Jackson Browne: The Rebel Jesus

The Rebel Jesus
By Jackson Browne

All the streets are filled with laughter and light
And the music of the season
And the merchants’ windows are all bright
With the faces of the children
And the families hurrying to their homes
While the sky darkens and freezes
Will be gathering around the hearths and tables
Giving thanks for God’s graces
And the birth of the rebel Jesus
Well they call him by ‘the Prince of Peace’
And they call him by ‘the Savior’
And they pray to him upon the seas
And in every bold endeavor
And they fill his churches with their pride and gold
While their faith in him increases
But they’ve turned the nature that I worship in
From a temple to a robber’s den
In the words of the rebel Jesus
Well we guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations
And perhaps we give a little to the poor
If the generosity should seize us
But if any one of us should interfere
In the business of why there are poor
They get the same as the rebel Jesus
Now pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgement
For I’ve no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
There’s a need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus

16 Crucified Saviors

See link: CrucifiedSaviors

Here’s a classic book in pdf, written about a hundred years ago. Though the methodology of this study has been critiqued, its intentions and impulses are sincere and constructive: to demonstrate the universal teachings and symbols within various religions, globally, from the east and the west, the south and the north, and to dismantle barriers of dogma and difference that cause suspicion and animosity.


Japanese Jesus Last Supper

Acquitted: Update on Asia Bibi Case

Update 10/31: See link

Asia Bibi Acquitted

Here is the full verdict of the Pakistan Supreme Court on the Asia Bibi case: Asia Bibi Judgement

Text of case thanks to this website

Please see these links (below) for an update on Asia Bibi’s Case. Two of the videos are updates from ACLJ and one is an interview given by her husband.

Asia Bibi is a Christian woman in Pakistan who has been condemned to death on charges of blasphemy against Mohammed. The case was appealed and the Supreme Court of Pakistan may reverse her conviction.

While it appears that a verdict from the Supreme Court of Pakistan may be issued soon, Asia Bibi remains at risk of mob violence by Islamist extremists if she should be released and declared innocent. The judges in the case are putting their lives in jeopardy. One of her advocates in the government had been murdered, some years ago, in connection with her case. The pressure on the judges to have Asia executed is equally strong.

Thanks to international advocacy, and to moderate Islamist parties who support her, the case has come before the United Nations. Blasphemy accusations are frequent for vilifying religious minorities in Pakistan.

Consider: Jesus himself was falsely accused of treason and blasphemy. The judges in the case were also under pressure from the people, who were set against Jesus though he was innocent. Asia Bibi’s case resembles in basic outline the trial of Jesus.

Please find my earlier post, here: Asia Bibi : Christian Jailed in Pakistan



Pakistani Heroes: Muslim/Christian Aitzaz Hassan and Asia Bibi

NOTE: Asia Bibi has been released.

Quite often Christians create strict boundaries around the Christian religion. These boundaries are fences by which we demarcate insiders, separating the “insiders” from the “outsiders.”

A key emphasis of the New Testament, however, is that Christ came to break down barriers between Jews (insiders) and Gentiles (outsiders). The one who preached “blessed are the peacemakers” made peace by melting the glue that keeps the religious fence intact, namely, the fence by which we separate ourselves as insiders from others as outsiders.

The glue that keeps such fences intact is the prince of this world (the evil one) who is enlarged and magnified by fear, hatred, and bigotry.

Aitzaz Hassan

Two Pakistani figures have been the news, internationally, as martyrs and heroes, one a Muslim boy named Aitzaz Hassan and the other a Christian woman named Asia Bibi. (For more on Asia Bibi, see link:  Asia Bibi Article).

Aitzaz Hassan, a fifteen year old boy, thwarted a suicide bomber, who was entering a school in order to detonate a bomb in northern Pakistan, according to the story in the Guardian (click link): Guardian Article

Although the bomb detonated, thus killing him, Aitzaz Hassan’s intervention succeeded to protect a school full of some 2000 students.

Like the parents of the children who died at Sandy Hook, so Aitzaz Hassan’s parents magnified the boy’s generous intentions, celebrating his heroism, rather than nursing grievances or bitterness of their own.

What did this boy die for?

Suicide bombing occurs in this region as a weapon of religious militancy in sectarian warfare between Sunnis and Shi’ites.

The real enemy in the story is neither Shi’ite nor Sunni but the prince of the world or the evil one, who feeds on fear, hatred, and bigotry, the glue that keeps the fence intact, which separates insiders from outsiders.

The militant crusader believes so strongly in this fence, that s/he will kill and self-destruct  (slathering on glue) in order to reinforce it, fortifying the barrier that distinguishes the elect (the insiders) from the reprobate (the outsiders).

The boy Aitzaz Hassan,  himself a Muslim,  stood up for principles of Islam that transcend sectarian rivalries: peace, love, and non-violence. He acted, instinctively, in a generous way that may resonate for Christians as being Christ-like.

From a Christian perspective, the self-sacrificing love exhibited by Aitzaz Hassan imitates that of Jesus.

As Jesus said: “No greater love has this than to give one’s life for one’s friends.” The friends of Jesus are those who follow God’s commandment, the greatest of which is love. Similarly, Aitzaz Hassan died on behalf of  love for his friends. Love is save thousands from the bomb of murder and sectarian rivalries.

Asia Bibi

Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman, is a different kind of martyr, a woman and mother, now in prison on allegations of blasphemy.  Her case has been discussed and publicized for many years.

The Supreme court of Pakistan will be handing down a verdict any day, now. Sadly, the danger of mob violence against Asia Bibi is real even should she go free.

Asia Bibi had engaged in dialogue with some Muslim women, her friends, in a Pakistani town, close to where she lives. In the  course of conversation, she spoke about her own religious beliefs.  She made a comment to the effect that for her, and her family, Jesus Christ is savior not Mohammed.

Consequently, she was arrested on charges of blasphemy, a charge associated with apostasy and treason. Asia Bibi is still in prison. Please see this link for an update on her case: Update Asia Bibi Case

Jesus the Lightworker

From a Christian perspective, this case follows the pattern, again, of Jesus’s Christ’s martyrdom.  Jesus was put to death by the Romans on charges of treason and viewed as an enemy of the state.  Rome at the time mandated emperor worship and penalized prophets who were accused of blaspheming the civic gods or undermining the religious-civic order.

Jesus Christ, the light and the lightworker, shines through acts of self-sacrificial love — whether one is Christian, Muslim, or of another religious or sectarian affiliation.