Jesus was a rock star, a certified rock star. He shook people up, jumped from town to town leaving people wanting more, upset the law makers and talked in verse.

“Jesus Loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so” was obviously written after someone read past Matthew chapter 14, because there is no talk about love or little cute children. There is, however, a man with a sharp tongue that is whipping some uppity-butt.

First thing the rock star does is break the law and go on the lam.  His disciples were hungry and so they picked some wheat—on the Sabbath. The Pharisees, which were sort-of the religious elite and the law makers—stuck out their tongues at Jesus and said, see—they broke the Sabbath.” Again, the fact that the gospels choose to highlight that Jesus broke laws can only go to show that some laws are not the best for the people—and people should take a moral stand toward kindness.

Then he broke the law again by healing a man with a shriveled hand.  Again, breaking the Sabbath. So by verse 14 of chapter 12 of the first book, the Pharisees are said to be plotting to kill him. Jesus took off from there, healing people to his left and right along the way until those Pharisees caught up with him on their Ben-Hur chariots and announced that the only way he could be healing people is that he got the power from the devil.

Jesus rips them a new one by saying that good brings forth good and bad…bad.  You can’t do anything that is good unless there is good in you and the same for the bad. “For by your words you will be acquitted (on the Day of Judgment) and by your words you will be condemned.” Or, in modern day translation—you heartless, mean “Christians” who talk hate on facebook shall be defreinded. Amen.

The pricky Pharisees, like jealous school-girls, taunt the rock star by yelling, “do a miracle. Show us a sign.”

“A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign!” replies Jesus.

In this generation of gold dust, feathers and priceless gems appearing miraculously whicle praying, I think we might be the winners of that adulterous generation. If you don’t know what I am referring to, please seehttp://www.thegloryrealm.org/index.htm Don’t miss the Glory TV spot.

A strange aside happens when people tell Jesus his mother and brothers are waiting for him outside. To me, this is the most pedestrian thing I have read in the Bible—like Jesus was just at soccer practice and his parents are picking him up.

He says, “Here (waving his hands to his disciples) are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” AND for that rudeness, Mary deserves all those statues of herself around the world.

Then the parables start. We’ve got the parable of the farmer, planting and harvesting, the hidden treasure, the weeds and the plants and the mustard seed.

This is when Jesus sounds like a poet or a songwriter. He stands among the people and talks in, essentially, riddles. His reasoning is that those who are ready to hear will understand what he is trying to say.

Growing up, the mustard seed parable was always my favorite. It talks about the littlest of seeds that grows into a tree. Later in the Bible, Jesus talks about if people could just have the faith of a mustard seed, then that would be enough—and more than most. I had a little gold necklace with a glass container on the end that held a mustard seed –much like the one Angelina Jolie wore containing the blood of Billy Bob Thornton.

My brother loved that parable too.  In high school he formed his first band with some kids at church. They wanted to be called Mustard Seed Faith. They had no money for instruments or music, so they decided to go around collecting, but not until after their small budget purchased them some shirts with the initials MSF printed on them. If they only had more faith, they could have purchased the rest of the letters for their shirts so that people would not have mistaken them for collecting for the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.

What I never noticed is that the parables were never explained to the people. When I studied them in church and college courses, we dissected them as a whole—the story and the explanation. I have assumed they were a package deal. But now I read that the lay people were never given the interpretation because Jesus was fulfilling the prophecy in the Old Testament book of Isaiah that people will have to “understand with their hearts.”

The parables are not explained until the disciples come to him and say, “Explain to us the parable (you just told).” Then he goes through them elucidating on the metaphors.

So, basically, the lay people (sinners and unsaved) don’t know what he was saying and…neither did his saved disciples.

Chapter 14 is quite dramatic. In short—John the Baptist gets beheaded, Jesus feeds 5,000 people for free( first welfare program?) and Peter tries to walk on water like Jesus did, but falls in the water and has to be pulled out. Therefore, having lots of faith gets you beheaded, having none gets you a free dinner and switching back and forth from belief to doubt gets you humiliated in front of your posse.

