Category Archives: religion

You’re Not Jesus

(In this essay when I use the word ‘Jesus’, I am not talking about the thing they often call Jesus…the idol-thing religions will build and drag around to crush or control people…the thing individuals use to placate their egos, but the Free and Living Jesus Who can be neither institutionalized nor industrialized nor appropriated in any way to be used as a tool.)

You’d imagine it would be simple…people realizing that they are not Jesus. However, it doesn’t seem to happen that way. People just can’t seem to stop from thinking that they’re Jesus or some form of Jesus.

Now, I’m not talking about the mentally ill. For some of them, believing they are Jesus is all they’ve got, bless their battered minds. No, I’m talking about everyone else.

There are the obvious ones…the celebrities, of course. By celebrities, I not only mean the entertainment people but also politicians, mega-church preachers, “motivational” speakers, royalty; all those sort. These people live within the illusion of social hierarchical being where they are seduced into believing the constant accolades in their lives are not simply the results of the cultural worship of mammon, deceptive marketing and the support of various political and capitalist systems that make use of their celebrity, but something real and eternal. They are worshipped by crowds but only in the same way the ancients, to calm their angst, drew a face on a stick and then worshipped that. But, this is not Jesus, not even close to Jesus.

Then there are the subtle less grandiose ways people believe they are Jesus. I see it all the time in their interpretations of the stories handed down through the New Testament. They apply their own selves to the stories, covering over some things, eliminating important facts, taking the stories out of the context of place and time and oral tradition, all to become Jesus. They superimpose their own thoughts, feelings and personal deficiencies upon Jesus, ignoring His Nature. They replace Jesus with themselves to make Him personally useful to them. This is the main reason why Jesus is always portrayed as such an dull goof in movies and shows.

To firmly establish who is not Jesus, (or even like Jesus), let’s look at what we know about some of the Characteristics of Jesus:

  1. He had no respect for or even need of money or material possessions. Matthew 6:26

If you have even an ounce of this need or want, you’re not Jesus.

  1. He refused to placate the elite, (who would have definitely welcomed the use of Him.)

If you are quite able and willing to placate the elite, you’re not Jesus.

  1. He refused to be a part of the hierarchical social structure. John 6:15

If you could not refuse to be socially exalted, (humblebrag is the acceptance of social exaltation), you’re not Jesus.

  1. He could look past a face and see what was in a mind. Matthew 12:25 Luke 5:22 Luke 11:17 etc.

If you are stuck at the face, you’re not Jesus.

  1. He could see past, present and future. John 1:48 Matthew 26:25

If you do not live outside of time, you’re not Jesus.

  1. He could heal bodies and minds.

If you cannot keep sickness from even yourself let alone others, you’re not Jesus.

  1. Jesus was a human being, but yet alone and apart from the constructs of human beings. He existed upon the earth in a place He called The Kingdom of God, and He embodied the Kingdom. John 18:36 John 8:23

If you have a solid place of belonging within the constructs of this world, you’re not Jesus.

  1. He existed well beyond the unhealthy social conformities of his time and place.

If you live as part of any ‘group mentality’ of your time, even a supposed progressive group, you’re not Jesus.


When reading the stories of Jesus it’s important to remember three things:

  1. These are oral anecdotes about a Holy Presence in a particular place and time that were written down by people who were not actually there, (with the exception of maybe parts of the Book of John), who had no experience of the Presence and who wrote with a political-religious bias. (Even the people who walked beside Him struggled to understand Jesus.)


  1. As such anecdotes they cannot be whole. They are often missing details and intent. They do not come with any understanding of the verbal hermeneutic subtleties from which they originated. They provide only hints of Jesus’ sense of humour, and His wit. Ultimately, these skeletal stories are far from easy to properly interpret, and cannot be analyzed with any accuracy without looking at them as clues to a much larger puzzle.


  1. You’re not Jesus, so when reading these stories, don’t believe for a moment that He is anything like you. Think outside of yourself and look to God the One and Only for inspiration, and remember that Jesus was not laying out dogma for a church. He was trying to save the stupid blind souls that were in front of Him.


What’s So Good About Good Friday?

It’s Good Friday, and I never really liked it. Even as a child, I could never see what was good about it. It was a tragic day. A horrible day. A day of mourning. And now that it’s become ‘a thing’ to re-enact the crucifixion, it’s even worse. All those so-called Christians indulging in what is essentially sadomasochistic porn, and not even bothering to get the nails in the correct places.

“Don’t you know?” I want to scream at them. “That’s not what it’s about! It’s not about what they did physically! That’s nothing. None of that matters. They couldn’t hurt Him. It’s what they did spiritually. Can’t you see? It’s what they did to themselves and to this world. They were given a great Gift…a wonderful miraculous Gift, and they rejected Him. They rejected truth, love, progress, faith, life, potency, God. They rejected everything we needed for this world to become a better place and all because He interfered with their petty wants and desires…because He challenged their convenient self-aggrandizing identities…because He was proof that their fabricated self-serving narratives were wrong.” That’s exactly what I want to scream at them.

