Poor Jesus. The guy (because, yes, he was actually – for at least a while – a man, like everyone else); he really went through a lot. I mean, first and foremost, it’s gotta’ be tough to live your life as your run-of-the-mill carpenter, only to find out one day that you are actually the son of God. He could have said he wasn’t going to do it. (And I’m sure many of you saw that horrific Willie Dafoe depiction in The Last Temptation of Christ…) But he did and got crucified for it. Not only was he subject to the crucifixion (equivalent to the modern day electrocution in terms of pain and torture), he then had to rise from the dead, hang out in the in-between for a while, and make appearances so his friends would believe him. All in all, Jesus of Nazareth had it rough; all joking aside, the sacrifice he made for the world and collective spirituality was beyond anything you would expect of just another run-of-the-mill carpenter.
This is all the more reason why I say “poor Jesus.” For since his rise from the dead and (reported) ascension to Heaven, people have been misquoting him, misusing his teachings, abusing his message, and using the mere fact of his existence to declare war.
I’m just going to say what someone should have said a long time ago: why you gotta’ fuck with Jesus?
I like to consider myself a pretty liberal and skeptical Catholic, and I’m sure that many of the more conservative Christians will be banishing me to hell for any and every thing I’ve said here, but I just cannot stand by and allow people to use the big J for their own purposes without saying something.
By pure accident, I recently purchased a copy of Billy Coffey’s “Snow Day” (hereafter referred to as Snow Job). Snow Job was on sale for $1.99 in the close-out days of Borders, and for this I made the buyer-beware mistake of purchasing for the cheap without reading the insert, first.
Ignoring the gross violations of reason, logic, and basic understanding as to the way things are in the world, Coffey commits faux pas after faux pas in basic writing, grammar, and punctuation. I am not even here to deal with this issue (which is a great one), although I will mention for Mr. Coffey two things: (1) publishing fragmented sentences (see “And collided with the people coming around the corner.” on page 23) proves that you were apparently your own editor; and, (2) using words like “whatnot” (which is not actually a word) combines with #1 in making you sound like an uneducated redneck. But I digress, for I am not here to talk about Coffey’s flagrant misunderstanding of basic English.
No, I’m here to call to attention the gross misunderstanding of what it means to be a Christian, which Coffey depicts in chapter after chapter in this horrible book, Snow Job.
Why you gotta’ fuck with Jesus, Coffey?
At the get-go, I get it. Coffey tells a story about a guy (quite obviously himself, once you read his description in the back of the book), who decides to take a day off because of a bad snow storm. This decision annoyed me, as a reader and a Catholic, because he decides to do this by putting faith in the idea that God was speaking to him through the weather forecaster. *Sigh* Okay, fine – so he decides to take the day off and his wife sends him to Coffey’s fictionalized version of Wal-Mart, which he calls Super Mart (good cover, buddy). Each chapter from that point, on, then unfolds story after story about this guy’s endless trip to Wal-Mart; in which he encounters people which bring him yet another opportunity to self-aggrandize and judge based on his own, personal Christian values.
Why you gotta’ fuck with Jesus, man?
For a while you get the point – Coffey has some stuck-up idea about the way things are, and then by the grace of God he learns otherwise through this spiritual journey down the urine-smelling aisles of the local Wal-Mart. But where I drew the line was when Coffey hears a man in the store calling for “Help!” and then flies off on some rampage about how people don’t ask for help enough.
It’s true: people don’t ask for help enough. Oftentimes, people are too proud, egotistical, etc. to ask. But when Coffey mentions someone in his town who was diagnosed with cancer and refused to ask for the emotional help needed until the very end, I had to take pause. What a pompous ass this guy is – to be so un-understanding of someone else’s personal decisions. Sometimes people don’t ask for help because they truly feel it is in the best interest of others, and because I, you, and (especially) Mr. Coffey are not God, it really isn’t our place to judge.
Beyond that, I felt assaulted by the blatant closed-mindedness of Snow Job. From the scene where Coffey demands a “Merry Christmas” (rather than “Happy Holidays”) in the store, to his eventual return home to spend the rest of the book finding ways to judge people around the neighborhood, Coffey infuriates the reader by displaying the same sense of religious intolerance that those very same Christians claim is the problem with other non-Christian religions, and (OH MY GOD!!) atheists.
Coffey’s Snow Job is a classic example of the tendency of many Christian sects to skew what Jesus’s lessons meant. Rather than be open-minded, he is close-minded; rather than be humble, he is immodest and demanding. Jesus taught humility, which pompous interpretations of the New Testament and the way people should be most certainly are not. The irony in all of this is that as sacrilegious as this blog may seem, (if there really is a) God, He most certainly will look more favorably on this than something that does nothing but spit in the face of the message of the Man.
I’m not advocating Catholicism, nor am I advocating Christianity. I’m not really advocating any religion, I’m just saying to those that use religion for their personal agendas:
Why you gotta’ fuck with Jesus?