I am still deciding the better deal.

If there is any way to measure equality in this land it should be by seeing who is now at the top of the Anti-Christ list.

For those not familiar with the term, it is the worldly counter to the Messiah. someone who works for the devil, is pleasant to look at, popular and charismatic. It is someone who will steer people away from God in the last days. As a child, even the word “anti-Christ” conjured up pictures from horror movies–Jason, Swamp Thing, Dracula.

The people who were up for the role as anti-Christ have all been white up until the last few years. Martin Luther said the AC was the Vatican, others thought it was Peter the Great. Many priests and world leaders have won the top spot in past centuries.

Then we move to recent times and Prince Charles. How he passes the “attractive” requisite, not quite sure. Then there was Henry Kissinger whose name somehow adds up to 666. There was Clinton and Putin and even the dudes who go around proclaiming themselves to be the Anti-Christ.

A few years ago the big news was that it was Oprah. A woman! A black woman. Her new age ideas, and perhaps that she tried to get people to read books, got her scooted up on the anti-ladder. This theory came to me in a forwarded email. The message was earnest and cautionary. Just type in “Oprah Anti-Christ” in youtube and you will find many, delightful videos to prove it is true.

Or peruse some websites:

http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Wolves/oprah-exposed.htm

http://oprahantichrist.blogspot.com/

Of course, new polls have revealed that 14% of republicans think President Obama is the Anti-Christ. He does sort-of fit the bill. I can’t see him walk onto a stage without hearing “Sharp Dressed Man” playing in my head.

And what does it say that the two most powerful people in America these days are black? And one, a woman? Does it say that they are so hated that they top the anti-Christ list? Does it mean we are reaching equality? Or are people so angry that blacks are successful that their success qualifies them for the most repugnant, religious character of all time?



Barack Obama
world savior and current U.S. President


Vladimar Putin is the current leader of Russia.

Bill Gates is more of a pop culture addition to the list than a realistic candidate for Antichrist.


Muammar Gaddafi has been very quiet since the west bombed his headquarters in the mid 80’s.


Mikhail Gorbachev was initially added to the list by people’s suspicion over his reforms.


King Jaun Carlos wins the most votes in the bloodline category.Some folks say he’s related to early Roman Emperors.


Ban Ki-moon is the head of the United Nations.


Prince Charles and His Son William are two of Europe’s most
well-known royal figures.


Tony Blair
is the former Prime Minster of England, and he has now taken on a special role as Middle East peacemaker.

Matthew 11

Posted: March 25, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

It would be ridiculous to keep following the premise that Matthew wrote this book. Scholars know it and even my ignorant eye picked this up. Perhaps we should adopt the more often used “Book of Matthew,” which it certainly is.

Perhaps a young Jew-lad named Dudley wrote this book. Why not? Dudleys never make the front pages of anything and, back in the day when these things were written, these stories were word of mouth until someone got a chance (usually decades after the events) to write them down.

Obviously Dudley didn’t get a date to the Feast of the Tabernacles gala at the temple that night. Just him and the oil lamp, he snuck into his sister, Moira’s, lean-to and stole the papyrus Uncle Ira gave her for her Bat Mitzvah. Grinding up some goat fat with the coal shavings in the bowl and pestle (the same vessel that will one day lead to the culinary inventions of pesto, salsa and Cesar salad dressing) Dudley began to write the stories that he’d heard all his little life.

Whether an angel came down and dictated to Dudley or he wrote the stories from memory, it is each reader’s opinion. It is a huge leap for me to realize that the words in red on my page are the actual words of Jesus if the writer did not live in the same time as Jesus—but I’m a gonna try and go with it for now.

The chapter starts out with Crazy John the Baptist in jail. And here comes Jesus to defend him. He tells people that John the Baptist was meant to come, meant to lay the way for him, meant to…um, go to jail…and be, um tortured.

Jesus validates John by saying the kingdom is at hand and “only forceful men lay hold of it.” This little verse is used by the C Street politicians in D.C. to validate taking over government, schools and people’s rights. I heard the leader, Doug Coe, say if you think Jesus was loving, you’ve got it wrong. He came to “take over.” This kind of thinking scares the hell into me.

