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Baby Killer?

Like we need a chart to tell us this (Blogography)

Like we need a chart to tell us this (Blogography)

Anyone who has read my blog likely knows that I am not a religious person. In fact, I’m quickly becoming anti-religious based on how judgemental, hypocritical and downright mean some religious people can be.

I am also baffled by some of the stupid things I hear religious people say—even those viewed as religious leaders, like right-wing televangelist Pat Robertson, for instance.

Recently, a woman wrote in to The 700 Club, Robertson’s cable television program, and asked for help in comforting a friend who just lost a young child. Here’s how Robertson chose to respond:

“As far as God’s concerned, He knows the end from the beginning and He sees a little baby and that little baby could grow up to be Adolf Hitler,” Robertson said. “He could grow up to be Joseph Stalin, he could grow up to be some serial killer, or he could grow up to die of a hideous disease.”

In other words, God killed this child to prevent him from turning into some evil monster or dying from some terrible affliction.

Of course, this doesn’t explain why so many still live and suffer from horrible diseases. Or why maniacs like Sadaam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden were permitted to live while so many innocent people died at their hands.

I know Pat Robertson is older and his mind is likely slipping, but he should still know better. And this guy has his own television show, for goodness sake!

Aliens in Hell!

Don't waste your time praying since you're hell-bound anyway (Tommy1de)

Don’t waste your time praying since you’re hell-bound anyway (Tommy1de)

Given the fact that I’m agnostic and don’t subscribe to any religious doctrine—what some might call a heathen—I often find humor in the outrageous claims made by religious zealots the world over. And few entertain me more than Ken Ham, a creationist who also serves as president and CEO of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum in Kentucky.

Earlier this week, Ham turned his sights on extraterrestrials, who he obviously doesn’t believe exist. However, if they do exist, it doesn’t matter anyway. They are all going to hell.

“You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe,” the Amish-looking creationist wrote on his blog recently. “This means any aliens would also be affected by Adam’s sin, but because they are not Adam’s descendants, they can’t have salvation.”

Ham was reacting to a recent statement by NASA experts indicating that evidence of alien life could be discovered within the next 20 years. Too bad he didn’t think hard before posting this, though, because he could not be more wrong.

For one, if you assume that God created the universe, then you must also believe He created everything in it, which would include stars, planets, galaxies and yes, even aliens. Am I supposed to believe that out of all these different worlds—and all the potential life forms inhabiting them—only humans on this one planet can ascend to Heaven? Also, is it logical to assume that religions like Christianity exist only on Earth?

Ken Ham curses aliens, but should probably reconsider that beard instead (AP)

I’m sorry, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too, Mr. Ham.

Something else to consider is access. If aliens really do exist—and I personally find it close-minded and ridiculous to think life exists only on our planet—then how can they be damned if they don’t even have a copy of the Bible? Are they so unworthy of salvation that we curse them before we even meet them and introduce them to the concept of religion?

Here’s how Mr. Ham explained it: “Jesus did not become the ‘GodKlingon’ or the ‘GodMartian’! Only descendants of Adam can be saved. God’s Son remains the ‘Godman’ as our Savior. In fact, the Bible makes it clear that we see the Father through the Son (and we see the Son through His Word). To suggest that aliens could respond to the gospel is just totally wrong.”

Again, how can you assume aliens are incapable of responding to the gospel if (a) we haven’t discovered alien life yet and (b) they have never even read the gospel? Mr. Ham’s assumptions, therefore, are completely nonsensical. I’m not sure this matters, though, since he got some publicity, which was likely his goal all along.

Of course, one thing we should all consider in light of these ridiculous claims is this: right now, there is more evidence to support the existence of aliens than there is to support the existence of Jesus.

I wonder how Mr. Ham would respond to this fact!

True Snake Salvation

Haven’t serpents done enough damage? (Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel 1508-12)

I have always been amazed and dumbfounded by Pentecostal preachers who handle poisonous snakes during religious services, even though this practice has been outlawed nearly everywhere you go. Apparently, these individuals and their followers believe that God will protect them and that no venom can harm a true believer who has been anointed by the Man Upstairs. To justify this belief, they often turn to several passages in the Bible, including the following:

  • Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you (Luke 10:19).
  • They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover (Mark 16:17-18).

