Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bloodbath in Jerusalem just around the corner?

If they ever rebuild the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, how many sheep, cows, pigeons are going to get their throats cut on an hourly, daily basis? How much blood will get splattered onto the sacrificial altar all day long? How much smell of burning carcasses thrown into the fire will fill the air all day long in that ancient heathen town? How much barbecue gets sliced up with the tourist worshipper and how much burned flesh gets doled out to the new priest class that needs to be supported?

A lot of questions. It is part of a lot of fundamentalist Christian preachers’ idea that the Temple should, in fact must, be rebuilt. Of course it means scraping thirteen hundred years of history off the Noble Sanctuary and turning it back into Temple Mount and reopening the charnel house of animal bones and reinstituting the holocaust (place of fire and sacrifice).

Reality check. Time check.

That all sounds gruesome, but this is for many fundamentalists Christians and Jews a requirement for the return of or the first time appearance of the Christ, the messiah etc.

I hope I am using these terms correctly. I do not have a degree in theology or doctorate in divinity. Just using all these terms and invoking these images kind of scares me. I am not necessarily an animal rights person but I can see where the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem will in its own way elevate the souls of animals, of God’s creation in general, to new higher global standards of respect in reaction to such revived ancient cruelty.

Can you imagine the smell of barbeque, the smell and chatter of the tourist crowds, the noise of the money changers, the occasional blaring of trumpets and bang of drums? This is what Jesus would have seen in his day. This is what Jesus was in rebellion against.

When did a simple, formed in the desert, concept of a single deity, of one God get turned into such a circus and business machine? (Jesus wept.)

Well as I say this is what some say is what is needed to bring the stage actor, plastic Jesus thing to earth to enhance the already stage presence and drama of public worship of the local deity also know as God, Yahweh, Jesus, Allah, Mohammed, Buddha, Shiva etc.

It is easy to forget that the whole Greek drama thing, the theatre thing, the entertainment thing, the thing that fills a majority portion of our entertainment time to this day aka as TV, the box, Cable – how it all started as religion – as sacred morality plays – of men and their flaws living their lives and being judged or rewarded by the gods, the many gods of antiquity.

Indeed, we monotheists, primarily have our Trinity god – Yahweh/Jesus/Allah carved out of our local beliefs and backed up by our local deities, sacred texts and other Modus Operandi.

Drama, drama, everywhere and not much sanity in sight.

Someone sent me a piece about some White Bread Fundamentalist preacher from White Bread Town aka Pasadena that spoke, preached, that Osama Bin Laden went to Hell because he did not repent of his sins or accept Jesus as his exclusive official broker to get into Heaven. Poor Osama.

But wait a minute! Osama did not die in Pasadena. Thank Allah!

He died in Pakistan where he was hiding off the grid and with the help of his local friends at the military academy that recognized that it was good for local business, the military academy, salaries, promotions, pensions, loot, spoils of war, the local military industrial complex and atomic bomb making thing – that these things were a good thing for the local economy and under the local deity of Allah.

Osama was a martyr in that part of the world and went straight to his sixty odd virgins in Paradise. What happened to the seventy two virgins, as it is stated in the Koran? Hell, Osama’s agent gets ten percent of the action. Right? (business is business).

My fear about dying is where do I end up? Pasadena or Hell? Is there a difference? ( a little attempt at humor )

Well anyway, this week I talked to several people whose local ethnic church in Bethlehem, Pa. has come onto the real estate market for the sake of cash flow in the Allentown diocese. Problem with the catholic thing is that the local bishop has the deed to St. Joseph’s Church.

That is one reason bishops and or priests can’t get married. You don’t want all these deeds and properties to get confused with a priest or a bishop’s personal estate going to his wife, boyfriend, or children and get confused with the diocese bank accounts etc. (sorry, getting off subject here).

Studying that situation, I would not be surprised if St. Joseph’s RC church gets sold, scraped of ornamentation and turned into the Yusuf Mosque and Islamic Center for the Muslim students at the nearby Lehigh University. Probably more Muslims on campus than surviving members of the Slovenian community on the border with that ever growing, ever land consuming, urban institution.

I am just kidding myself on that. Whatever Lehigh University has planned for that property it is not a recycled and or new Islamic center for Lehigh students. Maybe another chemistry lab above a tiered parking garage and to be used for animal testing. A new Temple of Science? Whatever.

Science has no conscience and therein lies the rub between traditional values, myths, local belief systems and the new atheist world (global) view of things.

Times change and we all apparently willing or not have to change with them.

The Catholic thing is celibacy and no deed for the local church. The Prot thing is to keep the deed local and in the hands of the preacher. In a way the local god of Rev. Whomever in Pasadena is not much of an improvement over the minds of men and women in need of the simple love of one’s local and global neighbor.

Getting back to the animal sacrifice thing. I was looking at the floorplan of the old St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the one that stood there for a thousand years, and there in the front of the church is the altar. Altar. For a sacrifice? Of course, the sacrifice of Jesus (once was surely not enough), his blood, the martyr, the doorway to Heaven etc.

Problem with changing times is that when they destroyed Herod’s Temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D./C.E., they got rid of the live stage thing in the Greek drama. The ideas of the Jewish faith got turned into two different abstracts, one part that stayed Jewish to this day and the other part that got rewritten in the Jesus script/play.

The irony of it all is that Saul of Tarsus was probably trying to convert gentiles to Judaism, a Jewish sect, as it still was in his day and not as he supposedly envisioned it in the later day Roman pagan rewrite of the script.

I saw a picture of the front of St. Joseph’s Slovenian Catholic church in Bethlehem Pa, that I cannot show you here. I was not taken by the predictable gothic architecture or need of sand blast cleaning of dirty old stones. I was impressed by the balance of the handicapped entrance ramp to the front of the church. I saw that whether designed by an architect or done with old world craftsmanship, it looked as if it was a labor of love. It was built with a purpose in mind and to a need of an aging congregation. It shows even to this agnostic type person.

I respect everyone’s right to worship as they see fit to whatever local or universal god they see fit to pray to and not pray to. It is the cornerstone of our written constitution. It is the stone the builders reject in much of the rest of the world. My Jesus, I know, would back me up on that point.

I see how a living piece of European history like St. Joseph’s gets discarded in the new godless, new fangled MBA spreadsheet way of dealing with humanity or in fact eliminating humanity – and eliminating that humanity from the bottom line of Diocese profit and loss statements - and by some green, white bread temporary cleric in charge on Chew Street in Allentown – well I could just about cry.

The world is not getting larger. The world is not getting smaller and or global. The world is getting reduced to decimal points on a spreadsheet for some of us. “Oh! The Humanity!”


And so it goes.