Blog Archives

What would Jesus do?

Earlier this week, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed into law a bill that some have described as “the most intense anti-queer legislation” ever to pass in America.

Reuters described it like this: “The far-reaching law allows people with religious objections to deny wedding services to same-sex couples. It also clears the way for employers to cite religion in determining workplace policies on dress code, grooming and bathroom and locker access.”

And like North Carolina’s recent anti-LGBT law, this one is total bullshit, as well.

Fortunately, a non-profit organization named Planting Peace responded by purchasing billboard space and posting one of the best religiously-themed billboards I have ever seen. Check it out:

And that’s how it’s done! (Planting Peace)

That’s right, haters! Jesus was about love and understanding, not hate and discrimination—and even an agnostic like me knows this! Time to tighten up on your theology!

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!

Freaky Friday

If you see a cat doing this, run like hell! (Matuzalems)

If you see a cat doing this, run like hell! (Matuzalems)

Once again, there is no shortage of interesting news in the world around us. Rather than boring you with some lengthy introduction about how freaky life on this wonderful Friday is, however, I’ll launch right into some of the stories that caught my attention. Some are sad, some are happy and some are bizarre, but I assure you they all have something that sets them apart. Don’t take my word for it, though. Check out the happenings from yet another Freaky Friday and judge for yourself, dear reader. I have no doubt you will agree by the time you reach the bottom of this post!

We begin in La Grande, Oregon, where 15-year-old Jadin Bell—a gay teen subjected to bullying because of his sexual preference—hanged himself last January. A passerby found him hanging from a play structure outside Central Elementary School and rescued him, but he died a few weeks later after being taken off of life support.

In honor of his son, Jadin’s father Joe Bell decided to walk cross-country in an effort to educate people about bullying and the tragedies it can cause among our youth. He spent much of his time in the Midwest, chronicled his journey on his Facebook page and planned to reach Wichita this November.

Unfortunately, this will never happen.

On Wednesday night, Joe was walking down Highway 40 near Kit Carson, Colorado when he was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer. The driver—49-year-old Kenneth Raven—may have fallen asleep at the wheel, but it matters little since Bell was pronounced dead at the scene. And sadly, “Joe’s Walk for Change” has now come to an abrupt end.

Joe and Jadin Bell are both gone too soon (Fox-12 Oregon)

Joe and Jadin Bell are both gone too soon (Fox-12 Oregon)

This story is incredibly sad, to say the least, but it’s also ironic how one tragedy prompted Joe’s walk—namely the suicide of his teenage son—but it was this very walk that eventually resulted in his own tragic death. Some would call this an “act of God” and claim that everything happens for a reason, but I quote George Clooney’s character Seth from the Robert Rodriguez film From Dusk Till Dawn in response: “Yeah, those acts of God really stick it in and break it off, don’t they?”

Indeed they do, Seth. Indeed they do.

After that depressing story, I feel the need to switch gears to something a little more positive and uplifting. Enter 9-year-old Mridula Shanker, a fourth grader from Ann Arbor, Michigan who just made the news for a different reason: breaking the Guinness world record for hula-hooping.

“I like to hula hoop and break records,” the young lady told reporters recently. “It’s kind of easy.”

Mridula’s last point is arguable—I’ve never had much luck getting more than a few rotations out of any hula hoop I’ve tried—but it certainly must come easy to her. She just received confirmation from the Guinness people and, for now, her record of 166 rotations in one minute—while doing a gymnastic move known as the arabesque pose, no less—stands as the best in the world.

Mridula has mad hula hoop skills! (Shanker family photo)

Mridula has mad hula hoop skills! (Shanker family photo)

I can say this: if breaking the record were up to me, Mridula would never lose the title!

Story three shoots us south to Lubbock, Texas, where some billboards scattered throughout the “Hub City” have caused quite a stir. They show Jesus Christ with his arms extended and a thorny crown on his head, but there is one big difference that has people talking: this Jesus has ink.