Of course, I am always reminded of the Book of Genesis and how it was a serpent who misled Adam and Eve and ultimately destroyed Paradise—an act that pretty much screwed the rest of humankind… if you believe in that sort of thing, which I don’t. No offense to Christians, of course.

George Went Hensley... not to be confused with Norm (George Wendt) from "Cheers" or George (Sherman Hemsley) from "The Jeffersons" (Getty Images)

George Went Hensley… not to be confused with Norm (George Wendt) from “Cheers” or George (Sherman Hemsley) from “The Jeffersons” (Getty Images)

So when it comes to involving these slithering sinners in religious rituals—most of which seem to occur in rural, mountainous areas, for some reason—it’s easy to see why the merest mention of snake handling raises an eyebrow for me. And I struggle to this day to understand why a creature cursed by God is being included in services and prayers designed to worship Him.

I mean, even the founder of snake handling practices in America—George Went Hensley—died of a snakebite in 1955. I don’t know about you, but that certainly raises a red flag for me. Yet the practice continues, albeit on a much smaller scale. And yes, a lot of people have died as a result.

The latest victim is Kentucky pastor Jamie Coots, a third-generation snake handler at Middlesboro’s Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name and star of the National Geographic Channel reality show Snake Salvation. He died Saturday night after being bitten by a poisonous snake and refusing treatment.

I don’t mean to sound too cynical or mean, but if you follow the “snake handling rationale,” wouldn’t this mean that Coots was not a true believer, despite being a church pastor? Better yet, could this kind of thing prove that there really is no God watching over us?

Jamie Coots handling the same species that would eventually kill him (National Geographic)

I’m sure most Christians would agree with the first question—and who could blame them for supporting their faith—but some may see it the other way, too. I know something like this would be enough to make me question my own beliefs—if I were a religious man, which I’m obviously not.

Fortunately, you could argue that Coots has been heading for disaster for some time now. In 2008, he was arrested for having nearly 80 venomous snakes in his home. Five years later, he got busted at a Tennessee license check with two copperheads and three rattlesnakes in his car—a move than ended with citations for illegally possessing and transporting venomous snakes across state lines and one year of probation.

I’m not sure whether Coots completed his probation or not, but it was due to end this month. Rather than gaining his freedom, though, he ended up with a death sentence—and a self-inflicted death sentence at that!

Sorry, but I can’t help quoting Canadian singer Alanis Morissette and the question she asked in her Grammy-nominated hit from the late 1990s—a question that provides me with the perfect ending to this unusual tale of religious fervor and questioned faith:

Isn’t it ironic?

Son of Freaky Friday

My title in no way reflects the Lindsay Lohan-Jamie Lee Curtis remake, I assure you (Walt Disney Pictures)

My title in no way reflects the Lindsay Lohan-Jamie Lee Curtis remake, I assure you (Walt Disney Pictures)

There is something about Fridays that brings more freaky news than any other day of the week. Granted, not all of these stories actually occur on Friday—that’s just when the media chooses to share them with the world. I’m sure there is a reason for this, but honestly, I don’t care to hear it since Fridays offer me more blogging material than I could ever hope for. Today was saturated with strange, bizarre and unsettling news stories, so take a gander at some of the tales that caught my eye.

And thank whichever god you believe in that we don’t have to worry about Freaky Friday for another week!

CEDAR LAKE, INDIANA

Travis Lechien is a 31-year-old chemistry teacher who used to work at Hanover Central High School. Unfortunately, he doesn’t work there any longer since he obviously cares little for the law.

From class to ass (Getty Images)

From class to ass (Getty Images)

According to Lake County prosecutors—who prepared and filed a probable cause affidavit against Lechien recently—the young teacher not only had students visit his home for drinking and hookah-smoking on several occasions, but also took a group of students to a strip club to celebrate one of them turning 18 years old.

Needless to say, Lechien now faces three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and will appear in court next month. It’s pretty sad considering he spent the last nine years at the school and will likely have to pursue a career in something other than education in the future—which is obviously for the best.

Of course, some additional education of his own likely would have prevented this from happening. And it certainly wouldn’t have hurt for him to make some friends his own age in Cedar Lake, either!

TIFTON, GEORGIA

The low spark of high-heeled boys against family violence (WALB)

The low spark of high-heeled boys against family violence (WALB)

Family violence is a serious problem in the United States, but Ruth’s Cottage and The Patticake House in Tifton are doing something rather unique in an effort to raise people’s awareness of domestic violence: they are hosting an event called “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.”

