Vignettes for June: Will the real Jesus Christ please stand up?

Letting Go vs Let it Be I am grateful that I do have the time and grace and mind and heart and soul and body to know that there are flaws in the engine. Things are going to break down, and it’s not going to be what we want it to be. Things are not always going to be as they were. And we cannot have all that we want. And I am grateful that I am a huge fan of “The Beatles”. They broke up long ago, and people would yearn for them to return to the way they were. For decades, they would pine for them to come back and bring us the joy we found in their music. But I believe they told us all along how it should be. They sang “Let it Be.” And we find that letting go is hard to do. But to “Let it Be” is an even harder task. “Let it Be” is just another way of saying Let me Be. Let it go and let it be are two distinctly different things. And both are some of the hardest things we can do. By letting go, we acknowledge the past and faults and our own broken souls  and dreams that have been battered and yet survived. By letting things be, we know the future will unfold as the universe has intended in some mysterious way. And we must let it be as God intended, and as the plot should unfold. We, as writers, sometimes imagine there are multiple universes hidden inside the shell of our brain. I may invent plots that play out as dreamscapes but I know I will never realize most of them on a conscious level. Yet still they unfold and are elusive and I have to let it be. And I have to tell myself that not all things are meant to be. And not all unrealized dreams are failures. When Failure IS an option! Failure is not an option is one of the mantras I hear a lot. Sometimes failure IS an option. But you don’t give up, you try again! That is the lesson learned. When Failure isn’t an option, but giving up is! The important thing is to try. Try new things and do new things till there is no more left to do and you have exhausted all your ‘what if’s’ and “If’s, And’s, or But’s.’ You may then conclude there is nothing left to do. From sheer exhaustion, sometimes we just give up. When failure is an option, we can give up. We allow ourselves to let go and let it be. Sometimes there is failure and we still can’t give up. It’s not always that easy…It’s helpful when giving up is an option! Not just fear of failure but…  One of the greatest moments in Apollo & NASA space history was getting those men back to Earth after a massive failure of equipment during their space flight. “Failure is not an option” was their tag line. And they didn’t fail in their mission to get the guys home; but Failure is ALWAYS an option on the table. Human failure is that which we don’t know. Will the real Jesus Christ please stand up? There are so many interpretations and guises that we see cloaked in the moniker of ‘Christianity.”  I suppose we could set up a game show much like the one we had in the fifties called, “What’s My Line?”  Three different men in costumes would sit on a panel and they would present different texts and guises where -in the name of Christianity-they could say they represent all that is pure and is right and is noble in this world. Some of them are dedicated to the cause of making money. Others are true believers who would just love to believe in something! We are all seeking the truth and the light that we see when we look at the core of the Christian message coming from the real Christ. It was a simple message-Love one another. Do right by others….I have often just called it: “The Zen Christ.” It’s the Living Christ, the one we need to pull into the 21st Century. Still just musing about what Christianity means and does NOT mean to so many disenchanted people, we begin to realize how his message is misinterpreted by so many. It is a messaging problem for the 21st Century that even supersedes our current disinformation problems in American Democracy. I have long concluded that this messaging problem is ripe for those who are fanciful (such as writers and those with creative imaginations.)  We can just imagine a religion that is full of visions and stuffed with wonders. And if you looked long enough to see all that is found in the Bible, it’s easy to see how many could misinterpret the basis for the religion. And it is even better to remind all that it can be boiled down to the simplest of phrases- Love One Another. It’s a simple line-Love One Another. Simple enough to put on a T-Shirt or a baseball cap or slap on a bumper sticker. That is the way we are in modern times…we market our religion. And simple messaging is key. One of my favorite lines from the musical, “Jesus Christ Superstar” is the question that Judas asks: “Why’d you pick such a backward time and such a strange land? If you’d come today, you could have reached a whole nation-Israel in 4 BC had no Mass Communication!” The fact of the real Jesus Christ boils down to this: Someone dies and sacrifices himself for others. That is a very human condition.  It is a sad fact of the fate of Man…but it’s a very human thing. We can all understand it. But speaking as a writer of fiction, if there was a story or fable written…and it was distributed  throughout the cosmos, then humans would always suffer the same

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