The Jihad of Jesus The Sacred Nonviolent Struggle for Justice Dave Andrews – Book Review by Bob Pajer

Dave Andrews book is a much needed description of what happens in the midst of religions that claim peace but come out swinging because  other religions appear to threaten their  existence.  If a religion believes it must defend itself it cannot know peace.  Defense is not peace.  Even if it seems justified.  God does not create what must be then defended.  It is the very belief in justified defense that makes peace impossible and makes religion vulnerable.

Jesus taught this and demonstrated it.  He did not defend himself because he knew it wasn’t necessary.  He did not sacrifice himself, not did his Father present him to the world as a sacrifice.  Jesus was not a martyr.  For he foresaw God as hallowed.  Perfect cause and One, without opposite.   Andrews book, while a step in the direction of seeing the problem,   religion mired in ego produces what egos do:  promote fear, which is separation from God.  Separation from God always produces the specialness we all feel and it leads to guilt.

Unless forgiven, guilt grows and can only cause terrible suffering or be projected on to others.  Sadly this is the insanity of this world, while deeply hidden inside us is God’s simple love for His children, His Kingdom, Power and Glory.  Jesus understood this probably like no one else and it is why he remains with us, fully at our disposal, fully willing to witness for the Truth he knows is within all of us. It is after all, love that gets us to this Truth, what it is to be an heir to God’s Creation. We are all blocked up and can’t find how to unblock ourselves. Yet every block that ever was and exists is of our making.  God freely gives His love, His hallowed name, to His children.  It isn’t possible that we will not find our way to this.  But we are confused.

Adam rejected God’s way of Truth and love in a moment of madness. The moment was not the issue so much.  However, Adam took his decision one step further and in the process seemed to lock it in. He forgot, or perhaps denied God’s forgiveness, which was simply God’s unconditional love for his son, love no matter what. Think about it. Do you think God would not have overlooked his beloved son a mistake?

Adam did not disobey God. God cannot be disobeyed because God is One and has all power. There is no other power, anywhere. Adam did, however, not only make a mistake but he thought he disobeyed the only power there is in the universe. This is insane of course. And what follows is more insanity: guilt, sin and death. This, Jesus teaches through a reinterpretation of how we treat one another. Each of has a hallowed name, God given.  We can disown it but we can’t change it.

No jihad is needed, except in our own spiritual truth, a truth that is eternally with everyone and therefore must see and appreciate this  holiness in the other person.  It is in fact what Jesus was able to do:  “Forgive them Father for they know not what they do” means Jesus saw in his brothers, who murdered him, what they were in truth:  hallowed, perfect children of a loving Father.  Jesus saw nothing else in anyone, because there is nothing else in anyone.  If there were, there would be no resurrection.  What appears before our eyes is always being corrected by what Jesus taught, forgiveness.  Jesus knew and saw what was happening to him.  He, however,  did not see it as truth and truth is all there is.  Jesus knows of course, where we are, knowing we also know not what we do.  Yet he “in earth, as it is in heaven.”  Which leads us to, in joined hands, proclaiming one another “our daily bread.”  He does not what we can do.

Once separation starts in the mind of the insane, it grows like a cancer, unless we stop it, in ourselves, not by the ego that put it there, but by just as Jesus said, the Holy Spirit. Jesus whole message revolves around the fact that in his coming here he was able to go past his own ego and decide to listen from then on to one voice. God’s. It was the return of man to God’s love that makes Jesus the teacher of anyone who wants to listen.

A mistake is correctible. In our minds, sin is not a mistake but something larger that we are able to pull off in our effort to usurp God’s authority, His authorship of His creation, us. Adam, in us, refused to see that for a moment. Jesus did not. Therefore, Jesus’ message is God’s correction for Adam’s mistake. It is always true that God will have us see His Will and love for us. Jesus is God’s love for His Son (everyone) incarnate. Although, “incarnate” is jut a word, and like all words, is a symbol of a symbol. Nothing of God can really be made flesh, because God is not flesh.

