Letter Pg. 2 It was a surprise, because unlike my Christian friends, as a person raised in the Jewish faith, Jesus was, for better or worse completely absent from my religious education and family culture. Thus, my understanding of him is largely based on my independent, adult experience and that experience does not reveal Jesus to be a god or even for that matter, a perfect human being. Obviously, as a child I was aware of Jesus the way I was aware of Santa Clause and other ubiquitous figures held up for worship by the dominant culture, but I was not educated to see him as divine, as a "miracle…by definition." If Jews have a "vision" of Jesus at all, it is of a false messiah the non-Jewish world continues to use as a cudgel with which to "beat" us "over the head with." I suspect being Jewish had both a liberating and a suppressive impact on my thoughts. Liberating because I was never taught to see a man, any man as a god, suppressive because at least until I began to see him in my dreams, Jesus had no value for me at all. Neither extreme strikes me as fair… A more reasonable, balanced assessment came to me in the form of a dream-message which offered the following counsel: “Christ is the friend.” Not the savior, not the messiah, not the product of a miraculous virgin birth, just the friend and sometimes in my dreams he takes the form, literally, of a friend, (ragamuffins included). I see him as a friend, sometimes male, sometimes female because there is, as Duane wisely suggests, a "Jesus," a higher, spiritual part in all of us to which we must give voice "if we are to survive." And because the associative thinking which holds sway in my unconscious mind, casts the "real" Jesus in that form. Jesus is the friend, and the friend is "Jesus." It is part of my beliefs, which are based again not on a scholarly approach but on a 45 year exploration of my own nocturnal dreams that human beings have a soul and that the soul lives on as a spirit after the body dies. I believe that there are states of consciousness accessible to us when we dream (meditation and certain psychotropic drugs may also work in this regard), where it is possible for the boundary between the world of the spirit and the world of the flesh to dissolve, allowing us to connect with those who dwell on the other side. Many of us have experiences in which we feel the presence in a dream or a meditation of a lost loved one or for that matter of a person important to us in the "real world," because there is a higher part of the living soul with which I believe we can psychically connect as well. For instance, since the Bonzo Facebook group was created and we began reaching out to each other, I have had several dreams about my fellow bonzos that I felt were psychic in nature (as opposed to masks for something else). So, just to be clear, when I affirm he is alive today in spirit, and alive in my dreams I do not mean to imply that I think of the Jesus figure I encounter there as anything other than the spirit of a person. In the post I shared I was not basing my assumptions of who he would be or what he would be doing were he alive today, on anything other than that. Finally, as once again we approach the season of his birth, my hope is that more people will see Jesus the way I see him in my dreams, as a wise and comforting friend. That he will cease to be a hammer those fake Christians who are as removed from Jesus and from God as the darkness is from the light, use to beat good people down. I know in my heart that is not what Jesus would want. My hope is, that while we may cultivate a relationship with Jesus, we will remember that while he can help us, comfort and inspire us, he cannot save us… For that matter, neither perhaps can God, but that's ok because we can help, and sometimes even save, each other. Daniel David Joseph