“What’s in it for me?” – applies to a lot of living.
Work harder for less money. Learn this new computer system (because we are dumbing down our skills profile). Agree to work this new rota (and “no” – we have no interest in your work-life balance). Apply for your job (you are currently employed to do each day). Zero hours contracts are the only way we can afford to employ you. WIIFM?
Do you still love me? Why don’t you love me like you used to? Why are you always so tired nowadays? You take me for granted. Why does everyone come before me now? Why don’t you love me anymore? Why does being married feel like a job now … ? I sometimes think we stay together out of habit … ? Why should I change (any more that I already have) … ? WIIFM?
Jesus came into a society riddled with “WIIFM?” Religion had taken over living for the Chosen People. Prophets had entrenched future expectations. And the present was all-embracing religious etiquette AND the rule of religious (and Roman) Law. WIIFM? was a pervasive culture into which Jesus arrived.
Of course we are so much more sophisticated and loving than “they” were. So we “get“ what Jesus taught much more easily. We don’t need all that “rules and reg” stuff anymore.
We don’t even need sacrifice and forgiveness. Jesus did that for us on the cross. We don’t need to go to church. Because I really am all right Jack – Jesus said so. And when I die I (am pretty confident) that I will meet my Maker. I think Heaven will be stuffed full of people like me. People who look after their own – who work hard – who have a nice home – who have nice friends. People like me who say hello to the down-and-outs (unless they are under the influence of drink and/or drugs) – who give a few coins to those charity nuts – who watch the fundraisers on tv (even though it is rubbish tv). People like me who feel sorry for those little children (the ones the charities use to make us feel guilty). I sometimes make my family watch the God channels, sing the God songs, listen to the God preachers. We don’t reject God like all the muslims who do all these terrible things. We don’t reject God like the gays do trying to make my children just like one of them. All the foreigners and coloureds and weirdos? I accept them, I really do. And that’s why I hate them. They have turned my country into one where I have to accept them – but where I spend my own money is another matter – what I say around my own dining table is my turn for “freedom”. And that’s why I don’t want them living next to me. And they would devalue all our properties. So I ask you – what’s in it for me with all this “do-gooding … like Jesus Himself asked all “them” in the bible … ?
I think if Jesus came back today we would be amazed at the miracles … we would buy tickets to go and see all that … we might even make it “a weekender ” … sounds like great entertainment all this “God on Earth” stuff! There would be protests obviously. He would piss people off like He did in the bible – probably the church types and the gays and muslims. Like the Beatles did. Remember when they were “big” … wasn’t it John who said they were bigger than Jesus? What a fuss that caused!! That was so cool! I reckon Jesus chuckled at that!
Now we have politicians “borrowing” the aura of religion as a vote catcher. Now we have the churchies testing the “aura” – wanting a politician who says the right words (not that we expect them to do the right thing – just say the right thing). Like we do.
Luke 14:1-14 … Another Sabbath healing, another “the first shall be last” puzzle, another poke in the eye for “them”. Another history lesson. Worth a click on the link and a slow read.
It’s another endorsement of the ordinary man (just like me). Another reason for doing God like I do God! WIIFM? I am not like that – not “shallow” like that – not like them … don’t you agree God?
I think if Jesus was here right now here today we would all be ALL the “thems” we read about. We ARE that “pervasive culture”. We have the SAME stumbling blocks today. It’s just that (because they are ours) we never see them that way. And because that selective vision and hearing and living is both universal AND timeless. And why – I think – we also find it easy to criticise Jesus (and God) when He goes down the “WIIFM route” with His parables – the Heaven and Hell stuff – the reward and punishment.
I think it is because it is the language we speak today, it is how we see our own culture today, it is who I am today (because I allow). And it is why I prefer not to see and hear any of that (just like they preferred not to in the bible).
Does Jesus really care?
Because I see Him inviting … asking … loving … inviting each to just be “us” … to see the bullshit in us (not just others) … to be brave enough to love without condition … to be brave enough to start each day afresh and not give up because of yesterday or tomorrow – or some other reason (like “because other’s won’t” … like “WIIFM?” is part of our western dna … like we make that “God’s DNA” as well).
Does God care if we have “got it” – or does He desire that we each want to try and “get it” – that we each want to “get it” a little better each day? Because that is us changing us and us allowing you to change you (or not). And that is unconditional love for each and ourselves (maybe even God). And THAT is why I have to read the bible as a living-right-now-bible.
Anyone else up for the “Living Word” (it is Sunday after all) … ?