I do have to admire Jesus for one thing. He is one of the most respected leaders in human history despite the fact that his last request to his followers was, in effect, “Eat me!” Despite the fact that in John 14:12 he says: “whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father,” whenever I say “Eat me!” to people, I’m escorted out of the church by security. It’s just not fair.
This got turned into the Eucharist where people believe that bread is literally transubstantiated into the body of Jesus for your consumption. Now forget whether or not your Jesus is gluten free. What we learned about the “body of Christ” by Paul, in what I think is one of the most beautifully written metaphors, is this:
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ . . . the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
1 Corinthians 12:12-20
Now I’d rather use that metaphor to describe humanity in general, and not the church. Because the church isn’t going to get the point of this at all. They’ve proven it throughout history. They prove it each Sunday!
When you go to get communion, they tell you it’s the body of Christ. But every wafer looks exactly the same, which suggests homogeny. When I go to get a chicken, I have options: breast, leg, wing, my personal favorite is the thigh. But no. Church makes them all look the same. They’re serving boneless, skinless Jesus strips. That’s just not healthy. And they don’t even offer any dipping sauces!
Although you have Jesus and beverage, even if in small amounts. If you just throw in a French fry you can instantly sell it as a Body of Christ Value Meal.
But I digress.
The parable of the body is well known, but rarely, if ever, have I ever noticed modern Christianity grasp one point within it. It’s not even a hidden part. It’s so well stated that it’s impossible to miss. But they miss it because it’s where the real socialism lies, and they’d rather pretend that doesn’t exist in the Bible:
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.
1 Corinthians 12:21-26
Again it carries on the whole thing about parts not refusing each other’s necessity. But these examples pertain to rank. This is where one stops thinking about mere equality and starts thinking about justice. And despite the rightwing talking points, it is about equal outcome, not just equal opportunity. To them, having the opportunity out there as a free-for-all is not fair in the least. It rewards the strong.
I still love that it talks about body parts. The “less honorable” parts are given “special modesty.” Yeah, that’s a delicate way to put it. What it’s trying to say is to hide the naughty bits, but hiding is shame. Show “greater honor” it then says to the parts that lacked it? Hey everyone, did you see my awesome organ? Or if you’re in church and someone compliments your hair and you say, “That’s nothing, you should see my vagina!”
They’d be escorted out with me by security.
The verse you see above calls for rewarding the weak and ignoring the strong. Boy, would that ever make rightwing heads explode!
I see this point missed every single time a white person wonders why they can’t have White History Month, or a straight person says they want Straight Pride. They both insist it’s not fair. They both forget that these things help the downtrodden reach equal status. The white person should be thankful they don’t need White History Month. The straight person should be thankful they don’t need Straight Pride.
But no, they gotta whine, play victim, and try to pretend those needs aren’t necessary to the people they then insult, proving it is.
So in the grand scheme of the gospel, I’m still very much a thigh man. And I love the original recipe, rather than the bastardized, socialism-bashing version of today’s Christianity. Although I say that, but have no intention in going to church. Personally, I prefer this metaphor for humanity in general. You have a far greater chance of seeing this philosophy played out amongst the non-religious. It was a central principle in most indigenous peoples and evident in what few we have left. This is further proof of what I claim in my book. Christianity’s point was to revert us back to the way we were when we were all indigenous at heart, before civilization taught us to compete.
And in true Subway fashion, could I get my Jesus wafer toasted? That’d be great, thanks.