Historically, Biblically, the seat to the right hand of God is the most desirable and is reserved for Jesus. I have thought about God and Jesus recently in terms of our own earthly divisions and have concluded that God should sit on the right, Jesus on the left, and perhaps the Holy Spirit inhabit center stage. God, the rock of ages, the Old Testament God is not really evolved spiritually. He is wrathful, mean-spirited, unreasonable and unforgiving. His idea of justice is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, he is always smiting someone for some minor infraction while his favorites indulge in sodomy, incest, murder, bigamy and adultery (the list goes on). The Old Testament God is a right-winger. The “Christian” Right is always quoting scripture to support their less than moral views but just like Republicans quoting the Constitution, they are in most cases ignorant of the meaning of either and one would charitably say, selective in their quotations. Jesus is a liberal, a left winger (if you ascribe to the right-wing definition of the word). He turns the other cheek, he helps the poor, he treats others as he would treat himself, and love and forgiveness is his message. Why do so many Christians worship Jesus when they do not follow his teachings? How can the right-wing pretend to be Christian when their views are the antithesis of those of Jesus? Whether you believe there is a God or not, whether you think you must believe in Jesus to get into heaven or not, the moral choices are clear. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. If you choose to live by Old Testament values you cannot be a Christian. If you choose Jesus you cannot behave like his Father. The truth is, if there are Heavenly beings, they would probably prefer it if we didn’t use them to support every cock eyed idea we try to foist on the world. Forgive me Jesus but I would like to close with one of your better ideas, love thy neighbor.
I loved Peter Eichenberger. I never met the man and now that he is cycling across the sky, I never will. I knew him only from brief cable access appearances on Todd Mormon’s Monkeytime show and from his acerbic, witty, pithy (and a thousand other adjectives I’ve left out), and of course truthful prose, first in the now defunct Spectator and then in the Independent. For those of you in the universe beyond Raleigh, NC, Peter was an intellectual for the common man. He refused to be dragged into the greed and corruption in which we are all drowning, and for that Peter paid a price. It is said he smoked and drank too much but it seemed a perfectly natural response for one so afflicted by the horrors of our world. He felt the pain of the homeless, the disenfranchised, the marginal beings on the edge of our society, he was one of them in many ways, but his voice was that of a lion, his pen mightier than any sword. One friend said that Peter never met a conspiracy theory he didn’t like, but perhaps he saw things a little clearer than the rest of us. In 2004 when Peter was hit by a car while cycling late at night down Bickett Boulevard, my first thought was that the bastards had finally gotten him, another conspiracy theory come true. After all, Peter made a lot of people in power uncomfortable. Before the accident, Peter was John the Baptist, howling in the wilderness, afterwards he was beatific, like Jesus, preaching the gospel of love, not religion (let me make that clear), just love for his fellow man but he never lost his edge. He could still, with a surgeon’s skill, make a perfect incision in hypocrisy and peel back the layers of lies that concealed it. If you are ever lucky enough to read any of Peter’s work, his tales of injustice, of government conspiracy, of the downtrodden among us then you will be among the blessed his words have touched. In time the accident took its toll, the stress of coma, the seizures from brain damage and perhaps too many late nights at Sadlack’s and Peter was silenced forever. Peter should have died that dark night on Bickett but he wasn’t about to let someone else write his obituary yet ( http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/newsobserver/obituary.aspx?n=peter-eichenberger&pid=146838943 ). He left us this Thanksgiving, while sipping tea and reading the newspaper (the printed word his Bible to the end). I loved Peter Eichenberger and I will miss his heart and his mind, and of couse, his soul.