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Next verse:

TMZ Alert:  Jesus says that others judged him by saying, “here comes a glutton and a drunkard.” What? I must have missed this delicious gossip! I never knew that people were labeling Jesus as a drunk. How that changes things.  Not only does it shoot to hell, once again, the Baptist no drinking policy, but it shows that Jesus is that rebel—that law breaker who does things to draw attention to injust laws and social taboos.

Got this from a kid's coloring book.

(I had a small convo via facebook about this. It was about oppressed people risking their lives to come into our country. It is a sad state of affairs. No one wants people flooding in and taking advantage of our country. But it was interesting to note the no-sympathy/empathy take of people who say a “sin is a sin,” no takes back, without thinking about the painful circumstances that lead to the law-breaking.)

Sinners

Then “Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed.” Yikes. So, he did the miracles right there in front of them, they didn’t go for it and then he curses them saying they will be judged harshly, they will go to the “depths,” and if he’d done those miracles in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented.

I might ask him why he didn’t, since this is a bit of a mark on his resume.

If I looked at each verse, I could get a whole blog, or at least start a tax-free cult—out of each verse. Verse 27 has Jesus saying “no one knows the Father…except those the Son CHOOSES to reveal him.” So, salvation ain’t for everyone, according to this.

The last verse is familiar to me. It is a call to the weary—“I am gentle (sort of a short memory there) and gentle in heart, and you will find rest in your souls.” Now, here is the Jesus I was attracted to.

And I miss this Jesus.  When Haiti happened, I was a mess. I had been a missionary there for a few months in 1989. I knew of the Pat Roberson curse and I believed it as I held abandoned sick babies while they peed orange onto my skirt.

The day of the earthquake, someone posted on facebook that s/he thanked Jesus for the nice weather so that s/he could accomplish some work outdoors. I was irate that people think an Omniscient being would give them nice weather while 200,000 people were destroyed in 35 seconds.

Still believing in prayer that day would have been nice. I was powerless and sick to my stomach. I would have loved to believe that my prayer was helping those orphans and amputees at that moment. It is a comforting thought and now I have no comforting thought. I DO miss that call from Jesus where he says “you will find rest for your souls,” because actually trying to do something in the tangible world with money and action is difficult and complicated.

So, that’s where I am. And that was only 1 chapter.

Spiraling

Posted: January 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

Reading through the New Testament has become an impossible mission I have no heart for anymore. My mission was to see what the words said when I read them in succession. Perhaps I would see a meaning there that was attractive to me now that I had seen so much science, history and literature that showed me that my former beliefs were false.

I think reading through the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) will suffice. Okay, maybe some of the books written by that Paul guy who sort of screwed everything up theologically.

In the past weeks I have been told that someone is “glad” I’m not a Christian anymore, a person I have never met argued with me that I was never a Christian if I could walk away from it and a few others have sent me prayers that rely on the basis of me believing in prayer.

Recently a friend had come across the Bible being used in a hurtful way. She posted it on facebook and a friend of hers wrote: “I am a big Jesus fan but the Jesus I know and love would never offend or be hateful.”

And here is the crux of the issue. Has this person read the Bible?? It does not say that at all. Jesus was nothing but offensive. One cannot just read the parts about love without the verses before and after. I can only assume this person—and many others—got this lesson of love from the pulpit, rather than seeing it in ink.

Please, read it. Beginning to end. In order. Yes, the order it was laid out or the order it was written. Doesn’t matter. If it still makes sense to you, then live by it. If it doesn’t, then pick any of the other figures born of a virgin, sent to fight evil and dying at 33. There are a few.

But, please, please—show some compassion. Of all my connections on facebook where are the Christians doing something about Haiti?

Matthew 9

Posted: December 16, 2009 in Uncategorized

This whole project has proven harder than I thought.

