August 28, 2006

The Messiah of Morris Avenue

Jesus has returned. Only he’s not called Jesus anymore. He now goes by Jose, or Jay if you’re a friend. And he’s not from Nazareth of Galilee, but Morris Avenue of the Bronx. He’s come, not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance, the sinners in this case being the Religious Right and others who have perverted the message of Christianity.

The is the premise of Tony Hendra’s The Messiah of Morris Avenue. For the most part, the book is difficult to read. Difficult because Hendra’s English tends to be dry and clunky. Some authors make their words sing. If there’s any singing in this book it’s tantamount to a group of tone-deaf choir boys who have just entered puberty.

That said, the book has one redeeming quality: the sayings of Jay. Upon reading the book, you can’t help but wonder what Jesus would say to the world today. Here are some of the nuggets that Hendra puts in Jay’s mouth.

  • Selfishness is behind every kind of inhumanity. It’s this country’s worst failing. USA stands for United Selves of America.

  • Screens of every kind kill meaning for those on them and for those watching them. People must talk to people; lives much touch lives. The Revelation will not be televised.

  • Can’t walk with me and carry a gun.

  • That homeless guy you gave a quarter to while you were gabbing on your cell phone? He’ll be in paradise long before you.

  • Whoever is near me will burn; whoever is far from me will freeze. There’s nowhere you’ll be comfortable.

  • The best path to salvation is to sell all you have and follow me. It wasn’t too popular the first time around, and it isn’t now.

  • How can anyone shop till they drop in a world where three billion people live on one dollar a day? A country that doesn’t do everything in its power to alleviate that reality can’t speak of its moral values.

  • Murder is not a mission or a career calling or a career. If you went to West Point or the Air Force Academy to get a degree in it, it’s still murder. All the fancy words your superiors come up with—retaliation, extreme prejudice, overwhelming force, collateral damage, smart this, and pinpoint that—cannot alter the fact that all these words mean murder…

    Wearing a uniform does not stop killing from being murder, killing for you country does not stop it from being murder. Clicking on an icon a thousand miles away does not stop if from being murder. Sending a command to a robot does not stop it from being murder. If your sergeant tells you to do it, it’s murder; if you are told by your officer to tell an enlisted man to do it, all three of you commit murder. It’s murder if a court absolves you of all wrongdoing. It’s murder if a man of God blesses the weapon you murder with. It’s murder if you vote for someone who tells others to murder in your name. It’s murder if the one you murder has murdered…

    And if you say God told you to murder, I say to you it is not God you are listening to…

    I have always hated wars waged in my name. God is on our side! Gott mit uns! Deus Vult! God bless America! I am on no one’s side. I am not on America’s side, or Islam’s, or Israel’s, or Europe’s. I have never been on the British, the German, the Spanish, the Dutch, the Catholic, or the Protestant side; I did not uphold the Crusaders, not the Turks or the Golden Hordes, not the sons of Ali or the sons of Muhammed. I did not guide the hand of David or Solomon, or the hand of Caesar or Alexander or Ptolemy. Thou shalt not kill. There are no exceptions…

    There are no just wars. War is a collective murder-suicide pact by members of the same family.

August 13, 2006

So I intercepted this email message from God…

The other day, I received the below email prayer request, which was sent out to me and about twenty other contributors.

The Prayer Request

Hi everyone, I didn't get many requests, so please be sure to send yours in when you get a chance. I know we can all use prayers in some area of our lives. Here's our first one from Ed Travis: (for now, I have to retype the info because yahoo doesn't let me cut and paste - aargh!!)Ed just bought a new condo (his first!!) and it needs a lot of renovation before he can move in this month. But, he's also exhausted every day after work. Please pray:1. For Ed to have extra energy to work on the condo, and restful sleep at night.2. That every last thing will be completed by his scheduled move-in date.3. That people in his life or church would volunteer to help. 4. That some of the stress of his work load would be relieved. 5. That Ed would have an opportunity to share about Christ with one person (or establish a long term relationship) during the work phase of this project.Thanks everyone!!Mel

God’s Response

Interestingly, shortly after I received the above email, I accidentally intercepted God’s response. As I’m sure you’ll agree, it is rather eye-opening.

Dear Moron,

Thank you so much for thinking of Me. As you know, I like it when you talk to Me, even if you’re just making demands.

Anyway, I got a question for you. Have you looked around lately? Opened the newspaper, stuck your head out the window? You see, the world’s a shithole. All sorts of evil stuff is going down. We’ve got a bunch imperialists in the White House, a slew of dead Lebanese children. Women are being diagnosed with breast cancer, people are starving to death in third world countries. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

And you’re praying for a good night’s sleep? You’re asking Me to help you not be so stressed about your new condo? You want Me to touch the hearts of your fellow churchgoers so they’ll help you move?

Do I care about the little things? Well, yeah, sure I do. But the big things kind of take precedence. And I’ll be honest with you, it kind of pisses Me off when you pray for all this trifling crap when your fellow humans are suffering and dying.

So the next time you pray for something or ask people for prayer, try not to be such a jerk.

See ya on the flip side.