To accomplish this, participating men from South Georgia will walk a mile around the Harley-Davidson store in town… while wearing high heel shoes!

Personally, I don’t think it will take an entire mile for them to discover how difficult—and even painful—these shoes can be. After all, if women complain about them, just imagine how much men will bitch and moan!

OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS

When you go out to eat, enjoy your meal and receive great service from your waiter, wouldn’t you expect to leave a tip? I worked in restaurants for more than a decade, but even before that I understood the importance of gratuities for people in certain careers—and yes, restaurant servers often rely on their tips to make ends meet.

Lord knows their hourly wages are for shit.

Unfortunately, some customers at Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Overland Park must not have “gotten the memo.” After receiving excellent service from their waiter recently—who just so happened to be homosexual—they stiffed him on the tip and instead left this note on the back of their check:

“Thank you for your service, it was excellent. That being said, we cannot in good conscience tip you, for your homosexual lifestyle is an affront to GOD. (Homosexual slur) do not share in the wealth of GOD, and you will not share in ours. We hope you will see the tip your (homosexual slur) choices made you lose out on, and plan accordingly. It is never too late for GOD’s love, but none shall be spared for (homosexual slur). May GOD have mercy on you.”

We only tip the straight waiters (KCTV-5)

We only tip the straight waiters (KCTV-5)

A number of people in the area heard about this and visited Carrabba’s to offer encouragement and support to this young man—whose mother incidentally works as a hostess—and the company issued a statement expressing no tolerance for discrimination of any kind, even among their guests.

What bothers me, though, is something I always ask myself when I hear of religion being used to insult, degrade and humiliate others—especially gays: if God created everything and knows all, then isn’t it safe to assume he created homosexuality, as well?

Or think of it this way: if everything happens for a reason (i.e. according to God’s plan), then what reason might justify such hatred and intolerance?

Actually, start by thinking before you act and I assure you life will be better for everyone. In this, at least, I have faith.

COLUMBUS, GEORGIA

Has this ever happened to you?

You’re sitting at home, watching television with your family, when all of sudden the room starts to fill with smoke. In a panic, you instinctively protect your loved ones and rush them outside to safety, only to realize a moment later that you left something of great value behind. Rushing back into a burning house doesn’t make much sense, but this is important, so you take your chances. And luck must be with you because by some miracle, you escape unharmed for a second time!

Save the beer! (Not Jane Doe)

Save the beer! (Not Jane Doe)

The obvious answer to my question is “no” since I doubt any of us has experienced this. And if you have, I am truly sorry. However, this very thing happened recently to Walter Serpit of Columbus, only the valuable and important thing he rushed back in to get isn’t something most of us would even consider.

Walter went back for beer.

“I told them to get the kids out and everything, and me myself, being an alcoholic, I was trying to get my beer out,” the drunken daredevil confessed. “I went back into the house like a dummy and the door shut on me because this back draft was about to kill me.”

Lucky for Walter, he made it out alive and managed to save several beers in the process—which I can only guess were used seconds later to celebrate his narrow escape. I know one thing about this crazy bastard: he’s lucky beer was his passion rather than straight booze.

A few minutes in a burning house while sweating out moonshine or corn liquor and Walter would have been toast!

MIAMI, FLORIDA

Florida is the last Freaky Friday stop today, but I assure you I saved one of the freakiest stories for last.

32-year-old Oneal Ron Morris appeared in court Thursday to plead guilty to practicing health care without a license and will spend the next year of his life behind bars. What did he do that was so horrible, you ask?

Looks like Morris was dipping in to her own product (Miami-Dade County Corrections)

Looks like Morris was dipping in to her own product (Miami-Dade County Corrections)

Morris—who actually identifies as a woman—injected the asses of two women with super glue, mineral oil and… worst of all… Fix-a-Flat! And yes, that’s the stuff you spray into a flat tire to inflate and patch it until you can get it fixed properly.

Come to think of it, I’ve always been told I have a flat and relatively non-existent ass. Sadly, it’s true, but maybe this procedure would work for me. Too bad Mr. (or Mrs.) Morris is heading to prison!

Well, that does it for me, ladies and gentlemen. I have been freaked out enough, so here’s hoping tomorrow will be Settle Down Saturday. I’m sure we could all use the break.

God, Grades and GTA V

God rests (Live Journal)

In the first book of The Bible—most specifically in Genesis 2:2—it says that after God created the world and spent six days hard at work, he spent the seventh day chilling out.

