The Rebel Jesus – Advent Greetings from a Heathen and a Pagan

From the very first time I heard it, Jackson Browne’s “Rebel Jesus” has haunted me. In a season dominated by nostalgia, Browne’s stark view of the historical Jesus calls us to remember the one who stood with the poor and the oppressed, the outcast and the wounded. As we enter the season of Advent, can we hold nostalgia at bay long enough to engage our deepest longings and desires for peace? Not some nostalgic peace that stretches only so far as our own needs, or our own loved ones, but the peace that embraces those beyond our circles of care? Can our compassion for the earth and all her creatures move us beyond the idol we have made of the baby in the manger, toward the complexity of embracing the desires and longings of a rebel we probably wouldn’t want to entertain at our festive gatherings? Or will our seasonal madness crucify the rebel once again? 

This year, like all the rest, my challenge is to live somewhere within the tension created by the rebel Jesus and the one his contemporary detractors condemned as a glutton and a drunkard; between choosing life and recognizing my culpability in the cries of the ones still waiting for us to join the rebellion. 

Advent is a time of waiting in the darkness…if we dare…trusting that the light will come…knowing that the light needs reflectors in order to dispel the darkness!  May your Advent be filled with the challenges of rebellion!