El Gringoqueño

All a man needs out of life is a place to sit ‘n’ spit in the fire.

Category: Chat with Jesus (page 1 of 2)

What would Jesus talk about if he was interviewed on television? This is my take on it.

Mother Teresa Missed Out on a Lot of Joy

Jesus: Mother Teresa was a great lady. She was a great and wonderful person. I say this because it makes me sad to see she was not happy.

I guess I knew it. I’d heard her cries in the darkness. She was tortured.

She was tortured by what though? What was it that was eating her up inside?

Host: Audience? I see that Jesus is pausing for us to ponder his question. What do you say, audience? What was Mother Teresa tortured by?

*audience member struggles to his feet*

Yes, you, hold on, here I come.

Audience Member: *out of breath* Yes, I think she was tortured by her doubt. She had lost her belief and was trying to gain it back.

Jesus: Well, that’s what she writes in her letters. But let me ask you… *smiles* because I like asking these questions. In what had she lost her faith? What was this "belief" she was trying to get back? Belief in what?

Audience Member: Ummm

Host: Let’s ask someone else. You there –

Audience Member 2: *grabbing microphone* I, um, think she had lost her faith in you? She wasn’t sure if she believed in God? Maybe she lost her belief in prayer? Maybe Satan had gotten to her.

Jesus: Maybe we’re getting closer, but we’re still a long way off. Let me do my best to answer this question. From what I can tell, all Mother Teresa lost was her belief in orthodoxy. Since orthodoxy was the foundation of her spiritual life, she found that when she lost her way with regard to the objectification of her faith as put forth by the Catholic Church… sure enough, she lost her faith, her belief in the way. It all got tossed by the wayside because she had never stripped it down enough to recognize it in its nakedness.

Orthodoxy is like paint. Sometimes it’s pretty, serves a function and works well enough. But sometimes it covers up some deep rust, scars in the structure and foundations. When we can’t strip away the paint and check out the undercarriage, give it some maintenance, we’re doomed to catastrophic failure. ‘Cause paint, although nice, doesn’t keep the ship from sinking.

I like to be certain about the root of things.

You like to be certain, right?

Audience: *in unison* Yes Lord!

Jesus: *laughing* That just reminded me of a movie. Sorry *stifles guffaw*. Where were we?

Certainty.

An older priest went on a sabbatical to spend some time with the Missionaries of Charity. He had been in a spiritual crisis, and upon meeting Mother Teresa, asked her to pray for his clarity. She laughed at him and walked away, refusing with a flip of her hand. Baffled and confused, the priest asked her why? Why wouldn’t she pray for him. He sought clarity.

I know what she thought. She thought to herself, "clarity is a pipe dream, honey. There is no clarity. Don’t you think if anybody had clarity, I’d have it? Clarity is something I’ve sought my whole life. And it has eluded me."

That is just so sad, my friends. You complicate everything. You complicate and sour those very things that should bring you joy. You codify and organize and arrange – until you’re left with these tasteless, joyless morsels. Ughggg who can eat that stuff.

God = Love

Equal as in the same. What is love, but empathy, caring. Love is not mimickry. Love is not rules. Love is not "going through the motions" out of stubborn devotion, out of some misguided duty to ME. Men, how would it make you feel if you found out your wives were faking orgasms?

Not too good, huh.

Well, I don’t feel very good when you do the same. Do you bear the stench of the homeless old man, because he is Jesus, putting up with him for your chits in heaven. Slog your way through the unpleasantness to get to the creamy filling.

*sarcasm* Lovely.

Personally, it doesn’t do a thing for me, and it shouldn’t for you either. It’s a waste. It wastes my time, and it wastes yours.

Love is empathy. Empathy is projecting yourselves, getting outside of your mortal shell and into the hearts of others. I don’t want you to help the dirty, miserable, craven, pathetic, misguided, or criminal. I want you to LOVE them. What does love mean. Love compels you to help them.  You should be passionate about that.  Love is acceptance. Love doesn’t judge. Love isn’t proud. Love doesn’t despair. Love is a force multiplier. Love is infectious. Love is sincere. Love is binding.

In that connection, that connection of love, within its tendrils as they intertwine amongst you all, between rich and poor, between self-righteous and humble, between the smug and the doubtful is where I dwell.

Let me tell you what you will do, people. Here it is. You will do this because it will make you happy. It will bring you joy.

Connect with each other. Reach out to your enemies and love them, especially those that would hurt you, fear you. Love them more, because they need it. Love them not as a sacrifice, but as a joy. Don’t worry about the outcome. Outcomes will take care of themselves and beside you don’t love for the outcome of it, do you?

And if you’re looking for me, know that I am Love, that it is in your true and sincere devotion to one another that I exist.

And if you fake it, it doesn’t work.

I will still love you though.

Who Really Answers your Prayers

Host: We’ve got a nice show lined up today. Jesus’s publicist informed us that he’s looking to get the word out on the nature of prayer. Seeing as how so many of us pray and how little we understand of His will, we’re looking forward to him revealing something… anything today.

Host: Before we get to that, though, let’s take a break. We’ll be right back. Don’t go anywhere. When we come back, Jesus will reveal the intricacies and nature of prayer.

*Commercial break*

Host: Welcome back everyone. Before I bring out Jesus, he requested a little exercise. He said, ‘I want everyone to pray I come out today.’ So, folks, fold your hands and bow your heads. Pray that Jesus comes out of the green room to join us today.

*hush falls over crowd*

Host: Let’s get some help from home too. Come on everyone, let’s get this prayer circle going.

*Jesus comes bouncing out from backstage with a gallop*

Jesus: Here I am. That was nice. I’m feeling pretty spry today. *jogs in place* Feelin’ good. It’s a beautiful day. Everybody’s focused. Nice.

