I had thought that the blog I posted last night was my final posting of the year, but I’m sitting by the door of Hardback Cafe in Hastings, Murfreesboro’s bookstore, checking email, and a balding fifty-something guy has just walked in wearing a blue t-shirt with a giant yellow price tag printed on it that reads, “Jesus, the possibilities are endless. Get yours.” I don’t understand this shirt.
First of all, why the price tag? Is Jesus for sale? How much does Jesus cost? Can I get him on lay-a-way? And if I do get Jesus, can I return him if I’m not satisfied? What if he breaks: can I get a refund or do I have to buy an extended warranty? And how long would that extension be? Eternity?
Second of all, why is Jesus linked with infinite possibility, and how am I to choose among them in order to get mine? It can take me over an hour to choose which among two-dozen or so brands of toothpaste to buy. Can you imagine how long it would take to choose which Jesus among an infinite number of Jesuses (Jesi? What is the plural of Jesus?) is the right Jesus for me?
When confronted with so many consumer choices, I usually head for Consumer Reports. I figure they know best, and I usually buy their Best Buy. It would be very helpful if Consumer Reports did an issue on religion.
They could list religions according to what they claim to accomplish: salvation, enlightenment, tikkun ha-olam (world repair), liberation, submission to God, etc. Then Consumer Reports could rate religions against these categories. There would be several faiths or variations of one faith under any given heading. Consumer Reports would rate them according to the demands they make on you, their reported reliability, cost, and other factors. Then they would pick their Best Buy.
I have to interrupt what I am certain was going to be a very funny Consumer Reports gag, to bring you this breaking news: Another guy about the same age just walked in wearing another Jesus t-shirt. On the front of his white t-shirt is a blue circle containing six well-known religious symbols, also in blue: Star of David, Om, Buddha, Yin/Yang, Crescent of Islam, and a Cross. Underneath the circle the text reads, “Five Out Of Six Religions Lead To Dead Ends.” On the back it says, “Back the winner; Choose the Living Christ.”
The Infinite Jesus guy is standing about fifteen feet from me looking at Kiplinger’s Magazine. Not six feet to his left, looking at a copy Newsweek, is the Living Christ guy. So far they have not noticed one another. But what if they do? What of they compare shirts? How can the Choose Christ guy deal with the Infinite Jesus message of the other guy? How can he choose wisely if his choices are infinite? Why choose at all if the possibilities are infinite? And, if the possibilities are infinite maybe there are no dead end religions. Maybe Jesus is hanging out in all of them. This fellow will be paralyzed by the sheer enormity of his Christ options, and his t-shirt will fail him. This could lead to a violent class of Christian cultures. Maybe I should do something… Ahh, no need; Infinite Jesus’ cell phone just rang and he has walked away to take the call. Whew! That was close. Oh, by the way, Happy New Year.