This is Mark’s third imaginary interview with Jesus. You can find the first two here and here.
Mark: You look troubled.
Jesus: I am. I have something I want to say to you.
Mark: Are you disappointed in me?
Jesus: No. But I need to explain something to you.
Jesus: Mark, as I told you before, many people have the wrong idea about me… many misconceptions.
Mark: Yeah. I know.
Jesus: Look, do you know, that when I was here, they called me “Rabbi.” It means teacher. Maybe you’ve heard the old saying, “Those who can’t… teach. Those who can… do?”
Mark: Yes. I’ve heard that before.
Jesus: Well, I did come here to save you, as they say. But not the way they think. But what I mean to say really is, that if I had the power to save you, I still wouldn’t. Mark, I am the messenger, not the message. I only came to teach and to show the way. I am not… “the way.”
Mark: Why wouldn’t you save everyone if you could?
Jesus: Because I believe in freedom. My Father believes in freedom. You have the freedom and the power to choose. I came to tell you that you can choose freedom. But it is up to you to choose it, to be it. I taught you how to think about it. And you know when I say the word “you” I’m not talking specifically about you. I’m talking about anyone who is interested in what I have to say.
Listen. You know, it’s like this. When you are poor and hungry and have been insulted, cheated, and “dissed,” at some point you say to yourself, I have nothing to lose. I’m ready to fight to regain my dignity. But then you look in the mirror and realize you are also tired and hungry and you have no money and very little resources. But the people and the consciousness you would like to fight are strong and powerful. And it seems that everyone who stands up gets beat down. And you think it is hopeless and everyone around you thinks it is hopeless too. And you regret that you didn’t fight when you were younger or stronger. And if you fight with weapons and bullets you know you will lose. They have more weapons and bullets than you do. And you will never get what you want by killing people. It's a bad business.
You know, you have to use your brain, and your heart, and your courage, and your honor, and your humanity… not guns and bombs. You have these things. You are endowed with them. They are part of you. You just have to trust me on this one. You have these ‘weapons,’ and that's all you need to win. They don't understand that... yet. Bullies are cowards. They hide behind their money or position or whatever advantage they think they have. But I'm not saying they’re stupid.
You know the people who would take what you have are not stupid. They will not threaten everyone all at once. And they will not try to take everything from you all at once. What they will do is attack the weak first and even then just a little bit at a time, inch by inch, whatever they think they can get away with without losing ground. And the reason they do that is they know the weak are too weak to put up a good defense. And they figure, that those who are a little better off will not be willing to take the risk of defending the beleaguered... that they won’t defend them because people are afraid to lose what they have, even though they know the weak are being mistreated and it isn't right. This is how they set the game up.
So, you know, the bullies will make up stories that sound good and claim to justify what they are doing hoping that those who are afraid to risk what they have will buy into those stories and use them as a convenient escape from the harsh reality. And so many fall prey to that trap and do nothing, or help others only in ways that don’t take a risk.
Real help would be to challenge the status quo, to acknowledge the truth of what they see. But instead of that they appease themselves. They do something though… some of them. They “help” by forming charities and the like. I mean, truly these organizations sometimes do help people who need it, but it doesn’t challenge or change the system. (As you can see, I’ve learned to speak your lingo after all these years.) I didn’t quite say it that way back when. Anyway, they make themselves busy helping others, but they are not willing to challenge the overall dynamic -- the ubiquitous system that keeps it all in place. So the poor stay poor and those who are better off do charitable work. It’s better than nothing, but it doesn’t get to the heart of the matter.
Nobody wants to risk what they have... to take on “The Man.” But little by little failure to take a risk in the present makes it even more difficult to take a risk down the road… because the system becomes more entrenched as it persists and demoralizes more people.
But, anyway, this is how it works. And so people appease themselves with their charitable work but the system continues to degrade the commons and more of those who were once at risk, fall off the edge, thereby adding to the rolls of the poor. The rich and powerful become even more rich and powerful… inch by inch. And inch by inch members of your so-called middle class slip into the ranks of a poorer class.
