Jesus of My Imagination

[Word count: 773. Approximate read time: 3 minutes]

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.

Sight

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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The Shakes

[Word count: 496. Approximate read time: 2 minutes]

Whenever I visit my hometown, my mother does not let me leave until she prays for me. It’s always been that way since the mid-80s when she got good and saved. That means whether dropping me off at elementary school or releasing me to the freeways so I could get back home to Los Angeles, it’s still the same thing. I would have to pad my travel time by about 5 or 10 minutes for Mom.

There is a very singular way her hand shakes when Mom prays for me. It’s not violent, or over the top. It’s just the slightest bit stronger than the magnitude felt when you lean against the dryer on its final spin cycle. It’s actually kind of relaxing. In any case, I can see it coming on as she reaches up to place her hand on my forehead.

If I didn’t know her well, I might think it was a put-on to dramatize the prayer. That’s no act. It’s been consistent throughout, which gives it credence. Fakeries reveal themselves over time.

These days, I moonlight as a skeptic. But I wonder about that. There must be something real to it. And I wonder what it is. Continue reading

By Your Side: A Devotional

[Word count: 879. Approximate read time: 3-4 minutes]

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.

Sade sidles a dancing elderly couple: "You think I'd leave your side, baby? You know me better than that."

“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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