I like to live my life in peace and I have been known to rid myself of things ( ), ideas (Bryan Adams is good-looking)and people (Perez Hilton)who bring to my life the opposite. But, I realize I can’t if I am opening myself to this sort of experiment.

I have received all sorts of comments, many of them supportive, though pitying. Some of them from those I have never met telling me I was never saved. It has been a blast!

But the biggest misconception I hear people telling me is they are sorry I was hurt by someone in the church. Let me say–not the case. In fact, you’ll see how great my life in the church was. I enjoyed it all and was fortunate to not have any horrible experiences.

My decision to no longer believe is based on stepping back and thinking about why/how/what I based my beliefs on.  Who I was began to disagree with what I thought I knew.

Just like at the bodies exhibit I saw in NY, my life can be sliced into many facets. How does each one respond to Matt. 9?

Medical genius. (Former Candy Striper at Doctors’ Hospital, Lake Worth, FL):

I grew up around medicine and still wholeheartedly believe I could deliver a baby c-section, if someone would give me a chance.

In college I read the biography of a female healer. I had broken my arm in 8th grade and the bone never healed properly. I could only straighten it out to about a 75 degree angle years later. But after reading about how this woman prayed for people (and the janitor would have to come through after the service to sweep up the tumors that fell off people) my faith was buoyed. I put my hand on my elbow and commanded the healing of it (asking is for the half-assed). There was a pop and it straightened. My medical parents were astounded. I was astounded myself, mostly in how unfazed I was. The Bible said it. It happened. What is there to be doubtful about.

It was around then that I heard that some people believed that sick people did not get better due to sin in their lives. There is even a theory as to what sins relate to which illnesses in people. If I hadn’t had someone who was chronically ill in my family, I might have jumped on that bandwagon.

In Matthew 9 verse 2, Jesus even heals a paralytic by saying, “Your sins are forgiven”, not “you are healed.” And later, “according to your faith, it will be done.” So sin=illness; faith=health.  This is not a theory I will allow to cross my thinking–I have many ill friends and family who I would not insult.

As for my healing–I have since seen many miracles that have been caused by belief–and not just belief in God, but belief healing can occur. For me to think Jesus would only heal the ones who prayed the hardest would lead me down a road of bitterness I could not return from. And if you have miracles of the blind seeing and cripples walking–please send the link of the newspaper article (not youtube video). God needs positive publicity.

picture-10

Psychology minor:

Beside being a healer, I learned in this chapter that Jesus read minds. This is not talked about very often. In fact, I never heard this in Sunday school. But according to verse 4, he “knew their thoughts.” This brings up a whole slew of questions about Jesus being somewhat surprised at events later on in the New Testament.

Writer:

Usually a writer of non-fiction (memoir, essay, journalism) knows s/he is the writer. Perhaps I am being hypersensitive to practicalities, but how does Matthew write chapters 1-8 and then introduce himself (in third person) in chapter 9? How does he know what actually happened before he came on the scene? Why does he refer to himself as “Matthew, the tax collector”?

Matt 9:9

“As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.”

The gemstones are the key to getting the facts.

And then in verses 18-26, Jesus heals a sick woman, and Matthew is the one who can read minds.  “She said to herself, ‘If only I could touch his cloak, I will be healed.'”

The woman was “subject to bleeding for 12 years.” We can only take that as testimony from the woman, unless there is proof that she has been walking the streets with it spouting form her ears. I assume this was some sort of internal bleeding or a m.a.j.o.r. period. (see how my medical genius comes into play?)

After Jesus healed her, she “was healed from that moment.” Okay–which disciple had to check that this was true? I bet it was Judas.

The assumptions of this writer to know what one was thinking and to know that the person was internally healed is the real miracle here.

Shy school girl:

Though some of you have little faith in this, through high school I was very quiet. I had one or two close friends and I had panic attacks whenever I had to speak publicly. I remember once I was asked to lead the prayer at GAs (Girls in Action), a church group that “actioned” up crafts of God’s eyes and pipe-cleaner bookmarks. (word of caution: googling “girls in action” does not result in the kind of visuals that benefit this blog)

My voice trembled, I stuttered and I blurted out a ridiculous prayer. The snorts were barely audible, but whoever led the group heard them and made a small speech about how brave I was to lead the prayer. Afterward, one of the girls mocked me. It sent me deeper into my shell, but closer to God, who I knew liked what I had said, even if I couldn’t spit it out.