Yes, a total of 56 billboards show J.C. with tattoos of words like outcast, fear and addicted running across his chest and down his arms. They were sponsored by a mysterious group known only by the name “Tattoo Jesus,” but on their website they describe themselves as “a small group of people humbled by the love of Jesus” and claim that this “is not an effort to raise money or support any specific organizations.”

See it for yourself HERE.

What would Jesus tattoo... I mean, do? (KCBD)

What would Jesus tattoo… I mean, do? (KCBD)

What you will also find is a video that shows Jesus changing the tattoos of people who come in with these same words on them. It’s actually a pretty unique idea, especially to hear Jesus Tattoo volunteer Jay Corner explain it.

“People find out that they have scars and they have things in their past that they haven’t let go of,” Corner told local reporters recently. “Christ says that he’ll take that from us and so through tattoos… we use imagery to show that.”

I hope this doesn’t come off as hypocritical or sarcastic coming from an agnostic, but amen, brother. Any strange or unusual approach to getting people’s attention—in a society so determined to distract us—is A-OK in my book. I can also appreciate the fact that there’s an underlying theme some may not pick up on: acceptance. I have tons of friends with ink, piercings and other physical features deemed socially unacceptable by many—and yes, they always draw stares no matter where they go—but you know what they say about judging a book by its cover, right? These friends may have unusual “covers,” but what lies within is solid gold. And nothing they do to their physical appearance will ever make me love them any less.

That’s what Jesus would do, after all.

And so we arrive at the final story of this Freaky Friday, which comes to us from the East Coast—more specifically from Rocky Hill, Connecticut.

Scot Haney is a meteorologist at WFSB who enjoys eating Grape-Nuts cereal for breakfast every morning before heading to work. This past Wednesday, he followed the same routine, drove to the studio and assumed his usual position in front of the camera. As he was delivering his weather forecast, however, he suddenly noticed what he thought were some leftover pieces of cereal on the floor.

I have one question for Haney: How are Grape-Nuts and cat barf any different? (WFSB)

I have one question for Haney: How are Grape-Nuts and cat barf any different? (WFSB)

And brace yourselves, people, because what comes next is pretty nasty… not to mention completely unexplainable.

Right in front of his co-anchors and all of his WFSB viewers, Haney scooped up the cereal and ate it live on television.

“I can’t believe you just ate that,” WFSB Anchor Irene O’Connor told her colleague. Morning traffic reporter Olessa Stepanova echoed O’Connor’s sentiment and added, “You can’t.”

Oh yes he can, ladies. And he did, but it gets worse.

Haney swallowed the cereal and confessed that it was “a little soggy,” following up a moment later with “they taste like shoes.” Still, he continued with his forecast and the news went on as planned… at least until the Trending Now segment of the program began. That’s when Haney realized a horrible truth: it wasn’t cereal he ate before, it was cat vomit!

You read that right. Cat vomit. Felinus Barfanus, if you want to get technical.

As it turns out, Haney’s cat had been sick that morning and on his way out the door, the unsuspecting weatherman stepped in it and eventually tracked it into the studio—a fact he shared on the air, by the way.

“And that’s what I ate,” he told the world, or at least that small slice of the world that subscribes to WFSB. “I thought it was Grape-Nuts. I ate cat vomit right here on television. It’s disgusting.”

True enough, my friend. It is disgusting, but it’s also a great way to end the freakiness of yet another Friday. Thanks for reading and enjoy what I hope will be a fun, relaxing and safe weekend for us all.

Peace out and be good to each other.

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.

Tuff Love

Tuff’s bravery warranted a call from the Commander-in-Chief (gossiponthis.com)

In July, 20-year-old Michael Brandon Hill of Henry County, Georgia pleaded guilty to making terrorist threats and was sentenced to anger counseling and three years of probation. According to his brother Timothy, the charge resulted from Hill pulling a gun on him and threatening to shoot him. Of course, Hill had an extensive record of mental illness, so this sudden violence came as no surprise to Tim.

Nevertheless, it was a close call. And like Timothy, many of us would likely assume that brother Michael would finally receive the psychological help he so desperately needed. After all, this incident could have turned deadly at any moment, so why take the chance of something violent happening in the future?

