Monday, June 23, 2008

The Future Of Jesus, by Peter Jensen

It’s been years since I’ve read anything in the Boyer lecture series. Dr Peter Jensen, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, gave this 2005 Boyer lecture.

Let me say at the outset, this is the most awful, pathetic, intellectually dead essay or book I’ve ever read.

Perhaps the cover and title tells you all you need to know, The Future of Jesus.

One wonders if Dr Jensen is going to look into the future for us, and advise of Jesus’s future plans. Or should a question mark come after the future of Jesus? Does he have a future in Australia, will church attendances continue to dwindle?

Jensen doesn't really make clear what he means by this weird title. It surely can't be a statement. How would Jensen know? So it seems more likely to be a question. Yet Jensen argues against this in the body of the essay.

Even more bizarrely, the cover of the book mimics an Ipod commercial. Jesus is shown in silhouette, holding an mp3 player, as though he’s a hip, young thing, perhaps listening to something by Hillsong church?

Dr Jensen makes his Jesus look so insubstantial and unsure of himself that you often find yourself wondering how much it would take to bump the Archbishop into the realms of atheism. This lecturer seems to hold his faith together by delicately suspending reality.

There was much in this book that simply was mind boggling to read. His chapter on the miracles of Jesus, and how we can prove they actually happened, had this reader scratching his head. Some sentences I read over and over but could not make head nor tail of.

Once again, these religious figures seem to think they know more about Jesus than he actually knew about himself.

You really have to feel sorry for Jesus, having these crappy emissaries. I hope he can forgive them.

The fact is, we know next to zilch about Jesus. To my knowledge, there is one brief contemporaneous reference to him, in the Jewish historian Josephus’ writings. (Josephus' writings also make reference to Jesus's brother, James and John the Baptist.)

The gospels were actually written some two generations after Jesus's execution. What we read in the New Testament is what was passed down by word of mouth.

To me, Jesus was the greatest moralist there ever was. His teachings should be studied by everyone.

The last thing Jesus needs is someone like Dr Jensen trying to make him relevant for us all, tarting him up in an mp3 player, a visual concept thought up by some advertising executive. For shame!

I’m amazed that Dr Peter Jensen is such a big muckety-muck in the Anglican church. No wonder people don’t go to church as much as they used to. You need someone to give a convincing message.

I sincerely don’t think that Dr Jensen is even convinced by his own message.

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