Jesus went into the wilderness across the Jordan, but people followed him there anyway. So he healed a bunch of people. Some people wanted him to touch their kids for luck, but the groupies yelled at them. So Jesus yelled at the groupies, Never keep a child from coming to me, yo! And he pinched cheeks and hugged babies until their parents took them home.
Then some Pharisees were all, So, Jesus, what do you think about divorce? Jesus was all, Divorce is wrong. It’s right there in Genesis 2: men will leave their families and cleave to their wives. The Pharisees countered, What about Moses? There’s divorce all through the rest of the Torah. Jesus rolled his eyes, and was all, That’s because Moses had no spine and caved to the cravenness of the humans he led. The only reason EVER for divorce is if the wife cheats on her man. Dudes who divorce and remarry are total adulterers. Continue reading “Matthew 19: No divorce and no dough”
Some Pharisees came to Jesus and were all, Your groupies are gross and they break the rules because they don’t wash their hands before meals. Jesus answered, Who are you to judge? You tell people to violate the 4th Commandment. Handwashing isn’t even in the big 10. Besides. It’s not what goes into your mouth that maters–it’s what comes out!
The Pharisees went away pissy, and the groupies were all, Hey, shouldn’t you be worried that you keep pissing them off? But Jesus was all, Fuck those jokers. The blind leading the blind falls into a pit. Then Rocky was all, Could you explain the parable? And Jesus was all, Are you fucking stupid? Ok, so like who cares what you eat or if you wash your hands first. Whatever you eat gets digested and turns to poop, regardless. But what you say comes from your heart and reveals if you’re a good person or if you think about murder, sexual perversions and adultery, lying, stealing, whatever.
Then Jesus and the groupies traveled to Tyre. There a Canaanite woman started following them, hollering for Jesus to save her daughter. The groupies were all, Send this bitch away, Jesus! She’s annoying. But Jesus ignored them. Finally, he was all, Why should I help you when I’ve been sent to save the Jews? And she was all, Dogs can live on scraps. He nodded approvingly and lo! her daughter was healed.
Then he went on to heal a bunch of people and then repeated the loaves and fishes trick to feed another crowd. Afterwards, he and the groupies sailed to Magadan.
Jesus continued, So I also have some ideas about living the good life. Changes in your mindset really, that will make you happier, or at least less stressed about shit you have no control over. First, do unto others and all that! Treat people with dignity and respect and kindness and shit. You know, the way you want to be treated. If everyone just did that, the world would be a better place.
Second, stop trying to fix other people’s problems and failures and work on your own! When you judge other people but ignore your own failures, you’re just a hypocrite, man.
Don’t be afraid to ask for shit you need. God will provide. And if it looks like God didn’t, that’s just because you can’t, like, understand the mind of Dad. But, like, don’t do stupid shit and then wonder why it fails! God’s not gonna bend the laws of physics for you at a whim. If you build a house on a beach, chances are it’s gonna get washed away in a hurricane. You need high ground and a good foundation! Take that metaphor and live it! Continue reading “Matthew 7: Pearls before swine”
Jesus continued, So you need to try to follow all these rules, but when you do, it’s really really important to live your religion quietly and humbly! Don’t toot your own horn. Give charity anonymously. Pray silently and mostly when you’re alone. No one needs to see you praying and shit. Same with fasting. Just fast and shut up about it instead of whining about how hungry you are. No one cares. People who are ostentatious in their religion and doing it for attention, not for God.
And when you pray, don’t pray for fancy chariots and fame. Pray for support to get you through your daily lives, for forgiveness for all the small harms you cause, for clarity about the moral path of life.
For that matter, don’t live you life trying to hoard money and things. Possessions are just, stuff, man. They add no intrinsic value to your life. And like, you can’t serve two masters. You gotta choose between God and money, man.
I know the thought of not caring about money freaks a lot of you out. But you’re just worrying about stuff. About an abstraction! Look around at the birds! At the flowers! Do they worry about money? No! They just, like, live. Just live like them. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Live for today. God will provide!
Again, because there wasn’t any television or movies or even radio, street preachers were everyone’s favorite cheap entertainment. Jesus was always a popular draw when he came to town. This one time, the crowd was so large that Jesus was worried the people in the back wouldn’t be able to hear him, since microphones hadn’t been invented either. So he climbed up a mountain and found a nice cliff to stand on so that everyone could see him and his voice would echo out. Then he began laying down some controversial opinions, the Be-Attitudes:
- Depressed, low-spirited folk deserve love too, from Da–er–God, if not from humans.
- Humble people might get railroaded, but they’ll eventually get theirs.
- People who fight for justice will eventually see it served; however, it’s best to be merciful if you also want to be forgiven when you fuck up.
- Be pure and good and love peace because the world is what you make it.
- God will bless and reward anyone who gets persecuted or punished for following me or for spreading my opinions. I promise! And this is why. You are the salt of the world and salty snacks are good! And you are cities on hills that everyone can see!
- Anger is just as bad as murder and God will never listen to you or accept your offerings if you holding any grudges when you pray.
