I was talking to someone who is on the borderline between acquaintance and friend. She mentioned an important personal fact as if I obviously already knew, which I did not. But I pretended that I knew and tried to piece together the the facts from the rest of our conversation. Afterwards the self-analyzing questions: “Why did she think I already knew? Why didn’t I just admit that I didn’t know and own up to my ignorance? What am I trying to protect by pretending to be so knowledgable?”
I decided to take these questions with me on my morning walk. During these meditative walks, I often invite God/Jesus to join me (although at times I listen to the chant “Om Nama Shivaya” for a Hindu-infused jaunt).
As I walked, I pondered how my view of Jesus might affect my response to my earlier behavior. In popular Christianity, much focus is placed on Jesus’ compassion, wisdom, and divine/supernatural abilities. But the Gospels also present a fully human Jesus who gets mad, cries, and has problems with his biological family. Which Jesus was I calling on to gain perspective on my behavior?
This led me to the crucial theological question that dominated the rest of my morning walk: Did Jesus poop? Of course he did, but somehow that thought seems, well, “unChristian”. We have sanitized Jesus to the point of being non-human, and in so doing, we have lost any hope of becoming like him. If he’s only for veneration, then he’s of no use for transformation.
According to the Gospels, God said of Jesus, “This is my beloved with whom I’m well pleased.” If the Divine Essence can inhabit that biologically messy, emotional, limited human being known as Jesus…and be well-pleased, then shame, blame, judgement and self-judgement have met their match. That’s the heart of Christianity. The Divine Mystery looks at us, loves us, takes up residence in us, as us, in all our humanness, and is well-pleased.
While my walk didn’t yield a psychological cure-all that magically erased all my self-protective foibles, I did gain a deeper experience of Jesus that is proving to be just as therapeutic. To experience Jesus is to experience that we imperfect beings are embraced at such a deep level that we cannot fail at life, cannot be a disappointment, cannot be anything other than loved.
Within such truly unconditional love, our masks and pretenses are acknowledged without push or pull. No need for judgment, angst-ridden self-analysis, or a $10,000 self-help course. We, like God, see the messy, human reality…and smile.
Did Jesus poop? Absolutely. And thank God he did.