Thursday, March 01, 2007

What if it's us?

I don't know if the Catholic Church still believes this - and if they do, let me know - but I do know that at one time they believed that that perhaps the most persuasive evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ was the Church itself. I think the reasoning was that in the Church you have a community wholly committed to the kingdom of God and inviting people to live in that kingdom. The significant part of this community is that the kingdom it is a part of is about blessing everyone including the poor in heart, the downtrodden, the weak, those who torture themselves because of their lack of righteousness, and so many more people who are disenfranchised from the community they were born into. This is a beautiful and complete apologetic to the reality of the Gospel, which is the good news that the war is over between God and humanity and that His goodness is now available to all of us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, His son.

Yesterday a friend of mine told me about this new documentary on the Discover Channel in which they examine what has been called The Jesus Family Tomb. Evidently some archeologists found a tomb with some bone boxes in it marked with the names of Joseph, Mary, Jesus, Mary, and Judas the Son of Jesus in 1980.

So, what do these two stories have in common? I am saddened that so many people are willing to run off in search of alternate explanations for the life and death of Jesus. The gospel stories of Jesus are beautiful and I just can't understand why someone would not want to believe them.

Many people would blame the energy and effort in searching for the "real Jesus" on some sort of liberal conspiracy. Others might blame the search on secular humanism and a materialistic worldview. Still, there are those who would say that the cause is sin and willful disobedience to the truth - "they just don't want to believe it because if they did, then there would be some consequences."

And I suppose all of these theories could adequately explain the desire to dig-up-dirt on Jesus. But I think it starts with the Church: The living, breathing body of Christ on Earth. I wonder if people are spending millions of dollars on articles and documentaries and Hollywood productions that come at Jesus from a non-traditional angle not because of their world view, their political leanings, or the sin in their heart, but because the Church no longer embodies the life of Christ. I wonder if people look at our story, look at our lives and think, "It has to be a fairy tale." So, off they go to look for the "real Jesus."