Tag Archives: jesus crucifixion

A Message For Easter

7Easter is the most important day Christian observe the world over because it is a celebration of deliverance, with Easter Week providing powerful imagery of faith. I have always been moved by this presentation of Jesus from a Catholic Eucharistic prayer: “To the poor he proclaimed the good news of salvation to prisoners, freedom, and to those in sorrow, joy.”

Holy Thursday and the Last Supper have an ominous feel because they are in preparation of Good Friday and the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. Yet two days later, the tale ends in triumph and resurrection. Whatever questions Christians may have about the meaning of that empty tomb, most of us have experienced a sense of joy when we hear the words “He is risen!” The basis of Christianity is inextricably linked to and rooted in the idea of liberation.

I have long seen the Exodus and Easter as twin narratives involving a release from oppression and the victory of freedom. These promises have left a permanent mark on the culture outside the traditions from which they sprang. Yet even in the Easter season, it’s hard not to notice that most people of faith like it has been with Christmas, have lost much of its message. What I mean is that it has been hijacked by man in the commercial sense and Christianity’s, many, do not project the true meaning of this day or present their faith in the best light.

For example, with the assassination of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Michael Brown, Eric Gardner, and other criminal acts that mankind seems to have lost the understanding of the symbolic subordination of a rich tradition of social justice. What is more concerning is that popular Christianity often seems to denigrate rather than celebrate intellectual life or critical inquiry into injustices within our society.

What I would like to suggest, as with the civil rights movement, is that the church or at least Christians must not be disengaged from politics. In fact, the early Christian movement was born in politics. If you can recall, Jesus died in opposition of injustice for the least of Thee. Rome in Jesus’ day was the state and had the power, which they used to kill him. We see today, the state killing people at will, forgetting that commandment that says “Thou shalt not kill”.

I know there is great debate over how to understand the relationship between Jesus’ spirituality and his approach to politics, but his preaching clearly challenged the powers-that-be. He was, after all, crucified by the state. Now, if we truly claim the life of Jesus Christ and if true. We should be among the most active, most serious and most open minded advocates for justice. So if Easter is about liberation, this liberation must include intellectual freedom and the right to fair and equal justice. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspectives…

http://johntwills.com


Jesus’ Death: Did You Think About It?

11It is not my intent to get any of the good Christian folk upset with this post. Our whole life comes down to what you believe or know about in this case, as black folk say, “our Jesus.” This has always vexed me. Nonetheless, let’s clear up something first; Jesus was not blonde haired blue eyed and surely not a white man – I repeat Jesus was NOT a white man, if he existed at all. Supposedly, he came from Palestine, and those people were not white. So maybe an open minded person will see the fallacy proposed in that fact and, therefore, the basic premise of the story is untrue.

Just as with it with the date of his birth, and where he was born. What we think we know are falsehoods and there is equally as much doubt about the fallacies surrounding his death. I will, however, say this is the greatest story ever told. In a new book Crucifixion’s a Doddle by Julian Doyle, he uses ancient texts, religious artworks, and the Bible itself to refute some of the most common-held beliefs about the death of Jesus.

He points out something that I never thought about, which is the popular image that has become the image of Jesus’ death on the immense wooden cross; when there were so few trees in Judea. Further, he points out that the Romans executed criminals by impaling them, while Jewish law preferred stoning them, and asks why there were no images of the cross for almost four centuries after Jesus’ death?

After he realized something was wrong with what we have been told. He researched the earliest images of Jesus being crucified, but there are none. Okay, we have seen millions of such paintings, but there are none for hundreds of years after his death. It is not until the fourth century that scenes of the Crucifixion of Jesus began to appear, almost exactly 400 years after the event. No church before this date even had a crucifixion image. So around AD 430 the image, we know this concept was invented.

In the pictures, we’ve all seen the executioner is up a ladder, which is leaning on the cross. The cross had to be set deep in the ground to stay up from the weight of both men; something to think about? The purpose of a Crucifixion is to put the body on show, as a deterrent, as long as possible. Upright like a banner, struggling with pain, degraded and dehumanized, till it rotted.

In the Bible, Jesus is raised on the cross at either 9 or 12 o’clock and is dead by 3 pm. Many scholars say it takes a lot longer than four hours for a person to die. So the likelihood of someone dying in such a short period of time seems impossible. To cover this criticism the Gospel of John, tries to suggest Jesus was speared in the side to prove he was dead. Problem is it says: “and immediately blood and water came out.” Which means the heart is pumping so he is evidently not dead.

Next, he explains that crucifixion was not the method of capital punishment used by the Romans. Look at this from the Jewish historian Josephus, writing at the time: “Varus sent his army into the country, to seek out the authors of the revolt; he punished those that were most guilty: the number who were crucified on this account were two thousand.” He asks how can these numbers possibly be? Where are all these trees coming from, not to mention the tons of nails (6,000)? The answer strangely is just a matter of translation.

The word we translate from crucifix – stauros does not actually mean crucifix at all. Here is the full dictionary definition: “The word stauros comes from the Ancient Greek histemi: ‘straighten up,’ the same root from which come the German Stern, or the English ‘stand.’ In classical Greek, until the early 4th century BC, stauros meant an upright stake, pole, or which might be used in impaling. In the literature of that time, it never means two pieces of timber placed across one another at any angle, but always one piece alone.”

Jesus’ crime was blasphemy, so why does the High Priest take Jesus to Pilate? Blasphemy has nothing to do with the Romans. The crime is punishable would have been by stoning, which is clearly decided by the Jews themselves. Crucifixion is the Roman punishment for rebellion.

Deuteronomy 21:22 says Jewish law about stoning: “If a man is guilty of a capital offense is put to death and his body hung on a tree, you must not leave his body on the tree overnight. Be sure to bury him that same day, because anyone who is hung on a tree is under God’s curse”’. Another important point to make her; Pilate could not have crucified Jesus because the Roman governor left Judea years before Jesus’ death.

Jesus’ two-year mission begins after the death of John the Baptist. If John had been killed eight years before the destruction of Herod’s army, surely nobody would link the two events? The destruction of the army in 36 AD must have been no more than six months to a year after the Baptist’s death, for them to be linked, which places his death in AD 35. If Jesus’ two-year mission began, then he would still be alive in 38 AD. Pilate left Judea in 36 AD.

Just the fact that trees were clearly a scarce and valuable commodity; why use them just to kill criminals? I understand that all of this comes down to faith and faith is to believe what is unseen and believing it to be truth. This is just a collection of thoughts that may or not cause you to rethink what you believe. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Young Gun Down

11The most amazing thing happened Tuesday night that marked the first time since 1899 that the House majority leader was defeated in a primary election; and badly I might add. The prevailing wisdom, at least according to the winner, Cantor was too liberal. Fact of the matter, Cantor should be ashamed of his twelve year tenure because he did nothing and was part of the worst congress in the country’s history, commonly known as “the Do Nothing Congress”.

You proclaimed himself one of the “Young Guns” of the Republican Party, which is nothing more than a code-word for the “New Jim Crow”. This guy was in line to be the next Speaker of the House when John Boehner decided he was tired of herding the opposition. The majority leader was the number two man in congress and the third most powerful republican in Washington. He was also an Arden voice against the president, yet he called himself a patriot.

His loss was devastating and a humiliating defeat. It was sweet vindication that the Republican strategy of stoking up faux-populism of just saying no and never proposing a solution to any problem has blown up spectacularly. Because in their gorgeously gerrymandered districts, their own voters felt things like shouting down the government didn’t go far enough. They said; government is the problem to which I would agree because it was Cantor and folks like that is the problem.

Moving on; the problem as I see it, if Cantor was too liberal – what do you think the guy who beat him to take his place will be like. The endpoint of this insane ideology is the election of a Tea Partiers that if like the rest are not interested in governing at all. Rather dismantling government. It is the mission of the institutional Republicans to gamble that obstructionism alone would give them power are seeing their fortunes turn, and their majority become meaningless.

They simple don’t want any government action on any issue. They want the current trend to continue to allow states rights to be the objective where individual municipalities push forward minimum wage laws because the federal government is paralyzed. Meanwhile, the gap between the rich and the poor widens every day, and Republicans have convinced many rural Americans that the problem is the tax rate on the wealthy. He also voted all of the fifty plus times to take healthcare away from American citizens.

We should be very skepticism of anything changing for the better. Cantor’s replacement will bring more of the same – nothing. But if college professor Dave Brat’s upset victory over the House majority leader indeed spells doom will certainly bring more of the same.

Here’s the irony. Cantor’s defeat had nothing to do with immigration, amnesty, or the border. It had everything to do with arrogance and the fact that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely – they realized like his cohorts simply did nothing, but leverage their positions to benefit themselves.

In an even more satisfying irony because Cantor was one of the greatest proponent of not cooperating with the administration on every piece of legislation proposed by the president. He, along with his compatriot Paul Ryan, instead has championed “broadening the tax base,” otherwise known as taxing the poor.

So overnight, he became a political dead man walking within hours of his defeat and resigned from his leadership position. So forgive me for having little joy in my heart, even if it means we get another Tea Partier in the House. For a bit, it feels as though there is some sense of justice for the left. No matter how much power you accumulate, your own monstrous sentiments can come back to bite you. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…


Person Of The Day: Marian Anderson

Person Of The Day: Marian Anderson


The Certain Ones Online Magazine

408449_10200579829001956_1804937140_n

I am man who has been blessed with the gift of words or should I say the effective use of words. Therefore, I want to give high praise to my friend Vanessa Richardson of The Certain Ones Online Magazine for sharing the wisdom of the amazing contributors who enrich, enlighten, and empower the minds and consciousness of us all. I am honored to be part of this group of fabulous wordsmiths. 