Host: Okay, everyone, He’s here. You can stop praying now.

Jesus: No don’t stop on my account. You go right ahead, keep it up. What is it that you envision? What do you want? What is it that you want to make manifest?

Host: Um, Jesus, you’re already here.

Jesus: I know, but it feels good. Let a guy bask for a bit. Okay, ya’ll can stop praying now for a little bit and listen. First – and this is a big one – I want to tell you all what prayer isn’t. But first, I’d like to address something that’s been kicking around for bit in my mind.

Jesus: Some of you have asked yourselves and others, why it is that God hates amputees. Yeah, that’s right, amputees. Kinda arbitrary, no? How come in the history of creation no person has ever had a limb grow back? People pray for it, right? Even lots of people at a time pray for it? "Please, Jesus, give back my son’s arm." These are noble prayers. Look, they say, it’s not for me, even. Give back my son’s arm to him. That’s a powerful sentiment, for sure. If there was ever a prayer that I could answer it would that one.

Jesus: Problem is, I can’t

Crowd: *murmurs*

Jesus: Look, grumble all you want, but I don’t answer prayers the way you think I do.

Jesus: Ask yourself this: How come the miracles that happen, or the prayers that get answered, with regard to sickness are always internal medicine? Cancer? You all say, "His cancer’s in remission! praise Jesus, our prayers were answered." Does that mean I killed the vast majority who do, indeed, die? I don’t work like that. It’s not a lottery, a look, "I got 2 get out of death cards here, and whoever prays the hardest will get them." Bah! It don’t work like that, folks.

Jesus: No, so called, "miracles" and "answered prayers" are always about something that science doesn’t understand fully yet. It seems magical because you don’t understand it. The cancer is gone – praise Jesus! I say to you, the cancer is gone, get on with your life. Use it!

Jesus: And prayers? Your prayers were answered the moment the doctors and nurses went about trying to treat you. Yes, you heard that right – answered. Your prayers are always answered. Who answers them?

Host: Well?

Jesus: Haha, I was hoping someone in the audience would finish that thought *winks*. I was waiting too. Okay, moving on.

Jesus: What is prayer? Let me ask the audience directly. Anybody care to give it a shot. You, you there on my right, you look like you have something to say. Go ahead and stand up and tell us your name, where you’re from, and what you think prayer is.

Guest: *stands up* Um, my name is, uh Carl, and I’m from Baltimore. I, uh, think that prayer is a conversation with God. Prayer is, um, when you pray? You’re looking for some, um, direction, um, some help with something?

Jesus: Sounds good to me. You’re right to a point, but there is something missing there. When you say conversation, you’re saying dialog, right? Has God ever talked back to you?

Carl: Yes, God reveals himself to me through my prayer.

Jesus: You sound pretty sure about yourself Carl. What does he say? Frankly, I can’t get two words out of the guy. He’s been pretty surly ever since the whole Inquisition thing. Okay, I’m gonna ask some more questions. How many? That depends on you guys.

Jesus: What is a church or congregation? When people speak of the body of the church, what are they talking about?

Jesus: *pause*

Jesus: *whispers* You! You are the body. The Bible mentions this body all the time. The body of Christ, the body of the church, two arms two legs comprising one body, etc. etc. etc. You’ve got that, right? Well, what do bodies do?

Jesus: *pause*

Jesus: *whispers* They take action. The body is the vehicle of action. Nothing happens if the body doesn’t get out of bed and heave its lazy-ass self down to breakfast and get out the door *kicks at the air*. Get moving body!

Jesus: So what do we have now? We have a body that is sitting around in silent meditation, praying for some sort of intervention but not doing anything. So again, what is prayer? WHAT IS PRAYER!

Jesus: *stops, sighs* Look, did you guys eat breakfast this morning? Me, I like to get some nice eggs and bacon…(don’t tell mom about the pork) really gets me going… Ya’ll need to wake up… but I digress.

Jesus: I’ll tell you what it is. It is a call to action. Prayer is a call to right wrongs, to make manifest dreams, to inspire, to act. When you pray, and you can pray for sure, you are concentrating on making manifest a dream. You are perhaps inspiring others to make it manifest. You are spreading an idea. You are inviting change. You are infecting others and yourself with your desire.

Jesus: And who answers these prayers? Anyone? Who is it that answers prayers. There is only one person that answers prayers. There is only one end to a prayer. WHO!?

Jesus: Wake up, People!

Jesus: You.

Jesus: You are the answer to the prayer. You are all the answer, my answer, each one individually. You answer the prayers, because you are my body. You are my arms. You are my legs. You are my sole force of action and goodness in this world. If you don’t do it, nobody will, if you don’t get out off your asses and make something happen, nothing happens. Nobody will grow those limbs, nobody will save that child, nobody will cry for justice. You say that God is an angry God, that God doesn’t care, that how could a person believe in a God that could allow such misery and suffering in this world, that the horrible arbitrary things that happen in this world are just that… horrible and arbitrary. What a cruel fate, to have been cast out into all this misery. Oh boo-hoo, get over the wailing and gnashing of teeth. It’s easy to criticize – hardest thing to do in the world is to create.

Jesus: *whispering* But, my brothers and sisters*, you have the power. You have the ability to ease suffering. You have the ability to right the injustices. You have it. You see, prayer isn’t an end in and of itself. Prayer is simply a beginning. Prayer is call to action. I’m praying for you all now. I’m praying that one of you will find a way to grow back an amputated limb.

Jesus: Oh will you look at that, my leg fell asleep. *stomps it on the floor* Oo, that smarts. Needles.

