Blog 1711 – 05.29.2020
“Only Beloved Begotten Son”
I used that phrase in a piece about the dear son I share with my wife Linda yesterday in a piece that echoed a line from my boyhood to middle-aged faith as a Christian. Christians many, probably most of them, believe and teach that Jesus was, is, a unique, special, beloved, and in a peculiar way the most beloved and only begotten Son of God. His conception, touted pedigree at birth, reported miracles, and rising on the third day they all say are testimony to the truth that he is, always was, always will be, the third person of the Godhead, consisting of Father, Holy Spirit, and Son, usually expressed in the order F, S, & HS. Reminds me a bit of the old Lucky Strike cigarette commercial anagram LSMFT, Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco, which was proposed to millions of smokers as the reason above all others that they should buy and smoke Lucky Strikes.
And just like that, making up a three-faced God, GSHS, was I think more marketing campaign than reality. Judaism was not the only tribal religion that rose to prominence and Christianity is after all an extension of that same religion that taught its persecuted members and still does that a delivering Messiah would come and still does, rejecting altogether the nomination of Jesus the Anointed or Christ for that role. If Jesus actually said and did even a small part of the many words and miraculous deeds purported to him, he as much as anyone deserves to be in the running for that role. My trouble is that I do not believe there ever was such an office as Beloved and Only Begotten Son of God to run for nor to hold. Actually from the subtext of most of Jesus purported words I think a good case can be made that he did not think so either.
He did most often refer to himself as the Son of Man, even going so far toward the end of his three year earthly ministry as to say to his band of followers, ‘Greater works than I have done you will do…I no longer call you disciples but friends.” But, hey, friend-brother-Jesus has less marketing appeal as would Lucky Strike cigarettes made out of the same ole tobacco as all the other cigarettes. Long before the LSMFT sales pitch Lucky Strike way back in 1917 had coined and patented the phrase for the tobacco they used “It’s toasted” which really only meant it was heat cured instead of sun dried (most tobacco use in all cigarettes by then was heat cured.) But “It’s toasted” made it sound like theirs tasted better. We consumers can be such dupes to a good sales pitch, religious or otherwise.
I am sure my efforts to make sense out of both religious and other marketing claims will not appeal to many branded folk but to me it is not even so much a matter of taste as it is timing. Time will tell, it always does. I still believe in a God very human and very divine, very Jesus, but no longer in just one beloved and only begotten son. To me that is a role we were all created to play.
Today, fifty-three years ago a son was born, David Jerome Heyen. David, like Jesus, stuck around on this earth for a fewer years than many of us have. For seven years from his thirteenth birthday till almost his twentieth I got to play the supporting role in his life of step-dad or dad. Like me, by my broken mama, he was raised by his to be a people pleaser and wore many faces, always the one he thought we wanted to see. We are all of us, I think broken, to some degree on our mother’s side, even as Jesus was, but we are all also holy and whole on our father’s side. And we everyone of us can rightfully claim that title – beloved and only begotten son, ladies too. For God did and always does have a chosen and it is you, me, us. In that loving God we can trust.
Your friend and fellow traveler,