By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. New King James Version

Granted, the passage is a little wordy and repetitive—I can’t imagine there were many editors around in Biblical times—but today, I plan to follow God’s example and relax.

I know what you’re thinking, of course: this guy doesn’t even believe in God!

While that may be true to some extent—atheists are the ones who don’t believe in God, and I’m agnostic—the fact is that I know a good idea when I hear one. In higher education terms, this would qualify as a “best practice,” and I am all about using what works.

And today, relaxation is near the top of that list.

Using the word “near” was intentional because, sadly, I have some work to complete before I can chill like God on the Sabbath. Tomorrow is another school day and I have a class to teach on Tuesday, which means I have some notes to take, some Internet research to complete and a lesson plan to create—I could also check my students’ mid-term grades, but why ruin a perfectly good Sunday? Fortunately, I’m giving a test later this week, so only one lesson plan is needed. And even though one lesson plan should be a breeze to put together, the truth is that I simply don’t feel like working.

Call me lazy, if you will, but you may as well call God lazy since he did it, too! Of course, He created the universe, the world and everything in it; I’m just talking about a lesson plan for one freshman-level course at a small, private college in North Carolina. There is a slight difference, but why split hairs? We all play the hand we’re dealt, right?

About the only energy I have left, though, could easily be channeled into something God would likely disapprove of: Grand Theft Auto 5! I haven’t played it as much as I could have, mind you, but I can feel its claws sinking deeper and deeper into me every time I immerse myself in it. And I would be lying if I said it wasn’t calling my name right now.

Thankfully, I’ve managed to ignore its call all morning, opting instead to do some house work, run some errands and complete some other mundane, domestic tasks. Things are starting to level out now, which means school work is next. As soon as I finish writing this, my nose will be in a book and the next three hours will fade into history.

If God made everything, He must have made GTA V, too! (Rockstar Games)

If God made everything, He must have made GTA V, too! (Rockstar Games)

Unless I give in to temptation, convince myself that I have more self-control than I actually do and try to play a short session of GTA V, that is. Thirty minutes to an hour of game time couldn’t do serious damage to my work time, could it—considering it’s still pretty early in the day?

Ironic that one of the things I urge my students to avoid at all costs—procrastination—is the very thing I find myself in the throes of right now. Life certainly has a way of coming full circle…

I’ll Be Damned

The VIP section in the sky? (Andy Hares/Flickr)

As I’m sure you either know or can judge from the title of my blog (perhaps), I am not the most religious person in the world. I officially classify myself as agnostic, but I have great respect for many religions—and much less so for others, but that’s a story for another time.

Despite my spiritual beliefs—which could be classified as uncertain faith (not knowing if God exists, but unwilling to doubt His existence completely)—I still try not to do anything that might be deemed evil or sacrilegious.

Why take chances, right? After all, if my spirit does arrive at the Pearly Gates and I meet the “Head Honcho” face-to-face—in a non-corporeal way, of course—I want to make sure those gates open for me.

It beats the hell out of the alternative… pun intended.

Unfortunately, it looks as if the Pearly Gates may remain closed for 53-year-old Woodrow Karey, a deacon at the Tabernacle of Praise Worship Center in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Unless God‘s forgiveness extends to cold-blooded murderers, that is.

Pastor Ronald Harris (Tabernacle of Praise)

Last Friday evening, Pastor Ronald Harris was preaching at the church when Karey walked in with two guns—a shotgun and a pistol—shot him twice and killed him on the spot… in the house of The Lord, no less!

Following the killing, Karey fled on foot and tossed his weapons into a wooded area. A short time later—and perhaps after feeling the great weight of guilt bearing down on him—he called the local sheriff’s office and surrendered without incident, even going so far as to help authorities retrieve the murder weapons.

Karey is now being held on $1 million bond and has been charged with second-degree murder. Police are baffled since he has no criminal record and no clear motive for his crime. And since he killed Harris in front of 50 or 60 witnesses, it’s obvious Karey knew there could be jail time in his future.

Not that it mattered much.

I am not a religious man, but I do know this: if God does exist and there really is a Heaven and Hell, Karey just punched his one-way ticket to the Big Barbecue Down Below!

Santa, Please End Bullying

Ryan wrote to Santa, asking for help to stop the bullying his sister, Amber, is facing at school.

