Merry Christmas, Feliz Navidad. I hope you are making it through the holidays okay, it can be a tough time of year.
This plaster and wood statue I have pictured here has been through a lot. Made to be paraded through town on a little liter, it is lightweight, and fragile. It’s seen it’s fair share of wear-and-tear, that’s for sure. My mother in law was a spiritual woman, and she loved the little child. She literally placed it on a pedestal. When my nephew bumped the pedestal with his trike one day, the little statue suffered some more wear-and-tear, but we glued it back together best we could. When my mother in law died, nobody wanted the little fellow – I grabbed it up, and it’s been mine ever since. My husband made this little shelf over our doorway, and we’ve made the baby a little shrine. Nothing fancy. We just want Him to know, He’s welcome here. We don’t know for sure if He even exists, or cares, but we want to play it safe.
No, I don’t go to an organized church. I live across the street from the Evangelical Free Church, where a minister told Grandma Belmonte’s grandchildren that she would not go to Heaven because she was a Jew. They told my sons that if they went out for Trick or Treat they would be “walking with Satan.” Christians can be a tawdry lot, you have to be real careful what kind of Christians you get yourself involved with.
One of my favorite stories about Christianity is one I found in my family’s beat-up moth-eaten old bible. It’s fun to read old bibles, they haven’t been watered down with so much PC BS. When God tells 90-something year old Sarah that she is going to FINALLY have a baby, she laughs at Him! She makes fun of Him! Even when He gets a little testy with her, she still talks to Him like a peer. She tells Him, essentially, THAT’S NUTS MISTER, you don’t know what you’re talking about! See, women know what goes in to having a baby, and at 90, I mean, come on! But He gets mad and tells her to watch it, so she settles down and says, well, okay, I’ll take your word for it. But I could tell, she didn’t believe Him until she started getting cravings for Lucky Charms with Pepsi in the middle of the night. Then she was all happy and shit, and thanked her Lord and Master, but I could tell, if He hadn’t come through, she would have let Him have it with a broom the next time He came knocking on that kitchen door.
And look who she had – John the Baptist! The nut doesn’t fall very far from the tree.
I don’t believe in the vengeful God. My God is a little more like Santa Claus. Remember, the bible was written by a bunch of men. If women had written the bible, we can only wonder what it would say. Sheesh, would things be different! Although, I don’t expect women would have been any kinder to men than men have been to women in regards to the scriptures. I would definitely have turned Lot into a pillar of salt, that bastard, for getting his wife into a mess like that – it was his idea to move to Sodom in the first place. She was probably looking behind because one of the kids was missing.
Jesus is not portrayed very kindly either – in a sermon, he threatens his followers with “remember Lot’s wife!” As if, one wrong move, and you’re salt! I’m sorry, you know me – I would have sued Him for creating a hostile work environment, insisting that he quit pointing his salt gun at me. I don’t like being bullied.
I love that joke – Jesus comes across a group of people who are preparing to stone a prostitute to death. He makes his famous, “let the one who is without sin cast the first stone” speech. A little old lady waddles up out of the crowd, picks up an enormous boulder, and kills the hooker dead, right in front of everybody. Jesus turns to the woman with a scowl, “Mom, sometimes you really piss me off!”
That was another part of the bible that I always found amusing – the way Jesus talked to his mother, like she was his father’s other wife or something. I really started to appreciate the comedic effect once I had my own kids. They talk to you like that, they really think they know better than Mom about stuff. Whenever I’d read the story about Mary and Joseph taking six-year-old Jesus to Jerusalem for the first time, and he just up and wanders off, it would go up my ass like a boar’s hair. If one of my kids had done that to me, you would have had to give me a horse pill, I would have been so hysterical. Mary is real nice about it when she finds the boy in the temple – I would have hauled him up by the seat of his pants and blistered his butt. Oh yeah, that “my father’s house” crap would have got him 10 extra licks.
I’ve realized – I like to watch Bones. My theory – Jesus had Assbergers. He was very socially clumsy, aloof – sometimes, a real ass. You’d have to be real careful with a guy like him, couldn’t take him anywhere without wondering, what will he do? Maybe change some water into wine? Make us the life of the party? Or, oh yeah, maybe start rampaging around the place with a cat’o nine tails, on some bender about righteousness. It would be tough to hang with JC, you just never knew what he was thinking. And back you up in a fight? Forget it – more likely he’ll give your clothes to some bum while you’re out looking for a loaf of bread to split 14 ways.
Yeah, here I am on Christmas making fun of the bible. Remember what we’re talking about here – a document that’s been had over for about 2,000 years, originally written by who? Guys who couldn’t even agree on the facts, apparently, having to include two stories about the birth of Jesus because they couldn’t get the details straight. And then King James went through and pruned and embellished, who knows what hit the cutting room floor and what got inserted in it’s place? So, I treat the bible like any other book of mythology – interesting, but not something I am going to use to chart my actions.
Christianity and compassion are learned and un-learned traits. They are taught through use, in generous portions. For some of us, compassion might mean, we invite a “street” person into our home for a meal, or it just might mean, we don’t run over them with our car when they drunkenly step out on us at the intersection. It’s whatever you have to give, and may you find joy in giving it.