Welcome to another Sunday sermon from The Revenant. Before I begin, I’d like to apologize for not having a sermon last week. I had meant to prepare this sermon for last week, but we were away on family business and I didn’t have ready access to a computer.
For this week I’d like to discuss events and opinions surrounding a Christian (and Muslim) event that has come to media attention in recent weeks. Namely, the claim of, and subsequent world reaction to, Australian AJ Millar, who states that he is Jesus Christ reincarnated.
On the chance you haven’t heard the news, here are a few links, including the first story I saw, and an interview with Miller himself by an Los Angeles radio station.
- Sky News report
- YouTube report #1
- YouTube interview #2 (in my opinion, the interviewer got owned in this interview)
The first thing to note is that AJ Miller is not the first person in the last 1900 years to claim to be Jesus, and he probably won’t be the last (unless he is right, in which case the Book of Revelationsuggests the world might be in trouble).
The first, and most important, thing to note about AJ’s claim is that he is adamant about having people understand that he is not God (despite the Christian believe in the holy trinity). He says that the bible was written by people, not God, and has possibly done harm to human-God relations by portraying God in a negative light.
Fair enough on this point. As I’ve highlighted in the previous two sermons, one doesn’t finish reading the bible and start thinking ‘what a wonderful being, how great it was that he killed so many of us’. Generally people are introduced to religion and then try and make the events of the bible fit their beliefs. Which often takes a lot of twisting of meaning and words.
The second part, that follows from this claim, is that Jesus is just a man. In the past, he was able to achieve miracles by ‘attaining oneness with God’, a process that took around 13 years the first time. He claims to be about 8 years into the process this time.
What’s interesting to me is that this very different from what most people believe, and expect of Jesus — something he realizes and emphasizes. And that it almost feels like a Buddhist Jesus (the process of awakening).
I think it’s also important to note that, while he gives seminars on his life and how he’s come to understand what he does, and he has followers, there is no coercion on his part, there are no brainwashing mind games, or hard sell tactics. People come and go from him of and by their own free will.
All things considered, if I was a Christian and learned Jesus was back, I wouldn’t be disappointed if it was this guy.
So what’s the problem?
Well, if he makes his followers happy, and doesn’t place any crazy demands on them, then I don’t see a problem. Live and let live. He’s as good a candidate as any.
Unfortunately, many Christians, in addition to the Christian-dominated western media, do not see it this way. Whether they see him as a threat to their power structure, are concerned because they didn’t feel invited to the party, are bothered because he’s Australian instead of American, or feel he should be arriving with fire and brimstone, many people have taken a dislike to his claim.
Of course, these same Christians seem to forget that most people also took a dislike to Jesus’s claim 2000 years ago. So if AJ is Jesus, these self-styled Christian gatekeeprs will now be playing the part of the Jewish and Roman establishments (you know, the ones that killed Jesus).
I think what the whole issue comes down to, and exposes like a raw nerve, is the three sides of a religion like Christianity.
- Those Christians who don’t truly believe, and thus will never accept Jesus’s return. They’re kind of like athiests in pious clothing.
- Those who favour a kind, loving God who would bring Jesus back to teach a positive way to come to Heaven.
- The so-called cult of destruction. Those Christians who, secretly or openly, wish, dream, hope for the destruction of the world, armageddon, the apocalypse, a time when God’s wrath walks the Earth (and yes, I have known some of these).
Of the three types, it’s the third that no one talks of, but are clearly the most dangerous (and, obviously, they don’t just exist in Christianity). It is this group that revels in God the domineering father figure, God the punisher of the wicked (who, of course, is everyone but themselves), God the destroyer. And it is this group that keeps me up at night worrying that, as we become ever more powerful with our control over the universe, one of them will feel his God is working too slowly and will take matters in to his own hands.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I’ve looked into the face of God, and He is us.
Insight and longevity,