Christianity's first super-salesman, Paul of Tarsus, never met any man named Jesus of Nazareth. This doesn't seem to bother Christians, learned or not. But then neither does the conclusion that the Gospels were written by men who never met Jesus. This is according to Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy in their 1999 book "The Jesus Mysteries". Some of the most respected theologians are now admitting that evidence of a historical Jesus is nonexistent. There are no extant writings by Jesus. No genealogy of his parents. No records that Pontius Pilate figured into a crucifixion of a Jesus. The Gospel of Mark was written some 70 years after the Jesus figure supposedly died and that is the oldest of the Gospels. Believe as you want, but don't represent your articles of faith as facts, please.
Myths serve a valuable function. Santa Claus represents the finest of human values. Kwannin Kwannon, the great Bodhisattva of inexhaustible compassion, is a purely mythic figure but inspires millions to emulate his divine behavior. There are many compassionate female divine figures from cultures the world over that just aren't as well known or popular in paternalistic societies like ours. We might do well to learn more about them and teach such information in comparative cultures classes.
In your personal world view: If the figure of Christ were to set foot on earth, would he or she speak English, Aramaic, Mandarin? If this Godhead speaks, I trust it is the universal language of compassion. Actions speak louder than Gospels.
I wrote a letter several years ago that turned out so well I am about to write a similar one.
Maurice Trask is a longtime Shriner devoted to fund raising for the Shriners Children's Hospital in Minneapolis.
Maury now uses a wheelchair in Station 5 at Bethany Care Center in Brainerd.
He has a birthday coming up on December 16.
I would like to see him remembered with cards and visits.
His hearing is not good, but he has a writing pad.
A warm feeling
Over the years, I have learned all the way from my youth through time in the service, and time in the fire service, that one of the finest and most unselfish charitable organizations in this country is the Salvation Army.
At this time of year, it seems they always have trouble getting volunteers to come out and ring the bell for them, so they can make sure the needy have a Merry Christmas. The fraternal and service organizations always help out, but that is not enough. I have been doing it for over 30 years.
It just occurred to me, that maybe some of you second, third, and fourth generation welfare recipients could volunteer a few hours of your "free" time to this cause. You don't get paid for it, but it does give you a warm feeling to know that you have given of your time, instead of receiving all the time.
Jim Falconer, Sr.
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