I wish I could say that Hill was doing well or improving—that someone had finally recognized his mental distress and addressed it accordingly—but sadly, that was not the case. I can’t say for sure what came of those anger management classes, but I do know what Hill did less than a week ago because it was all over the news.

He walked into the Ronald McNair Discovery Learning Academy, an elementary school near Atlanta, and brought some items with him that should never enter a school again, especially after Newtown and all the other school tragedies in the last few years: a .762-caliber AK-47-type weapon and hundreds of rounds of ammunition—some say as many as 500!

Hill’s first and only stop, however, was at the school’s front desk. There he met a bookkeeper named Antoinette Tuff—a beautiful young woman with dimples that appear when she smiles—and that is where his misguided school attack came to an abrupt end.

No, she didn’t leap over the desk, disarm the gunman and beat him senseless with his own weapon… although that would have been cool. Instead, she applied something that most people need and that I employ almost daily: tough love.

Or for the sake of this article, Tuff love. The irony of her last name will become apparent soon, believe me.

Hill told the brave bookkeeper that he was mentally ill, was not taking his medication and should have gone to a mental hospital instead of hatching this terrible plan. He also mentioned how he didn’t care if he lived or died, which is something you obviously never want to hear from someone armed to the teeth and seemingly intent on hurting people.

If Hill did snap, odds are Tuff would be the first casualty, after all.

Gunman Hill needs help… and fast! (Huffington Post)

In what can only be described as an amazing feat of bravery, sympathy and—believe it or not—love, Tuff took a different approach in dealing with this potential threat to her life and the lives of others, most of them children. Rather than fleeing and allowing Hill to move unhindered into the school, where he could have killed countless people, she treated him like a human being. Tuff even shared some of her own personal struggles with Hill, all the while consoling him and telling him how much she cared.

“Don’t feel bad, baby,” she told him. “My husband just left me after 33 years… I’ve got a son that’s multiple disabled. It’s going to be all right, sweetie. I just want you to know I love you, though, okay? We all go through something in life. [You’re] going to be okay.”

Granted, her love may have been a little softer than I first described—tough love usually has more of an edge to it—but it was definitely effective. Tuff spoke to the disturbed gunman softly and kindly. And where others may have trembled in fear—unable to speak for fear of being fatally silenced—she connected with no other motive but to help.

Hill obviously picked up on this and appreciated it, because he surrendered after only 25 minutes. After placing his weapons, ammo and the contents of his pockets on the counter, he laid face-down on the floor and waited patiently for police to arrive. And Tuff made sure he knew how much it meant to her—as well as everyone in the school, whether they realized it or not.

“It’s gonna be all right, sweetheart… I’m proud of you. That’s a good thing that you’re just giving up and don’t worry about it.”

The police arrived a short time later and apprehended Hill without incident. No one was injured and more importantly, no one was killed.

It was a good day. And where potential school shootings are concerned, good days can be very hard to come by.

Of course, Tuff later confessed to be being far less calm and cool than people likely imagined, and who could blame her?

“I’m going to tell you something, baby,” our hero told the 911 operator near the end of her call and after being praised for her courage and bravery. “I’ve never been so scared in all the days in my life. Oh, Jesus!”

I know one thing for certain: Jesus has to be proud of Antoinette Tuff. We all should be because to me, she shows us all what it really means to be human. My hat goes off to this amazing woman who on this day saved countless lives. She truly is an angel.

The Greatest Zombie Story Ever Told

Buddy Christ from “Dogma” (courtesy of View Askew)

I had an idea for a story, novel or maybe even a film earlier today. It came out of nowhere and caught me completely off guard since it happened on the way to a tee-ball game, of all places. But when inspiration comes, you have to grab it, right? And that’s exactly what I’m hoping to do.

The title of this post obviously gives away one of the secrets. Yes, the idea is for a zombie story. What can I say? I love them and never miss The Walking Dead, Dawn of the Dead or even a George Romero marathon on late-night television.

I just can’t get enough.

