A wide spot in my imagination.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Jesus was a girl...with two mommies...and a Muslim daddy

At the church I previously served as pastor, the kids signed up in advance for the parts they wanted to play in the annual Christmas pageant.  One year, two little girls signed up to play Mary.  And nobody signed up to play Joseph.  Ours wasn't a Tony-winning show, so what the heck.  We went sans Joe that year, and two little girls -- one about 8, one about 5 -- stood together tending baby Jesus.  The double-casting was entirely innocent, but church was open and affirming to gays and lesbians, so, behind the scenes, we jokingly referred to that year's pageant as, "Jesus Had Two Mommies."

At the church I now serve, a "real" family plays the Holy Family roles, if the calendar works out.  (By calendar working out, I mean, did anyone have a baby in he past few months?  And will they be in town for Christmas Eve?)  This year, a charming little four-week old girl will play the role of baby Jesus.  And her mother and father will dress in costume as Mary and Joseph.  The best part is, the dad is Muslim.  He's not exactly "practicing" or especially "religious."  But by birth and tradition, he is Muslim.

So, Jesus is a girl.  S/he had two mommies.  And his daddy (or is that step-daddy?) is Muslim.

My grandmother had a huge yard filled with flowers, fruit trees and statues.  And every year in December she set her manger scene in the middle of it.  It was the plastic kind where you stuck up a light bulb up their robes. But my grandmother wasn't content with that.  She hauled over the rest of her statuary -- a terra cotta swan that was really a flower pot, a concrete boy with a fishing pole who normally lived at the fish pond, a ceramic frog.  By Christmas Eve, a bizarre cadre of critters surrounded Jesus.  None of them matched in style, size, or material.

Sweet little Jesus girl with two mommies and a Muslim daddy.  An odd-sized boy with a fishing poll, swans, frogs, sweaty shepherds, befuddled scientists from the east, maybe a braying donkey, a pregnant teen-aged girl, a decree-sending emperor who had no idea he was part of the tale.

Christmas is a universal story. Fear, faith, longing, home, misfits, new life.  Those are universal ideas.

"God bless us everyone," as Tiny Tim said.  And, "Peace on earth, goodwill to all."

Friday, December 21, 2012

Wayne LaPierre and Jesus

Wayne LaPierre, head lobbyist for the NRA, held a press conference in Washington today.  He said, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

Jesus of Nazareth, is said to have been a carpenter like his daddy.  One day he sat down in a field of weeds near a lake and said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, ‘Do not resist an evildoer. If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also.’ You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, ‘Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.’”

One of those guys makes an annual salary of $970,000, by the way.  The other one was killed on a cross near the town dump and tossed in a borrowed grave.

Two different visions for life.