Jesus seems to be taken over with shyness after he healed people in this chapter. After he healed a blind man he said, “See that no one knows about this.” Love how he said “see.” What a joker!

But why did he want to hide his miracles? And why did everyone–including Matthew–not obey him? Old Testament God would be smotin’ and smitin’ all over the place.

Goody-goody:

How I loved to be called this in high school. It really upped my playa persona.  People called me “the virgin” and “sweet Karen.” I was chaste and quiet, and as a few church boys referred to me as: “wife material.” I really tried to live by “J-O-Y”: Jesus, others, yourself.

Jesus walking around healing people and having “compassion” (vs. 35) is what really attracts me to his character. He saw that people were hurting and he did something about it. He didn’t just make pipe cleaner crafts. He took care of the sick who couldn’t take care of themselves. That is what is commendable.

Wouldn’t it be nice if WE could help sick people who we don’t even know get healed? I wish there were some sort of bill on the table that would do what Jesus taught.

Matthew 6-8

Posted: August 28, 2009 in Uncategorized

Jesus goes on a talking rampage. And so he should. These people are a mess! I don’t know how they got to be such pious, demon-possessed derelicts, but God should have just wiped out everyone in a flood and started over. Again.

I see why the Jews are down on pork. Pigs get totally shafted in the New Testament. My favorite sentiment is: “Don’t throw your pearls to swine.” pigBasically, don’t share with people what is in your heart if they are not going to understand. I think I have not heeded that about 14 times in the last week. I might do it once more:

On a night in 1977, I woke up choking. This went beyond the shared gag reflex my brother and I share, which is always entertaining at parties. This was a choke hold. A finger pushed into my neck and when I put my hand there, the finger was beneath my own. I tried to sit up, but was pushed down into the bed. Fortunately, I had God, so I prayed, my lips letting the words come out loud. “God protect me. Devil leave me. You are not welcome here.” (Although I am trying to keep a serious story serious, I have to interject that I find it amusing that Christians use the phrase, “You are not welcome here.” So formal and polite.)

I was awake. I did not have a fever or any other illness. I saw nothing in my room. And once the presence was gone, it was gone. Of course, I stayed awake for a long time in fear that I would not make it to morning.

My church did not preach about the devil. We were Baptist evangelicals. We focused on bringing more people into heaven. We were different from the Pentecostals who focus more on the power of God, miracles and spiritual warfare. (“Spiritual warfare” is the term used for the battle of good and evil [angels and demons] that fight for souls in the spiritual realm.)Spiritual Warfare

So I didn’t know much about the devil. I only knew that he, or some form of him, was in my bedroom and continued to come for the next 15 years.  Sometimes I actually saw demons. Yes, they looked like what I see on book covers these days, but this was before we had good book covers, so I don’t think I was influenced. Many times I was asleep and felt myself being pushed down into the mattress, almost feeling like I was being dragged into hell. I would wake and grab the sides and pray for minutes or hours until I was freed.

As I grew older, I confided in spiritual leaders. I was prayed over many times. I had demons cast out of me. I was told that I was to be an important person in God’s army and that is why I was a threat to the devil. Many times I just wanted to give up and not be so important so I could get some sleep.

One person had me take off a piece of jewelry and throw it away because they felt it was carrying a curse. I did it all.

As a missionary in Dominican Republic, I remember meeting a man in the park. I was with some other missionaries and we were talking as this 50 year old man was crying. He said he had walked away from the church when he was young–the day of his Confirmation. He was so nervous that when he went to receive the wafer (the body of Christ in the Catholic faith) he threw up on the priest, the wafer coming out too. Because it was the holy body of Christ, the priest made him clean it up right then, in front of the whole congregation.