At the same time, I am normally very critical of my ideas and spend a great deal of time trying to “flesh them out,” pun intended. Few result in anything very interesting, but there are a few that seem to have a little something extra. You know what I mean? Those ideas that get you thinking about book tours, film sets and televised award ceremonies?

This idea belongs in that second category. At least it could if done correctly. The only problem is its subject matter, which is certain to cause backlash, controversy and everything in between.

Isn’t that what normally happens when someone satirizes a religion or religious figure? It certainly did when The Innocence of Muslims hit YouTube last year. And I wouldn’t want anything like that to happen again.

I just can’t ignore the muse, you know? And by writing this post and sharing this idea with all of you, I am hoping to hear if something like this has potential or is too offensive to even consider pursuing. You won’t hurt my feelings if you leave a comment to express your displeasure, but first keep these things in mind:

  1. I am not a heretic or some kind of blasphemer
  2. This is not a criticism of or attack on religion, in this case Christianity
  3. My idea is nothing more than fiction and is not intended to offend or insult anyone

That being said, here’s the thought I had in the car earlier—the premise upon which this story will be built—the question this tale will seek to answer: What if Jesus Christ was the first zombie?

Fire and brimstone! Sacrilege! Did he just say that? You’re going straight to Hell for that one? Eternal damnation!

Now that we have that out of the way—and trust me when I say these are responses I wouldn’t really expect to get from something so harmless—focus on the basic idea. The way I see it—and if I end up really writing this thing—there are a few different approaches I could take.

Here’s the first.

You have Jesus, the Son of God: born in Bethlehem to Mary and Joseph; raised as a carpenter in Nazareth; minister and teacher beginning around age 30. Only instead of following his normal path—which we all know ended with his crucifixion several years later—Jesus’ trajectory is changed by something unexpected: a mysterious virus.

He becomes a zombie.

I’m starting to think someone else had the same idea (courtesy of MySpace)

So instead of spreading “The Word” and enlisting the aid of twelve disciples, Zombie Jesus spreads the virus and turns twelve followers into the first pack of flesh-eating zombies ever. Ironically enough, that’s kind of what they would have done anyway, given the symbolic eating of Jesus’ flesh during the Last Supper.

Weird, huh?

Approach two does little more than fast forward to the time Jesus is crucified and placed in his tomb. Only the Resurrection is when he returns as a zombie, subsequently appearing to everyone not to reinforce their faith, but to make communion out of them!

I know, I know. Blasphemy.

This is actually as far as I’ve gotten on this idea, and there are a lot of other things to consider. For instance, transforming JC and the Boys into zombies may inadvertently turn the Romans into the “good guys,” unless I can find a way to prevent something even I find rather tasteless from happening. I guess they could also be transformed into the undead, given this story need not run concurrent to religious history. And that would provide some justice after the horror of Jesus’ crucifixion, which the Romans surely deserved.

Still kind of a touchy subject, though?

Although I enjoy writing about controversial subjects—not for attention or financial gain, mind you—I can’t help feeling that this idea may be a little too edgy. On the other hand, it could be quite lucrative for the same reason. Yes, a lot of people would get pissed and there could potentially be all sorts of protests, but only after everyone read the book or saw the movie. An uproar like this would undoubtedly attract the media and before you know it, this thing would be everywhere.

Wishful thinking, I know, but stranger things have happened. And delusions of grandeur never hurt anyone… much.

So there you go: one story idea that could be good or bad depending on how you look at it. All it’s missing now is YOU. If you read this post and notice any kind of reaction within yourself—interest, disgust, joy, hunger, completeness, arousal, nausea—please consider leaving a few comments. And if you happen to think this could make a decent story, I would love some suggestion as to its genre. Horror? Comedy? Thriller? I have no idea which is best.

Thanks in advance for your help and please remember that none of this was intended to offend or insult Christians, Christianity or any other believer or religion on this spinning ball of mud we all call home. But if I did offend someone—especially to the point they feel I deserve no forgiveness—I ask first that they answer this question and act accordingly: What would Jesus do?

And I think we all know the answer to that. 

