Laid Over In Chicago

I’m in a Chicago airport (I don’t know which one) laid over before my flight to Madison, WI.  Nathan Tasker is with me again this weekend, which is cool, and I sat by a professional skateboarder on my flight here this morning, which is also cool.  I don’t remember names but he has a buzz cut and wore jeans and a hooded sweatshirt and asked the flight attendant if they recycle cans.  Does that narrow it down?

Anyway, I read through parts of a book on the Jewishness of Jesus by a German guy named David Flusser.  It’s called The Sage From Galilee: Rediscovering Jesus’ Genius.  It’s about how Jesus wasn’t all that original.  What I mean is a lot of what he said had been said before, I mean.  But the way he said things that had been said before and the times he decided to say these things was brilliant.  And I never knew it before.

When Jesus talked about the kingdom of heaven, for instance, he wasn’t first to do that.  Jewish guys had been talking about the kingdom for a thousand years or more.  But they talked about it, usually, as the end of time, some kind of future utopia.  Or they talked about it as an overthrow of world governments by force, making God’s law government’s laws.  Jesus said, basically, nope.  It’s right now and in the future.  it’s like a mustard tree.  One day it will be big enough to hold big birds in its branches.  But right now it’s seed, the tiniest seed, that’s just started spouting.  It’s miniscule right now, this rule of God on earth, but one day… It’s here now, just poking out of the ground, but one day…


But the crowds left Jesus, Mr. Flusser reminded me this morning.  Partly because he wasn’t radical and original enough.  Partly because what he taught was too hard and literal (Seriously, love your enemy, I mean it, like now and not just later.) Partly because he wasn’t a zealot taking up arms against the Romans.  Partly because he wasn’t bringing an end to history but telling us how to live where we are in it.  Partly because he didn’t make up something new but explained what the old stuff means right now, with only small tweaks to the old for clarity’s sake.

Has nothing to do with Chicago, skateboarders or Nathan Tasker.  Just on my mind.  Jesus doesn’t have to be completely original to be completely divine and completely revolutionary and right.  Why do I feel that I have to be original to be any use to Him?  Why do I feel I need a crowd?  Why do I feel I need a big push, a big initiative, a big product or platform, a big idea?  Those things are useful, sure, fine, of course.  But small tweaks make a big difference…apparently.