What If?

For the Winter Solstice a few years ago, I invited Kathleen Jenks, a professor of religious studies, to write something for a video I was working on. She graciously offered me her profound and beautiful poem "What If?" Our collaboration has been playing on YouTube ever since. You can watch it here or on YouTube; either way, watch it to the very end - it's got a coda!

On Kathleen's website, Mything Links, in a discussion of how Abraham, Moses, the Buddha, and other spiritual sages had lived into old age, she wrote: "How different Western civilization might be today if Jesus too had lived to be an elderly sage instead of dying such a violent, gruesome death -- a death that continues to foster what many view as a pornographic obsession with death, cruel military prowess, unceasing war, and the ceaselessly morphing attributes of economies built upon military/industrial might. At the risk of oversimplifying, let me point out that, like victims whose helpless terror drives them to identify emotionally with their oppressors (e.g., Stockholm, Muloccan Hostage, and Patty Hearst syndromes), the West has largely identified with the harsh, imperial role of ancient Rome instead of with a gentle, brilliant, compassionate man who chose stories instead of weapons to change the world. Did Jesus' approach work? No, not really. As one of my Pacifica colleagues, Dr. Lionel Corbett, once said, 'Christianity is a sane, beautiful, caring religion. Too bad it's never been tried.' "

Perhaps, at least for the next few weeks, we could give it a whirl.

What If?

Kathleen Jenks' Mything Links