Jesus: Christmas Really Shouldn’t Be About Me

Host: We got this note from J a bit ago and have been waiting in anticipation for the Christmas season to figure out just what he’s saying. Christmas not about Christ?! How can that be. He’s the man though, so we figured we’d give him an opportunity to explain.

Welcome back, Jesus. I think we’re set here to beat the ratings from the last show.

Jesus: Cool, I’m glad to help.

Host: Okay, so you notice the decorations in the studio, right?

Jesus: Oh yeah, sure. I love it – the Santa Claus’s, the reindeer, the elves, garland, wreaths. I like the tree and presents too. Very festive.

Host: Doesn’t it bother you a bit, though? I mean, it is called Christ-mas. Doesn’t it bother you how secular it’s all become?

Jesus: I don’t think it’s secular at all. It’s actually all about giving and charity. Maybe sometimes we get carried away with buying stuff, but I’ll give you all points for getting close to the mark.

Host: So you don’t mind the secular giving aspect. How come though, you don’t like the Christ part?

Jesus: It’s not that I don’t like it, it’s kinda more along the lines of I’m a little bit embarrassed by the whole homage. Let me ask you something. My disciples called me Rabbi. What does rabbi mean in English?

Host: Anyone out there? You there in the middle.

Eli: Hi, my name is Eli. Rabbi means "teacher."

Jesus: Yeah, that’s it. They used to call me teacher. I loved teaching. A teacher is primarily what I am. Let me ask another question: if a student wishes to honor his teacher, how should he go about it?

Host: An apple? Clean the blackboard? Stay after class and organize books… do extra credit?

Jesus: Um, I think that’s probably called a sucking-up.

No, I’m after something simpler. Think about your teachers. Didn’t you kinda take them for granted? But doesn’t what they taught you stick with you to this day? Sure, a thank you is nice, but a teacher isn’t really doing it for the thanks. Look at the thanks I got, for Christ’s sake!

No, a teacher is happiest when his students fly, when he disappears into the wall, and his students take to the field and use that knowledge. A teacher takes the most joy in inspiring his students. A teacher loves his students. A teacher cares about what he is teaching. What he teaches is important. If the student thinks it’s important too… well, that’s all that’s required.

A student honors his teacher by following his teachings. A student that cares about the subject and seeks to improve and continue to learn is worth more than all the "Teacher of the Year" awards in the world. It’s even better than a fat salary.

So, Christmas is nice and all, but it’s sort of the shiny apple placed on my desk as you leave the classroom. I like apples, don’t get me wrong. I’ll eat the apple, but I’d prefer it if you would take my lesson home and eat it up instead.

So, Christmas? I like it. It’s a nice holiday, but I was born in September.

Keep up your good works. Keep and honor your brothers and sisters.

Happy Holidays!

Jesus and Santa Claus Walk into a Bar

Host (talking over applause): Welcome back to our show.  Jesus popped in just a few minutes ago, so we dropped everything and decided to give him some air time. He seems hot to talk to us, so let’s hear what he has to say.

Jesus: Dude! Long time no see. How’s it been going?

Host: It’s been going okay. We’ve been fielding a lot, and I mean a ton, of questions about belief, faith, do you exist, etc. Are you some sort of CGI character or a slick video edit?

J: Hmmm, I could be, but you know it really doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t matter at all.

H: Okay, as always, you’ve got our attention. (audience buzzes with concern, whispers).

J: I’ll explain, don’t worry. Let me give you a heads up with what I’ve been thinking about for the past couple of months. And I’ll list them.

  1. How is believing in Santa Claus any different from believing in me?
  2. Does God answer prayers?

It’s kinda daunting when I put it like that, huh? I know, I know. You people sometimes think you’ve got me. Look, Jesus is like Santa Claus. I get it. I really do.

There are millions and millions of words written about why prayer doesn’t work, why miracles don’t happen, and why the breath of the universe has abandoned you on this insignificant blue world in the middle of nowhere.

I know it. I really do.

So, let me ask someone in the audience. Why am I different from Santa Claus?

Man (man gingerly raises hand): Hi, my name’s John, and you are different from Santa Claus because I can actually see you sitting there and you have saved me.

J: It’s nice to be recognized, John, but how do you know I’m me? I could just be a guy in flip flops in off the street from the local soup kitchen looking for some audience swag. How do you know who I am?

Man: You have a photo ID?

J: Nope. Let me help you guys out. You don’t. You won’t know it’s me. You can’t know it’s me. And you know what? It’s all right. Nobody expects you to. The short answer to the question: Why am I different from Santa Claus, is I’m not. We’re no different.

Host (palpable silence from the audience): Um, we’ve done enough of these to know you’ve got something up your sleeve… what is it, Jesus? Santa Claus doesn’t exist. How can you be no different from that?

Jesus: I’m just not. Look, let’s wade right into it, into that place you all fear to go. When we listen to those that would try to derail your faith, or explain away their own by saying that prayer doesn’t work, that the things for which you hope don’t come true, that miracles don’t happen, you will notice a pattern in their logic.

Want to know what it is?

H: YES YES YES… tell, us Lord!

J: Whoa, fella. It’s not that special. The straw man here is that everybody atheists and believers alike are looking for magic. You’re both looking at the same sweat stain of the Virgin Mary or weeping crucifix and saying alternatingly, ‘It’s proof that God exists’ or ‘It’s a hoax therefore God doesn’t exist’, and then there’re the fish eyes. Yikes, the depths to which you will all sink just to hold onto plausible deniability.

You’re all missing the point.

There is no magic. There are only knowns and unknowns, laws of the physical universe that you understand and those that you don’t. There is no Santa Claus. There is no God. Once you can throw out those two things, you can start to see the truth, see past the hoax, clear the fog and see for miles and miles and miles.

