I went to Church for the first time for anything other than a wedding or funeral when I was nineteen years old. A kid had died at my college and I was feeling a bit weird about mortality. I had also just read, for the very first time ever, parts of the Bible as part of my required Humanities I Class. Expecting the Bible to be all about judging people and starting wars, I was pleasantly surprised that the focus was instead on love and forgiveness. Who knew?
Neither of my parents were big fans of Religion. My dad doesn’t speak much on the topic, occasionally pointing out that the only thing the Nuns at his Catholic School taught him was how to take a beating. My mom recounts being scolded and humiliated by a priest when she was a kid with a wacky idea (life on other planets). The last straw for her was when my oldest brother, four years old at the time, kept assuring my mom that she couldn’t find her keys because the devil was hiding them. When she finally found them, he rejoiced that God had guided her, and without Him she would still be looking. By the time I was born, we weren’t a Church-going family anymore.
There was no vendetta happening here. We just didn’t go to Church is all. Given how busy we were with sports, there was never a Sunday in which we weren’t running around from soccer field to soccer field or hockey rink to hockey rink. Sunday was the day of sports, as opposed to the day of not-going-to-Church. But throughout the years I heard the comments, not so much from my family, but from people in general. The derogatory explanations of what Church is all about. It’s a bunch of hypocrites, they’d say. I started to notice that the people that actually did go to Church didn’t seem to be any more moral than people that did. Then George Carlin pointed out that 90% of all the people ever killed in War were fighting over God.
Hmm, I thought. But here I was, sitting in a wonderful Church, making sense of a terrible tragedy that had happened at my school. I felt a warm sense of welcome from the other Church goers. I went back home and read more. I don’t think I’ve ever been more inspired than I was when I read about Jesus. Chocked full of love, forgiveness, and strength, I was really starting to get why He is such a big deal. Then it happened.
I don’t know if it was the age I was at, or if it was a shift in general sentiment, or if perhaps it was just my relocation to New York City. Everyone started to hate Jesus. They’d quote the telethons and pretend they were preachers. “Oh, Jesus is going to save you!” mocked the Emo kid. Like anyone trying to sell an idea, the Church was only fueling the fire with billboards that said “Got Jesus” and “WWJD” bracelets showing up everywhere.
Because I hadn’t been raised in the Church, I didn’t have particularly strong feeling about it. I didn’t get beaten like my dad, I didn’t get humiliated like my mom, and I didn’t get molested like an alarmingly high number of friends I’ve known throughout the years. I was never given any reason to hate Jesus. At worst, I would just ignore Him.
After years of holding my tongue I finally started asking people what it was they hated about Jesus so much. After all, Jesus was the name that was being mocked all the time, in response to the fact that Jesus was the one that was being praised all the time. What I found was a whole lot of answers that had nothing to do with JC. I’ve yet to actually talk to someone that actually has an issue with Jesus. People will go off about the Church and about Sunday School and about Rod from down the street who judges everyone and then (insert terrible thing). But JC? Scratch free.
I like to call this phenomenon the Jesus Treatment. Basically, it happens when something is great, but those people surrounding or promoting it are sometimes not so great. It doesn’t take much for something to get the Jesus treatment, and I see lots of stuff getting it today.
There’s many many examples out there, but what’s been bugging me as of late has been “Organic”. The idea of organic is that you make food, like, for real. You don’t add anything a chemist invented in a lab, whether it be in the fertilizer or as a pesticide.
What a bunch of douche bags. I like chemicals in my food very much. No chemicals? Oooooh – la dee da, Monsieur Organique. Organic this, organic that. A bunch of rich liberals going to Whole Foods trying to be better than everyone else. Oh, and I hear it’s good for the Environment! Wah, wah, wah, the Environment. I need to save the planet, because I love hugging trees and rolling in dirt.
Organic is a good thing. Just because advertisers abuse the shit out of the word, and people tend to get their panties in a bunch over it, doesn’t mean that it’s not good. People get annoyed by this Organic idea. But consider this – why is it that Organic food is labeled as opposed to non-Organic food being labeled? Like a sticker on every banana telling you how much pesticide was used to make it, or if it’s genetically modified?
Then there wouldn’t be such a thing as “Organic” food and people would have nothing to give the Jesus Treatment.
I’m just sayin’.
With all this talk of religion, I feel it’s necessary to include this video of Jesse Gavin singing Amazing Grace: