Monday, January 01, 2007



The Lord. The Savior. The Redeemer of Man. He goes by many titles. When people hit their thumbs with a hammer they use his name. He’s been used as an icon for every cause known to man, from animal rights to presidential politics.

His name? Jesus Christ.

To say that Jesus cuts a traditional Christ figure is to belabor the obvious. He stands 6’1”, with a Middle Eastern face framed by long, brown hair. Robert Powell he isn’t. He would be right at home with the other rough and tumble characters that make up the Israeli landscape.

I met Jesus at a small coffee shop on the west side of Cleveland. Some of the topics we covered included his death, his relationship with Judas Iscariot, and his feelings about the people who claim his name today.

Rolling Stone: I guess I should start by asking you what you preferred to be called- Jesus? Christ?

Jesus Christ: Jesus will be fine.

RS: Jesus, for the past several years you have been one of the nation’s most recognizable political figures, in addition to people who recognize you solely for your religious significance.

JC: (puts his hands in front of him and shakes his head) Hey, don’t blame that on me! (The group at the table laughs)

RS: So you don’t approve of those who use you to gain percentage points in the polls?

JC: The words I used in Israel were, “The person who believes on me will have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day.” There’s nothing in that sentence that says anything about giving them the Supreme Court justice that they want. The person who trusts in me to give them eternal life has every right to be involved in the political process, even to seek the highest office in the land in which they dwell. But to imply that because I love them and died for them I approve of their political aspirations? Sorry, go back and read my words again- “My kingdom is not of this world.”

RS: You aren’t telling people out there to sit on the steps of abortion clinics or wear orange tape over their mouths with the acronym L.I.F.E. on it?

JC: (smiling slyly) That’s for me to know and you to find out. (He takes a sip of coffee) In most cases, I don’t micromanage people’s lives like that. If you want to stand in front of an abortion clinic with a sign, fine. If you need a gimmick like the orange tape, more power to you. Just don’t tell people that I made you do it. Especially if you are going to ignore my weightier commands in the process.

RS: Explain.

JC: Take your war in Iraq, for instance. George Bush will claim my guidance in reaching the decision to go to war, but how does that square with my command to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you? When someone dies who didn’t trust me for salvation, that’s hardly an occasion to rejoice. When a bunch of them die, you had better be sure that your cause is just. And in this case, I don’t think it is.

RS: I thought that you weren’t taking sides?

(Jesus just stares straight ahead and smiles.)


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