3/30/21: The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) — Love Changes Everything #poetry

3/30/21: The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) — Love Changes Everything #poetry

Biblical times — the music is rock and roll, Christ and the Disciples are street tough New Yorkers

The man who refuses to participate in the general conflict and cruelty is beaten and spat upon

He is part of the maintenance of the status quo, a carpenter who makes crosses for the Empire’s crucifixions

… he is driven near madness by his denial of his essential nature

The pain is so great he accepts his destiny

This Christ is a man who becomes God

He is a sinner

This is not a Christ for innocents

This is a Christ for people who have done bad things

This is a Christ who redeemed other people because he had to redeem himself

This is an artist Christ

This is a Jake La Motta Christ who sublimates sexual desire for art

The art direction of this picture is theater of the absurd … Beckett – ian — existential not theological

This is a fearful artist Christ — all artists are timid — they fear the world — they recoil from participation — the world smells their vulnerability and attacks — the artist is sensitive to every blow and sensitive to his shortcomings — the weakest are called to save us all …

Art Christ re -engages the world in a different way — still apart, but now not afraid …

Art Christ speaks for God

God talks to Art Christ and Art Christ speaks to man — that’s how it works

Art Christ can’t procreate because he is called to protect creation

There was a reason for celibacy in the time before priests became businessmen who petitioned God with Man’s complaints, but didn’t have the nerve to tell people God’s side of the story

Art Christ confronts the people stoning a woman … “Who has never sinned throw the first stone” — and the game is afoot …

The woman is a person who inspires Art God’s compassionate love … love with no purpose except itself …

Art Christ smiles when he preaches … art is the place beyond the artist’s pain …

Subsequent preachers were art forgers

Jesus spoke in his own voice … Art Christ not a pale imitation …

Some follow and some reject Art Christ

The movie sets the conflict as the soul versus the flesh … but that’s not it …

You can have sex and money and be an artist

The conflict is love versus power

Judas wants to beat the Romans and free Israel

Art Christ says, listen, you’ll just replace the Romans with someone else

If you live from love you change the world …

John the Baptist, Art Man, baptizes Art Christ

It is Art Man who makes God real

God creates Man

and Man creates God

Art Man believes in Anger

Art Christ believes in Love

Love comes from Understanding

John the Baptist is the forerunner of Christ

The same actor should have played both parts

It’s so clear … Pope John Paul II said that one day the Church will be a superfluous thing … the consciousness of man will be so great no prayer will be needed

All things are possible with God

God is love

Politics and business are things we do — they will not save us … our destiny lies beneath all of that …

the intangible thing is the most practical thing …

Once Art Jesus sees that the struggle for power provides nothing, He is tempted to simply be happy … to have a woman and a family and a safe prosperous life …

but Art Jesus does the foolish thing, and makes his life about witnessing the Power of Love to the World …

not criticizing the world but describing it …

the temptations of Art Jesus

making a family the main thing

pursuing worldly power

and the last temptation …

to be only God and not man …

You can’t make art without suffering

You can’t speak of the nature of love and evil without knowing both …

The disciples are sympathetic … they try so hard with limited resources and abilities …

Art Jesus now goes to war against evil … he sees God inside of him … true

and evil outside in the World

the War of Good versus Evil?

How is it fought?

is it wise?

is it the last temptation?

Can evil be eradicated through battle with it?

Is Art Jesus learning something?

Art Jesus is like all artists

He follows God’s voices and believes that he is acting with specific purpose

but God moves him to another purpose

Jesus declared that he was the Son of God and had come to change the world

and the world crucified Him

and it was that death on the cross that saved the world

Not some earthly victory

Men have to renounce evil in their hearts

God renounced his powers to change them himself

so that Man could have dignity

and this is why artists have no power

their genuine Art can transform hearts and consciousness or not

The transformation is up to the viewer

but individuals keep choosing

and eventually the whole world will be conscious of the truth

and that will be the time of the Second Coming …

Art Jesus throws the moneychangers out of the temple and sets the stage for his crucifixion


Martin Luther King died for indicating the same sentiments

and Bobby Kennedy who stopped being a politician and became a saint

and Jesus, of course …

they all knew that they were going to die …

their revolutions were insights …

they weren’t generals or Presidents or leaders of organized business or religion …

they were personifications of God … God’s Will, God’s Plan …

like all artists they got a little insight at a time … they walked with faith … God whispered to them and told them just what they needed to know …

they were human sacrifices

we all should be human sacrifices

we all should give our lives for what is important

or we will be walking dead anyway

celebrating illusions that make us miserable …

all deaths aren’t final …

Art Gods lose jobs and friends and social status

but their sacrifices make a statement

and a few people from the old job or neighborhood

change because of the art of their example …

As the movie reaches its climax …

Art Jesus becomes Mystic Jesus

Crazy – eyed

A Man crazy for God

Man Artist can contain and live

Attach his Art to a craft

Know that if he explicitly attacks their power

They will kill him

Art Jesus brought God and Man together

in His sacrifice on the cross

At – one – ment

Subsequent Art Man doesn’t have to be crucified

He can bring God and Man together in his Art

No personal claims

No threat to the powers that be

Just the truth

Jung said that suicide comes from physically identifying with the need to change only psychologically

