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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Burn It Down

    Jesus and his companions watched the news with horror – the rioting, the buildings on fire, people shouting in the streets, broken glass, shattered skulls, horse mounted police trampling protesters carrying nothing more dangerous than cardboard signs, riot squad officers firing pepper balls at reporters and cameramen, firing tear gas and flash grenades into the crowds to provoke them to violence.

    “Jesus,” said Matthew. “I’m so sick of the division and the strife. Can’t people just get along?”

    Jesus turned off the television and scolded them, “You think I’ve come to bring peace? Do you think that’s why I’m here? Shit no. I came to start a fire, and I wish to God it were already burning.”

    “Burn it down!” whispered Andrew beneath the keffiyeh he already had wrapped around his face, and shook his tightly clenched fist in the air.

    “But,” Matthew objected. “Destruction of property isn’t a valid form of protest.” 

    Jesus laughed. “Just wait a few chapters.” He laughed again.

     “It’s going to be divided houses from here on out – three against two, two on three. This is the uprising, the struggle, the intifada. It’s the end of traumatized truth and tortured dreams, but the end falls hard. Fathers and mothers against their children. Children against their parents. The world upside down until all is made right. Till one can walk on through without feeling like they’re in hell anymore. The roof is on fire, but we don’t need no water. Let the motherfucker burn.”

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Sunday, April 5, 2020

The Stand and The Politics of Jesus

I’ve read Stephen King’s apocalyptic magnum opus, The Stand, repeatedly. More than half a dozen times. It’s a powerful piece of work. Maybe he does, as he admits, have a case of “diarrhea of the word processor,” maybe 1141 pages (in the uncut 1990 paperback edition) is going on a little long. Maybe. But the book affects me; I am hung upon this “long tale of dark Christianity”.

I've also been reading John Howard Yoder’s book The Politics of Jesus and it strikes me that there is some significant overlap. Absurd, I know, but it’s there. 

As the book nears its climax,   Stu, Larry, Glen, and Ralph (along with the dog, Kojak) set off on foot from Boulder, Colorado - sent out like the disciples of Jesus (“go in the clothes that you stand in. Carry nothing.”) - towards the Dark Man and his legions in Las Vegas, and the threat of death by crucifixion.  Before leaving, Larry Underwood asks, “Do we have a choice?”

Their spiritual guide, Mother Abigail, says, “A choice? There’s always a choice. That’s God’s way, always will be. Your will is still free. Do as you will. There’s no set of leg-irons on you. But...this is what God wants of you.” (King 905)

It’s a foolish quest. But they go, and willingly, towards an uncertain end. 

Yoder writes in The Politics of Jesus: “The key to the obedience of God’s people is not their effectiveness, but their patience. The triumph of the right is assured not by the might that comes to the aid of the right, which is of course the justification of the use of violence and other kinds of power in every human conflict. The triumph of the right, although it is assured, is sure because of the power of the resurrection and not because of any calculation of causes and effects, nor because of the inherently greater strength of the good guys. The relationship between the obedience of God’s people and the triumph of God’s cause is not a relationship of cause and effect but one of cross and resurrection.” (Yoder 232)

A great combination of thoughts in this time of plague and quarantine and Easter. 

Sunday, March 1, 2020


Some photos from my upcoming show:

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Friday, January 3, 2020

Who Will Protect You, Jesus?

The last time I saw Jesus he was in Dallas, Texas. He was sitting in the shade of a tree on the grassy knoll in Dealey Plaza. He was attempting to enjoy a quiet lunch break, but this guy I know from work, JD, was pestering him with questions.

“So, Jesus, tell me. You’re a smart guy. Tell me – if we defund the military, who would protect you?”

“You’re kidding, right?” Jesus asked, subtly exposing the scars on his wrists. I don’t think JD noticed.

“No. I’m not kidding; I’m serious. If we defund the military, who would protect you and all your freedoms?”

“Listen, I’m just trying to have some lunch here…”

JD grinned. “So you can’t answer my question, can you?”

Jesus sighed and set down his bagel and cream cheese. “See the grass and trees and flowers here,” he said as he motioned with his hands at the nearby flora. “Where are their guns? Where are their tanks and missiles, and battleships? Where are their warships?” JD sputtered, but Jesus continued. “And still your heavenly father protects and provides for them. Why are you so anxious about your freedoms?”

JD waited for Jesus to say more, but there was nothing more. Jesus picked up his bagel and took another bite. Seeing that Jesus wasn’t going to say any more, JD said, “So you don’t have an answer to my question…”

Now, this whole time JD was fingering something in his front pants pocket. I thought it was just a bit obscene, but I didn’t want to say anything or to interrupt their conversation. Jesus, however, appeared unperturbed. He’d almost, but not quite, finished the bite of bagel in his mouth when he spoke again. “What’s that you’re worrying in your pocket?” It was then that JD removed the object and exposed it to us. It was a dark, coin shaped token. “May I see it?” Jesus asked.

JD flicked it to him and Jesus caught it mid-air. He examined the obverse and then the reverse. Then he held it up for us to see.  The token had been engraved with the mortar, snake, sword, musket, and Phyrgian cap of the U.S. War office’s seal. But JD had nearly worn the engraving away with his constant attention to it.

Jesus flicked it back to him. “Thank you for your service,” JD said as he caught it. “uh… I mean…”

Jesus said, “You can keep it if you want, but that fetish has no power.”

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