Because God is God, there is no separation from Him. If we choose to experience separation it will be our choice to dream of an impossibility. And that always involves another. Adam, in his second mistake, needed another to blame. All mistakes require an object to project upon. The price of blame is always guilt, however. And all that happened after Adam’s second mistake had nothing to do with God, except that He provided the means for the inevitable: Correction of His Son’s dream that he could become God.

We are living that dream now. It is not a happy dream, but unfortunately a sad one at best. At worst it is surely a nightmare that seems to go on an on, searching for peace that cannot be found in separation. We do keep separating though, building fences instead of bridges. I care for those who suffer without knowing we are living a dream. However, knowing that what we see is a dream can be a step in the direction of correction. The correction is exactly what Jesus taught: under the care of the Holy Spirit we can unlearn every single block to love that we think exists, within the dream. He waits patiently for our acceptance of His role as our Teacher. For us to resign as our own teachers. We cannot teach insanity within insanity.  And that is what the world is, an insane desire to usurp the authority of our Creator. If we think this is not so, we need only look around us. Your circumstances may be very comfortable, yet as long as one child is dying of starvation, as long as one soul seems to wonder aimlessly in this alien land, as long as one suffers sickness — we all suffer the same. Although we hide it.  So if you wonder how Adam could have made the mistake he did, we might ask ourselves how we just did.

Adam needed to blame someone, for he was now guilty. God asks him “where” he is. He is asking that question not because there was any place Adam was God could not see.  But because Adam was mistaking his own spiritual power as a Son of God. One might say, he lost his mind and thought he was disconnected or separated from God. Adam now turns to Eve and says she is the cause of his his mistake. Someone once said, “I am never really lost until I blame some else.” Sad, because in Truth there is no-one to blame. There is no-one out there. We are as we are created, one with God. Blame is a non-jihad moment. We cannot stand the guilt, in this case big time guilt for Adam. Even though there is no order of separation. Separation of God is a thought in our minds. It never goes anywhere because there is not only not an ounce of truth in it, but it is a thought of effect without cause. Unreal. It stays in the mind that thinks it and that is painful. So much pain comes from it that we need to get rid of it. That is why guilt is the heart of all violence and terror here in this world. It is the underlying force that sets us to kill those who threaten us, or bring only truth and kindness. There is no order of separation. It is always the same, no matter what level we think it carries. And it is always a mistake because it can’t happen. Our insanity about this and everything else is we believe we can pull it off, or we are going to will it to happen.

Either we blame the other or blame ourselves. At this level, the ego sees our blame as justified. We must protect ourselves, we think. We must conquer those who threaten us, or stand in the way of getting what we want. The cause of all terrorism, justified or not within our insane thinking, is separation. We have departed from God, we think, and cannot do anything with this belief. It will not leave our minds, which close like a steel trap over it. It must be sent out to kill “it,” out there, or kill ourselves, or both. And, we cannot stand what we are doing. Think of all the people who brought with them the gentle message of peace, kindness, compassion and consideration of joint interest. We kill them, or ignore what they say.

Dave Andrew’s “Jesus as Jihadist,” is telling in that it at least dispels some of the lies within us. I attended a meeting in our community recently hosted by the Islamists who live with us.  Our neighbors.  I listened to those who belong to the Christian and Islam religions explain to one another what their respective religions really teach. An attendee accused the Muslims as having a history of conquest of lands and people. Another attendee, a State legislator, said openly he had no problem with Islam, only Shrria Law and it being foisted on Americans. He evidently had no knowledge of Shirra Law.  There are many problems with the insanity of these statements, primarily each is projecting our guilt as Americans upon others. Again, because we can stand guilt and projection seems like we can get rid of it. Or, God will take suffering from us by finally seeing, as we so easily do, we are justified in what we do, others are to blame, often making such assertions in His name.

I also attended a meeting at a local Mosque, with the same purpose, Muslims speaking for Islam and the Koran. Their message was in both meetings, we have crazy people who claim to be Muslims. It happens in all religions.  Such people  take a view of our teachings that is disparate and not the true Islam. We do not kill people. We do not terrorize our brothers and sisters in the Christian religion. We apologize for the acts of violence that have occurred throughout the world on behalf of our religion. As Americans, we want to be part of the community, in which we live in a loving way.