Once your mind is cleared from looking for me in the wrong places, you will be truly free. Miracles happen, if you look closely enough. Divinity is all around, in the smallest places, in the greatest places. Someday I promise you that spinal cords will be repaired. Someday I promise you that you will be able to grow back limbs, cure the blind the deaf. In fact, you’re already light years beyond where we were 2000 years ago.

It’s a miracle I tell you.

You have cars, efficient agriculture, civilized society (although you still have a ways to go), airplanes, space travel… the list goes on and on. I mean – get this – you people are actually considering plans to nudge asteroids on probable courses with your planet! It totally blows my mind. Do you know what a miracle that would be, and you’re starting to think about it!

Yeah, sure God doesn’t answer prayers, like Emeril, "BAM!" you’ve got new car. Congratulations. If you want that, get your ass to the Price is Right.

No, prayer, is more of a dream. If you dream something hard enough, you’ll get off your ass and make it happen, or talking about it will inspire someone else to do something. Or if you’re just around the hole enough, one day you’ll sink a hole in one.

Magic is either nowhere or everywhere. I know I just said magic doesn’t exist, but I had to kill it before I brought it back to life (little technique I like to use). Is it magic when a baby is born, when a flower blooms, when a cloud bursts? Just because you understand how something works, doesn’t mean that it is not special or mysterious. If you understand absolutely everything about a thing… you understand it so well that you find yourself contemptuous of it, take a step back and look with new eyes.

So here we are full circle. I wager no one in the audience would say they believe in Santa Claus. 

Except me.  I believe in Santa Claus.  I see him all the time in the mall. I see a ton of Santa Clauses, men who spend months perfecting their beards, honing their Santa Claus skills just to bring some joy to children at Christmas time. You adults know perfectly well where the presents come from, right? You’ve abandoned your simplistic view of Santa Claus, the guy with the flying reindeer who shoots up and down chimneys on Christmas Eve.  Why won’t you let your belief grow with your minds?  Santa Claus is alive and well.  I swear.  I know him.

Santa Claus is everywhere and he’s spreading. He started out as just a good man or a bunch of good men, they were real people who grew into legends who inspired others who then took that spirit, drank it in, imbibed it and became him.

And he’s here, alive in this room with us today. He died, but he’s here.  He came back.  And his love is everlasting.

Peace my brothers and sisters.

Cookies are Capital

I: Jesus, my man, what do you have for us today?

J: I’m glad to see you’re loosening up a bit.  I’m just here during Holy Week to throw out a little bone for those of you into the whole worship thing.  While you’re all running around preparing for Good Friday and Easter, I’d like to reprise my last outing here.

I: The cookie one?

J: Yeah, the cookie one.  It seems that a few of you business types needed a change of vocabulary to get the cookie theme.  So I’m gonna hit from a different angle. 

Let pretend that cookies are capital.  I’m talking in economic terms now.  Cookies are capital.  I give you a cookie.  What are you going to do with it?

I: Um, eat it or share it?

J: Yes, but more to the point, you’re going to use the cookie for something.  The purpose of a cookie is easy to divine.  You are going to use the cookie for some purpose for which it was intended.  If it was a gift, you will say thank you and probably enjoy it.  You probably wouldn’t reply, ‘What the hell are you giving me this cookie for?  I didn’t ask for it.  What am I supposed to do with it?’  That’s just silly, right?

I: I guess.  That would be pretty stupid.  I mean, cookies are tasty.

J: Exactly what I’m saying!  Now what if you’re on a diet?  Do you have the right to get upset if I give you a cookie?

I: No, I think good manners would dictate that you would find something to do with the cookie if you weren’t going to eat it.

J: If you are a thoughtful person, you would show good manners. A gift is a gift.  You’re just not allowed to complain about gifts. 

So anyway, I hand you some capital.  I give you some money.  What are you going to do with it?  Bury it?  Hide it?  Preserve it in some way?  Make it last as long as possible?  If you know anything about money, you know it’s more valuable right now than it is in the future.  That’s why people pay interest rates to get it right now.  An interest rate represents the present value of future money.

People with a purpose for the dough will pay through the nose to get it right now so they can put it to good use and hopefully earn more than what they paid for it.

Now, say I just hand it to you.  I give you a non-taxable lump sum on the order of a couple million smackers.  What do you do with it?

I: Gosh, that’s such an improbable event, I’d not thought about it.

J: Not many people have, but I’ll tell you what; they should.  Capital is like your life.  If you don’t know what you’d do with it immediately, then you don’t know what you’re doing.  If you don’t know what you’re doing, then you’d better drop EVERYTHING and figure it out pretty damn quick.  Your investors are getting antsy ’cause you’re wasting the capital.  You’re wasting the cookie.  It’s getting moldy, and your capital is losing value to inflation.

Your life is a big pile of capital that needs to be used RIGHT NOW.  It’s most valuable RIGHT NOW.  It can only make a difference RIGHT NOW.

Notice a pattern?

I don’t think anyone would curse me for giving them a pile of capital.  Why do you think they get upset that they have a life? I know life is hard sometimes.  I really do know.  Yet, to have it is a blessing.  It is a grace bestowed for which you didn’t ask.  You don’t deserve it.  Whether you deserve the cookie, capital, or your life is irrelevant, totally and completely irrelevant.  What is relevant is that you’ve got something that few have, that few have the opportunity to use. There is a whole lot of life in the universe just busting to come out and live.  Not everyone has the opportunity you have right now. 

So, Mr. Business Guy, what is it gonna be?  Are you going to offend your biggest investor, ME?  Do you want put the capital to good use, or are you going to sit on it and fret.  Capital is not to be preserved, just as cookies are not to be kept under glass, and your life not lived in quiet seclusion far from danger.

