Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Nice Ass

I will spare my reader a link explaining the usual meaing of the phrase "nice ass". I have seen many of them in my day. They tend to be very alluring and we tend to be drawn to them as if by some uncontrollable force.

There is this strangely reigning idea that Jesus was a nice-ass, eerr, nice guy. That he was this passive sheep with arms open wide to anyone willing to manipulate him into their force-field of niceness over which they could not manage to gain control. Is that why he turned the tables over of all the money changers in the Temple? Is that why he healed people on the Sabbath, something that was against the Law that only those in positions of "authority" (other than the Messiah) would have had the power to "authorize" - thereby directly challenging their power and authority? Is that why everyone who came to "bring him in" to the authorities, to the "precinct" if you will, came back to the "precinct" saying, "Uuhh, sir, we know you asked us to bring him in, but we've never heard anyone speak like that before. He's too powerful. Good luck on your ventures reigning him in." Jesus wasn't the sheep, but the shepheard. Not the nice guy who behaves well and follows instructions well (in fact he was considered "a drunkard and a winebibber"). Not the guy who relies on the system (the system that corrupts the Temple), but they guy who challenges it - to the point of death.

The stakes of the game asking us to be the "nice guy" are indeed high. Whole-hearted entrance into the game of the illusory "nice-guy" means success, ease, and acceptance by all others who play. But are they for you or against you? Who's willing to play the "right" card, exchanging his death card for the Life one given originally? I must ask, am I - the perennial front-runner for the "nice guy" award, the one who conforms to whatever form by which I find mself surrounded - willing to do that? What do you see in the eyes of the one who stares you in the mirror? In Jesus I see a raging fire. A barbarian unwilling to conform to the duties of the Roman pontiff nor the hypocracy of the Jewish "aurhorities". Fires catch on all things that are dry and seek a quenching to their thirst. Game or Reality? Fire or water? Life or Death?

Imagine a table of 12 big mean men playing poker, drinking, laughing and having a good 'ol time, trying their best to take each other's money. Each intent on using their cards to play the best possible hand, putting an incredible amount of energy into deciding whether to stay in or fold. All the while still drinking and laughing as if the pouring forth of such energy were easy. Of course those are the only options, right - raise or fold? Raise or fold? What if there was a whole other card, one that no one saw in the deck when the game started but that was responsibile for the existence of the game in the first place. One by which, when laid on the table, effectively ended your enslavement to the game and its highly-limited set of not-so-great options. What if someone playing the game actually asked his fellow players whether any of them had this card? Could you imagine the looks on their faces? Astonishment. "Are you crazy?" Such a card would mean the very end of our game! No more smiling. No more drinking. No more laughing while secretly hoping to kill each other!

Now what if such a "card" not only exists but is the Reality encompassing the game, the scene that sets the possibility for the very existence of a game, but that completely annihilates the need or desire for the game, due to entrance into the Reality? Would you play it? Are you mean enough to end the game of the friends who want to kill you?

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