Monday, December 25, 2006

Have a revolutionary Christmas!

So, what should a leftist agnostic write about on Christmas?

First stipulation: I love the holiday, all the usual stuff, family, Christmas carols, Turkey, lights, presents, all that stuff.

Mostly though, I believe we should consider, the "reason for the season", as we're Oh so piously reminded on bumperstickers and on billboards.

Jesus, Yehoshua, יְהוֹשֻׁעַ.

I'm neither inclined, nor particularly qualified to argue strict questions of faith. But even an old skeptic like myself can appreciate the significance of Jesus' words.

EJ Dionne takes up the question of the revolutionary nature of Jesus teachings in a review of Allen Dwight Callahan's book, The Talking Book: African Americans and the Bible.

I strongly suggest you take two minutes and read the entire essay, but a sample:

Poor little Jesus boy

Made him to be born in a manger.

World treated him so mean

Treat me mean, too.
-Negro spiritual.

The poor, the outcasts, the slaves: If Jesus spoke to anyone, it was to them, and they have responded to him through the centuries. The African-American religious tradition is a blessing to all because it requires us to remember that Jesus of Nazareth really did revolutionize the world.

Have a happy revolution!

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