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11/04/2013 08:07 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Return of the Rabbi: A Short Story

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The time had come when Jesus decided to make his glorious return to Earth. Before his departure from Heaven, Jesus called a council meeting to discuss the details with the saints, angels, and those multi-eyed animals from the Book of Revelation. Jesus sat at the head of a long table that seemed to go on forever, council members at their respected seats.

"Good morning, everyone. You all knew this day was coming. I am returning to Earth," he said, awaiting an outburst of excitement. To his surprise there was only an awkward silence, accompanied by faint whispering amongst the crowd. "I uh... I said... I am returning to Earth!" Jesus repeated, hands outstretched above his head to give the moment a much needed exclamation point.

"Eh-hem," said a voice from about 20 chairs down. "I'm not sure that's such a good idea."

"Peter? Is that you?" asked Jesus.

"Yes, yes, my Lord," he said, standing so that he could be properly recognized by the council. "I just don't think it's for the best."

"You mean, my return to Earth?" asked Jesus. "But, I have to go back. I told everyone that I would. It's the honorable thing to do."

"Oh, yes. Of course, my Lord. Yes, yes you did tell everyone you would come back. I believe you even chose the word 'soon' in your promise," said Peter, his voice shaking slightly. "But-"

"But what, Peter?" Jesus asked.

"But it's been over 2,000 years, my Lord."

"Two thousand? Really? Good heavens, I forgot we're on Narnia time up here." Jesus buried his face in his hands for a moment, grumbling to himself. "Right. Okay, so let's figure this out, you guys. Surely, there must be a way to still make this happen respectfully. I assume Judaism has become the dominant religion down there by now, so we'll just have to reschedule for a more significant day, like Rosh Hashanah or something." The silence was deafening. Eyes darted back and forth across the table at one another. A look of panic filled each face. "What is it now?"

"Um, Jesus?" said another voice. This time it was John the Beloved.

"John! I love hearing your input!" said Jesus excitedly.

"Yes, yes. I know, you love me, I get it," said John. "But, there's something we've been meaning to tell you. There's this other religion now. It's uh... like bigger than Judaism. Like, way bigger."

"Oh, well... I see," said Jesus. "Paganism won't die easily I suppose."

"No. Not Paganism," said John. "It's called Christianity."

"Christianity?" asked Jesus. "Wow, now there's a name. Christianity... I like that. About me, is it?"

"It is, indeed," replied Peter. "They have churches all over the place, kinda like synagogues, but much pointier roofs. My goodness, if you could see just how pointy the roofs are! And at the top of the pointy roofs they have--"

"John!" said Peter cutting in. "I don't think Jesus would be interested in what's on top of the pointy roofs, now would he?"

"Oh, quite right. Thank you, Peter. Right, what's on top of the pointy roofs is not what is important. What is important is what's on the inside of the churches," said John.

"What's on the inside?" asked Jesus.

"Crosses," said John.

"John!" said Peter.

"Crosses?!" cried Jesus.

"I am so sorry, my Lord. Completely slipped my mind again about that previous unpleasant history you have with crosses. See, Christians... they love the things. They're obsessed with them. They wear them as jewelry..."

"Jewelry?" asked Jesus in disbelief.

"They tattoo them on their skin..."

"On their skin?!"

"Some churches even construct these giant metal ones you can even see from the highway! They're really something to see!" continued John.

"Have you no decency, man?" shouted Peter across the table at John. "I thought we were going to ease him into the crosses thing!"

"Guys, I can handle it. It's a little sickening, honestly, and I might need to throw up a few times after first sight, but I'll count their devotion to my horrific death as flattery," Jesus said. "Tell me more about these Christians."

"Well, they're a large group, made up of thousands of what they call 'denominations' but they're basically little religions all about you," said Peter.

John cut in. "Yes, they even have a book about you."

"John!" said Peter shortly. "Not yet! He's not ready for that one!"

"What book?" asked Jesus. "Did they write something bad about me?"

