Jesus, if you’re already back, it probably didn’t happen like it’s depicted in medieval art, with you in a surreal light-body descending from dark clouds as trumpets blared.

Jesus, if you’re already back, it probably didn’t happen like it’s depicted in the art of fundamentalist evangelical Christians, your oiled and manly musculature reflecting the light of sunbeams that only shine on the righteous and orthodox.

Jesus, if you’re already back, it may have gone unnoticed by the Roman Catholic Church since its leaders are so preoccupied with scandal and regulating women’s reproductive choices and fighting against same-sex marriage to have noticed.

Jesus, if you’re already back, it may have gone unnoticed by the secular, the none-of-the-aboves, the “I’m spiritual, but not religious” types for a variety of reasons (they don’t believe, they don’t care, and the notion that you could possibly actually return is deeply unsettling to them). You can expect a wide range of potential reactions based on deeply held feelings, be they expressed directly or coming out sideways. The most common response, assuming that you are truly a flesh and blood human being, mortal and yet having a subtle divine nature as well, will be that you are psychotic and delusional, a bipolar maniac. You will be mocked, laughed at, jeered by some; attacked by others; and treated with condescension or well-intended pity by others.

Jesus, if you’re already back, it may have gone unnoticed by the superbly rational mainstream Protestant churches since they have demythologized the Bible and decided that the notion of your return is a curious artifact of early Christian mythology of no enduring importance.

Jesus, if you’re already back, it may have gone unnoticed by the progressive and postmodern churches, known as post-Christian or Unitarian Universalist and so on, because they think it would be highly offensive if you were to return (especially if Jesus were to find himself reborn as a cis gender heterosexual male of privilege, then they might say don’t even bother) because it’s dis-empowering of folks who might start looking to you as a savior instead of empowering themselves by taking power back from their oppressors.

Jesus, if you’re already back, it may have gone unnoticed by the Integral spirituality community, including followers of Ken Wilber and the so-called Cultural Creatives and Evolutionaries or Translucents, because mostly they aren’t interested in you at all; if they’re interested, as some few are, it is in Christ Consciousness, a potential mental realization of every person. It has even been said that the return of Christ will happen one day in the distant future when every person has progressed from magic to mythic to rational to pluralistic to integral to post-integral mystical union as a state of enduring, possibly permanent, stage of consciousness. Some day, say some integral Christians, at the end of history, Christ Consciousness will arrive and Christ will truly have returned. For the most part, they’re Gnostics, not Orthodox, so they have no role for the person of Jesus himself and his prophecied return, except in various abstracted and idealized forms.

Jesus, if you have returned today, I would appreciate a visit. Look me up and let’s arrange a meeting in a park somewhere warm, sunny, and beautiful.

I am saying this not at all facetiously or ironically or sarcastically.

Jesus, I really believe that you could actually be returned today. It makes sense to me in large part because of the wisdom regarding reincarnation that I have been reading about, and how genes are passed from one generation to the next containing actual memories and impressions of our ancestors. Somewhere on the Earth there are many living descendants of yours (or your close relations) and these individuals may possess a close connection to you that perhaps might be accessed if the right methods were applied.

What’s more, I believe people are reincarnated as (more or less) partial rebirths of people from past lives all the time. Many people alive today have been religious or spiritual figures from past centuries and millennia. So it’s certainly possible that the actual Jesus of Nazareth, born of Joseph and Mary, living some two thousand years ago, could have had subsequent lives and could be reincarnating in our present day. Many people think so. Some folks in esoteric circles like the Theosophical Society have claimed to have been in contact with reincarnating spiritual figures. Benjamin Creme, a founder of Share International, claimed to have channeled 140 messages from a returning Christ figure called Maitreya or World Teacher from 1977 to 1982.

I don’t know what to think about all the things that people have said about the return of Jesus Christ. I’m not endorsing any particular viewpoint. And I haven’t even begun to look at the fundamentalist literature on the subject which has sparked the imagination of so many doomsday cults and apocalypse-seekers. But I can tell you this much: the notion that Jesus could be alive on the Earth and could be in our midst as an actual flesh-and-blood human being is a real, real possibility. Maybe, through partial rebirths, in more than one person (though this is probably an unscriptural notion).

But oddly enough, seemingly almost no one has bothered to ask the most pressing and obvious question that we ought to ask Jesus, were we to have a picnic in the park with him. That question could be put in many different ways, but the nut of it is this: Do you have Christ Consciousness? Are you not only a reincarnated (partly) Jesus, but also Jesus CHRIST, the Annointed One?

You see, people tend to think that because Jesus is divine, he knows his divine nature and can operate effectively out of both human and divine natures. But this viewpoint ignores the simple fact that divinity is, well, a matter of degree. There are partial realizations, there are shadow issues, and there are psychological stumbling blocks. Therefore, it is altogether possible that Jesus could be fully aware of his human nature but unable, for whatever reason, to fully own and embrace and acknowledge his divinity.

I don’t know about you, but if I were walking in an urban meadow with Jesus himself as he shed a tear over his frustration in acknowledging his own divinity, I would try to avoid calling him a “psychotic” or “narcissist” or “inflated” in an effort to talk him out of whatever holy work he was doing. But that’s just me. You can diagnose him all you want to do, if you think you’re truly qualified.

After all, in Christianity as in every truly profound and sublime faith, divinity is not a matter of warm fuzzy feelings with Hallmark-card sayings and memes with fake Buddha quotes. Divinity is the embrace of dark, cruel, bitter suffering and ultimately the surrender to death. It is the Holy Spirit’s presence in the Church (catholic and universal) which proclaims through faith and good works that suffering is not the final word, but a moment in time which is surpassed, redeemed, renewed, and made whole/holy. In other words, Church proclaims the resurrection. (And it does so on the basis of eyewitness accounts.)

And therefore, when you think about it, it seems more than possible but actually quite probable that if Jesus were returned today, he would know himself as human but might not fully know his divine aspect, or might know it only in so many degrees yet not quite enough to speak out publicly.

So let us ask Jesus, if he were returned today: are you fully human? and then, are you of one person with God?

A lot is riding on his answer.

Put yourself in his shoes. If he did not possess the powers of a Marvel Studios superhero (not even the billionaire batman’s gadgets and batmobile), what could he say to the fundamentalist Christian? The pope? The mainstream Christians? The atheists and secularists? The none-of-the-aboves? The progressive postmodernists? The Integralists and evolutionaries? If you’ve understood why they haven’t cared if he’s back or not and wouldn’t believe him if he was truly back, then you realize that they seem to have “boxed him in”. As a partial rebirth (and no rebirth of a past life is a total repeat), what is the evidence he could provide, or what evidence can anyone provide of a past life? To put it crudely, how would Jesus write his rรฉsumรฉ? It’s a tough spot.

But don’t pity him. Just put yourself in YOUR shoes — expansively and imaginatively conceived as a Supreme Identity — and ask yourself if YOU could be He or She or Them, the (partly) returned Jesus, in one degree or another? How would you know? What evidence would you have? Tell us: are you fully human? Are you one with God?

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