an uncomfortable gospel (revisited)

I wrote this a while back for Amber's blog.  There are themes in it that we have been discussing, so I'm reposting it here. ___________________________________

I wish Jesus would have said, "it is easier for a camel to walk into heaven than for a rich man to walk through the eye of the needle." Then, we could all move to the middle east and hitch a ride with the nearest caravan.

I wish Jesus would have said only "love the Lord your God with all your mind and strength." Then, doctrine and moral uprightness would justify our exclusivity, our honor for a good Pharisee.

I wish Jesus would have said "render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesars and leave a tenth for me." Then, by my estimation, I’d get to keep about sixty-five to seventy-five percent of my honest-day’s wage, depending on my current tax bracket.

I wish Jesus would have said, "go give your pops a proper funeral before you follow me." Then, I could hold out until my dad dies.

I wish Jesus would have said, "unless you eat a cracker and drink some unfermented grape juice once every four months or so, you have no life in you." Then ritual would take the place of metaphor, making my Sunday mornings much more appetizing, though admittedly less intoxicating.

I wish Jesus would not have said, "if any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sister, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." Then, I could continue to elevate country, politics, holy wars, and my opinion of each over the homesickness of faith.

This space is difficult and uncomfortable. But no matter how hard I try, I cannot stretch myself thread-thin. I am part of a people. And we are all trapped between earth and the eye of a very small needle.