Now get busy, Time is Money.  I don’t want to have to fire you. *wink*

Organized Religion and Cookies

We’re back in a new chat with Jesus. Welcome back everyone, and Jesus – how have you been?

J: Not good, not good at all. I’m a bit distressed with this organized religion thing.

I: What do you mean? I thought that was an invention of yours.

J: *looks askance at interviewer*

I: *defensively* What?

J: Look, I was the original anti-established organized religion guy. Geez, I came here to tear down the temple, remember? My goal was to tear it all down and – well not so much tear it down as re-purpose it – wait.. let me think for a bit.

Okay, here’s a good analogy. Let’s try this on for size.

Let’s talk about warm chocolate chip cookies, shall we?

I: Oookay… I’m listening

J: Good, let’s think of the institution of the Church as a big warm chocolate chip cookie. Let’s think of them all, all the churches like that – all big warm chocolate chip cookies. The Catholic church, the biggest Christian denomination founded in my name has this huge honking warm gooey chocolate chip cookie and it’s going stale. They’ve stirred and baked this enormous cookie and what do they do with it?

I: I’m kinda lost with the whole cookie thing.

J: Sigh, cookies? Cookies are love, dude. Cookies are love. You’re killing me.

So you’ve got this huge cookie. What are you going to do with it? I’ll tell you what I did with it. I starting breaking off pieces and handing them out to people.

Breaking – it – apart. You got that?

Every time I went to temple, I’d shove some pieces of it in my pockets to take to the sick, outcast, and the forgotten. The tough thing about it was, I couldn’t sneak much out, but to some of the people living on the outermost fringes of society, a crumb of the stuff was pure gold. It made me feel really good to be able to brighten their days and bring them some morsels from time to time.

I: Did they really have cookies back your day?

J: Again, love, dude – love. Cookies are metaphors for love. The church is supposed to be a manifestation of love, therefore it’s like a cookie, best eaten with a glass of warm milk.

So I’m all, ‘Tear down this temple and I will rebuild it in three days’, but that’s not what I said. I said to tear it down and feed it to my hungry brothers and sisters, then we would return and rebuild it in three days. It’s another metaphor. Love and cookies work best when shared freely. Cookies, when kept to yourself, just get moldy and nasty. It gets stale and old and rotten, then you spend all your time trying to keep it from getting nastier, preserving it, putting it in the freezer, protecting it from harm. If you’d just eaten it when it was warm you would have always had fresh cookies. You see it’s not ABOUT the cookie, it’s about sharing the cookie, using the cookie.

The problem was that when I spoke about these things, you all whipped out your little notebooks and wrote down: "Must make cookies. Cookies are sacred. Cookies are the key to everlasting salvation." And you all went off and made little cookie shrines in my name (like I hadn’t seen that before, sheez). Look, it’s for e-a-t-i-n-g. *mimes putting a cookie in mouth, chewing*

But when my hungry brothers and sisters came to taste the cookie, you brushed them off saying, "No, no, no, you mustn’t touch the sacred cookie. That’s one of the blessed mysteries of the church and you went back to the fabrication of more cookies on display under glass."

You can see how it’s a little frustrating. I was the original destroyer of organized religion. I’m not for it. I wasn’t for it. I was a disruptive force, a sacrilege, a heretic, and a subversive influence.

I like to think I was the mad subversive cookie baker.

And I’d hoped you’d all get giddy with cookie baking and serving and just go crazy dishing them out to the corners of the world. Some of you did, God bless you, you got it, but there’s a whole bunch of you who didn’t. I hoped that you’d search out the most lost, the most hungry, the most unloved and offer them a piece of your cookie, and say, "You look hungry, here’s a plate of warm cookies and milk. Best eaten now. We can always make more. Don’t waste your time preserving them."

Get to it man, get to it!

The Big One: Sin

I: (Clapping)  Welcome back to our show.  We’ve got a real doozy scheduled here today.  Since it’s November sweeps, we’re finally going to have the show that you’ve all been waiting for.  Jesus is here to give us the low down on what the bad stuff is?

J: What would that be?

I: Why, sin, of course.

J: Oh, that.

I: So, Jesus, would you like to tell us what it’s all about?  What is sin?  What are we not allowed to do?  What do you consider bad stuff?

J: Hmm.  Well, you’re all sinners, and you’ll never hope to not be.  Got it?  Okay, good, that’s our show.

I: (sweating) Umm, Jesus, don’t you have any more than that?  We’ve got a half hour to fill here.  I thought there would be more.

J: (smiling)  A-ha, gotcha.  I had you going there, didn’t I?  Sorry, that’s my slightly impish human side coming out.  Sorry, really, I’m sorry, but there’s some truth to what I just said.  Sin is simple, and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with it, in that it is a state from which there is no possible escape.  Sin is your natural state of being.

Now, before everybody despairs, I just want to say, it’s okay.  The test is graded on a curve.  Sin is relative.  Since nobody is perfect, everybody is imperfect, and since everybody is imperfect, you only have to do the best you can.

So what is the best I can?

I: That’s what we all want to hear.

J: I got an email the other day.  It’s pretty typical, really.  It’s one of the multitudes of morally righteous, outraged, “Our society is going to hell in a hand-basket if we don’t corral these wicked people”  style diatribes.  The basis of the email was indignation at the Georgia Tech’s hosting of some sort of Gay and Lesbian fair.  It detailed all the typical propaganda points of distasteful ways in which this group of society lives its life:  Anal sex, condom use, partners, piercings, flamboyant dress, everything that could possibly offend the conservative portions of society about how “bad” and “evil” and “distasteful” these people are.  It detailed how superior are the good and God-fearing among you.  How could you not be good?  You’re offended by this perversion.  Bravo, you are special.

I: I’m sensing sarcasm.

