The Gospel According to Me: Bad Friday

Below is my paraphrase of Luke 23, a recount of the worst / most necessary event in history:A bunch of jerks snatched Jesus up in the middle of the night and brought him to a guy named Pilate (some local politician/judge), yelling all kinds of crap about him. They told Pilate that Jesus was causing all sorts of trouble and telling people he was god.

So Pilate asks him "Are you god?"

and Jesus is like "You better believe it."

And Pilate gets totally freaked out cause he's not completely sure what's going on, and he really doesn't want to try to mess with anyone that might be god, so he tells the people "This guy isn't guilty of anything."

And the crowd of people, which was growing larger, just goes completely crazy and keeps on yelling out bad stuff that Jesus had done. One guy yells "He's a troublemaker! He started this whole deal in Galilee and brought it all the way to Jerusalem!"

And Pilate goes "Wait a second, this guy is from Galilee? Awesome, he's not my problem. Send him to Herod." Cause Galilee was under this guy Herod's jurisdiction.

So they take him to Herod, who happened to be in town. Herod thought he was going to get some kind of magic show from Jesus, like a bunch of stupid miracles and stuff, but Jesus just stood there, silent. Herod asked him all kinds of questions and kind of did the good-cop, bad-cop thing for a while, but Jesus didn't say a word.

After a while, Herod and all his cronies started to get pissed, cause Jesus was just completely ignoring them, so they started calling him names and just basically being complete assholes to him. They dressed him up like an idiot and sent him back to Pilate.

Pilate really didn't want to have to deal with him, so he got all his top leaders together and told them that Jesus had pretty much done nothing wrong. He said he would basically slap him on the wrist and let him go, and the leaders were like "Alright, cool."

But the huge crowed that had gathered was getting out of control and acting all bloodthirsty, shouting for Pilate to kill Jesus, which seemed completely insane since he had really never been convicted of any crime.

Pilate was like "Woah, okay everybody just chill out. I'm not going to kill this guy, alright? He hasn't even done anything wrong. You people are nuts."

But the crowd wouldn't listen and started getting really crazy. It was like they just wanted to see somebody get off-ed. After a while Pilate realized he wasn't going to change their minds, so he was like "Alright, fine. I'll kill him. Are you happy, you freaks?"

And the crowd was like "YEAH!! MURDER!!!! YAY!!" Like a bunch of crackheads around a dead possum.

Pilate handed Jesus over to them and they got started with the whole murdering ordeal, nailing him up on a big wooden cross and all that.

By this time, basically everyone in the town of Jerusalem had come out to see what was going on. People were screaming and crying and going crazy and it was just city-wide mass hysteria.

So Jesus yells down at the crowd "Hey, don't cry for me down there, cry for yourselves, cause if this is how they treat me - you guys are really in for it. I feel sorry for you guys. It's about to get real bad down there."

And all the people around him were like "Oh, shit."

Then Jesus looks up at the sky and goes "Dad, don't hold this against them, they have no idea what they're doing."

While all of this was going on, they brought out two other guys to be killed along with Jesus, and hung them up on crosses too.

One of the two guys says to Jesus, "Hey man, since you're god and all, why don't you do something about this?"

And the other guy was like, "Dude, shut up. We're here because we got busted man, you know the drill. This Jesus guy didn't do squat and he is getting it way worse than us" and then he says to Jesus, "Hey, don't listen to him, he's an idiot. Just don't forget about us when this is all over with, okay?"

And Jesus is like "No problem man, I got you guys covered. Just tell em you're with me."

Then Jesus looks up at the sky again and goes "Okay, that's all I got."

And he drops his head and dies.

One of the guards that was supervising the whole thing was like "Hey, uh, I think he might have seriously been god." But most everyone else was too stupid or crazy to realize it.

After that, everyone kind of scattered and went home, leaving Jesus and the other two guys there hanging. Some guy named Joseph had asked Pilate earlier if he could take care of Jesus' body, so he went and got Jesus down from his cross. He wrapped Jesus' bloody body in some nice cloth and put him in a small cave and rolled a giant boulder in front of it with the help of some other people.

And that was it. That's how they killed god.

It was a Friday afternoon.

Flat Broke - In The Spirit of Holden Caulfield

If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth.// The Catcher In The Rye - J.D. Salinger

Salinger died yesterday at the ripe old age of ninety. I read only one of his four books, but it was good.

So - in this attitude, I give you:

Flat Broke

I got no cash man. Straight up none.

Honestly I've been trying to keep it quiet because I am running my own business now and I feel some need to keep up appearances. I need people to know that I am doing very well. A lot of businesses only survive off their survival. Get me?

Like Joe Gould said in Cinderella Man: You gotta keep your fists up.