Ryan’s letter and his sister Amber (Karen Suffern/CNN)

This story was too touching and thoughtful for me to ignore, especially since it happened close to where I live.

In an effort to get a jump on Christmas—and knowing her kids are getting to the age where electronic gifts are at the top of their lists—Karen Suffern of Rocky Mount, North Carolina asked her twins Ryan and Amber to jot down some things they would like from Santa.

Of course, the obvious choices came to mind: toys, iPods, video game systems, dolls… the usual suspects. But that is far from what she received from her son, and what she did get brought tears to her eyes.

Hell, I even got a little misty when I read what Ryan wrote.

Sadly, Ryan’s sister Amber suffers from ADHD and a number of other mood and mental disorders. To cope with these issues and the emotions that accompany them, Amber eats. She currently weighs 140 pounds and despite getting tons of positive comments from her family, the sad fact is that her classmates often tease and bully her.

And Ryan had simply had enough.

Instead of asking Santa for gifts he could enjoy selfishly, Ryan took a different approach and instead focused on his sister. He told Santa that since God was too busy to help end the bullying Amber received regularly at school, he needed him to help instead.

Read the letter once and it should be obvious that Ryan has a heart of gold. And there can be no doubt that he loves his twin sister, either. Sweet kid.

Bullying is a growing problem in America and one that as many as one in four children experience at some point in their lives. Victims of bullying may not only suffer from emotional problems—especially those related to self-esteem and self-worth—but they also run the risk of developing deeper, more serious mental problems later.

Fortunately, kids like Ryan give me hope that someday soon, we can put an end to bullying. After all, wouldn’t the world be a better place if everyone cared as much as this young man?

That’s the kind of world I want to live in, and I commend Ryan for leading the way!

The Big Idea: Come Again

Bruce and Evan Almighty (Universal/Spyglass)

Bruce and Evan Almighty (Universal/Spyglass)

Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. –Matthew 24:42, NKJV

In the film Bruce Almighty, Jim Carrey plays Bruce Nolan, a special interest television news reporter who longs for the lead anchor job, which is eventually given to his nemesis, Evan Baxter (played expertly by Steve Carell, I might add). Dissatisfied with his life, Bruce complains to God once too often and is suddenly visited by the Almighty himself, who endows Bruce with his powers and sets him loose on Buffalo, New York.

If you’ve seen the movie, then you know that Bruce soon realizes the error of his ways and comes to appreciate the Lord. His life suddenly has meaning and by the end, he starts to appreciate the little things, including Jennifer Aniston, who plays his girlfriend.

Personally, I wouldn’t have any trouble appreciating Jennifer Aniston, so that’s the one plot point I never connected with. It certainly didn’t prevent my enjoyment of the film, though, because I watch it nearly every time it’s on television.

The sequel to Bruce Almighty focuses on Evan Baxter, Bruce’s one-time foil who now finds himself elected to Congress. In this film, God contacts Evan and tells him he must build an ark to prepare for the coming flood. Evan initially resists, but gives in once animals start following him around and his physical appearance suddenly transforms into Noah—complete with a beard that can’t be trimmed and flowing robes that replace any outfit Evan attempts to change into.

The message in Evan Almighty is, of course, that one man can make a difference and change—or even save—the world. Again, this is a movie I catch myself watching any time I come across it while channel surfing. It never ceases to entertain me, and I have loved Steve Carell since his first appearance on “The Office” all those years ago.

The movie idea that I have is kind of in the same vein as these two films, albeit with slightly more drama and more serious undertones. Yes, there will be comedic elements throughout and a thoughtful message will be delivered by the end, but my movie will lean more towards the dramatic side of the coin, at least in its final act.

Coming soon to an Apocalypse near you (taato)

Coming soon to an Apocalypse near you (taato)

Bruce had God’s powers and Evan built an ark. For my film—the working title of which is Come Again (as I’m sure you gathered from the title of this post)—the religious, Biblical event will be… wait for it… the SECOND COMING OF JESUS CHRIST!

You think that might get people talking?

I’ll be honest. All I have so far are some general ideas, a few character possibilities and some tentative scenes in mind. Nothing about this idea has been fleshed out, despite it being locked in my head for a number of years. I can’t remember when it originated—perhaps as early as 1988, when The Last Temptation of Christ was released, or as late as The Passion of the Christ in 2004—but one or both of these films played their part and inspired me.