And those who are conscious of what is going on write their commentaries, like you do. And some of you call your audience “sheeple” because you don’t see the general public rising up or trying to help. But the truth is they are not sheep any more than you are. I know what’s going on with you. You give people an excuse not to help because you insult them in a way. You think they ought to do the right thing even though the way you talk ticks them off or sounds too radical for ready acceptance. It just gives you an excuse to still make them wrong. You purposely give them an excuse, weak as it is, to do nothing so you can continue to make them wrong and/or try to manipulate them with guilt.
Anyway, you know, your middle class is shrinking. Your poor are growing. Your rich are getting richer. Your leaders are causing havoc in the world as they try to shore up their power and influence and take control of the world’s dwindling resources. There's a lot of cruelty and injustice going on right now. This you know.
So everyone is afraid of losing what they still have, what they struggle every day to hold onto. Even you. They see other people losing and they see no real universal movement to stop the slaughter and they wonder, what’s the point of trying. Why not just hunker down. In fact, it’s becoming harder and harder to try as your ruling class continues to take their inch by inch at an accelerated pace.
Mark: Well, I know all this… I think. But… Well…
Mark: I told them what I thought I knew and needed to say. I am not a leader. I don’t want to be a leader. I don’t want to fight. I’m not afraid to die.
Jesus: Are you afraid to live?
Mark: I don’t know how. My life is a waste. Sometimes I think it’s more helpful to pretend none of this is going on. I don’t like to tell people they should stop what they are doing… or to stop believing what they seem to believe so strongly. Sometimes I think the only chance we have is if these people just continue to believe what they believe… that they are still free, that the Constitution still operates, that their own government loves them, that their enemy are foreign terrorists and not their own countrymen. At least believing that, they still have something to hang onto… even if it’s fantasy. I don’t know what to say to you. What do you suggest I do? What do you want me to say.
Jesus: What do you want to do?
Mark: I don’t know.
Jesus: Hey Mark. People go to church every week and pray to me. They want to be saved. They say I’m their savior. What do you want me to say. They think that believing in me is going to save them when I told them that the only thing that will save them is to believe in what I taught and in themselves… not in me, per se. Of course a lot of them don’t really know what I taught. They’ve been misinformed, misdirected. Some of them think I’m going to beam them up to heaven, and life will then be one big joyful experience with me handling all the tough problems or decisions that come along for all eternity. Soon too. A lot of these people are just like the bullies I’ve been talking about. You know, you don’t have to be rich to be a bully. If you made a lot of poor people rich, they would behave just like mythical rich people behave. You know, not all rich people are bullies. People are not defined by the amount of their wealth. You don’t have to be wealthy to spend your time on childish things. Anyway, a lot of these people who pray to me… a lot of them don’t have a clue. People are where they are. I still love them.
Mark: I’m sorry. I still don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I’ll tell them what you said. Is that what you wanted to talk to me about? I’m sorry. I don’t mean to sound like I don’t appreciate what you said. I’ll print what you said.
Jesus: You do that. And tell them when they are able to see the pattern here that I described, and understand where this is heading, and want to do something about it, I’ll be there. That’s my job… Rabbi. But they have to choose it. Be it. Live it. I’m not coming back. You know why? I never left. When people want to be free more than they want anything else in the world, they will be. They will find a way. If you can't tell the truth, if you won't tell the truth, if you're afraid to tell the truth, you're not free. And if others have lost their freedom, yours is at risk.
Mark, you’ve gone this far. Hang in there. I love you.
Mark: ok. I know. But what if it’s too late?
Jesus: It’s never too late. And you know what? It’s also always too late… for some… as I remember. The truth is, it’s not even too late if you give up. You can always un-give up. Right? How many times have you done that? Remember your dedication in The Answer? You're not done yet. And you're not alone either.
Mark: Ok… Yeah… Ok…
Jesus: Later, gator. Mark... people are not small, oblivious, or helpless. They only pretend to be.
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