
CS Lewis concluded that it would be impossible to invent Jesus. A popular example of an invented 'good person' is dear little Pollyanna. Or is that 'insufferable little Pollyanna'? Personally, I enjoyed those books and think the author had a good point. But Pollyanna is a bit irritating, you have to concede (don't you?) or at least we can concede that she is controversial - like Marmite, you love her or you hate her. I know this because my own family was divided in childhood over those books, and my own dear mum found Pollyanna insufferable! I think that the trouble is that one author (Eleanor H. Porter) just didn't have the scope to make a truly good person also truly loveable to all. There is sometimes an urge to shake such an annoyingly optimistic little ray of sunshine...
But I really don't think that anyone wants to shake Jesus. In the Gospel accounts he is truly good but also truly likeable. I remember one friend (we were in our twenties) who turned to me during a discussion and raged: 'I hate God, but I LOVE Jesus!' People who don't like authority, who don't trust religion, who have bad experiences of fathers or of men in general, may have a very bad feeling about how they imagine God, but they can't find much to say against Jesus. He draws people to him, through the written stories as in life. Do I really think that a bunch of variously-educated First Century men could have been the only people to ever successfully invent (or embroider) stories of a good person? I don't. I think that the reason for these stories of such a powerfully loving, counter-cultural, Godly person, is that he truly existed, and that he existed as the stories tell. No individual (or group) could invent him.
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