I’ve just been lazy in actually dealing with it, which is why I’m sharing it with you today, dear readers. I’m hoping that YOU will provide the insight I need to get this idea off the ground after first determining whether you feel it’s worthy of my attention at all. Yes, I’m asking a lot, but you have always been up to the task and I have no reason to believe this will be any different. Thanks again for being so willing to help.

Before I begin, let me first offer this brief disclaimer: I am not and would never profess to be an expert in the subjects of religion and spirituality. As my blog title indicates—sort of—I am agnostic and do not practice any specific religion. I have studied world religions before—both in college and recreationally, to satisfy my own interests—but certainly hold no academic degrees in these fields. Please excuse any discrepancies you find between my own fictional story and Biblical accounts. Instead, do me a “solid” and point them out by leaving some comments. The more accurate my depiction can be, the better, after all.

Jesus' Second Coming (Discover Bible Truths)

Jesus’ Second Coming (Discover Bible Truths)

That being said, here is the basic premise of Come Again. Please excuse me if some of this drifts into the stream of consciousness, pun intended.

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in Heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  –Matthew 24:36, NIV

As I understand it—and given my limited knowledge of the Bible—the Second Coming is when Jesus Christ comes down from Heaven to take true believers and the penitent upstairs while everyone else burns down below. Granted, this is a very rough interpretation, but it covers the basics.

Consider this, though: What if God took a different approach and instead had his Son “reborn” into a human body? This would allow Jesus a firsthand view of the human experience and, in turn, allow for a more informed judgment of mankind later. By living as a human—in this case one who isn’t born with the knowledge of who he really is—Jesus can experience what we experience and feel what we feel. He can truly understand.

What came to mind next was the question of Jesus’ rebirth. The first time around was immaculate—Mary just turned up pregnant and the father turned out to be The Big Man himself. This time, though, I feel like it could go one of two ways. First, the birth could again be immaculate, only this time it’s because his mother is a whore and can’t remember who she may have been with at the time of his conception. Not knowing in this way equates to having no father at all.

The second approach would be to give Jesus both a mother and a father. Yes, God is his real dad, but he would also have a human father in his life. And since he doesn’t realize he’s the Second Coming—at least not until later in the film—this man would actually be his father, and he would love him accordingly.

Personally, I like the second option because it gives Jesus an even deeper, more fulfilling human experience. Would you agree?

Okay, let’s assume that Jesus is reborn and give him a name. I have toiled over what to call this person and tried desperately to find a name that hinted at something Biblical. The working name I’ll use for now is pretty obvious: Jay. Yes, I could also call him J.C., but I have a friend with that name and as much as I hate to say it, he ain’t no Jesus. He’s close, but those shoes are too big for his tiny feet to fill, believe me.

A 1970 album from the band The Second Coming (redtelephone66.com)

A 1970 album from the band The Second Coming (redtelephone66.com)

Of course, I did come up with some more creative names, I think. One was Lee—being short for Galilee—and I even toyed with the notion of calling him Nezra—a play on the word Nazareth. With no intention of sounding racist, this name seemed a little black to me since the only Nezras I’ve ever known have been black. It might not be a bad idea to make him black since some believe Jesus may have actually been black. Odds are he had more of an olive complexion, but who knows for sure. This would certainly add some controversy, but that’s not really what I’m after, so why go down that road?

I did consider naming the main character Beth for Bethlehem, but that would also require a change in gender. Granted, this could add a layer to the film and intensify Jesus’ human experience—having to deal with new genitalia and more attention from guys on top of everything else—but I have no idea how I’d write that one. A female partner would help since my depictions of females have always been lacking. Hell, I don’t understand women myself, much less how to write realistic women into my screenplays!

Back to Jay.

Jay is born and lives his life as any human boy would. Maybe he has a home with loving parents or a broken home with a negligent father, who knows. I haven’t really gotten that far yet. We can assume that regardless of his upbringing, Jay is a genuinely good person with a kind heart—he’s the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, for His sake. As such, perhaps he volunteers at a soup kitchen, helps others as a social worker or simply lends a hand to anyone in need. Jay is a nice guy and, whenever possible, he is always looking out for his fellow man.

I kind of envision Jay as an activist… one of those people who are sick and tired of everything that’s wrong in the world and willing to take action while others do nothing. Unfortunately, his activism comes at a cost when it interferes with—and eventually terminates—his actual career and even his relationship with his girlfriend. Jay is on a downward spiral, but somehow manages to “keep the faith”—in more of a spiritual than religious way—and that’s when it happens.

