I watched “Michael” this evening. God, I love that movie. To me, Michael is the perfect angel. He drinks, he smokes, he eats tons of refined sugar, and he loves women, lots of women. That is so healthy, so life-affirming compared to what we find in most organized religions and many “spiritual traditions.” And when Michael brings Sparky back to life, that underlines the Life-Affirming theme of this movie.
What if the Roman politicians had picked Jesus Raising Lazarus From The Dead for a corporate logo instead of that obscene torture scene. For one thing, it would have been historically much more accurate, since the Roman Army used X crosses and not T crosses for executions. And anyway, up until the Roman politicians took over Christianity in 324, the most common church-art was paintings of Jesus Raising Lazarus. Guess it did not fit the real motives of the “church leadership.”
There is a branch of sociology (or, at least, there was a few decades back when I was in grad school) called functionalism. For any social mechanism, there is always a stated reason for its existence and then there is whatever the mechanism does or accomplishes. That is, any social mechanism that persists has a function. The real and only reason it exists is because of what it does (its function), regardless of what the leaders say about it.
So, what does that corporate logo of the church do? Mostly, it makes people feel bad. When I was a kid, it terrified me. It totally creeped me out. I think that is a pretty normal reaction to it, if you are honest about it. Is it really holy? Is it sacred? I don’t buy it. Terror is a weapon, and it is not a weapon of love. It is not a holy weapon–contradiction in terms, if you ask me.
So, you want me to follow you or join your religion? Your message better be Life-Affirming. And your angles better be a lot like Michael. All you need is love.