Have you noticed the amount of Jesusphobic behaviour that surfaces this time of year?  there is so much of it that you will find it hard to buy a Christmas card that has the name Jesus on it.  Among Quakers it's common to use the word Light for the Divine or our "Higher" Power but even among those who cling to the Christian nation myth there is a reluctance to say the name Jesus.

Years ago when my dad was still alive he was subjected to listening to one of my songs -Geezers 4 Jesus - that repeated the name Jesus continuously.  Being a true blue Catholic he ended up commenting that he was getting a sore neck from bowing his head everytime he heard the name Jesus in my song (If you were raised Catholic you were told that you had to bow your head everytime the name Jesus was used).  Naturally it was easier not to use the name Jesus than to bow your head and it was common for Catholics not to use the name of Jesus outside of "mass".

Fast forward to today and try to find a Christmas card that mentions Jesus.  You'll find that: the LORD has come;  HE has come;  Unto us a SAVIOUR is born; - and those are the truly religious ones and there's nothing wrong with them in themselves.  But someplace on the card they could say who HE our Saviour and Lord is.  Did I forget Emanuel, God with us, or the Christ Child?

Sometimes you'll see mention of the little Baby Jesus, but there's no reason why if you are going to send a Christmas card you can't send one that mentions Jesus, the reason for the Season, except of course you might not be able to find one as you are more apt to see the name of Jesus on a men's lavatory restroom wall than on a Christmas Card.

Of course if you have spent anytime at all in a Pentacostal Church you will hear the name Jesus belted out in song.  There are great contemporary Christian songs like Jesus friend of sinners that magnify the name above all names.  We just have to get people who have been touched by Jesus in the tradition of George Fox to acknowledge that there is one Christ Jesus who can speak to our condition without leaving out the Jesus part.  Once again if you haven't experienced the Christ Jesus of George Fox, the living Christ, than this isn't meant for you, but if Christ Jesus has spoken to your condition then focus on how often you substitute some other word rather than utter "JESUS", who after all is the reason for the season and if like me you believe everyday is Christmas than you have reason to say Thank you Jesus everyday or play Geezers 4 Jesus (http://www.geezers4jesus.com/music.html)  until your head falls off a worn out neck.:)

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Comment by Keith Saylor on 12th mo. 24, 2013 at 11:12am

Dear James. Thank you for this piece. In the reading, the the Spirit of Jesus rippled within me. Jesus and his journey in the world came to the forefront of my mind. I am one of those people nurtured by the words of George Fox and the other early Quakers. There is deep joy and thankfulness for life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus was and is the interpenetration of the Kingdom of Heaven into the very history of human being. Jesus gifted each of us with the eternal, bathing individual conscious and conscience with his Spirit so that, in experiencing and living in the Spirit of Jesus within, in holding to the Light,  we know Jesus not merely historically, but personally; and so know eternal life. It is such a blessing to know Jesus as the very anchor of individual being through his Spirit within.

Many blessings,

Keith

Comment by James C Schultz on 12th mo. 25, 2013 at 9:40am

Thanks Keith.  There is joy unspeakable in experiencing Jesus, the living Christ.

Comment by Stephanie Stuckwisch on 12th mo. 25, 2013 at 7:30pm

Many people avoid the name because they do no want to be associated with the extreme right and it's co-oping Jesus name. 

Personally, I choose to reclaim Jesus name and remind people that he calls us to peace, loving acceptance and caring for one another.

Comment by William F Rushby on 12th mo. 25, 2013 at 7:46pm

Hello, Stephanie!

You wrote: "Many people avoid the name because they do no want to be associated with the extreme right and it's co-op[t]ing Jesus name." 

 My reaction is that anyone, regardless of ideology, is entitled to use Jesus' name, even though I might question whether their attributions are valid.

I don't refuse to call myself a Quaker because leftist and extremely liberal Friends have co-opted that label.  It's a free country!  They can call themselves Quakers if they wish, with or without my approval!

Bill Rushby

 

 

Comment by Stephanie Stuckwisch on 12th mo. 26, 2013 at 6:37pm

Hi William,

I gave myself a day before responding since I wrote neither well nor clearly yesterday. I'm not sure I'll do any better today, but here goes...

