Thursday, June 23, 2005

Jesus Returns

...For One Night Only!

Jesus used parables to illustrate spiritual concepts to the crowds he spoke to. He communicated in plain language, making his message as accessible as he was to the people of Galilee.

I watched Chris Rock's routine on HBO a while ago, and was impressed at how he drove home socio-political messages using humor as a device. His audience--as varied as Jesus's may have been a couple of millenia ago--may not read Newsweek except at the dentist's office or have ever picked up a copy of Mother Jones. Rock's audience probably included people who must deal day to day with family and community concerns; in comparison the world at large isn't a pressing matter.

Rock filtered the big picture for his audience in a way that not only made it funny, but relevant to them. He was educating and entertaining at the same time.

What if Jesus had disarmed the skeptics with one-liners? Dr. Michael Abrams writes in his book, "Evolution Angel" that Jesus was in fact quite funny, and would have people doubled over in hysterics at his comedic escapades.

So what if Jesus the Messiah, was actually Yeshua the Stand-up-Comic? Travelling from this village to the next town, his reputation preceding him by word of mouth, crowds would gather in ever increasing numbers to see the humble carpenter send up Caesar and the High Priest, parody stuffy Mosaic law and complain about the smell of camels. Can't you envision him doing just that? I can. His routine may have started like this:

How's everybody doing today? What a great lookin' crowd you are. I appreciate your being here on such short notice. You may or may not know that I have a price on my head. The Office of the High Priest keeps an eye on me. The groupies, I don't mind. But I draw the line at pretentious old men hiding in wells and water jugs. Freaks me out just a little bit, you know?

It's scary being a wanted man in this era. But I'll be honest: Being an outlaw does have it's perks, 'cuz the ladies they do like a bad boy. And to hear the reactionary Saducees and their Roman masters tell it... I am the badest boy to kick up dust on these roads in a long time.

God it's hot! Whoo! Jesus disrobes to his loin/dhoti cloth, which is held up with rainbow suspenders. It's an interesting look with the old-timey Birkenstocks.

He'd be a comic/magician combo, reading minds, guessing your weight, and lifting your jewelry, quipping that he learned that from Judas. He'd be interrupted by the occassional message from his heavenly father, passing the message on to a member of the audience, "Is there a Simon in the audience?" A bunch of hands go up. "I'm going to have to narrow this down, uh, I'm looking for the Simon with leprosy." All hands down. "Ha ha, just kidding. I'm looking for Simon of Samaria." One hand goes up, "That's me!"

"Uh, yeah, Simon, I just got word from God above, and you'll be going to hell. Sorry for the bad news, bro'. If you'll see Peter on the way out, he'll give you your money back."

He'd continue: "You know what's really great about being the son of God? When I say 'Damn you!' it actually means something. Isn't that a trip?" (Pointing to someone in the front) "Damn you! Ha ha! Just kidding, just kidding."

His promoters would have a heyday with marquis and press releases:

Jesus Kills--
Sold out at Harrahs!

Jesus--Sold Out
By Ticketmaster--this time.

Absolute blasphunny!
Stand in the front row at your own risk!

Jesus Saves--
His best material for Vegas!

And he'd plug future appearances: " I hope you enjoyed yourself today. I'll be appearing at(pointing) that rock--the big one by the old well, about a mile down the road, tomorrow. Then I'll be back here next Friday. But don't tell anyone. (He looks at Judas.) Okaaay?" He'd leave his audience with these words:

"You know what else is pretty cool about being me? When I say 'God bless', it actually means something."

"God bless."

Everyone has to have a gimmick.


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