Anyway that's not the case with me. I'll drop my fists because it wasn't my fists that saved me to begin with and they're not going to keep me afloat now, either.

Don't get me wrong, JSP is rocking and 2010 is going to blow the roof off 2009. Problem is, 2010 hasn't really gotten up and running yet - at least not wedding season. Hence, I'm got a barrel scraped dry.

Regardless, I'm not fully distraught. I've got a decent stack of cash on its way, it just hasn't hit the mailbox yet, so don't get the idea that we're going under, we're just learning where the dry spells are in photography, albeit the hard way (which I am starting to learn is in fact the easy way).

Despite this future payday, discovering what the bottom of the bucket truly looks like is no less disheartening.

What I have learned from this experience however, does bring some color back into the flesh:

1. You ain't broke until you're flat broke. If you're not sure what broke really means, try this: Go to the ATM and liquidate your accounts into real cash. Throw it in a trash can and light it on fire. Now you're broke.

2. You're still not quite broke after you burn all your cash, because you've likely got a roof over your head and some amount of food in the pantry. Dry your eyes.

3. Even if you really are truly broke and you've lost your home and all your food is gone and you've got swine flu, you probably don't live in Haiti. It could be much, much worse.

4. If you do live in Haiti, you know far better than any of us what the bottom of the barrel really looks like, and to you few lonely souls who die in the tents as the world watches on, all I can say is: the Lord is with you in your pain and in your dying and in your starvation and your thirst and your sadness.

If there's one thing I am certain of, its that the Lord is near to the brokenhearted.

The holy ground shook. Splanchnizomai.

I do feel it.

The womb of YHWH.

Not Sure What To Think

I've been reading lately. Old stuff. Really old stuff.The Bible, actually.

Ever read it? Me neither (not completely).

Anyway, I am reading this new translation called The Voice. If you don't know about The Voice you probably should not go to sleep tonight without owning it. And you certainly can't continue to claim that you don't identify with the Bible. If you like stories, you'll like this one. Or, you can keep avoiding it. I don't care.

If you do want to continue avoiding it, you should stop reading this now, because I am about to hit you with it.

Luke 24, I recently decided (this morning), is my favorite chapter in the entire Bible. It is, in my opinion, the only one that you really need to read. Without it (and it's counterparts in the other gospels, boring though they are), we could really throw the whole Bible out the window. It would make no real sense.

So, here is my paraphrase of that chapter (The Gospel According to Jacob):

Early Sunday morning, a couple days after Jesus was executed, a few of his friends went to the cave where he was buried to mourn and lay flowers. When they showed up, the big rock that covered the entrance to the cave was pushed away and Jesus' body was gone, and these two other guys were there, glowing.

The ladies that came to pay their respects totally freaked out and fell down.

The two guys that were there were like "What made you think Jesus was still going to be here? He's gone, you just missed him. He left like ten minutes ago."

The ladies were like "What?"

And the guys said "Yeah, didn't he tell you? He said he told you."

"Yeah, I mean, he told us that but, you know - they killed him."

"Yeah well, he's not dead anymore."

"He's not?"

"No."

"You sure?"

"Yep."

The ladies got up and went into town to find the rest of Jesus' gang. When they found them, they told them the whole story. But the guys were like "No way. They killed him on Friday, we were there."

One of the guys though, Peter, had to see for himself, so he took off, running to the grave. When he got there, it was just like they had said. Jesus was straight up gone.

Later that day, a couple of guys who were also friends with Jesus were walking outside of town and Jesus himself walked up and talked with them for a bit. They didn't recognize him though, so it was no big deal.

They talked for a long time and then Jesus came over to their house for dinner. Right when they were about to eat, Jesus took a roll and buttered it up, then he said a quick prayer and just disappeared. Totally gone, again.

The two guys immediately realized it was him because he was the only guy they knew who could just disappear like that. Then they were both like "Dude, I totally knew it was him the whole time, I just didn't want to freak you out."

After that they thought they should go tell the rest of the guys, because they felt really cool that Jesus showed up to them first and they wanted to brag about it. So they ran like seven miles into town to another guys house.

When they got there the rest of the gang had already been there a while, and the two guys started to tell their story, but the rest of them didn't believe it. Before they even finished talking, they looked up and there was Jesus, standing in the back of the room chillin'. And the two guys were like "YEAH!! I told you guys!!!" And whole room was half amazed half freaked out, because they all saw Jesus get brutally murdered like two days before.

Jesus came up to the front of the room and gave the two guys he almost ate with earlier a fist bump and they were like "Nice."

But the rest of the group was still totally freaked out and Jesus was like "Okay, everybody chill out, what's the big deal? I told you I was going to do this. Remember when we had that meeting a few days ago?"

And the guys were like "Yeah, but..."

And Jesus goes "Remember? I told you guys there were going to kill me? But that I was going to use my get-out-of-jail-free card and just totally come back to life?