And when I look around and see people worshiping money and class, clinging to man-made politically motivated dogmas, even using the name of Jesus to placate their own soul-eating egos, I wonder, would it be any different today? If He came back as He was, not as many imagine Him to be, would anyone recognize the precious Gift or would it all be the same thing over again? Would people look down at Him for not driving a fancy car or being a botox-filled celebrity on Letterman? Would they turn away from every wonderful thing He offered because none of it made the list of Oprah’s favourite things? Would they ridicule Him because His clothes were not as fancy as Kate Middleton’s? Would they believe He was not a real man of God because, unlike Osteen, Jake, Hagee, Robertson, He didn’t make Himself rich by exploiting religion? Would they do it again? Would they throw away their only hope once more? Would they?

A Few Facts About Jesus

-born to an unwed mother in a sexually oppressive society where both mother and child would have been stigmatized (whether you believe in Immaculate Conception or not, this was His social status)

-born into the lower class of a highly structured class system

-shunned wealth and the wealthy

-shunned power and the powerful

-spoke out for the poor and helpless

-chose truth over making friends

-most of the friends He did make were from the bottom rungs of society

-publicly challenged social injustices and hypocrisies

-publicly challenged oppressive religious traditions and rituals

-publicly challenged social hierarchy

-never bowed to a king, high priest, military leader or wealthy official

-never allowed them to crown Him as an idolized king

-never made alliances with or manipulated people for political or personal gain

-never tried to sell God as a commodity

-was questioned, ridiculed and scapegoated for being from the ‘wrong side of the tracks’

-never turned away from God because more people would like Him and it would make things a whole lot easier

(If He were here today, would you side with Him?)



On Being a Jew

Before I explain how I ‘became’ a Jew, I should first explain how I ‘became’ a Palestinian.  It all started with my interest in genealogy. Several years ago a new company came out with the idea of genetic genealogy. If you sent them a sample of your DNA, they would analyze it and hopefully tell you something about your ancestors that is not traceable in existing records.

The first test I did was a Maternal DNA test. It specifically looks at a part of the X chromosome that is passed down mostly unchanged from mother to daughter for thousands of years. Through it, they identify what’s called your haplogroup. It’s like a female trail into the deep past. Also, it can be matched to people who shared the same female ancestor. My matches were few, but one stood out from the others. This person was a Palestinian! Incredible! To find such a match in a population that has been in one place for thousands of years was a genealogical jackpot!

So, I am a Palestinian.

But then, another new company with a broader test caught my interest. At first, the information I received was helpful, but it was when they upgraded their product to include cousin matching that it got really interesting. By identifying common strands of DNA, they would be able to match you to your biological cousins, (in the database), from first to distant.

My initial cousin match was very exciting, but when he sent me a list of peculiar Eastern European surnames, I was completely confused. Only after a few more matches contacted me, did I see that I was matching to Ashkenazi Jews. The Ashkenazim exist as a DNA grouping because of centuries of endogamy which is the polite word for cousin-humping.  They have been good ole-fashioned Middle Eastern cousins-humpers for a very long time, resulting in a close genetic relatedness amongst them. Even though I am only part Ashkenazim, I share common DNA strands to the majority of the population. We, my Ashkenazim brothers and sisters, are the hillbillies of the world. Yee (oy vey) Haw!

At first, I was stunned by my discovery, but then I felt like I had been given a heavy weight to bear. You see, already having ‘become’ Palestinian, I had begun researching more about Israel, and examining what exactly was happening over there. What should have been a celebration of my new found Jewish heritage did not make me feel good.

Let me try to explain by first telling you a story. I heard it many years ago. The story was told by a man who was there when it happened. He probably didn’t tell many people about it. He told my parents, and my mother told me. I might be the only one left who knows it, which is even more of a reason to share it with you now.

This man was originally from an Eastern European village. I don’t think it was a very big place. It was likely one of those small nondescript places where nothing much ever happens, and everybody knows everybody else. One day, the Nazis marched in. They marched in and ordered several of the young men in the village to dig a deep and long pit. When the pit was finished, the Nazis then gathered up all the Jews and lined them up at the edge of the pit. I don’t know whether they had the Jews face them or look away. I don’t know whether they did them in groups. I don’t know any of the details, and it doesn’t really matter anyway. Details cannot make this story any better or any worse. It’s horrible any way. So, they raised their rifles, (or machine guns), and shot all the Jews who then fell dead into the pit. After it was done, they ordered the young men to fill it in. But before they did, some of those men climbed into that pit and picked over the warm bodies of their neighbours, taking whatever worldly goods they considered of value.

And then I look at Israel…

I look at Israel and see the militarization, the ruthless secret service, the propaganda, the unashamed racism, the greed, the violence, the disrespect for human life, and I think, is this what those Jews died for…the kind of society Goebbels would drool over…the kind of society that killed them?

