Archive for January, 2014

joes crabshackMurphy (the non-disciple) and his family are eating ‘al fresco’ outside Joe’s Crab Shack on Augustus Avenue in Caesarea. As they’re eating, Jesus sees them, stops by, and pulls up a chair–orders a Coke to go. As they sit in the shade of the awning a pharisee, Ben Zadrene, and two scribes pass by.

Zadrene (stopping, pointing at Murphy and his family): YOU are going straight to hell!

The scribes are startled and scoot behind Zadrene with eyes wide open.

Murphy (looking up): Say what?

Zadrene: I said, YOU. are. going. straight. to. hell.

Murphy (smiling): I’ve heard that before, but why’re you sending me to hell?

Zadrene (wagging his finger): First, you are a gentile. Second, you are eating crab legs–hell spiders from the bottom of the sea!

Murphy: Whoa! Settle down, partner. It’s just a bit a crab dipped in butter–no harm here–best food on the planet.

Zadrene (looking toward heaven): Deuteronomy 14:10! “Anything that does not have fins and scales you MAY NOT EAT!”

Murphy: Well, how ’bout that! Jesus, is this true?

Jesus (gazing at Zadrene): Where you headed, Ben Zadene?

Zadrene (frowning): Ah! You know me! Well, I’m completely clean today. I’m going to the synagogue and then to the Herod’s Forum to pray out loud in front of the unclean heathen by the fountain–may God’s justice be done when they burn in hell.

Jesus (smiling, stands and walks over, takes Zadrene’s hand and puts a crab claw in it): How clean are you now?

Zadrene (violently throwing the crab claw down): Doggone it! You just uncleaned me! You, sir, have totally ruined my day AND you are going to hell, too!

Murphy smiles and scoots his bench back. The scribes step back, too.

Jesus: Ben Zadrene, if you knew who you were talking to, you wouldn’t say that. Your heart is full of crabmeat. I’m tempted to make your legs grow together.

Zadrene (sputtering indignantly): What?! Who do you think you are?

Jesus (holding out his hand to shake): I’m Jesus, Son of God. Messiah first class.

Zadrene (heatedly): Ha! You’re a crabmeat toucher! Impossible!

Jesus (sighing): Yeah, you’re right. You’ll never get it, (turning to Murphy and his family) I’m headed down to the port to see Peter and the guys. Catch you later. Bye y’all.

Jesus walks off.

Zadrene (angrily stomps his foot): Well, I never!

Murphy: Bud, you came real close to havin’ your legs growed together.

Tr8: Don’t be superficial and judgmental. Clean the inside of the cup, then the outside.

cybeleMurphy, the non-disciple, is on his way to the hardware store to get some drywall to fix a wall in his pub in Caesarea. He decided to drop by Starbucks on the way. After ordering a tall, French Roast he sits in one of the two comfy chairs near the window and reads his iScroll. Luther, a metalworker from Antioch, talks to the barista who, in turn, points toward Murphy.

Luther: Mind if I sit here?

Murph: Have a seat. D’ja see the headlines? The Persians beat the Indians in the World Cup semis in a shoot-out.

Luther: Yeah? I’m not from around here. Is that a big deal?

Murph: Well, sorta. My wife is from India.

Luther: Oh, I see. (Sits quietly for a second or two.) I came here looking for a guy–Jesus of Nazareth or Joseph or somebody. You know about him?

Murph: You’ve come to the right guy. I know him well. If I weren’t a gentile, I think I could’ve been a full time disciple of his–but he only chooses Jews. I’m Irish. But he treats me like one of the guys.

Luther: Then you’re just who I need to talk to. You know, we’ve heard a lot about him in Antioch. Though I’m sort of surprised about his disciples being all Jews.

Murph: Really? Well, there you go. What do you hear?

Luther: Well, I’ve heard Jesus is everybody’s brother. Kind and gentle. Doesn’t offend anyone. A holy man who accepts everyone and has practically no rules for his group. He’s compatible with all faiths–Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, Stoics, Epicureans, Caesar–whatever. You know–he’s just spiritual. Not religious. He’s a gentle giant who could draw us all together…

Murph (holding up his hand): Whoa, campadre! I don’t know who you’ve talked to, but you’re not talking about Jesus.

Luther: But…

Murph: Jesus is more like a loving tornado. He puts everything on its head in the most paradoxical ways. He makes the Pharisees and Sadducees see blood–absolutely shreds hypocrites. He takes Jewish law to an absurd degree–he says, “Whatever is not from God is sin.” Don’t mistake his mercy and grace for agreement with all spiritual gurus–he’ll not have it. While he loves Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, Druids or whomever, he preaches repentance and a relationship with God, his father.

Luther: “God, his father….”  That’s a bit much.

Murph: No. He says it right out: “I’m God’s son.” “I’m the Son of God.” “I’m the only way, no one comes to the Father except through me.”  “The Father and I are one.” “I only do what the Father says.” He even said that he won’t remain dead when he dies!

Luther (frowning): Well this is disturbing! He’s not compatible with all the other religions? He’s not tolerant? We have a goddess in Antioch, Cybele, our Mother Goddess–surely believing in her HAS to be okay.

Murph: I don’t know where you got your information, but you have it all wrong. The Cybele worshippers may want Jesus to join ’em, but he won’t have it. You don’t really know him if you think he’s all sunshine and happiness glad to sit in with all the other gods and teachers. He’s the epitome of grace and truth. He’s brutally honest, but his grace is all about unconditional love and forgiveness to anyone who will repent and follow him.

Luther: So, you’re not a disciple because you are not a Jew?

Murph: I’m not one of THE 12 disciples, but I  follow him anyway. He treats me as if I were.

Luther: So, this Jesus is not going to make you a real disciple and unite the world in love?

Murph: Don’t know. He said a pharisee from Tarsus, not far from you, would straighten things out for the gentiles and would work in Antioch. Can you imagine that?! A pharisee leading gentiles in Antioch?!

Luther: That’s intolerable. I’m really disappointed that Jesus isn’t who I want him to be.

Murph: Get over the disappointment. Come with me. I can’t wait for Jesus to meet you!

Tr8: Jesus is always preparing a way, but he’s no everything to everybody. He is God among us, but will not be limited by our scruples and imaginations.