Meet the prolific authors/talk show hosts and contributors to The Certain Ones Online Magazine. Dr. Darcova TriplettJamesina GreeneAdrienna TurnerJohn T. Wills, Dr. Dolapo Babalola,Lacha’ Mitchell-ScottShon Hyneman, and Cherese Spand. We are blessed to connect with you.

I invite you to take a moment to visit these talented contributors at their virtual homes, via our website: www.TheCertainOnesMagazine.com. Blessings!

You will be inspired and empowered. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…


The Civil War Continues

429619_552005324840410_2002256906_nHistory is strange and interesting! The prolific French writer, historian, and philosopher Voltaire said, “History is a pack of tricks we play upon the dead”. This statement could not be more profound, as we can see from today’s southern conservatives the Civil War is yet to be won! The state of Mississippi; for example, just ratified that fact after a hundred fifty years.

If you are not aware, in 1865, the Civil War ended and we are into five years of untruths, unreal assessments, and in some cases outright lies. This is a critical point in 2013 when America is a more divided nation than ever. It was a hundred fifty some odd years ago, in the early morning hours of April 12, 1861, Confederate batteries fired upon federal troops occupying Fort Sumter. Union forces surrendered the next day after 34 hours of shelling starting the bloodiest war in the nation’s history, which in some quarters have yet to end.

There is no question this major event in the country’s history is significant. However, we should be candid about its causes and not allow the distortions of contemporary politics or long-standing myths cloud our understanding of why the nation fell apart. If you were a slave it was a very good thing but if you were not and white, then it was the worst thing ever. There will be a lot of misinformation that will surely come, as both sides of the debate relive this chapter of American history. So be prepared for the revisionists to create many illusions pertaining to the facts as they relate to the realities of Civil War history and the state of the Union today.

Before I go any further, let’s be clear, the war was NOT fought to free the slaves. That narrative came much later when the north was not winning and needed a reason to allow colored solders to fight. Abraham Lincoln, Honest Abe, although not a proponent of slavery, had no desire to end slavery at the onset of the war. He was for the free-labor ideology. The issue of slavery, as he stated, “was the morality and future of the slaves and of slavery”. He believed if the nation remained divided on the issue of slavery, the nation would not last. If you recall he borrowed a statement made by Jesus to support this position; “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Actually, Honest Abe was considering the option of sending the slaves back to Africa or somewhere outside of America to solve the problem. IN FACT, as an experiment, he sent thousands to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. However, this experiment was not successful because many became ill and died causing him to reevaluate the decision. He also had another plan, which was to acquire land in South America to host this unwanted population to include other locations as well.

On the other side, the south, secessionist, saw it this way. Their leader, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, a major slaveholder, justified secession in 1861 as an act of self-defense against the incoming Lincoln administration. Abraham Lincoln’s policy of excluding slavery from the territories, Davis said, would make “property in slaves so insecure as to be comparatively worthless . . . thereby annihilating in effect property worth thousands of millions of dollars.”

The Confederate vice president, Alexander Stephens said, “Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea… Its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the Negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical and moral truth.” These guys were very straightforward in their belief that the proper status of the Negro in America’s form of civilization, if free, would be the immediate cause of the rupture.

Views such as this continue today, from various quarters, because there remains enormous denial over the fact that the central cause of the war was our national disagreement about race and slavery that translates to mean States’ Rights. For example, immigration shifts this ideological to imply the new slavery in the name of protecting free labor. I believe it was all about States’ Rights similar to today’s conservative perspective.

Let’s understand slavery was about one thing – economics based on supremacy. The institution and the economics derived from it built America and that wealth made America a powerful force in the world. Doesn’t this remind you of what we hear from the right-wing of the Republican Party? It is done from making all of us slaves to debt. Today States Rights is the contemporary from of the Citizens Counsels of old. Just remember the Tea Party’s famous mantra “we want our country back”.

Therefore, when you hear the “dog whistle” proclaiming States Rights just remember the racism and bigotry associated with its history. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…

http://johntwills.com


What’s Going On

mgIn a world that has not changed. I find myself always thinking about the consciousness of man, moreover the profound consciousness of how we view the world we live. There is no better way to remember and commemorate the spirit of the genius of the great Marvin Gaye’s timeless classic “What’s Going On”. Thank you Marvin for all that you left for us to enjoy and be inspired.

Gone but not forgotten – Rest In Peace. And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective. 

http://johntwills.com


%d bloggers like this: