Cute, Cuddly Icons

As a Jesus-revering lapsed Buddhist, I know I should detach myself from desire and step beyond the swirl of samsara

I know, I know. 

But, goddamn it, sometimes my ego’s tempted to unzip its amiable persona so Mr. Hyde/Incredible Hulk can bust out and snatch from the cuddling arms of certain Youth Ministers their teddybearjesuses!  I long to confront, to bellow like a crazed evangelist on a street corner, “Grow up, you [minced oath alert] theologically stunted pathetic puerile protoplasmic pondspawn!”  

How could you not have picked up on this untidy detail: Jesus’s own father allowed him to be nailed alive to boards!

“Ye ha’ seen me heal the lame and blind,
And wake the dead,” says he,
“Ye shall see one thing to master all:
‘Tis how a brave man dies on the tree.”

Ezra Pound, “Ballad of the Goodly Fere”

Given the illustration above [hat tip to Mel Gibson] and the never ending reaches of eternity, why would you presume that the Trinity-That-Is-One desires what is most comfortable for you in this abbreviated vale of tears?  Or that the most comfortable outcome – what you desire – is best for you spiritually.  We’re so blessed [I hear people say] Sally got into Swanee.  We’ve been so blessed [others say] our dishwasher didn’t need replacing after all.  Christianity isn’t about copping fringe benefits for the faithful but about taking an unworldly long perspective on our short stay here and sacrificing our own comfort to make others more comfortable.  

It’s a hell of a lot to ask.

From what I read, blessed are the poor, not comfortable smug upper middle class lower-case christians who love Jesus but hate Biden, who write generous checks to the Good Cheer Club but who want to see unemployment benefits cease.  They’re the crowd of know-nothings huddled around Job.

Blake: Job rebuked by his friends

Hey, Youth Ministers, how about offering your pledges some muscular Christian theology that doesn’t whistle past the Darwinian graveyard but confronts the ever-growing chasm between Christian dogma and science?  

In other words, bring in the Jesuits.

***

If you’re extolling faith over reason, you might as well be peddling snake oil.  

                    Q. What’s one thing that Osama Bin Laden and George W Bush had in common?  

                    A. An unwavering, absolute and certain faith (in two very different deities).  

Based on what?  Mother’s milk, that’s what.

If the raw unfiltered DNA that made up Osama had somehow been born to Barbara and Poppy, would he have fervently believed that there is one god and his name is Allah?  

Or switcher-roo, picture W with in long white robes and a beard hanging to his sternum.  Reared in Saudi Arabia, would he know in his marrow bone that Jesus is Lord? 

Let’s face it: faith is culturally conditioned and therefore unreliable as far as narrow religious affiliations go.  

As my dear erstwhile friend Ed Burrows once told me, if you can’t justify your beliefs through reason, then your beliefs are worthless.  

Amen, Ed. We really should go out for a drink one of these days.

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