We can have families, we can have money and power, and we can honor the God within us without dying before our natural end …

as long as we love …

we can live in eternity and live in history

Art Jesus made a movie and transformed

He didn’t have to actually die …

The ancients told simple stories

with profound implications

All of art and science re – tells their stories in different ways …

The process of making transformative art entails intuitive experience, an agony in a garden, a metaphoric death, a period of calm followed by a resurrection into a new and better life …

I hope this piece clarifies where I am coming from when I talk about God …

my divine thoughts are of an existential nature

far beyond churches … those buildings built of nursery rhymes

even beyond morality and ethics — the immediate applications of what I’m talking about …

God is the ultimate ingredient in Becoming Human …

The artist, Man or God, terrifies the powers that be, because he represents change …

The artist is treated like a criminal … love upsets the balance of power as much as violence …

Love is the most dangerous thing …

Art changes the way people think and feel

If an artist wants to live past 33

he or she must be a mystic in disguise

It’s better that they don’t know who you are

Pope John Paul II could speak of the coming age of the Mystical Body of Christ

because he was subversive …

a simple carpenter who lived in a Palace

the world said that’s OK

so have your wife and your money and position of at least marginal respect in the community

as long as you spend your time thinking exclusively about love and good and evil and God

and write it down

play the long game

God is winning

let the glory go to Him

and do your part …

This existential film …

barren sparsely populated landscapes …

simple profound

Waiting for Godot

Coward transforms to holy man and learns painful lessons … sacrifices himself for God’s Will and dies in a dream

and lives his life

no longer Art God

just man

just artist

harmony of the earth and heart, that’s the world of God

eventually man takes the cross naturally

Art Jesus suffered by not participating in life and losing what he loves

Man suffers participating in life, eventually losing all that he loves

Everything dies and everything calls us back to God

we eventually have to atone to God …

our suffering makes us divine …

even non – artists (smile)

you and I — we are called to be God eventually …

we are called to the omniscient perspective

My father and mother became God on their death beds

existential remember?

Is something petty dying inside of me?

My parents conquered death with a story …

not a fairy tale …

a great story by the apostle Paul about the way things are …

Paul told a story of God … he didn’t claim Godhood for himself … he learned from the experience of Jesus

The story of Jesus is one of a good/God-man whacking a hornet’s nest of ignorance and evil …

it dramatizes two ways of living … for power or love …

but you can live for love and gradually more and more people do it …

as fucked up as the world is, it is a more enlightened place than it was one hundred years ago in 1921

There were godly people in 1921, and their lives are foundational to the greater numbers of godly people today

The arc of the moral universe bends toward justice said one of our martyrs

You can martyr your life to love without being murdered

You can have God in your heart without self -identifying and being branded insane

I confidently watched this movie until the very end … Jesus renounces ordinary life and dies to save all men … the mystic is glorified, the artist humbled …

John Cleese said that he would rather be mediocre and happy that achieve high artistry … he hasn’t done anything good for years …

New Age adherents talk about “following their bliss” and ignore another Joseph Campbell phrase “sacrifice and bliss”

Learning is a painful process … that’s why students resist it …

Oh this hurts … the pain of thought …

I get it, I think, the artist creates an illusion of ordinary life but is anything but ordinary

Satan’s cunning was first to offer power as the last temptation of Christ

and then turn it to lack of power, safety

we are called to do more with our lives than enjoy them and die … changing nothing …

we are called to change the world …

I have died to the world several times in my life

and have gone to heaven

only to return to earth again

Jesus is being crucified and resurrected thousands, maybe millions of times a day

In death chambers and teachers’ lounges

Sometimes New Jesus is resurrected and retains his specific identity

Sometime he dies and comes back as someone else …

Jesus, who is, God and Man, is every man

Coward — sinner — follower of God’s will — human sacrifice that saves the world — returns to tell the story — ascends into heaven (definitively and peacefully dies) — and comes back again — in a similar or seemingly different form depending on circumstances to learn about more of God’s mysteries and tell new stories …

I’m God — how about that?

Easter came early this year.

Copyright 2021 Richard Thomas

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