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Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Hatred Sickness

This morning I weep. The news. Oh no. A shooter in a synagogue in Pittsburg. The shooter apparently shouted hate against Jews as he killed and wounded worshippers and police. How can I not weep?

People throw around the word "hate" on frivolous things such as broccoli or opposing sports teams. But this morning full fledged hate is on display.

It began in antiquity, the hating of people or groups that are outsiders, the other, not us, not the in group. It began in Christianity as it morphed from the original teachings into something else in response to the march of history. What began as a Jewish thing, separated and then turned on its parent religion.

So much happened. The Romans got angry and demolished the Temple in Jerusalem and most of the city and most of the people. About 88 CE the followers of The Way and the synagogues parted ways. It has been said by scholars that the loss of the Temple, the center point of Judaism, the House of God, sent the rabbis into protecting their written scriptures and into strong orthodoxy.

We can see the march of antisemitism from Mark, the first Gospel and with no such sentiment, to John, the last Gospel written near the end of the first century and packed with antisemitism. He blamed the Jews for the crucifixion.

The Jews did NOT crucify Jesus. Only the Romans crucified and only for sedition. The emperor was king, not Jesus, and the idea of this upstart competing with Caesar was too much. Jesus may have upset the balance within Judaism, but only Rome could crucify. Pilot was a violent man. The people were never consulted on who to crucify or on Pilot's decisions. It was Passover time, and the people were agitated remembering the Exodus from captivity and again being captives, this time to Rome. Pilot could not tolerate any demonstrations or upheavals, such as the Palm Sunday celebration and the Temple courtyard overturning of tables and booths. He might start a major revolution. He had to die according to Roman thought.

As The Way moved out into non-Jewish  circles, to the gentiles of the Roman Mediterranean, it was not safe to blame the all-powerful Rome. John and others shifted the blame away from Rome to Jesus' own people.

Strangely, Paul made his theology mostly about the crucifixion and resurrection, practically ignoring the way to live a spiritual life taught by Jesus. Just reread Mark, for example,  and notice the guidance Jesus gave.

Over the centuries the teachings hardened into  theology often opposite of the first teachings. And we see pogroms, gas chambers, and moments like today, opposite of love, forgiveness, kindness, generosity, etc.

This is an extremely simplified history, of course. I encourage you to delve into it for more detail. There are many fine and readable scholarly books, websites and YouTube videos. In other words, don't just take my word for it.

Sacred Presence, touch our core with  Your Light and Wisdom. Lead us to peer at life through Spiritual eyes. Lead us to walk The Way with gentleness and kindness. Teach us to love as You Love.

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