Where are the Christians?
This is not a rhetorical question, but one that comes simply and directly from the heart.
If the Poet of Nazareth is alive as a force of transformation and liberation, where is the evidence?
Where are the Christians who carry the lambs of this world to safety?
Where are the Christians when societies debate economics, culture, politics, war and peace, agriculture and care for the Earth, gender and LGBT equality, and every issue intimate with our human meaning and purpose?
Where are the Christians in the debate on violence, its justifications, and its looming-presence in every life?
Where are the Christians who have thoroughly washed their ears so as to hear -- as if for the first time -- the stunning Beauty of Vision proposed by the Poet of Nazareth?
Read again, a few words of the Poet (selections from The Ragged-Man's Gospel):
"Welcome home you who have learned the poverty of justice -- Paradise is yours!
"Welcome home you who follow the path of harmlessness -- the entire earth will one day revere you!
"Welcome home all who have entered the whirlwind of history to build justice, peace, community, and equality amongst all people and all creation -- yours is the surety of a joyous Homecoming!
"Your minds are radiant reflections of the Holy One -- be radiant, even when life is a burden and troubles multiply like rabbits. Seeing your radiance, others who are also carrying heavy burdens will have reason to hope. Be their hope!
"The rulers and powers of this world have no lasting part in the destiny of this beloved Earth home -- nor in the Paradise to come!
"You must learn to trust in and to practice the Way of Love -- all action rooted in Love will bear fruit, while all other actions must needs be pulled out by the roots!
"Holy One, I hold your Name in my heart!
I hunger so for Paradise!
May Love be known on Earth as it is in your Heart!
May the most wretched life on Earth be fed this day!
May we each discover the power and beauty of mutual forgiveness!
May we each be helped to carry the burdens of life,
and save us from bad attitudes and worse humor!"
There are implications in the words of Yeshua! And those implications are neither implied nor proposed by tea parties, right-wing propagandists, or the power-centers of the "religiously correct". So, where are the Christians who imply, propose, and most importantly, act in the living spirit of Yeshua? My suggestion would be to look to the margins: look to folks like Dorothy Day, Oscar Romero, the Nuns on the Bus, the Berrigan brothers, Cesar Chavez, in Catholic Worker Soup Kitchens, in the Nevada Desert, in alternative schools, communities, and churches: wherever Love and Justice and Peace and Equality and Harmlessness are practiced as the means to the Hope of Yeshua: wherever the Poor and Marginalized are brought back into the center of both faith and politics: wherever the whole person -- every person -- is honored and exalted equal to that of the unborn: wherever this precious blue Planet is revered as befitting one's Mother: and wherever the Sacred Image of Yeshua can just as likely be that of a young girl, an undocumented immigrant, or a black youth in a hoodie, as a man with long hair and a beard... ah, but then again, I always used to see him walking around among the hippies...
Robert Daniel Smith was privileged to serve the homeless and marginalized for 30 years in Salinas, California. Together with his wife, Michelle, they founded an intentional community called the 'Companions of the Way', also in Salinas. Robert and Michelle are community organizers, Catholic Worker renegades, sacred activists, writers, poets, artists, Divine Mother devotees, and practitioners of Kriya Yoga as taught by Rev. Ellen Grace O'Brian of the Center for Spiritual Enlightenment. Michelle is also a Montessori public school teacher. Robert is also an ordained Interfaith Minister.