The New Jesus by Nance Gregg

Here is something my mom sent me today by email that I thought was pretty good…
I hate to be the one to break it to you, Jesus, but it looks like you’re pretty well out of a job. Your followers have decided to replace you with someone more in keeping with the times, and the times apparently call for a new, improved Savior – one who is okay with torture, adores a good war, and just generally kicks butt. Let’s face it, Lord, it’s not like you didn’t have a good run. Two thousand years is nothin’ to sneeze at in the Son of God business. But the whole Prince of Peace shtick just ain’t going over as well as it used to back in the day. These Christians we got nowadays don’t want to hear about turning the other cheek, being thy brother’s keeper, loving thy neighbor, yadda, yadda. They’re just not into that Do Unto Others thing, and would much rather have a Do Unto Yourself kind of credo, if you get my drift. What they want to hear is that accumulating personal wealth was part of your divine plan all along. They want to get on their cellphone and order a Green Prayer Cloth of Prosperity to place on their Bible as they pray for that promotion-plus-raise-plus-stock-options – and know that if they act now, they can get two for the price of one donation. They want to hear that things like hating Muslims, homosexuals and Liberals were only left out of the Commandments because your Dad could only fit ten on the tablets, and inadvertently left off the really important stuff. So what they’ve done is they’ve come up with a new Jesus, one created in their own image and likeness. (How’s that for irony?) And because the new kid on the cross is willing to see things their way, he’s catching on with the Fundies like a burning Bush (ha, ha, made you laugh!) Yeah, this New Jesus is something else again. You won’t catch him blessin’ the Peacemakers and talking about that goodwill towards men crap (although I understand that if the New Jesus preaches forgiveness for adulterers and fornicators, especially if they happen to be elected-to-office Republicans, that’s appreciated). Yes, sir, this New Jesus is ready to rock. If people on the other side of the world stand in the way of good Christians having the oil they need to get their Mercedes to church on Sunday, well screw ‘em. If sick kids are going to be a drain on taxpayers’ dollars, screw ‘em. If the workers are going to start demanding decent wages, screw ‘em. And for God’s sake (no disrespect intended), let’s hear some positive parables about how the money-changers in the temple were really the good guys, and how that eye of a needle that rich men have to pass though to get into heaven is actually big enough to accommodate an SUV, fully loaded! You see where this is going, Jesus? (Being all-seeing and all-knowing, I kinda figured you might.) You’re just an acoustic guitar with a simple lyric about brotherhood and compassion in a world of fix-it-in-the-mix muzak for the masses. Now, I don’t want to say you’re out of business entirely. You still got some people down here who believe in you just the way you are – that is, just the way you’ve always been, before the mega-rich preachers in the mega-churches started advertising a more pliable Savior with a more palatable agenda. Hey, don’t get me wrong, Jesus. Your real fans are still out there. If you don’t hear them cheering as loudly as you used to, it’s just because they’re being drowned out by the megachurch megaphones blaring hatred and bigotry from every corner, selling this New Jesus who will do their bidding. Sorry to be the bearer of these bad tidings, but if you’re going to insist on sticking with that as you do to the least among you, so you do unto Me act, it seems you’re going to have to start getting used to playing to smaller crowds.

Author: Nance Greggs