"..."

"Well? Do you remember that?"

"Yeah."

"Well I was being serious."

"Okay. But, like, they really did kill you. We watched. They were totally stabbing you and stuff."

"Yeah, I know." Jesus lifts up his shirt "Check this out, this is where they stabbed me a few times."

And they guys were like, "Holy crap, that's freaking crazy." And they still didn't believe it, because they literally watched him die.

And Jesus was like "Whatever, you guys got anything to eat?"

One of the guys threw Jesus an Oatmeal Creme Pie.

"Okay, sit down." Jesus said. "We need to talk about phase two. Now that I am back alive, I'm going to do some traveling. You guys are driving me crazy."

Then Jesus realized that the guys have absolutely no clue what is going on, so instead of spending forever explaining everything, he just telepathically makes them understand it. And all the guys get totally brain-zapped and then they are like "Ahhhh. Okay, continue."

Jesus continues. "So, like I've been telling you guys, I had to get killed and then come back to life. Now that I've done that, we can move on to phase two. I am going to take off for a while. You guys need to stay here and keep telling people the same things I've been saying all along, but now that this last part has happened, you have to add that. Got it?

And the guys were like "Wait, what?"

And Jesus says "Just keep doing what I have been doing. Tell everybody that they don't have to go to hell now."

"Why not?"

"Because I took care of it."

"You did?

"Yeah."

"Sweet."

"Yeah, so since you guys have seen all of this firsthand, you are really the only ones that can keep it going. You've got to tell everyone that they can stop worrying about everything because I got it covered. Now that we've gotten my death and resurrection over with, all the bad crap that people have done in their lives can be erased from God's memory, so that when you get to heaven, he will be like 'Whaddup? Come on in.' How cool is that?"

"That's awesome."

"Yeah, I know, me and God totally came up with it the other day."

"Word."

"Yeah, that's what you can call it."

"Oh, yeah. Good call."

"Yeah. Ok, I better get going."

And then Jesus and the rest of the group walked out to a big hill, and Jesus said a little blessing, raised his hands up to the sky, and then shot off like a rocket into outer space.

All they guys high-fived and went back into town, jumping and punching each other.

That's what happened. Don't ask me, I don't understand it either, but I'll take it.

O Generation Faithless

I have been reading through the first few books of the second part of the Bible recently (I am on page 127) and I have stumbled upon something that is very surprising.The Jesus of the Bible has very little in common with the Jesus I was told about as a kid. In fact, I have never heard this Jesus preached at a church in all of my adult life.

I wrote about this once before, but the deal has officially been sealed for me. I now know of a Jesus that I was previously unaware of.

To contrast this amazing difference, let me explain Jesus A:

Kind, loving, tender, meek, etc. This is the Jesus that, as Rob Bell describes, walks calmly along beaches wearing a white bathrobe and a light blue beauty pageant sash - and his hair is blow dried - and he's Swedish. This is the Jesus that does very little other than pet goats and pat little kids on the head and read books to them. He is weak.

Now. The Jesus of what we now know as the collected works of The Bible:

He is fanatical. Tireless, yet tired. He is rude, brash, sarcastic, blunt, and frustrated. He seems constantly sick of the stupidity of the people that follow him around and attempt to learn from him. He expects people to see or hear something once, then believe it, and then do it. He expects it. He is continuously throwing his hands up to the sky and (apparently) asking God how he is supposed to work with these people.

A few examples:

O generation faithless, twisted and crooked, how long must I be with you? How much can I bear? Bring the boy to me." - Jesus, after returning from a night of camping with a few guys, and finding out that the rest of his guys had failed to do their jobs as they were instructed. | Luke 9:41

They had no idea what he meant by this; they heard the words but missed the meaning, and they felt too afraid to ask him to explain further. - The disciples feelings after Jesus had explained that he was going to be arrested and killed. | Luke 9:45 (why would the disciples be afraid to ask for an explanation of a meek and gentle person?)

You just don't get it. - Jesus, in response to a disciples question of whether Jesus wanted him to call down fire from heaven to destroy the people who have rejected his teachings. | Luke 9:55

These are all from the same chapter of just one book in the New Testament. I would challenge anyone who doesn't know this Jesus to re-read a few Jesus books in the Bible and decide for yourselves which is the real and which is the manufactured. But, even if you don't do it, just know that ignoring it doesn't make it any less true. It's in there. Sitting on your bookshelf. Waiting. It's all there. Written in black ink in plain English.

The sad part is - people just don't want to know the real Jesus. They want the weak, powerless Jesus that sits in the passenger seat telling you everything is going to be OK. There was a guy in the Bible like that, but his name wasn't Jesus, it was Adam.

The guy in the picture? That's Jesus.