No! I can’t believe that! Those innocents who died that day were my people. They lived decent lives. They hurt no one. They worshiped the One and Only God, not a state or a government. They were my people, and they did not die for that!

You see what I mean by the word ‘weight.’ I’ve cried more than once over it.

I’ll tell you something though…something else about Ashkenazim DNA…something important. In spite of centuries of endogamy, we have the most remarkably varied haplogroups. There is not one area of this globe that is not represented in our DNA. From the Middle East to Europe, East Asia to South Asia, Australia to North Africa, South Africa to North America, South America to everything in between…the entire beautiful family of man is represented in our Jacob’s ladder. This is the real pride of being a Jew…our special secret that YHWH has placed there and no man’s evil can remove. The secret that all of God’s precious children are within our hearts, and that every last one of them warms our veins with this glorious and sacred gift of life.

Blessed are those who act justly, who always do what is right. Psalm 106:3

The Devil Speaks in Tongues

At the time, I didn’t ask myself why she invited me. I was young, wanted to make friends and was open to new experiences. But now I know. I know now why she invited me. She decided that she would ‘save’ me. I was the project she was hoping to get an A+ on—an A+ that would open wide the gates of Heaven. Why, one day old Saint Peter himself would greet her and exclaim, “Way to go (I forget her name)! The best gold harp for you!” That’s the way she must have imagined it. She wanted me to be, not her friend, but her pre-paid ticket to Heaven.

I can’t remember what exactly she said, when she invited me, but she did use the term Charismatic Catholic. Whatever! Sure, I’ll check it out. Why not?

The meeting was in a school, (must have been a Catholic school), on the second floor. We sat around in a circle, and people talked. What they talked about, I don’t recall, so it couldn’t have been that interesting. If it were interesting, I would not have forgotten it.

There was a stout little priest who was quiet and docile, and always seemed to be battling something within his own mind. There was a blind guy they doted on because blind guys feature big in Christianity. And there was a very outspoken middle aged woman who ran the show. At least, I think she was middle aged…when you’re that young everyone over 25 looks middle aged.  Those are the only ones I can remember.

So I went maybe 2 or 3 times to sit in a circle and listen to these people. They were a little weird, but I’d been in a Pentecostal Church before, so I knew about weird. Weird didn’t particularly weird me out.

Then it happened…

There we were sitting in the circle when suddenly the outspoken woman who ran the show started ‘speaking in tongues.’  Okay, whatever! Go with the flow.

I watched as her male ‘attendants’ would bring someone to her. She’d babble something then thrust her hand forward, making that person fall backwards. The attendants would then dutifully catch the fallen in their arms. From there, the person would be laid out on the floor like a freshly slain body. I assumed the idea was that they were so filled with the Holy Spirit that they were rendered paralyzed. Soon the floor was covered in people.

Well, didn’t someone just come over to me and grab me by the arm. I didn’t want to go, but what could I say? I was young and just wanted people to like me. And they were so gung-ho about this speaking in tongues and people all over the floor thing. So I went.

If I remember right, the outspoken and now tongues-speaking woman was about eye level with me, but she didn’t look at me. Instead, she was looking upwards as if she could see more than just the ugly classroom ceiling. From there, it all happened so fast. She was saying something that didn’t sound much like anything at all, when suddenly WHAP! she hit me in the forehead! I couldn’t believe it! She hit me HARD! right in the forehead! I didn’t get it. Wasn’t it supposed to be the Holy Spirit who knocked you down, and not some bare fleshy undeniably corporeal hand?

The hit caused me to stumble backwards, but I quickly regained my footing and stared her right in the eye. She stared back at me and that was when I saw it…the hatred…the anger…the ‘how dare you not fall to my authority like the others.’ I tell you, if I’d never seen the devil before, I saw him that night in her eyes. What a situation I was in!

Thinking to myself, that if I didn’t fall back she might keep hitting me until I did, the next time she hit me, I fell back. They put me on the floor with the others and I covered my face with my hands. The others did not cover their faces, but for some reason I felt I couldn’t leave my face exposed in this room. So there I was, on the floor, praying to God and saying, “This is ridiculous. What do I do now?”

Anyway, I stayed there and played along for while, getting more and more frustrated with the entire silly situation. I kept wondering just how long one was required to be ‘overcome.’ Finally, I peeked through my fingers to see if the others were off the floor and many of them were, so I decided that it was okay to get up.

In keeping with the show, I then got up, walked over and hugged the blind guy. That seemed to confuse the heck out of him, but it also seemed an appropriate ending scene to this crazy play.

The next week I went back. I don’t know why. I guess like so many lonely teenagers, I would overlook a lot in pursuit of friends. So I went back, but they were gone. The school was locked and there was no light on the second floor.

Later in the school hallway, I would sometimes pass the girl who invited me. But we never really spoke again, and I never asked her about the group or what happened to them. I suppose it just seemed fitting that it should end that way.