Naked Jesus Stuff

Recently someone close to me asked if I had yet found that for which I am/was searching. My answer was, for the most part, yes. Then again, life is a journey full of new discoveries every day. I think the entire process is a combination of balancing the search with contentment.

What is it that I seek in my moments of discontent?

…A simple message stripped of rules, legalism, how-to’s, and guilt.

I stopped in at Barnes and Noble a few weeks ago in search of some recommended books related to that topic. I did not find the recommendations, yet as typically happens, three books found me. The usual sign indicated to me that these were in fact going home with me. It is a shudder, a chill, that runs full body as I hold and read a few pages of each. No chill, no book. Very simple.

I began with the shortest easiest read. The deeper I delved into that one, the more I wondered if my shudder signaler was out of whack. Why the heck did that one need to come home with me. It was leaning in an almost opposite direction from the one I was searching. It’s message: Religion has been made complicated by those who would cling to Old Testament regulations as their governing force. (Actually that fits well within my “men have complicated what God made simple” theory.) But then it went on to suggest that even that which Jesus taught and practiced was not ours for today and that Paul had shared what we need to know.


I am NOT a Paul fan. Or a whomever-wrote-that-stuff-fan. Or a whomever-decided-that-he-was-writing-to-people-two-thousand-years-later fan.

I guess maybe the point was made to reinforce my instincts of how off base the whole Pauline Christianity thing has become.

Then I started on the second book. It is Rex Weyler’s The Jesus Sayings: The Quest for His Authentic Message. It looks at the available and emerging historical information as well as current religious texts in an attempt to find what is truly creditable to Jesus. Through a comparison of the oldest and most duplicated sayings attributed to Jesus, the author has arrived at the following which appear to have been recorded long before any of the so called gospels made it to public light:

Seek the truth.
There is a light within; look and you will find it.
Know yourself.
When you find the light within, share it with the world.

A divine kingdom is within you and all around you.
Speak out. Teach others about this kingdom.
This kingdom is like a small seed that grows.
It is like leaven in bread, a tiny force that affects everything.
Observe the world before you, here and now.

Commit fully, now.
Act on your knowledge.
Your understanding is revealed in the fruits of your actions.

Be generous and merciful.
Share what you have with others.
Help the poor, hungry, and grieving, and those who have no home.
Don’t worry about your own comforts.
Your poverty and sadness bring you closer to the divine kingdom.

Remain humble; don’t exalt yourself.
Don’t judge others, but rather improve yourself.
Be as a child, open, curious, authentic, and modest.
Love your enemies and those who rebuke you.

Otherwise, avoid rules, and follow the truth you discover yourself.
Act from awareness, not habit or convention.
Don’t blindly repeat rituals.
Don’t trust those with spiritual pretensions.
Question those who presume to speak for God.

If you have two good ears, listen to what I am telling you.

I knew there was a reason I liked this guy, especially stripped down to what is his and his alone. I have a few of these areas mastered well. Others need much work before I can be like him.

Funny how much of his message sounds like the sages and prophets of several other …ahem… “evil”¬†philosophies.

I’m looking forward to the next chapter on Mary Magdalene.

5 Responses to “Naked Jesus Stuff”

  • Quentin:

    I too would love to know what Jesus actually said. So I am also looking fot the authentic sayings of Jesus and not what someone else wrote. Especially when they are several hundred years apart. I often haven wondered if one copied the other but put it in his own words and called it a gospel. Anyways. I have several of these down as well. However, I am not at agreement at all with that “Your poverty and sadness bring you closer to the divine kingdom” part. I mean seriously? If that was a “true saying of christ” then does that mean that I am expected to live in poverty and sadness all my days to get closer to him? I’ll be damn if I do that for the rest of my life. I hate being sad and worst of all i hate living in poverty. And if that is the case how am i supposed to help and be abole to give to those in need? Sounds a little contradictary to me…I love to give and I enjoy being happy, and I love having money and stuff to give. It makes me happy and so warm to be able to do that and to see the peoples faces light up as it happens. I am in a very much sad state right now, and I can garantee that I would rather die, then to live this way my whole life to be closer to the divine kingdom. I feel so far away from God when I am sad. I feel like he has left and abandoned me. So ya, I would love to know the exact words that he actually spoke then what is considered “inspired”. Trust me, i got the full run down on that one when I went to bible college…

    • So I get the feeling that the whole poverty thing isn’t really what you were hoping Jesus said.

      Honestly, context is everything, and without some sort of context, it’s hard to know what he meant. I have to refer to the rich man/camel through the eye of a needle story for a frame of reference on that one. I think it’s about contentment. In order to experience the “kingdom” (which I take to be a connectedness or a oneness with God unlike any other experience) a person has to able to lay aside all concern, desire, or even need for possessions. I simply cannot be totally in tune with God as long as I am worried about how I’ll pay the gas bill. The fact that I even have a gas bill is probably a hindrance, because it means I have an attachment to “things”. How can we truly know of and connect with such an incredible power so long as we have a means to meet our own needs? How can we be as the birds of the air and the lillies of the field when we lack for nothing except the travel trailer of our dreams or a few more business clients?

      I don’t think he is saying it is wrong to have things, yet we tend to see them as “necessities”. I have read parts of the book called Autobiography of a Yogi. It was quite “enlightening” in this area. I also think Deepak Chopra’s book Buddha gave a similarly impressionable example of what giving it all up looks like and can be.

      Honestly, I am probably the rich man in that story, unable to leave it all behind to follow the master teacher at that level.

  • Quentin:

    Yes, I do see your point. And ya, context is everything. And without knowing the reason for saying it, unsure of. But yes, I do have a major need to be content. And I am on my way to totally getting out of any form of attachment to “things”. But at the same time, that also can lead into dependancy and my want to be self-sufficient. Hmmmm…I don’t know…I know that I don’t want to be living in poverty and be stuggling all the time, but at the same time, I don’t want the “attachment”.

  • Now that’s condensing it down to the vitals! You need to take a look at “The Five Gospels”. This was the Jesus Seminar’s attempt to do what this (your) author did. I t was my first “really” heretical book.

    • Don, that same trip to BN put The Five Gospels in my possession, too. I haven’t quite made it through the first one yet (two-five pages a day makes for very slow reading), but TFG is next. Looking forward to it.

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