J: You bet your sweet ass!  Nothing irritates me more than this form of moral superiority.  Look how bad and corrupt these people are.  Look how great and good and pure I am because I’m not doing those things.  In fact, I’m defending the “righteous” way, but telling everyone how bad these people are and warning them to not send their children to such a corrupt and despicable school.  Imagine, trying to understand our fellow humans, bridge a cultural gap, and bring one another closer in brotherhood.  The nerve.

No, sin, is a state in which you all live.  It’s not bad per say, but sin is something that refers to a lost opportunity, a  lost opportunity to do something good, not not doing something bad.  Purity isn’t abstinence.  Purity isn’t temperance.  Purity isn’t what you don’t do.

Example:  instead of judging gays and lesbians and any “other” that offends you, why don’t you go with love and get to know them?  A lot of people in this outcast community live difficult lives.  They either have to hide who they are, or live it out in the open, in your face style.  They are starved for love and acceptance and have been burned so many times they attempt to beat you to the punch, so to speak.  I reject you before you reject me.

Why not do the contrary thing?  You are trying to offend me, but I love you anyway.  I accept you.  Let’s find common ground.

Sure, a promiscuous lifestyle isn’t very good for you, health-wise or emotionally, but neither is being fat, an alcoholic, or intolerant.  Sin is the thing over which you trip, but not tripping in an of itself isn’t the point.  Show me a person who never tripped in his life, and I’ll show you someone who didn’t do anything.  I’ll show you a person who wasted his life.  Now that is what really offends me.

Want to know what offends me?  Go to church every Sunday, live a quiet comfortable life without offending anyone, without helping anyone, without taking any risks.  Live a good life of piety and with the self-satisfaction that you are a “good” person because you’ve done no wrong.  That offends me.  Bigtime.

Show me a gay man who has gay sex with his partner and marches in a gay pride parade and works in the Mission District of San Francisco in his free time, who fights for the rights of AIDs infected children to be adopted by loving gay couples, who is kind to strangers and invites them into his home, and I’ll show you someone who’s doing what he should be doing.  He loves his significant other.  He’s committed to love and  inspired by it to reach out to others and help them.  He doesn’t worry about himself and what people will think, or what the laws say about his rights with his significant other, or what laws say about gay couples adopting, or the multitudes of slights both big and small that he has to deal with every day by virtue of being a minority.  Does he have love in his heart?  Yes?  Well then, forget the fact that his lifestyle offends you.  Get over it.  It doesn’t bother me, why should it bother you?

I: But, Jesus, not to disagree with you, but are there some things that are absolutely right and absolutely wrong?  I mean isn’t moral relativism the slippery slope to decay and decadence and ultimate destruction?

J: (big booming God voice) Yey, verily, I shall rain fire and brimstone upon your sinful cities and wipe them from the face of the earthly kingdom.  I shall purge your wickedness so that I may be satisfied.

I: (silence)

J: (haha) Got you again.  *reaches for the bowl of cocktail nuts and pops a few* No, dude, that’s Old Testament stuff.  *munching* Look, the Divine Creator got a good healthy dose and appreciation of sin when he sent me.  Dad, just couldn’t figure out why you guys keep running around in the dark beating on each other when you were scared.  He said to me once, ‘Son, I created them.  I used the universe to breathe life into that which was devoid.  They didn’t have any right to exist, but I gave them a gift.  Why do they wail and gnash their teeth so?  Why do they not give thanks to the cosmos for birthing them?  Why does this not inspire them to greatness?’

And I said, ‘Dad, you don’t understand sin, do you?  I think I need to experience what the universe is through their eyes.  I need to feel their pain, their doubt, their limited state of being.’

So, I did.  I experienced it all: doubt, fear, and death.  I think I get what it’s like, which is why I’m here today.  Don’t worry about sin.  It’s your perpetual state of being.  It’s simply a condition under which you all live.  If it is a universal constant to the human condition, that is, it applies to EVERYONE, it is irrelevant.  Sin doesn’t matter.  Forget about it.

So, parents, if you want the best for your children or yourselves, embrace those that offend you.  Get to know them, take the opportunity to share in love with those that might be having a tough time.  Purity isn’t “not drinking” “not having sex before marriage” “not doing drugs” “going to church” and “not being gay.”  What I want for you is for you to be honest with yourselves and try as hard as you can to love the other no matter how much they offend you.

Love them EVEN when they are trying to kill you.  I mean, really really really LOVE them.  Feel it down in your bones, not as a sacrifice, but as a joy.  When I got nailed to that cross and I said, “forgive them Father for they know not what they do.”  I wasn’t saying that for my sake, like, ‘Look how holy I am, I can forgive those that would kill me.’  No, I was making a plea to the Father for them to feel just for a brief instant in their lives the love I felt for them at that moment.  For if they could feel it just for a second, if they could feel the rapture of it all, then they would realize that sin is irrelevant, and that before they got to know me, their lives were wasted on fear and hate and idle gossip, pettiness, and intolerance.  If they could have just for a second accepted that love and allowed themselves to be remade by it, then there would be no thing too hard, no mission too difficult, and nothing in the universe that did not bring them joy.

Peace out, my brothers and sisters.  I love you ALL.

Jesus on Steroids

I: Welcome back everyone.  We’re here with Jesus in our studio for our continued discussion on topics of the day.  He’s agreed to speak candidly with us on a variety of subjects.  So, without any other introduction, let’s begin shall well?

J: Sounds good to me.  Lovely to be back.

I: Lots of things have changed since back in the day.

J: Yeah, why back in my day, we didn’t have all this stuff that you have today.

I: Do you think the nature of sin has changed much?  I mean, are we tripping over the same stuff that we tripped over before.

J: Well, sin hasn’t changed at all, not one bit.  In reality sin is just a missed opportunity.  I’ll leave it there for now, because I think we have sin scheduled for a later show, right?

I: Yeah, that’s next I believe.  Really looking forward to it.

J: But no, sin has not changed just the stuff you trip over.  You could say the vocabulary is different, but not much else.

I: Okay, then one of our viewers wrote in with the following question: “Dear Jesus, I think you are the bomb.  Yo.  I am a high school student and I play football.  I have been pressured to use steroids.  I told them I wouldn’t do that stuff, but I’m not very big, and everyone else is doing it.  What should I do?”  Travis from Ft. Worth, TX.

J: Oh, man, dude, that sucks.  I really feel for you.   I know how Texans love their football.  Well, you know my advice is to not do the ‘roids.  That’s an easy one.  But how do you justify it?  “Why?” is the bigger and more important question.  Let me pull out the tactic of one of the guys with whom I had/have the most fun, Socrates, and begin with another question.  Why do you play football?  And since Travis isn’t here, I’ll direct the question to our studio audience.  Why do you play football, baseball, or any game?

I: Okay, you there sir, in the back.  Stand up and say your name and where you’re from.

Guy:  I’m Steve from Orange County.  In the words of Vince Lombardi, you play to win.  That’s it.

J: Steve, you are right, Vince did say that and you know I always hate to disagree or directly contradict any of my children, but in this case, there’s no way around it.  Vince was wrong, and so are you.  Sure, winning is fun.  When you compete in a sport, winning feels better than losing, sure.  I know that.  But my question, was, why do you play football? Err, sorry, emphasis should be on the word “play.”  Why do you engage in the activity of football.

Steve: Hmm, I’m not sure I understand the question.

J: Not many people do, Steve, not many people do.  Let me do my best to communicate what the point of all this is, what the point of all games, competitions, jobs, roles, anything and everything that you could possibly do in your life.

Let me re-ask the question.  What is the point of playing baseball?  The correct answer is the simplest.  “To be the best baseball player I can be.”  What is the point of playing football?  “To be the best possible football player I can be.”

So, what does that entail.  Does that entail taking steroids?  Are steroids prescribed by the commissioner of baseball (well, he sorta did, but I’m not gonna go there).  They are not part and parcel to the sport of baseball, not part of the public persona, not an acceptable part of being a baseball player.  If you take steroids, you must hide it.  You can’t owe your home runs to HGH, or whatever.  You can’t say, my league leading sacks were a result of the extra pure steroids that I got from my pharmaceutical company.  Thank you Jesus, and thank you Pfizer, for making me this year’s home run king.  You don’t wear their logos on your uniforms proudly detailing all your drug enhancements.  Now, would you all agree that that’s not acceptable?

So, what do we have then?  Baseball and football players who are hiding who they are, lying to be better at a sport that they have no interest in truly playing, that they have no true interest in being.  They want to be winners or rich or superstars, not baseball or football players.  Let’s be clear about that.

It is as stupid a question to ask: What is the point of the game of baseball? and answer “winning” as it is to ask: What is the point of life? and answer it with “dying.”  Dying is not the point of life, but it will come to you.  Winning or losing is not the point of baseball.  But they will come to you.  Forget about death.  Forget about winning or losing.  They are all limiting, irrelevant conclusions to that thing which you do and do with gusto.

What is the point of life? What is the point of being born?

The point, my friends… wait for it, wait for it – is to be fully alive.  To be what you were meant to be, and be it, fully and completely and wholly.  If you are gifted with the talent and determination to play baseball, be it.  Play baseball, be that player that practices his heart out, that runs out the infield grounders every time, to be at second base before that outfield fly is caught, to hustle, and play every out whether it’s the beginning or the end of the game, whether you’re behind or not.  The purpose of being a baseball player is to play. If you lose your way and believe that winning, or earning, or spending, or getting, or beating, or any other -ing that isn’t being is the point, then my friend, you’ve lost your way, and you will not find fulfillment in anything you do.  It saddens me, for sure, when I see Rafael Palmero losing a few steps and resort to steroids.  It saddens me when he forgets he’s a ballplayer I loved to watch.  I’m there at every game, by the way.  I love baseball, which is why I’m answering Travis’ question with baseball instead of football.  Sorry, I’m a baseball fan, and if you have any doubt about it, I have only two things to say.  Red Sox.  White Sox.  My own little brand of humor.

Anyway, I love to see and feel the joy of you doing what you do.  I came to see ballplayers playing ball, and it saddens me when I only find winners or losers or Yankees…*chuckle*  I’m kidding, I’m kidding.  I love the Yankees too, but they need some ballplayers for sure.

You’re all winners to me when you’re doing what you were meant to do.

So steroid use? Yeah, sure there’s nothing inherently wrong with steroids or that stuff, but I have to ask you:  Why don’t you love the game of baseball?  If you think that you have to cheat on a test to get ahead in school, or because everyone else is doing it, I ask:  Why don’t you love learning?  If you think that you have to fudge the numbers on your sales report to impress the boss and get a raise, I ask: Why don’t you love your job?  If you steal or cheat or lie or any of the multitude of small things you can do to get a leg up on your competition, I ask you:  Why don’t you love your life?  What have you got against being fully alive?

It’s okay, really, my only true wish for everyone is for them to be truly, madly, stunningly, deeply, passionately, and crazy in love with what they do.  Don’t do something for the result you might get out of it.  Don’t do something because you want to win.  Do that thing because, and only because, you love doing it.

The outcome will take care of itself.

Peace out, my brothers and sisters.

Obedience – Don’t be a Sucker

From our ongoing chat with Jesus.

I: Welcome back, Jesus.  We're glad to have you.