He starts to catch glimpses of who he truly is.

At this point, my ideas get a little hazy and disjointed. I have no idea where the whole “judgment of humanity” plot line will lead—which is basically the entire third act, I imagine—but I do have some scene ideas involving Jay’s awakening. The first comes in his bathroom just after taking a shower.

Jay is standing in his bathroom with a towel wrapped around his waist. His hair is wet and water is still dripping off of him as he stands there admiring himself in the small mirror over the sink. Steam still fills the room as Jay decides to check a different mirror: the full-length one behind the bathroom door.

The long mirror is fogged up, so Jay uses his still damp hand to wipe it clear. Just as he does, he notices a rather disturbing reflection that sends him leaping backwards in shock, nearly into the shower curtain and tub behind him. He slowly rises to his feet, never once taking his eyes off the reflection in front of him.

This would probably freak me out, too! (Verses to the King)

This would probably freak me out, too! (Verses to the King)

Standing there is Jesus Christ, complete with robes, sandals and that trademark beard. Even more, it isn’t some image of Jesus, like one you might see in a Sunday school book; it’s him made to look like Jesus.

Unable to believe his eyes, Jay immediately slaps himself across the face, shakes his head vigorously and checks the mirror again. This time the reflection is his own: a half-naked man dripping wet with a towel wrapped around his waist. Jay sighs with relief at what he thinks must be some kind of hallucination and just before the scene cuts, his towel accidentally falls to the ground.

That’s the first potential scene I came up with, but the second would come a short time later. By this point, Jay’s had some strange experiences that lead him to believe he might be Jesus reborn, but he still hasn’t accepted the fact completely. Maybe he decides to visit a friend—someone more religious who might be able to help—or to do some other as-yet-determined task, but this scene takes place in his car.

Jay is driving along, minding his own business and sipping from a bottle of water he just bought at a convenience store. Perhaps the soundtrack from Jesus Christ Superstar is playing, he’s typing out a text message on his cell phone or something else is distracting him, but Jay doesn’t realize he’s picked up speed.

A highway patrolman passing by him notices, though, and moments later Jay is pulled over to the side of the road. He knows a speeding ticket is coming his way and despite being a grown man, still finds himself nervous. To calm his anxiety—as the officer slowly approaches his car—Jay takes a few deep breaths and one more swallow from his water bottle. He kicks the bottle back, takes a few big slugs with his eyes closed and then opens his eyes to a damning realization: the water in the bottle is now red because he turned it into wine!

Try explaining that one to a cop with purple teeth and an open bottle of wine in your hand!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is all I have. Granted, there are some other ideas floating through my mind—and I haven’t really devoted the proper time to this idea yet—but for now, that’s everything.

So my questions for you, dear reader, are as follows: Do you think this is an idea worth pursuing? Does it seem like a film you and others would want to see? Or is it total crap and a complete waste of time?

Jesus Christ Superstar (Entertainment Weekly)

Jesus Christ Superstar (Entertainment Weekly)

Remember that I am not easily offended—if you manage to offend me at all, which is hard to do—and I welcome any constructive criticism, feedback or suggestions you are willing to offer. Please use the comments section and understand that anyone who attacks me for religious reasons—because using Jesus and the Bible in a fictional story is sacrilegious or something—will have their comments removed since nothing here is intended to mock Christianity or those who follow it. To them I say simply, “Lighten up.”

And who knows? I may even toss in a poll to make responding even easier. Either way, thanks for reading about my latest Big Idea despite its excessive length and my rather verbose approach. Creativity just gets me worked up, you know?

Peace out, peeps. And be good to each other.

In Loving Memory

This combination of stickers works much better for me. Go Steelers! (deadspin.com)

This combination of stickers works much better for me. Go Steelers! (deadspin.com)

Despite finding them rather tacky, I once had at least a sliver of respect for people who put stickers in the back windows of their cars to memorialize loved ones they’ve lost. It could be a father, mother, sibling, close personal friend… whatever the case may be. I may find their medium rather kitschy, but their messages always seem heartfelt.

The example in this photo is an obvious exception, of course, but I’m sure most of you know what I’m talking about.

And I do love those Pittsburgh Steelers. Go team!

