The Rogue Voice

A LITERARY JOURNAL WITH AN EDGE

August 01, 2007

Jesus makes me laugh



The Jesus I know is a party animal.

I’m putting my money on the Jesus who would, given the opportunity, take a bong hit for love of a friend rather than join the yokels who praise his name at the local church.











Jesus makes me laugh

Time to party down with the Lord


By Stacey Warde

At the start of the 20th century, Charles Sheldon introduced in his novel, “In His Steps,” the oft-asked question, “What would Jesus do?”
It was meant to challenge conscientious Christians to consider the choices they make, such as whether Jesus as publisher would sell ads for alcohol in his newspaper.
In Sheldon’s novel, of course, Jesus probably wouldn’t sell drinking ads, so the publisher refuses them. No need to worry about lost revenue, though, because with a commitment like this, the good Christian doing what Jesus would do will receive God’s blessing and protection, even if it means going out of business.
Not every Christian will agree, however, that Jesus wouldn’t sell ads for alcohol, just like they can’t agree whether the wine Jesus served was fermented or unfermented grape juice.
Personally, having known Jesus for nearly 30 years, I can say without a doubt that the wine he served was not only fermented but the best money could buy. And the people he served probably got ripped out of their minds. I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t get a little tipsy too.
The Jesus I know is a party animal.
Unlike the humorless Christo-Fascists who are better at shooting off their mouths and their guns than making sense or making peace, Jesus likes to have a good time and laugh. He likes to raise hell, so to speak. Well, heck, even Christians know that Jesus went to Hell.
“Hey, Satan!” said Jesus. “Gimme a beer!”
“Sorry Jesus, we’re all out.”
“Well, what kind of joint is this? Outta beer?”
“That’s what I said, Jesus. If you don’t like it, you can leave.”
“Fine with me,” Jesus said, adding: “Hey, everyone, party at my place!” And he left, taking nearly everyone with him.
If you look hard enough, you’ll find stories of Jesus in the Bible (and there’s probably plenty more that aren’t in the Bible) where he liked to wine and dine with friends, live it up with song and music, and take on the religious hypocrites who couldn’t understand his preference for spending most of his time with whores and other outcasts rather than with religious kooks and pompous asses.
Jesus at his best, as I see it, celebrated life and saved his harshest criticisms for the petty priests who were good for nothing but putting on a religious show of pretty piety, much like today’s priests and religious leaders, who have done more to turn people away from God.
In fact, according to the Bible, the hypocrisy of priests angered Jesus more than any other sin. The only time I know of that Jesus got pissed was when he confronted religious hypocrites and killjoys, and ran the greedy money mongers out of the temple.
Chased them with a whip, cursed them vehemently, said they were nothing but a bunch of “poisonous snakes.” He called the priests “whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones,” pretty on the outside but stinking to high heaven and dead on the inside, kind of like today’s priests.
Yes, Jesus got angry but he was more likely to be partying down, spending time with his friends and showing kindness to the friendless, drawing a crowd, breaking bread and pouring wine.
We don’t see enough of this side of Jesus, whose name today is more often invoked to protect the violent and wicked, to crush the oppressed, than it is to help the widow or the poor or the downtrodden.
I’d bet that were Jesus alive today, and some say that he is, he’d be down at the prison or by the docks or at the bar clinking glasses with someone who needs a friend. You would not find him at many churches.
I’m putting my money on the Jesus who would, given the opportunity, take a bong hit for love of a friend rather than join the yokels who praise his name at the local church.
What this means, really, is that I see Jesus as a regular guy with a big heart, a lion’s heart, who wasn’t afraid to challenge authority when it caused more harm than good, and who could celebrate life in the midst of great evil.
What would Jesus do if he met a Christian today? Probably puke his guts out. This comes straight from Scripture, where the latter day church gives God an ulcer because of its vapid, lukewarm nature; it has forgotten how celebrate life and live.
I read Sheldon’s book at a pivotal point in my growing up, when the question about what Jesus would do seemed like the right thing to ask. I was a student thinking about a career, a husband thinking about a family and a future. I needed some guidance.
Looking back on it, too many of my decisions were impacted by religious zealots and kooks rather than the example of Jesus, who seems a much happier person by comparison.
“What would Jesus do?” I think he’d meet me at the Cayucos Tavern right now for a drink and a high five. He’d make me laugh. §

Stacey Warde is editor of The Rogue Voice. He can be reached at swarde@roguevoice.com.

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  • 6 Comments:

    At 7:33 PM, Blogger Steve said...

    Stacey,
    While your bong totin' version of Jesus is a little out of the mainstream, it's still a lot of Jesus for one issue (this story your rant and the like-minded poem "Jesus Christ, Superstar"). One thing about the "here's what Jesus really meant" kind of discussion - at its endpoint you usually have a new orthodoxy, a fringe cult or some combination of the two. Can't we leave the poor guy alone? It's been 2,000 years, already. They didn't have copyright laws back then, so everyone sees fit to do whatever the hell they want in his name. If he ever does come back, he should sue.
    I see you have gone from Islamofascists to Christian fascists, by the way. Is there a fundamental (no pun intended) difference, or are they two sides of the same coin?

     
    At 3:16 PM, Blogger stacey said...

    Steve:

    It's not really out of the mainstream, if you consider the Jesus described in my essay. The only potentially off-beat element is the picture of Jesus holding a bong.

    We may have overloaded the last edition with Jesus content, but it seems relevant to me. Check out Chris Hedges' latest book, "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War in America." Hedges describes in chilling detail the prevalence of fundamentalist Christian theory (you can't really call it theology) that has declared war on democracy by imposing its own adolescent and rigid belief system, not unlike the adolescent and rigid dogmas of Islamic fundamentalists.

    I don't want to leave Jesus alone because I'm confident and hopeful in the Jesus that seeks the company of outcasts like me; I seek the spirit or personage of Jesus that gets its rocks off on love and compassion, something Christian fundamentalists, who have entered every possible realm of contemporary life with their dominionist and triumphalist attitudes and demands, can't fathom.

    Talk of love, and they'll talk of God's anger and retribution. Who needs it?

    Yeah, I hope Jesus does come back and sue (after taking GW over his knee and giving him a good compassionate and loving thrashing).

    With regard to differences between fundamentalists, all you have to do is look at the end results: war, divisions, contempt, murder, religious law, bigotry, misogyny, ignorance, hatred…

    What's the difference?

     
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