You are right - everyone is entitled to use Jesus' name.

I still think that some people avoid using 'Jesus' due to very unfortunate baggage that has come to be associated with my Shepard. I used to be one of them. 

I work with a population that has been on the receiving end of some of the worst intolerances of people using his name. I used to hide my faith and avoid conflict in my work. Now I choose to be upfront in the hopes that God will use me and Jesus' love will come through. 

I have made a very conscious choice to embrace my Christianity in the context of my liberal meeting for the very reason that you continue to embrace the name Quaker. I periodically receive crap for it. 

There is intolerance on both sides. By not settling into Jesusphobia, I hope to show a different aspect of Jesus to both groups. 

To get back to James' initial post, I suspect the name Jesus is avoided this time of year because sentimental grandeur sells more cards than a dusty traveler eating with prostitutes and tax collectors.

Comment by William F Rushby on 12th mo. 26, 2013 at 7:00pm

Post-Christmas greetings, Stephanie!

I apologize for being a bit caustic.  It's not a reaction to you, but to some of my encounters with Jesusphobic Friends.  I too have suffered from some rather rough attacks, but (mostly) from Jesusphobes.

Your delayed response to my comments shows some very nice self-restraint on your part, and I compliment you for it.

I admit to being very sentimental about Christmas.  I may comment further on Patricia W.'s thread if I can "resurrect" it.

In any case, best wishes in your walk with Jesus.

Comment by Stephanie Stuckwisch on 12th mo. 26, 2013 at 7:07pm

Christmas greetings to you, my Friend. 

I have a special fondness for Christmas, too - celebrating the Son coming in to the world as the world turns back to the sun. Last night my daughter and I lit candles on the wreath one last time and read John 1.

Comment by Barbara Smith on 12th mo. 27, 2013 at 8:59am

James - I am realizing that this avoidance of the NAME of Jesus is no accident! Before I experienced a baptism of the Spirit I almost never used the name Jesus unless I was referring to a Bible story etc. I have heard other Friends say that the name Jesus sticks in their throat. They can say God, and Light of course, but not Jesus. The many places in the Bible where there is reference to the word NAME, of the Lord, of God, of Christ, indicates there is power in the very name itself. I have read that the word "name" is often used to mean "power", as when Christ says "baptize them in my name". To me this explains the discomfort in using the name, or even in hearing the name, of Jesus, or Christ, that is seen in some Liberal Meetings.  In the Bible it says "At the name of Jesus every knee shall bend" again showing that the name itself holds spiritual power that is real!

To my amazement when a couple years ago I baptized in the Spirit (never know what to call this event) I found the NAME of Jesus the most beautiful word in the English language and a thrill would vibrate though me whenever I read or spoke or heard that word! It was totally surprising and overwhelming! And it made it clear to me the power that word held and why that name causes a reaction in those who have not experienced Christ Jesus themselves.

May we all experience the blessings that are held in the name of Jesus,

Barb

Comment by James C Schultz on 12th mo. 27, 2013 at 10:46am

Barb:  I was a Catholic when I got baptized in the Spirit back in 1978.  The Catholic Charismatic renewal actually had a course they gave to get Baptized in the Spirit.  I think it was spread out over 6 weeks and was conducted before the regular weekly prayer meeting.  When I later attended a non-denominational pentacostal church they would pray for the Baptism in the Holy Ghost whenever the preacher was so led.  In a more evangelical church I attended the gifts of the spirit were acknowledged but not overly welcomed and the only time I was present when someone laid hands on attenders for the Baptism of the Spirit was on a retreat given by a preacher with a pentacostal background.  I don't think liberal Quakers could take the course and I believe like Billy Graham that many believers get baptized in the Holy Ghost haphazardly as they grow in Christ.  However, having said that I think it's very important that everyone be familiar with the whole Pentacost experience so that they can recognize the gifts when they pop up in their lives.

Comment by Stephanie Stuckwisch on 12th mo. 27, 2013 at 11:12am

I'm glad you brought forward the Pentacost. As I understand it, it was not about individual enlightenment and inspiration. It was about the Spirit gathering a community.

 I see much of modern Quakerism revolving around the individual experience and leading. Quakerism at its best is the gathered meeting. 

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