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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 450)...

    Ultimately, I see Jesus himself as a Leaver (evidenced by his lifestyle and attitudes). Do you agree?

    ...and the response:

    Perhaps the one thing biblical scholars agree on is that Jesus was a Jew of his time speaking to (and being understood by) the Jews of his time. To suggest that he was a Leaver is to suggest that he came from an entirely foreign cultural matrix. The fact that his "lifestyle and attitudes" were understood and accepted as within the normal range by the people around him makes it clear that he was recognized as belonging to the Jewish cultural matrix of the time. The fact that Jack Kerouac, the famous Beat Generation poet and novelist, shared some of the "lifestyle and attitudes" of the Leavers did not make him a Leaver. The Cynic philosophers (prototypically Diogenes of Sinope) shared some of the same "lifestyle and attitudes," but again, to call them Leavers simply makes the distinction between Leavers and Takers a useless one. In fact, apart from his one brief discourse on the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, I find little correspondence in attitude between Jesus and Leaver peoples. The one "attitude" that is UNIVERSALLY manifested among Leaver peoples is that there is no one right way for people to live. (Indeed, they couldn't have coexisted in the world without such a notion.) That's one attitude you can COUNT on finding among them, but I can't believe Jesus would have any part of it. There's certainly nothing at all among any of his sayings that would indicate the slightest sympathy for this idea.


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