- Getting revenge is also bad. Just forgive and move on. Plus, bullies hate it when you don’t get mad or react or anything, especially if you act all righteous when you forgive them.
- And it’s not enough to only love your family and friends. Love everyone! Even people who do you dirt. Cuz if Da–er–God made everything, then even shitty people were made by It. Who are you to question It’s plan? It’s perfect!
- Lusting after someone is just as bad as cheating on your wife. It’s better to be castrated than to lust, just like it’s better to lose your hand than to steal.
- And don’t think that divorce is the answer here. I don’t believe in divorce, so remarriage is still cheating.
I know it might seem like I’m making up new laws. I’m not. I’m just reinterpreting the old laws. In fact, I’m a fulfillment of all the laws and prophecies! So, like, follow me!
Malachi’s final message from God:
The end of the world is fast approaching, when I will burn all bad people and save all the righteous people who followed the laws that I told Moses several thousand years ago. So get ready! But don’t panic! You’ll know the day is nigh because I will send Elijah back to get you all ready!
And so ends (most Protestant versions of ) the Old Testaments. Some commentary and observations gleaned from this most careful read through. The most common denunciations that showed up again and again in most of the books (aside from cheating on god with other gods) were 1) Don’t oppress poor people, especially widows and fatherless children; 2) Don’t oppress “sojourners” (i.e. immigrants); and don’t lie, cheat, or bamboozle for your own gain. Sure there was lots of genocide, war, rape, rampant misogyny, insane family dramas, two long-ass books of obscure and often contradictory laws, and wacky prophets who we would totally medicate when/if they weren’t free-range homeless men, but Israel/Judah’s most common sin (aside from cheating) was allowing the powerful to unjustly oppress the powerless and poor.
I’m travelling next week, but when I get back, I guess I will start the New Testament (still using the ESV translation). I might as well see this thing through!
The people of Judah kept complaining that God didn’t love them enough–after all It had sent them into exile and life was fucking hard. Malachi had these words from God for the people of Judah:
You think I don’t love you?! Nah, man. Jacob I have loved, Esau I have hated. You think you have it bad. Have y’all looked at what’s been going down in Edom lately? Yet you don’t hear those survivors complaining. No! They just go about trying to rebuild. But I don’t even like those fuckers! So I’ll just keep smiting them! But y’all in Judah, now. Your star could be ascending again, if only you’d stop fucking up so bad. Like with your shitty priests and their shitty food offerings. I mean, I have clearly stated in my various laws, that I will only accept the finest of first-fruits and the finest of animals for offerings. But is that what y’all are offering up? Sheol, no! You keep sacrificing bruised fruits and vegetables and sickly, scrawny goats and sheep. And you wonder why shit’s bad for you! If you want shit to get better, you better start offering up that good shit you keep for yourself! I am God, after all!
Haggai wrote other letters to Governor Zerubbabel ben Shealtiel and High Priest Joshua ben Jehozadak about to give them God’s messages. In one of these letters, Haggai wrote, So God wants to know if any of y’all ever saw the Temple before it was destroyed? Or even read a description of it? Because It’s not, how shall I put this? impressed with the results so far. But no matter. It’s going to shake up the nations and make it rain on Judah so y’all can bling it up.
And another time, Haggai wrote to them to ask, Do y’all understand the difference between clean and unclean things? Like, have you even cracked open Leviticus? Because y’all keep offering some things the Lord don’t like. But, here’s what God’s willing to do. If you only offer the right sort of things in the right sort of ways, God will make sure that the crops stop suffering from blight and drought and that the next harvest will be huge.
In a third letter, Haggai wrote to Zerubbabel to tell him that God had chosen him as Its signet ring, and to remember that he was blessed and loved by God during the coming wars.
The end! More about the Second Temple in Zechariah next time!
During Jehoiakim’s war with Nebuchadnezzar, God decided to test this clan of people, the Rechabites, who, like many rural folk, had sough refuge in Jerusalem. God told Jeremiah to invite the clan to the Temple and to offer them wine as a refreshment. Jeremiah did, but the Rechabites were all, No thank you. We don’t drink. We vowed to our father and grandfather that we, nor any of our women or slaves would ever drink or would live in houses. Our clan has a strict no booze, tent only policy. We’re only here in Jerusalem because of this blasted war. We’d rather be out camping in our tents, and as soon as it’s safe, that’s where we’ll be.
Jeremiah said, God is pleased with your answer and promises that there will always be a Rechabite to stand before It. Your clan is a lesson for all other Jews who have broken all the vows their ancestors made to God. For this they will be destroyed!
Jeremiah got thrown in jail because, when Zedekiah rebelled against Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar besieged the city, he made a point to go to the king and tell him that Jerusalem would fall and Zedekiah would be captured, taken back to Babylon and there be executed–but, at least he could look forward to a state funeral–he was king after all.
One of the reasons God had decided to punish Jerusalem with horror, pestilence, and famine was because they were breaking God’s slaver laws that declared that Hebrew slaves had to be freed after seven years.