As he cried he began to gag and cough on his tears. The leader with me put his hand on the man’s back and said, “Cough it up.” This I would hear many times over the next few years: a person, if taken over with demons, can cough them out.  I, however, coughed, got prayed over, was anointed with oil and still was plagued with horror and restlessness.SonScents-AnointingOil

When Jesus is walking around preaching in Matthew, there are demon-possessed people on every corner. What did they do to become that way and what would they have done if Jesus hadn’t walked by? He began healing lepers and breaking fevers and began to gather his followers. Harshly he told one guy he could not wait for him to bury his father. If he wanted to follow Jesus, “let the dead bury their own dead.” He does some mind-reading in Chapter 9 and heals a paralytic too.

He is no lightweight, that Jesus. In Chapter 8 when he is on a boat and the waves nearly capsize he and his friends, he scoffs at them, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid? Then he did a hand swoop and the waves calmed down. But Jesus did not go for the whining. Which, as a demon-possessed girl is why I kept my mouth shut for years about my “issue.”

In fact, Jesus is p.r.e.t.t.y tough. He snaps at people, he tells them they have no faith and he gets blacklisted by PETA for casting demons out of a man and putting them into a pack (flock? gander?) of pigs—which go and drown themselves.

But the message he really gets across is that he didn’t come to appease those who thought they were right with God, he came to do justice and to hang out with sinners. The Jesus we discovered in the 70s. The one who was more like Che Guevara than like the oil paintings our grandparents had.jesus-people-time-magazine

Twice, however, Jesus does something I have overlooked many times. After he heals someone, he tells them, “Make sure you do not tell anyone.” Is this for fear of being captured and killed for heresy? Although I don’t know why, I am more perplexed as to how it gets written. Jesus didn’t write it. The leper didn’t write it. If the conversation not to tell anyone is between Jesus and the person healed, one of them broke their promise. Which one? Or, the third answer: neither one?

More perplexing is the end of Chapter 8. After he sent the demons into the swine, “those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men, then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave the region.”Demonios_expulsos

What? He healed about 7 people, told off hypocrites, cast foaming, leprous demons out of people and calmed a storm. You want him to leave? No explanation?

All people say these days is, if Jesus is real, prove it. Seems like the ancients were a little harder to please than us. He proved and proved and proved and they still wanted him gone. He showed what happened when you throw your pearls to swine.pig pearls

Matthew 5

Posted: August 3, 2009 in Matthew
Tags: , , ,

The Beatitudes, or as a pastor once referred to as “The Beautiful Attitudes”, should go fist to fist with the Ten Commandments and take them down.  If people really want God to stay in schools, this list of dos and don’ts in chapter 5 should be the list cross-stitched and hung in school hallways.

Reason 1—They are more recent, thus maybe, more pertinent.

Reason 2—There are two different Ten Commandments. One found in Exodus Chapter 20. Moses breaks those, then God tells him He will write them again, and gives Moses a whole different list in Chapter 34.

Reason 3—Fourth graders rarely need to be told not to covet their classmate’s wife.Fields of the Wood

My school years were ideal. My elementary school was attached to my church through a maze of open-air hallways and resource buildings. The school and the church shared the same building. On weekdays they housed the upper grades and some art classrooms and on the Sundays they were for Single’s Sunday school and Adult 1 and Adult 2.  Adult 3 was at the cemetery.

I could roam around the place as if it were a neighborhood.  After school on Wednesdays, before church would begin, my friend and I would eat a snack in the cafeteria, run through the parking lot, put lip gloss on in the ladies’ bathroom, pretty much making our own kingdom on earth.

My principal was a woman of about 5 feet tall with a humpback and the surname of an British University. She was a kind woman, but just her presence and name were enough to keep everyone in line…which could be hard because many church schools have two types of students:1) the Christian kids whose parents want them to grow up with knowledge of the Lord and 2) wayward kids whose parents want them to be disciplined into an inch of them crying out, “Oh Lord.”

