Friday, February 14, 2014

Decoding the Middle Class Bible – Baptism and John the Baptist

A pattern emerges as I look at the objects of my youth. A thought occurs to me as I look at the discarded by the RCC the once sacred objects of my youth before they are decommissioned from the so-called “sacred” thing and sold as scrap or recycled into other churches. 

That the death of my childhood parish and its church is not unlike the death of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Hebrew Temple in the year 70 C.E..

And like the Jews who only had one Temple, I only had one church building / temple and once destroyed I have to reassess the purpose of faith as learned in that temple in Philly. That what ended up from humble beginnings time traveling to the present, transpired into what is now generally called “Christianity” in the final form as authorized by the Emperor/God Constantine circa 325 C.E..

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I also cross reference this with two of my blog articles, one about the parable of the mustard seed and a quick mention of an Internet “News” item about the science and the domestication of camels in the bible.

The article about Camels generated a spam like comment from a fundamentalist type that is doing damage control regarding the article about the timeline of domesticated camels not being in Palestine at the time that Abraham and Jacob and such were supposedly using them in standard bible stories. I say spam like but since the comment was polite enough and had a return e-mail address I did not delete it. I welcome all reasonable comment even if I disagree with it.

I incorporated my own bit of personal opinion in response to the comment on the camel which with a displayed link (not connected), it was a fundamentalist argument that there were petroglyphs in Palestine at the so called timeline of Abraham and Jacob proving that the bible is written by a singular author labeled “God”.

Problem with the petroglyph argument is that objects like petroglyphs can be forged and I am not certain if they were also trying to use science regarding carbon dating in that argument. Using science when convenient and not always is unsound methodology or use of the science thingy.

My own bit of personal opinion to that comment was an article regarding the Parable of the Mustard Seed,that with a little bit of research had me conclude that that parable was written from a middle class Greek or Roman point of view and local to Rome or Athens and not one of an honest street view of the historic time and person of Jesus.

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Getting back to the loss Saint Joan of Arc Parish in Philly in favor of Holy Innocents Parish, the political parish with some off street parking for the Archdiocesan officials to visit and inspect with their Wharton Global Spreadsheet to determine what parish gets boarded up and torn down and which once survives in bland modern functionality. Whatever.

Now that the only lost temple or church I count as important in the culture of my life and progeny, I looked at a picture of the baptismal font from pictures of the Last Mass at Saint Joan of Arc before they board up the place and turn it into a tire warehouse or such. Can you imagine Caesar trying to turn Herod’s temple into a parking lot for chariots before 70 C.E.?

Well looking at that font, I am reminded that it used to be in a side out of the way room with stained glass, the baptistery. That in the decades since I attended services there, they had apparently moved the baptismal font out into the open of the church and amidst the congregation and out of the dark forgotten room of the old architectural design.

That baptism cross referenced with John the Baptist and he baptizing people in the river Jordan put me into mind of the middle class Greek and or Roman writers of the Greek and or New Testament.

That in all probability John the Baptist is ideally depicted in the midst of crowds, mostly middle class, in the countryside doing the Jewish cleansing with water thing.

That there are purifying bathes all around the Jerusalem Acropolis and the Temple building but I would imagine such baths required a fee and maybe a good second suit of clothing to go play holy on the mount and be seen by your other middle class neighbors doing their holy stroll around an Easter Sunday Fifth Avenue local like setting so to speak.

That much of the fire of the historic Jesus is a man, a day laborer, preaching to street people, poor farmers, in their only set of clothes etc. That John the Baptist is more like catering mostly to poor people in the heartland. These poor wanting a place at the table of the God Creator thing and John did not charge much if at all with a diet of grasshoppers etc.

That aside from a handful of curious tourists, John the Baptist like Jesus that followed him, was a preacher to the poor and disaffected and not the Middle Class people in the big city of Jerusalem.

That many of the paintings coming down to us from the Renaissance had John pictured with a middle to upper class of clientele.

While this level of poverty reached by John the Baptist’s mission is not verbally specific in the bible, not codified by middle class writers in Alexandria, Athens or Rome, the truth of the situation seems much clearer to me.

That even too with the visual media of stained glass etc. from the middle ages onward, the most readily available means to tell a bible story, that the story in the visual form could be interpreted and or have the message hijacked away from that of the poor multitudes down to vested middle class elites. 


Here It Comes - Emeli Sande

"Here It Comes"

It has has been a thousand years since I have gave up hope in
I've told my heart to know my tears at the bottom of the ocean
I hit the ground, I hate the dirt
When cold turkey on the church
I just keep on running running running running

I camp real good, and laying low
I got the hang of breaking
But today I feel like volcano
Today something is changing
Cant hold it down, it's breaking loose
I could try, but there's no use
I'm running running running running

Here it comes....
Here it comes....

Hold on steady, ladies and gents
Ooh, get ready
Cause here it comes

[beat break]

Hurt my turn, when time on shoot
It came unexpected
I thought praying, I love the douche
Hit me like a nap trip
With you, you're my rusty car
I'm afraid, but there's no point in loving loving loving
Jumping off the window seat
Laying all the cities
I left a note to pay my bills, I wonder if they'll miss me
Cause I don't know when ill return
I waited long but here's my turn, I'm loving loving loving

Here it comes....
Here it comes....
Here it comes....

Here it comes....

Here it comes....

Here it comes....

Hold on steady, ladies and gents
Ooh, get ready
Here it comes