Yesterday, however, I encountered such a sticker on my way home from work. It was attached to some run-of-the-mill vehicle—a Toyota Camry or something, I think—and sadly, it now seems as if I’ve lost all respect for these “In Loving Memory” sticker folks.

Present company excluded, of course.

I can’t recall exactly who the sticker memorialized, but whoever was behind the wheel certainly tarnished his good name—I do remember it being a male. Jimmy something? It’s not important, but that’s as good a name to use as any.

A sticker this size blocking the rear view might be part of the problem (eBay)

A sticker this size blocking the rear view might be part of the problem (eBay)

I never knew Jimmy—at least I don’t think I knew him (it’s a small town and I’ve lived here for most of my life, so it is possible we crossed paths before)—but if he was buried in the ground after he died, I’m sure he was turning over in his grave when he saw how this relative was driving. It was one for the record books, let me tell you.

The encounter began as I approached the Camry, which was several hundred yards ahead waiting to pull out from a side street. Ten seconds more and I would have passed right by, leaving nothing but clear road for the Camry behind me. Apparently, this was too long for the impatient driver because rather than waiting, she let me get closer and then pulled out in front of me.

Yes, I just remembered the driver was female. And no, this doesn’t mean all women drivers are terrible. Stereotypes aren’t my bag, baby, but back to the story.

I was obviously pissed at this point, but I quickly got over it because people pull out in front of me all the time. I’ve worked hard to contain my road rage, so snapping on all of them would undoubtedly punch my stress ticket to the afterlife. Best to just take these things in stride.

Of course, pulling out in front of me was only the beginning. For the three or four miles I was behind this idiot, she swerved onto the shoulder multiple times, lowered the speed limit from 55 m.p.h. to 35—sometimes as low as 20 in places—and proved once again that for some people, multitasking simply isn’t an option.

In other words, she got a call on her cell phone, answered it and immediately experienced a deterioration in her driving skills—which were already shitty, as you can see. Talking and driving was simply too much for her, so hopefully no one ever asks her to walk and chew gum at the same time.

She might need to take some kind of class or acquire some specialized training before tackling that daunting task.

Finally, we reached the turn for my neighborhood and in spite of being agnostic, I found myself praying that she would continue on her way and find some other poor bastard to irritate—this poor bastard had enough and his fuse was getting shorter by the minute. I prayed to God—supposing there really is one out there (sorry for the gratuitous agnosticism plug)—and for a moment there, I even prayed to Jimmy… or whatever his name was.

This seems a little excessive, don't you think, Stinky? (Real Deal Auto Blog)

This seems a little excessive, don’t you think, Stinky? (Real Deal Auto Blog)

Maybe there really is a God, or at least the spirit of Jimmy intervening on behalf of his kin, but she kept on driving and I was soon home safe and sound.

I know it wasn’t the “In Loving Memory” sticker that made this woman such a “horror on the highway.” It’s like those pine tree air fresheners that people hang from their rear view mirrors. Every one that I have encountered has been in the car of a driver like Jimmy’s loved one—some maniac who put his life and the lives of everyone around him in danger—and I even theorized that some chemical in the freshener caused those who inhaled it to suddenly regress to a second-grade intellect. I was wrong, of course… at least I hope I was wrong.

On this particular day, though, “in loving memory” turned into “in your face trying to seriously f-up your day.” I just hate that poor Jimmy had to get dragged into it.

The Devil and Beyoncé

Rocky Twyman (credit: Cherri Gregg)

Rocky Twyman: Soul Saver (Cherri Gregg)

Is it possible that music juggernaut Beyonce—half of a power couple that includes Jay-Z—could be possessed by demons?

Apparently, that’s what Rocky Twyman, founder of the Pray at the Pump Movement, seems to think. And he has made it his personal mission to save her soul.

“We are praying that God will deliver Beyonce from the demons that are possessing her,” he explained recently. “There have been so many YouTube things that have proven that she really is possessed by the devil.”

I get possessed by devilish thoughts when I see Beyonce! (GQ)

I get possessed by devilish thoughts when I see Beyonce! (GQ)

Personally, I have no idea what Twyman means, but he believes this so completely that he follows the blonde-haired superstar everywhere she goes and protests at each and every concert.

This weekend he is slated to appear outside Jay-Z’s second annual Made in America festival, where Beyonce will be performing. Keep your eyes peeled for him if you’re heading to the show!

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