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The Gospel in BOXER shorts: Sheep & ScapeGOATS

In this second in this series for Passion Week (a.k.a, "Holy Week), we'll see that both Jesus and the Grateful Dead were comfortable hanging around with and caring for those on the fringes of their societies...

"When I left my home and my family

I was no more than a boy

In the company of strangers

In the quiet of the railway station

Running scared

Laying low, seeking out the poorer quarters

Where the ragged people go

Looking for the places

Only they would know"

--The Boxer - Simon & Garfunkel

Simon: Well I have an old friend who is coming out to join me tonight... I met him in 1967... I was coming up to the Haight-Ashbury to invite The Grateful Dead to join the Monterey Pop Festival. I knocked on the door of their house, and Bob Weir opened the door... and we've been friends ever since! But actually, this is our first duet! [from the next link]

...and those that followed them...


Grateful Goats: "Make Cheese, Not War"

Look at the publication date: TODAY! This is yet another in my ever-expanding occurrences of "I'm amazed...But not surprised"...

"After four years of newborns, the Timlakes had up to 13 goats at one point last year. And for many Deadheads, names like Rider, Cosmic Charlie and Iko might start ringing a bell. The farm name pays homage to the Grateful Dead band, and all the goats are named after the group’s songs. Farrell has followed the Grateful Dead, literally while they were on tour, since the 1980s and converted Laurie (his wife) to a Deadhead soon after they met." More at the next link.

Jesus, too, hung around and cared for those on the edges of society...Women, the poor, the powerless, the outsiders...

Theologian Jennifer Garcia Bashaw describes how the Gospels are liberating for the excluded and scapegoated:

From the inception of the Gospel narratives, we can see that they were not just stories written about a scapegoat—they were stories written by scapegoats…. When the [New Testament] authors told the stories of Jesus’s life or of the early church, they wrote and interpreted from this fringe position. The Gospel writers also focused on the stories of the marginalized…. These were the people Jesus taught, healed, and befriended in his life—the societal victims and outcast people who lived not only on the periphery of the empire but on the periphery of their own culture. The gospel story, then, is a story about a victim, written by victims, and featuring victims. It is good news for victims; it is a scapegoat’s gospel. [1]

Jesus’ death on the cross reveals the violence of scapegoating.

Jesus willingly becomes a scapegoat to draw attention to the scapegoaters; he submits to death on a cross to draw attention away from the scapegoats.… In his life, Jesus championed women, befriended and healed the poor and the disabled, and welcomed in the outsiders. In his death, Jesus becomes the woman, the infirmed, and the outsider. The Jesus who saved women from society’s shaming was himself publicly shamed, stripped naked, and despised. The Jesus who healed sick and disabled bodies became disabled himself, flesh pierced and torn, weakened and held captive by nails and his failing body.…

If Jesus’s life reversed the fate of victims he had met, then his death reverses the fate of future victims. He becomes the scapegoat to end all scapegoats—and exposes the truth that could end human blame and violence once and for all.

As they tell the Jesus story, the Gospel writers ensure that followers of Jesus see his scapegoat death for what it is…. They show us the innocence of Jesus so that we might recognize the innocence of all scapegoat victims before it is too late…. After Jesus became a victim on the cross, exposing the scapegoat mechanism and its fatal effects, the story is carried forward by the scapegoats of Jesus’s society. It is the women disciples who discover the tomb (Mark 16:1–8; Matthew 28:1–10; Luke 24:1–11; John 20:1–18) and become the first witnesses to the resurrection and the first evangelists to carry the news to other Jesus-followers. [2]

Jesus’ death compels us to join in solidarity with the scapegoated. Bashaw continues:

Without a clear comprehension of Jesus’s pattern of life and death, those of us who follow Jesus can unknowingly become the ones who scapegoat rather than the ones who follow the scapegoat. When we enter the story of Jesus with an eye on society’s victims, however, we can grasp more fully the life, ministry, and death of the scapegoat that was supposed to end all scapegoats—Jesus. Maybe then we can stop creating scapegoats and work on their behalf instead. [3]

Who's to Blame? Women, black cats, liberals, conservatives, Jews, Christians...Muslims...and the beat(ing) goes on...

  • The early pilgrims to the USA brought a religious superstition to its shores that

resulted in wariness of anything not defined in their worldview. 

  • Black cats were among their targets in looking for explanations for disasters. Unfortunately, this irrational belief lingers to this day as black cats are five times more likely to be euthanised and continue to be subjected to horrendous abuse.

  • Scapegoating women is as old as the story of Adam and Eve. Alexis Carrel blamed the shambles and ageing of a post World War I France on women, for they had “ceased to obey the law that binds them to the propagation of the human race.” The Spanish Civil war was blamed on women whose “vaginas had given birth to republican filth.” From the Laws of Manu to early Christian apologists like Tertullian to the Buddhist thinker Santideva, men found solace in blaming women for their desires. Women were called evil and confined to the home, as society needed to be protected. Jack Holland in his book Misogyny: The World’s Oldest Prejudice argues that women are the universal scapegoat of history.

Source: Next link


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