Thursday, January 14, 2016

"Thank you, Jesus"

"Thank you, Jesus"

I was driving home from WalMart with a bag full of groceries and a pocket full of cashback this morning, and as I was driving I was also scanning the radio for something decent to listen to. An old-time gospel hour popped out at me from a Buffalo, NY station. The deep voice of a preacher was talking about how the poverty of America had little if anything to do with a lack of money in everyday folks' bank accounts. Instead, he insisted that the real poverty that blighted America was due to a lack of faith, and not a lack of ready currency. In the bank accounts of American spirituality, apparently there is a balance owing.

I'm not sure how true all that is, but the repeated insistence of his voice was damn convincing. And if his dulcet baritone accusations weren't enough, there was this steady repetition of some hopped-up-on-the-gospel voice of a woman in the background who kept singing out an "Amen" or a "Thank you, Jesus" at just the right times. Clearly, the words of the good reverend would have bounced across the airwaves in a giant run-on sentence, except for this woman's plaintive refrains that cut everything into neat sentences divided by exclamation marks.

And that got me thinking about what would happen if Jesus were alive and living in Biloxi. I mean, what would Jesus be like if He lived among us today?

Would he be a liberal or a conservative, a Democrat or a Republican?

Would He be pro-choice or pro-life?

Would He be OK with same-sex marriages, or would He sink San Francisco into the bay?

Would He have a gun cabinet in the back room of his trailer, or would He want to see the second amendment repealed?

Would He turn a blind eye to the gang-bangers who control the streets of American cities, or would He tear down all those basketball courts on every corner of every ghetto and find some real solution to the problem?

Would He consider a couple of miracles to make life a bit easier for common folk?

Would He consider waving a hand in the air a few times to eliminate drug addiction and prostitution -- perhaps by spontaneously setting on fire every street-corner dealer and pimp? Sure, a few guys, the ones wearing baseball hats turned at just-the-right weird angle, would have to burn down into a pile of ashes, but the Book of Revelations doesn't say we're all going to be saved when the promised end comes. We could consider the torching of all the kingpins of the American drug and sex underworld sort of a sneak preview of what's to come on Judgement Day.

Would He take back some of the suffering that was stamped on our passports after we got a one-way ticket out of Paradise in that Garden of Eden fiasco? I mean, sure, I understand mortality and that whole "test of our free will" gambit, but for the life of me, I still don't get why a six-year-old child has to die of leukaemia or why every generation of young people suffers yet a new plague of one kind or another.

Maybe He'd be willing to make manifest a few extra bags of groceries and even a couple of bottles of wine to fill the pantries of every American home? I mean if President Bush can send back a couple of hundred dollars by way of tax rebates to make peace with every American citizen, then imagine what Jesus could do.

Maybe He'd end all the wars around the world with a compassionate tolerance and blessing for every race and religion involved?

And I wonder. Would He have long hair and a beard still? Or would He have sort of a GI/Navy Seal clean look? Would He be a white Caucasian, or would He have a somewhat darker, sort of latino/mulatto look to him? Would He be a She this time around?

It wouldn't take much to rekindle the faith of most Americans. We're primed for a miracle or two. We're pumped for any kind of messiah. The world needs a change.

Change. It's always a bit revolutionary for so many of us. Sometimes, some of us are more comfortable with what we know, even if what we know isn't so great. Hey, I'm a firm believer in the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

But it is broke, and someone needs to fix it.



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