The Kind of Guy whoâd Fart in Church: Remembering the Troublemaker from Nazareth (A Cheeky Epistle for my New Friends in Utah)
The Kind of Guy who’d Fart in Church:
Remembering the Troublemaker from Nazareth
(A Cheeky Epistle for my New Friends in Utah)
By Kevin D. Annett
Yes, I’ve done it again, people. I’ve pissed off some more church leaders. This time it’s the Mormons. Apparently they’re even talking of issuing their own version of an Islamic Fatwa against yours truly. Well, well.
Now, far be it from me to come between anyone and their delusions, but somebody needs to tell Russ Nelson and his Salt Lake City Mob to cool it. Maybe their new bed-buddies at the Vatican should whisper some such advice in their ears, considering how two popes have already learned the hard way that all the muscle in the world can’t hide the remains of children once insiders start squawking.
Frankly, I suspect that the Morons (oops, sorry, I meant Mormons) are not used to being caught, literally, with their pants down, unlike the Papists; hence, the howls of outrage emitting these days from the saintly halls of Utah. It’s all part of the maturation process among serial killers, you know, similar to turning fifty: that initial shock and denial when one realizes that, Holy Crap! I’m not the man I thought I was. Maybe my end is actually approaching!
Which brings us to Jesus.
It’s an intriguing question whether the poor guy would have stuck to home base and been a good family man if he had have known what the Temple Crowd of his day had in store for him. After all, he got killed simply for pissing off church officials. But they whacked him for doing a lot more than just talking about their dirty laundry. Jesus was officially nailed after leading an insurrectionary mob into the High Priests’ seat of power and trashing the place and its resident bankers. That’s never a good idea if you want to avoid crucifixion.
In those halcyon days when I occupied a church pulpit, I routinely pointed out to my befuddled listeners the irony of what we were doing every Sunday. According to the record, I’d remark, Jesus went to church only twice in his life, and each time he triggered a riot there. The first time was in his hometown synagogue, when he announced that the Jubilee Year had arrived: the time of God’s Judgement, when everything is turned upside down. His outraged neighbors then grabbed him and tried to throw him off a cliff, but somehow he survived. The second time, of course, was the big Temple Smashing scene in Jerusalem.
Now, an odd mystery hangs over both incidents, since nobody explains how Jesus got free of that lynch mob in Nazareth, nor how he somehow avoided the entire Tenth Roman Legion and its 6000 heavily armed troops who were stationed just a Javelin’s throw from the Jerusalem Temple that Jesus totaled. We’re supposed to attribute Jesus’ success to divine protection, a heavenly assistance that for some reason departed from him the next day, as if Jehovah suddenly changed his mind and now wanted the guy to suffer and die slowly on a piece of wood.
Sitting here last night, as I pondered these Biblical stories as well as the latest dire threat issued against me by the Mormon pharisees, it struck me how nothing ever changes; and how unfortunate it is that religion has to always muddy the waters of simple reason and understanding.
The answer to the mystery of how Jesus did what he did on those days is a simple one: he caught his adversaries off guard precisely because they were so powerful. They never expected such ballsy audacity from one lone man, and it sent a shock wave throughout their entire system.
In Nazareth, that shock gave the lynchers second thoughts as they no doubt pondered, well, what if Jesus is right? What if the Jubilee has actually arrived? Do we really want to catch shit from the Big Guy for killing his messenger?
Similarly, in Jerusalem, what are a bunch of poorly paid Roman grunts going to do when they see yet another rabble rouser raise shit in the local Jewish Temple? Hey, it’s not our concern, man. I’m just doing my time.
And as for the priestly rulers: well, their kind, whether in Judea or Utah or Rome itself, consider themselves untouchable. After all, they are god, in their own minds. And so they never expect to be challenged to their face and watch as their Golden Idol gets pulled down right in front of them. So naturally they have to vent their fear and humiliation afterwards on the one who exploded their sick, massive arrangement.
Of course, it’s easy to pick on the Pharisees. They’re such an obvious pack of hypocrites and gangsters. But none of us likes to be shown who we really are, and we hate the one holding up the mirror. Fortunately, most of us don’t have that far to fall from our pillar of self-interest and delusion. Not so for the High Priests of Mammon.
So at the end of the day and perhaps my life, I’m not worried. I’m living in the Jubilee, folks, because I see that it's arrived.