I am not a Christian. That is not a defiant statement; it’s a neutral one. I offer this up front to avoid any misunderstanding.
But that said, I am an American, and Christianity is the dominant faith in this country, though of course I know that there exist multiple denominations, in addition to the basic Catholic/Protestant divide.
But my point is this – it’s impossible to have been born and raised and lived out the bulk of one’s life in the USA and not have some sort of relationship with – or feeling about – Jesus Christ – or let’s just say, the concept of Christ, if you will.
Here is what I’m pretty sure I know:
Jesus Christ has been the inspiration for – and continues to inspire – breathtakingly gracious acts of compassion, self-sacrifice, humility, kindness, and amazing art, including many forms of music, much of which has moved me to my core (and still does).
The name of Jesus has also been, and continues to be, employed as a warrant for intolerance, authoritarianism, and atrocious deeds, here, now, and at other times and in other places.
And here is what I know for a fact:
There is a story out there that Jesus suffered and died for all of humanity’s sins. Implicit in that story is the premise that sins require some form of payment in the form of punishment and pain. And Jesus took on ALL of that punishment on behalf of us ALL, so that we might repent but not have to suffer as He did.
The image of Jesus on the cross then represents – to me – the image of a single soul performing one supreme act of sacrifice to save all of humanity in one swoop.
This archetype, I feel, misleads us. I feel that it inaccurately symbolizes the human predicament. I believe we need millions of saviors, not just one. And I believe we must start with ourselves.
What We Need to Be Saved From
We need to be saved from climate change. We need to be saved from war. We need to be saved from drought, famine, and chaos. Many of us need to be saved from poverty. Many of us need to be saved from various forms of abuse and violence. Some of us need to be saved from preventable diseases. All of us need to be saved from toxic misinformation.
I need to be saved from my self-punishing thoughts. (Maybe you need to be saved from yours too.)
I fervently believe that, most of all, we need to be saved from self-condemnation, from the deep-seeded idea that we deserve to suffer and that we are “sinful.”
I wonder if we’d be inexorably despoiling our earthly home absent that (largely) unexamined assumption.
What if you absolutely knew you were forgiven EVERYTHING you ever did, or thought, or thought you did, all the way up to this moment? What if you knew in your heart that you are perfectly innocent, and so is everyone else? What would you do then?
I feel that to the extent we forgive ourselves, we can start to save the world.
The Facebook Page Is Up
The Imperfect Offerings/Little Sacrifices Facebook page is up now. Please visit and share your own sacrifice and/or prayer as you are moved.
The website will be a while yet. I’ll keep you posted of course. (Hey, does anybody out there do web design, and want to help? J )
Each little thing I give up, each little sacrifice is a prayer, a prayer for a “good outcome,” and a prayer for meaning to my life beyond the concerns of my individual self and my tiny personal sphere of loved ones.
A movement to express, with our lives, that we care about humanity’s future will not be a silver bullet that saves the planet.
It may help though. It may be one cool thing among many that are happening.
As I say, I think the world needs LOTS of saviors, and maybe this is one way of making a start to save ourselves.