Jesus Thwarts Robbery Attempt

Busted by Jesus? (courtesy of the Lake City Police Department)

If there was ever any doubt about the power of invoking the name of Jesus Christ, it was quickly put to rest in Florida recently.

Jacquie Hagler and roughly 15 of her closest girlfriends were having a jewelry party when suddenly, a man wearing a ski cap and a bandana across his face burst in. With gun in hand, he demanded the women give him all their money.

At first, guests thought the intruder–later identified as 24-year-old Derick Lee–was part of some elaborate prank. One woman even brushed the gun aside and claimed it was nothing more than a water gun.

Things changed once Lee showed them the gun was loaded.

“I’m not joking,” Lee told them as he held the weapon to a woman’s head. “I’m going to shoot someone, give me your money.”

With no concern for her own safety, Hagler quickly took action, stood up and said, “In the name of Jesus, get out of my house now.”

Lee ignored her initial exclamation and again demanded everyone’s money, so Hagler repeated herself with a little more force behind her words.

“In the name of Jesus, get out of my house now!”

Before Lee could react, Hagler’s guests joined in and within minutes, they all began chanting “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”

Jesus has your back!

Apparently this was enough for Lee, who quickly turned and fled the house without stealing anything or harming anyone. Police arrested him a short time later and he is currently being held on $200,000 bond.

I’m not sure what impelled Lee to leave at the mention of Jesus’ name, but obviously it struck a chord with him and convinced him that robbing or shooting these spiritual ladies was a bad idea. Perhaps he went to Sunday school as a child and believed punishment on Earth to be preferable to an eternity of punishment in Hell?

Regardless of Lee’s motivation, I must admit that it’s nice to hear of a would-be criminal having a change of heart because of religion. And if he eventually decides to clean up his act and leave his criminal career behind, all the better.

At least there’s hope for Derick Lee. And it’s never too late to leave the darkness for the light. I’m sure even Jesus would agree with that.

Dead Again and Again

Kelvin Santos surrounded by family

Something very freaky happened to a Brazilian toddler last June that still gives me the creeps.

2-year-old Kelvin Santos suffered cardiac arrest and respiratory failure and was rushed to nearby Aberlardo Santos Hospital in Belem, Brazil. Doctors declared him dead due to complications from pneumonia, so his lifeless body was wrapped in an airtight bag and sent to his family the next day.

While the Santos family was making funeral arrangements, Kelvin’s aunt saw his body move ever so slightly, but she assumed it was nothing. When his eyes opened, however, she simply couldn’t ignore it. Unfortunately, he lost consciousness shortly thereafter.

Needless to say, Kelvin’s family was shocked, but this was only the beginning.

During the wake a few hours later, Kelvin regained consciousness again, sat up and even asked his father for a glass of water!

People started screaming in terror, but Kelvin again fell lifeless and this time, his parents took no chances. They returned to the hospital where he was finally declared dead… again.

Kelvin was finally buried and his family brought a malpractice suit against the hospital, but this isn’t as unusual as it sounds. For reasons science and medicine can’t always explain, people are sometimes “resurrected” from the dead or considered dead before they truly are.

Is it possible this is what happened to Jesus?

Don’t quit your day job

Jesus making duck lips? (property of Centro de Estudios Borjanos)

Elderly Woman Ruins 19th Century Fresco in Restoration Attempt | ABC News Blogs – Yahoo!.

In Borja, Spain, a woman in her 80s decided she would try to restore a 19th century fresco by Spanish painter Elias Garcia Martinez.

Obviously, something went horribly wrong.

The once beautiful painting of Jesus entitled “Ecce Homo” now looks almost exactly like the Claymation character Mister Bill. Or maybe a short-haired Steven Tyler from Aerosmith, at least judging from the lips.

Fortunately, experts are being brought in to try to restore the fresco to its original and beautiful state. And it likely has more sentimental than financial value anyway.

I know this “errant painter” is an elderly woman who meant well, but it’s obvious art isn’t her forte. And if she ever tries to paint again, I suggest someone give her some paper instead.

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