The playground is where it all happened. Away from the strong gaze of the teachers, kids snuck behind a big tree to practice curse words or gang up on an innocent victim. I remember getting hit over the head by Trip Willington with the board of the teeter totter. Life was tough for a gangsta. I heard that some kids actually had their first kisses behind that tree—a literal Tree of Knowledge.

The teacher’s aides who watched us had to sit in a kiddy seat in the Florida sun. Some were quiet and let the kids run around like red ants while others couldn’t wait for authorization to pull out the Old Testament rod and let the kids have a whack.

The playground was gated on three sides, sharing the fourth side with the wall of the church’s Sunday School building. It was three stories tall and made of red brick. With a stroke of 1970s genius, someone had built it with some bricks protruding further out than the others to make the design of a three story cross. No matter what time of day, the sun would cause a shaded pattern against the wall so that even from the busy street, drivers would get the message.

And the message was this: God is love.bumperlovekill

That is what I am going to keep a farsighted eye out for in the New Testament. Starting with Jesus’ first sermon—the sermon that should be the one plastered in front of courthouses and student water fountains.

Posting “Blessed at the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God,” instead of “make no graven images” might cut down on the bootlegged selling of golden idols being sold on school grounds.

Kids would learn to “Simply let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’. We can eliminate those essay questions at the end of tests that make students expound and save paper by moving everything to scan trons.

Fights would be predictable and short—how long does it take to get hit and turn the other cheek?

“If someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.” This is  sound reason for uniforms in public schools. At least both thieves and victims will come home in something similar to what they went to school in.

Then there is the section about cutting off limbs and gouging out your eyes if they lead you to sin. Middle schools alone could pull America’s education system out of debt by selling dirty-minded kids’ organs on the black market.

“The meek shall inherit the earth.”  For those who don’t know what is happening to the earth, the rumor is that after Jesus returns and the Rapture occurs (that is when all the people driving the SUVs with fish stickers on the trunks disappear and the ones who are driving Volvos and Subarus have to turn down NPR and attend to the chaos) well, then the saved in Heaven get to return to earth. There are a thousand variations on this, but that is the most common. So, does that mean the meek will then be the rulers of the planet? Will they be the richest? Will they get the whole place to themselves while all the others live on some other planet?

meek shirt

"The Meek Are Getting Ready"

If kids aren’t willing to save the earth for the sake of the future generations they will never see, perhaps they can be persuaded to save it for the cute, meek girl in Social Studies.

Kids won’t go hungry or without school supplies because they will read, “Give to the one who asks you, and do not run away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” Until, of course, someone calls it socialism.

Though these new commands are universally good ideas, Jesus doesn’t let up with saying that having a good attitude is going to get people anywhere. His first words about getting into heaven are: “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees (pious little church men) and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Um, heaven seems to be pretty empty to me now. UNLESS, he was digging at jimbakerthe Pharisees, saying that “if you can’t stay more moral than Tony Alamo, Jim Bakker, Ted Haggard (pious little church men) then don’t think you are getting in these pearly gates.” That I can understand.

Of course, the best line is “love your enemies.” Though everyone seems to be going to hell in this chapter, speaking of love always stands out. Does it overshadow all the doom? No. But it gives a little hope. However, how do we do this? How do we love Saddam Hussein and the man who killed a child? How can we l.o.v.e. them? And, should we? Should we reward those people with our love? I find that difficult to reconcile.loveyourenemy-2

But, that is the least of my troubles, because Jesus ends his sermon by asking us to do the impossible triple Lutz, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

I guess these shouldn’t be posted to school walls. How can anyone, especially a kid, abide by these? Live up to these? They aren’t suggestions; it clearly states you won’t get into heaven if you don’t do them.  When I read these when I was young I always reminded myself about grace. But, reading now, I haven’t gotten to the part about grace yet. In fact, I am sort-of depressed.

Some people are just not going to make the cut, me included. They might need to find creative ways to get to heaven. Maybe they can be like the kid at my elementary. He climbed up the brick cross like it was a step ladder. Getting about half-way up, the lady watching us made even the kids smooching behind the tree freeze by yelling, “One more step and I’ll nail you to it.”brickwall