One of favorite books of all time is “Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal“. It’s funny, dirty, at times touching and almost sure to piss off your friendly neighborhood fundamentalist. In keeping with my Lenten discipline, I’ll say that last one isn’t necessarily a good thing. But, it did draw me to the book. What kept me reading was the fact that the author, Christopher Moore, really seemed to have caught the spirit of Jesus. He also rendered the message of Jesus into a most readable, relevant form. Here it is, straight from the book in Biff’s own words:
“Joshua’s ministry was three years of preaching, sometimes three times a day, and although there were some high and low points, I could never remember the sermons word for word, but here’s the gist of almost every sermon I ever heard Joshua give.
You should be nice to people, even creeps.
And if you:
a) believed that Joshua was the Son of God (and)
b) he had come to save you from sin (and)
c) acknowledged the Holy Spirit within you (became as a little child, he would say) (and)
d) didn’t blaspheme the Holy Ghost (see c)
then you would:
e) live forever
f) someplace nice
g) probably heaven
However, if you:
h) sinned (and/or)
i) were a hypocrite (and/or)
j) valued things over people (and)
k) didn’t do a, b, c, and d,
then you were:
Now, I don’t talk about all these things all the time. In fact, I spend most of my time on social justice (i.e. being nice to people, even creeps), but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe the other things on this list. I do, or I wouldn’t be a Christian. I do believe that Jesus (his name was actually Yeshua, hence Biff referring to him as Josh) was the son of God and that he came to save us from our sin. I believe in the Holy Spirit and have felt it on occasion. Not all the time, though, I don’t know if you could stand that. I like the idea that if I do these things, I’ll live forever someplace nice (probably heaven). I also believe that if you do the negative things on the list, you’re most definitely fucked. I like saying that you’re “fucked” better than “going to Hell”. It’s more concise and has the requisite shock value to get your attention. Let’s face it, you’ve heard preachers, teachers and bible thumpers talk about Hell so much, your eyes glaze over at the mere mention of the word. I’m willing to bet that you’ve never heard them drop the “F” bomb, though. That sort of thing will make you sit up and take notice.
You’ll notice the “F” bomb occurs in the title of this piece, too. In the book, when Josh is trying to write the Beatitudes, he wants to include the dumbfucks as in “Blessed are the dumbfucks, for they, uh — I don’t know–they shall never be disappointed.” Biff is adamant on the subject, saying ““No, I’m drawing the line at dumbfucks. Come on, Josh, why can’t we have any powerful guys on our team? Why do we have to have the meek, and the poor, the oppressed, and the pissed on? Why can’t we, for once, have blessed are the big powerful rich guys with swords?” Josh simply answers “Because they don’t need us”. They continue arguing about who else to include, and who gets a fruit basket, but that’s not what we’re talking about here (but it’s funny and I like it). Big, powerful guys with swords don’t need Jesus. Okay, they do, but you know where I’m going with this, so just keep reading.
Why do I talk more about social justice than salvation or any of the other stuff? Because I believe that’s how we’re supposed to make disciples. Christianity is a religion of relationships and to build relationships, it helps if you give a damn about the other person. Not only that, if someones hungry, cold, tired, sick, etc. you’re not going to make much headway talking about Jesus until their particular problem is dealt with. And, if that’s not good enough for you, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, helping the sick and all the rest of that is what the Man said to do.