Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas, Happy Holy Days!

Excerpts from Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, taken from Clarence Jordan's Cotton Patch paraphrase:

"You’ve also heard the saying, ‘Take an eye for an eye; take a tooth for a tooth.’ But I’m telling you, never respond with evil. Instead, if somebody slaps you on your right cheek, offer him the other one too. And if anybody wants to drag you into court and take away your shirt, let him have your undershirt. If somebody makes you go a mile for him, go two miles. Give to him who asks of you, and don’t turn your back on anyone who wants a loan.

"Another thing you’ve always heard is, ‘Love your own group and hate the hostile outsider,’ But I’m telling you, love the outsiders and pray for those who try to do you in, so that you might be sons of your spiritual Father...

"Therefore, let me tell you all something: Don’t worry about making a living—what you’ll eat, what you’ll drink, what you’ll wear. Isn’t the life of a man more important than what he eats? Think for a moment about the birds of the sky. They don’t plant. They don’t harvest. They don’t store up in barns. Even so, your spiritual Father cares for them. Really now, aren’t you all more precious than birds? Besides, who of you, by fretting and fuming, can make himself one inch taller?

"And what’s all this big to-do over clothing? Look yonder at that field of flowers, how they’re growing. They do no housework and no sewing. But I’m telling you, not even Solomon in all his finery was ever dressed up like one of them. Well then, if God so clothes the flowers of the field, which are blooming today and are used for kindling tomorrow, won’t he do even more for you, you spiritual runts?... Don’t worry over the future; let the future worry over itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own...

"Keep your eye peeled for fake preachers, who come to you with sheepskins from wolf-schools. You’ll be able to distinguish them by the way they live. You know, you don’t gather pecans from a persimmon tree nor peaches from a chinaberry, do you?... Any tree that does not produce cultivated fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. That’s why I told you that you could know them by the way they live.

"Not everyone who glibly calls me ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the God Movement, but he who does the will of my spiritual [Mother]. The time will come when many people will gather around and say, ‘L-o-ord, oh L-o-o-rd, we sure did preach in your name, didn’t we? And in your name we gave the devil a run for his money, didn’t we? We did all kinds of stunts in your name, didn’t we?’ Then I’ll admit right in front of everybody, ‘I’ve never known you. Get away from me, you wicked religious racketeers!'"

When Jesus finished speaking, the people were simply amazed at his ideas, for he was teaching them like he knew what he was talking about. He didn’t sound like their preachers.
Happy Birthday, Jesus. Thanks for the Great Gift.


Marcguyver said...

Boy this guy Clarence Jordan sure takes some huge "liberties" in his translation doesn't he?

What the heck is the "spiritual mother"???

Neo-Con Tastic said...

Merry Christmas Dan. Happy Holy Days. Have a blessed New Year, I'll talk to you later.

Neo-Con Tastic said...

Notice I'm not flicking anyone off anymore!

madcapmum said...

Merry Christmas, Dan!

Dan Trabue said...

Merry Christmas to you all, thanks.

And Marcguyver, the [mother] I inserted, so as to make it more inclusive. I'm of the school of thought that God has no genitalia, and I/we in my crowd, find plenty of references in the Bible to God's feminine nature, and so...God is my Mother and Father.

Don't blame Clarence.

dem said...


Keep up the good work, and keep spreading the TRUE good word. I'm glad you show the SCO crowd that there is another side to Christianity. I'm not a person of faith, but nonetheless I think many of our sentiments are similar.

Merry Christmas.

hipchickmamma said...

Merry Christmas and Happy Holy Days to you as well Dan! It's been a wonderful gift getting to know you through your blog this year. Thank you!

Deb said...

Merry Christmas to you and your family, Dan. And thank you for your gifts of words and pictures on this blog.

Dan Trabue said...

And thanks to you all for being virtual friends. Well...nah, y'all are all real friends in my book.

Thanks for visiting dem and yes, I do believe we believe similarly in many ways. You sure give 'em hell and do so well and, if you don't mind me saying, in a godly way. Thanks.

Deb and Hipchick, y'all are a couple of my oldest blogging friends and I've appreciated our visits together this year.

Neo-con, I'm glad you're not flippin folk off any more. You can't go wrong with Homer.

Merry Christmas everbody.

Constantine said...

Boy o' boy. The SOM really tells a body where their true allegiance lies. God help me.

So...would you tell us more about this "Cotton Patch" version? It seems somewhat akin to Peterson’s “The Message” translation/paraphrase.

Dan Trabue said...

Clarence Jordan was a Baptist preacher (he worked right here in my hometown of Louisville for a while and had connections with my church) whose ministry spanned the civil rights years.

He left Louisville in the 1940s to start a small interracial commune/farm in SOUTH GEORGIA!!! (Koinonia Farms, perhaps you've heard of it. Habitat for Humanity was an outgrowth of Koinonia).

He was a white man who believed that racism was a great sin in the church and dedicated his life to living out what he thought Jesus would live. I might write more about this soon.

Anyway, he was also a great theologian and scholar and he paraphrased most of the New Testament, setting it in the Southern US. Instead of heading to Jerusalem, Jesus was on his way to Atlanta.

The pharisees were replaced by "good church folk," and the language was sort of that common southern dialect (not necessarily extreme southern "y'alls" etc, just a sort of rural sound to it). Peter is called "Rocky"...that sort of thing.

It can be fun to read through. You've sparked my interest, I think I'll write a bit about it soon. Thanks for asking.

Wasp Jerky said...

Happy Christmas Dan!

Nightcrawler said...

Merry Christmas Dan!

Marcguyver said...

Wow Dan, that guy sounds pretty interesting, is he still working down there in Georgia?

Hope you've had a great Holiday.....ha ha ha ha, just kidding; had a great Christmas weekend!!

It seems that we may never see eye to eye on some issues, but I'm okay with that; and I always appreicate the dialogue as it really challenges me to study and examine what I believe and think!

Blessings to you!

Dan Trabue said...

Thanks again everyone, for the well wishes. Happy New Year.

marcguyver, Clarence and his wife both survived the shotgun blasts and bombings that came with following Jesus' teachings to be racially inclusive in Georgia in the 40s, but old age took him a good while back. I'm not sure whether or not his wife, Florence is still alive.

Koinonia Farms is alive and well, though. Changed somewhat in their mission, but still there. It's an interesting place to visit. See my next blog for more information on them.