At both meetings, clerics form the local Islam community were present and spoke in these terms. The representatives they were hosting were from various backgrounds, both religious and in their roles in the community in which they lived.

People from both religions have a history of war and violence.

I am grateful to my Muslim brothers and sisters for treating us to such wonderful hospitality.

I saws in both experiences the wish explain true Islam as a way of dispelling the fear amongst Christians;  and, a way to counter the phobia that is now a part of our country, contained in religious as well as non-religious circles. The approach by Muslim Americans was to show each community that they are indeed American by explaining there are fanatics among them but that is not the reality of Islam.

The history of Christianity, as Dave Andrews, so clearly tells us is full of violence and waring, much in the name of Christianity.  Yet, much of it carried out by Christians who do not believe their religion perches non-violence.  Christians have wiped out entire nations from the face of the earth: the Native Americans. Christians have committed the greatest of all atrocities in human history: the extermination of Jews. Christians have committed the worst offenses in the name of economic causes: the brutal and murderous treatment of African Americans. Christians have failed to take up the cause of hunger and war in the world by peacefully resisting it.  Conquest is our cause. Justice for all is not.

Most of the atrocity is committed as we call ourselves Christians, yet act the opposite.

I was in Poland 20 years ago and as we drove away from Aiuswitz I noticed a cathedral on our way, near the city of Krakau. I love visiting cathedrals. Although I did not stop to go in this one I drove close enough to see some strange architecture. Stone structures built out from the outside walls. I asked about these and was told these were built as private chapels for the SS officers and their families to provide a private place for worship. The SS who were on Monday mornings plotting and carrying out ways to kill millions of Jews, perhaps while they were sitting in the chapels in a cathedral built to carry Jesus’ message to the world. These, who murdered God’s children in this case are identified as SS Officials, not s Nazis, not even German.  Certainly not Christian.  Yet those they so brutally murdered are clearly identified by they religion, Jews.  Not poles, Germans, Dutch, Polish.

There are many stories tell the same story: Christianity is the home for many who have no idea what Jesus’ message is. Or, they did and then denied it for their own purposes: the Christians who killed Emmet Till and the civil rights activists in Mississippi, the General who commanded the forces at Wounded Knee, the President who enforced the March of Tears, the list goes on.

At the meeting our Muslim brothers and sister arranged for us to tell us there are murderers who claim to be Muslim, I said I am a Christian and I belong to the religion that has brought from its members the worst violence in the history of humankind. Do not be ashamed without us.

I was hugged by brothers and sisters who practice another religion that has as its cause, our return to our Father who loves all of us and has nothing to do with our different pathways to search for this journey.

Dave Andrews tells this story in Jesus’ the Jihadist. He tells the truth of our hiding our violence under our reverence, our call for justice when we are not practicing our claims of righteousness, our lies before the truth. I am happy to recommend this book for the scholarly approach he presents before reader. He writes with clarity and compassion and brings to us stories of how in fact there are those amongst us who not proffer but do; who have set down the sword and have gone to work on our only reason for being in this world, our own salvation through forgiveness, as Jesus taught.

I cannot say Andrews provides the fullest understanding of Jesus’ message nor can I say I or anyone else here does. The world would be an entirely different place if it were to be understood.  Perhaps the world as we know it would end, for there would be no reason for its continuance. God did not create the world, we made it in opposition to His Creation. I say that with trepidation still. Yet God does not create a place of suffering.  Where there is suffering, it is not of God, other than its correction.

In conclusion, I do not see Jesus as Jihadist, unless it has a meaning I have not been able to find, the meaning that Jesus came to us for one reason, his own salvation in Christ. His return to His Father as His Father’s one Son. His second coming is our following him, doing the very same. Jesus was a teacher of God, who restored his oneness with God by no longer listening to or hearing an ego that separates us from God. His message was clear and a simple one. Deny the denial of God by seeing God in everyone. We are here for the same reason, and it is the only reason.   Because I will to know myself, I see you as my brother (sister) and God’s Son.” (A Course in Miracles.)