Looking for Jesus and Jeanette

I am always surprised by the things I find in my books. Usually I left them there myself, a long time ago. Polaroids, notes, postcards. But I didn’t put this in here. And when I brouse through the book I realise I didn’t even read it, which is odd because I love Jeanette Winterson and I read most of her books. “Sexing the cherry”, published in 1990; my book is the Dutch translation but the flyer is in English, printed in the U.S.A for the Pacific Garden Mission.

I find it an interesting combination, Jeanette Winterson and The Lord Jesus Christ so I google it. “Jeanette Winterson” and “Jesus” and I find a speech she gave in 2010. “The Temptation of Jesus”, The Manchester Sermon 2010, delivered in the Manchester Cathedral. She starts with a retelling of the story of Midas, who loved gold so much that he wished that anything he touched could turn into gold. It brings her to capitalism and modern day politicians and our individual responsibility. She quotes from Matthew, writes about the soul and describes the struggle between Satan and Jesus.

I read the back of “Sexing the cherry”. It says is it a mixture of history and the most fantastic and gruesome fairy tales. Of course the Bible is the same.

Still it doesn’t explain how a flyer with the purpose of converting an innocent soul ended up in a book about “love, sex, lies and truth, and twelve dancing princesses who lived happily ever after (but not with their husbands)”. But it led me to the beautiful and still very relevant speech.

“We can blame the banks. We can feel like victims. But we bought into this. Money has been our only currency and our core value, which is insane, as it doesn’t really exist. You exist – the person I love. My body exists – my one true home. The planet exists – beautiful, blue, long-suffering, fragile, and irreplaceable. Friendship exists, and our kids, and books and pictures and music, and the feeling we get, when just for a second, life in all its unlived possibility stands in front of us.


I said at the start that I had hoped that the economic crisis would cause us to rethink our values – what is so upsetting is that the progressive secular Left has not done any rethinking worth the name – just a bit of apologising and tinkering – while the really scary Right has gone for an all-out war on all those touchy-feely policies they hated – as though subsidised theatre and the arts and single mums and welfare payments brought us to our knees – not a totally naked and savage free market god. Even Baal the flesh-eating god of the Philistines wasn’t as demanding in his sacrifices as the god of the free market. All of the planet and all of its peoples fed into the money-making machine…”

Read the full speech here: http://www.jeanettewinterson.com/the-temptation-of-jesus/

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