"Well," said John, "it's not bad, per say. More politically, historically, and morally complex, to say the least. They just put the ancient texts of your people together with these other newer stories about your life, plus some letters from Paul..."

"Paul?" asked Jesus. "Who's Paul? I remember something about a guy named Paul." John and Peter looked at each other, realizing this could get out of hand.

"Oh, you don't want to hear about Paul," said Peter. "Sad story really. Let's just say he wrote a lot about you. Good things! Confusing things. Things that caused lots of heated debates and such. But mostly good! Good things!"

"Well, that sounds okay," said Jesus.

"Indeed," said John. "But before all that he rounded up Christians and kill--"

"John! Stop! Just stop it now!" interrupted Peter.

"Forget about Paul," said Jesus (a phrase that every New Testament scholar wished they had overheard). "What is the big deal about the book?"

Peter picked up again. "Well, you see, no one agrees on what it means."

"Oh, I see. Why's that such a big deal to them?" asked Jesus. "As long as no one goes to war over it." No one in the council made a sound for a solid minute. Peter shot daggers at John with his eyes, making an "off with your head" gesture, scraping his thumb nail across his own neck. John got the message loud and clear, sitting back down in his seat. Peter finally broke the silence.

"Right. Well. Here's one reason. Some of them think it means they should feed the poor, while others think it can't possible mean that literally since feeding the poor will only turn the poor into societal leeches who put unnecessary fiscal burden on the federal budget with expensive entitlement plans," said Peter. "So for some Christians, it's okay to feed the poor but only when they really really deserve it, like if they were rich before and just ran into some bad luck, like their mansion catching on fire."

"That doesn't sound at all like the stuff I was saying back then," said Jesus. "How could anyone get that from a book about me? I should return at once and set all of this straight!"

"But Jesus," said Peter. "You'll run into a few problems at first."

"Like what?" asked Jesus.

"Well, for starters, if you choose to enter visibly into earth's atmosphere you'll most likely be fired upon by what they call a 'tomahawk cruise missile.' Not that I think you couldn't withstand the explosion, my Lord, but probably not the best diplomatic way to make your return. Way too much potential for mass hysteria, I'm afraid."

"Right, right. Maybe a more subtle approach. I'll teleport in at night time. Hold a press conference the next morning. I'll speak live to the whole world. I'll tell them I've come back to establish a peaceful world where all have their needs met and no one will be poor or hungry every again."

"Won't work," said Peter. "You tried that approach last time. The nations will take your message as a declaration of war and a radical threat to their own sovereignty. They'd call you a radical insurrectionist and put you on trial like... you know... like last time."

"I see. Well, then I will simply address the Christians," said Jesus. "I'll tell them that I am back and I will give them precise instructions on how to bring hope and change to their countries."

"Still won't work," said Peter. "Some other guy is using the 'Hope and Change' rhetoric right now, so it'd only come off as cliche. But even with a great slogan, many Christians wouldn't believe it was really you."

"Why not?" said Jesus.

"Because you're not white," said John.

Jesus sat quietly for a moment before speaking, slightly discouraged. "You know, it has been 2,000 years," he said. "I mean, no one's really expecting me to come anytime soon right?"

"Right," responded the council in unison. Maybe Jesus was coming around, they thought.

"I mean, they seem to be content with their current setup. I'd only be stirring up controversy again if I went back, right?" he asked.

"Right!" said the council.

"Jesus?" said another voice. It was Mary, who had come up behind him, resting a hand on his shoulder.

"Yes, mother?" he replied.

"You exist on all planes of time and space. Stop being so lazy," she said.

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Brett Gallaher is founder of weoccupyjesus.org, pretty much the best blog like ever. He resides in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the place they wrote that train song about. Once he shot a squirrel, but he felt really bad about it afterwards. Brett dreams of a world where atheists, theists, and everyone in-between can unite under common goals and principles to make the world a better place. When he's not changing the world, Brett also enjoys paying way too much for coffee. If you would like to join Brett's peaceful revolution, follow him to facebook.com/weoccupyjesus.