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The Bible documents well the story of Jesus’ birth, some scant details about him as a pre-teen, and multiple accounts of the last years of his life. But I’ve always wondered about the little details of Jesus’ life that didn’t make it into the Bible.
I don’t much care whether Jesus was the long-haired white guy seen in most photos. What he did overshadows how he may have looked. But I have this fantasy that whatever Jesus’ physical appearance was when he walked the Earth looked like the facial average of every person who has lived or will ever.
That way Jesus wouldn’t represent any one race or bloodline and no one gets to claim superiority. He would just look like a cross between my face and yours… and your boss’s… and every other face. If we looked at him, we would just instinctively understand that he is connected to us and we him, making us all connected to each other.
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Sade’s “By Your Side” is my ideal love song.
Even while writing God and the Silent Treatment, I remembered its lyrics are one answer to the forlorn, abandoned questions posed in Jars of Clay’s “Silence.” Often when romance is exaggerated in love songs, it becomes something men and women are incapable of giving. However, the faithful love described in “By Your Side” is very godlike. It doesn’t take a great leap to relate it to scripture.
“You think I’d leave your side, baby? You know me better than that.”
Doubting God may be engrained in my analytical nature. I almost always need God to mock my unbelief and cite our history. “Do you really think I’d abandon you? C’mon. You may be unsure about many things, but you know that you at least know that.”
I’m like one of those kids who goes into histrionics whenever a parent leaves their sight. Mom or dad has to come back and calm the kid down: “Have I ever left you? Don’t I always come back? Don’t you know how much I love you?”
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I had a very close relationship with my grandfather. Raised primarily by my paternal grandparents so my mother could work full time and keep the family off of welfare, when my grandmother died in 1989, it was just Papa and I for years, thick as thieves. All he ever talked about me doing was going to college and getting an education. He came through the Great Depression, poverty, and decades of racism having raised a family of 4 on an 8th grade education. He wanted more than that for me.
My mother and I, similar as we were, were constantly at odds. When I turned 18, all I wanted to do was get away from her household and my small-minded hometown. College was my underground railroad to freedom. I thought I was running away from home, but really I was fleeing directly into a place God had set up for me. Continue reading