J: Good to be here.

I: Hey, Jesus, I wanted to ask you about Obedience.  It seems to be all the rage now.  "Be obedient" be Christ-like.  Submit to authority, go with the flow. etc.  It's seemingly in vogue these days, and I'd like to get your take on it.

J: That's cool, man.  Let me just begin by saying.  I wasn't obedient.  Oh, sure to the Father, but here in meatspace?  Absolutely not.  Obedience is a precious thing.  You don't give it out to just anyone.  It's yours and yours alone.  I mean, that's one of the cornerstones of the universe - free will - you own it, it's yours, but don't try to get out of it either.  'I was just following orders' didn't work for the Nazi's.  It won't work for you.

Frankly I don't want you to be obedient.  I want you to rouse the rabble, shake the dust off of institutions, kick hypocrisy in the gut, make those in authority answer to justice.  Keep it real.  Make the world a better place.

I really don't know where you people got this *^$&.... pardon me, can I say that?

I: Um, no.  Don't worry, you don't mind if we bleep you, right?

J: Sure no problem, I thought we were on cable.

Where was I?  Oh, yeah, I don't know where a good many followers got the idea that being Christian means just going with the flow, being obedient, passive, and peaceful.  What part of the Passion seemed peaceful to you?

I: Um, none of it?

J: Absolutely right, but I had an agenda and that agenda was to break down, or at least show how confining the old social religious structures were.  I tore down the temple and fed it to the people who were starving.  And they were starving, starving for inclusion, love, acceptance.  They were subjugated by an authority that didn't serve them, and worse yet, devalued them.  I got waxed because I was dangerous, not obedient.

Actually, it's kinda funny, Mom always said my mouth would get me in trouble.  I understood her preoccupation, but it's weird how she was right, isn't it?

Well, there you go.  Obedience is wack, man.  Are the kids still saying 'wack'?

I: I think so, perhaps it's faded a bit from the popular lexicon.

J: Now, since I am trying to be less obtuse these days, I'll just leave you with this caveat:  Obedience is truly a hugely important trait/gift/virtue.  Be very careful to whom you give it.  I gave it to a higher calling, my vocation, my mission.  I did not rest my obedience in the hands of men, although I am perhaps a special case.  You know, you all have to place at least some measure of obedience in the hands of those that guide governments, churches, etc. but, all I can say is this:

Give it begrudgingly - very begrudgingly

Peace out.

Jesus on Foreign Relations

I: Welcome back again.  We’ve just got a ton to talk about, and since Jesus seems to be indulging us, we’re just going to keep right on rolling.  J, I’ll be blunt.  What do you think about Pat Robertson’s comments about el Presidente, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela?

J: What do you mean, ‘what do I think’? I can imagine you want me to condemn Robertson for making such a comment, or perhaps you want me to justify them because he’s a ‘Man of God.’  Maybe you want to see me squirm. Or maybe, just maybe you really want to know the answer.  What is the Truth?

I:  – That last one.

J: Okay, I’m in a good mood, so I’ll just spill it all out.  You people, and I mean that in the kindest of all ways *rolls eyes*, have this tendency to… um, I don’t know, screw up.  You make mistakes.  You act in thoughtless selfish ways.  You get lost in your anger and fear.  But hey, you know, it’s okay.  Well, not okay okay but you know what I mean.  It happens.  Look, if I ever wanted anything done around here, that is, if I had to employ you in beneficial service of human-kind, and I waited for a perfect person… well, let’s just say, I’d still be waiting.  No, I’ve got to pick the flawed to serve.  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., one of my favorites, I’ll never forget what he said to me, ‘Jesus, I’m not worthy.  I can’t serve you.  Why did you pick me?  I’m a poor poor man.’ 

I laughed in his face.  ‘Martin,’ I said, ‘I’ve been looking for someone for 400 years to help out with this slavery/apartheid thing, and where’s that gotten us.  I’m afraid you’re the best we’ve got.  Sometimes you go to war with the army you have, not the army you want.’  Apologies to Rummy.  ‘But seriously, Martin, if we don’t do something about life in America, right now, we’re going to lose another generation.  You can do something about it right now.  Sure, you’re not perfect, but at this moment, you’re the best.  You’re the best chance of helping me fulfill my promise.  Won’t you help me Martin?’  So I ended up saying Martin, I need your help.  Don’t give me that crap about how you’re not perfect, or you’ll screw it up, or whatnot.  I need your help, and I think you can do the job.

What can you take from that?  Well, for one, the Son of God asking for help?!  I mean comeon.  That’s heavy.  I may be the Son of God, but I have an ego the size of some quantum particle you haven’t discovered yet.  I ask for help every day.  I’ve asked you all for help.  You can respond in a variety of ways.  You can ignore it, say no you’re too busy, cry about how you’re not worthy, or just suck it up and make it happen.

And how does this all relate to Chavez, Robertson, and foreign policy?  First of all, if you fix on what I’ve been saying, you’ll notice that I promote, not demote.  Robertson and Bush and the US State Department have a big beef with Chavez right now.  I’ll grant that he’s been a agitator.  He’s no angel, let me tell you, but he has done some good things.  He’s sponsored Cuban doctors in South America in medical programs for the poor.  He’s helped the poor in his own country.  He’s forging an alliance with an isolated and ravaged country.  Maybe his motivations are wrong, but the best thing any person in the US State Department can do right now to steal his thunder, his rhetoric…

Give him a round of applause.  Hey Hugo, I like what you’re doing down there.  We stand with the people of Venezuela, and congratulate a leader like you for your concern for the downtrodden and mistreated.  Is there anything we can do to help?

Is it naive?  It won’t work, you say?

Like what you’re doing now is working so well, right?

Peace out.

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