Charelene’s new persona hasn't improved her social graces. Unemployed, unhygienic, homeless; sporting a perennial five o’clock shadow owing to her lacking the funds to maintain her hormone treatments; under nourished, and devoid of any sense of fashion or make-up artistry, Charelene is the poster girl for destitute. She is a veritable pariah to the community; the kind of person that would prompt a stray dog to cross the street to avoid contact with her.
Thanksgiving afternoon, as my wife was doing her thing in the kitchen, and I and my younger son, up for the traditional feast with his fiancée, watched football on TV there was a knock at the back door. Shit, unannounced company on Thanksgiving. This can’t be good. I padded to the back door.
There in all her glory was Charelene looking her Thanksgiving worst. She was accompanied by a tallish, blue eyed, long haired guy with a soft countenance in a pristine white robe. His entire being had a glowing radiance emanating from his body. I recognized Him immediately from the traditional 19th century white Anglo Saxon image of the non-Jewish concept of Jesus.
“We’re here for Thanksgiving, my son.” Jesus spoke with an upbeat lilt to his voice.
I looked the pair up and down for a nanosecond. “YOU’RE welcome to join us for dinner, but we don’t serve HIS kind here.” I snarled.
My reply caused a pained expression to come over Jesus’ calm demeanor. I could tell I was in for a sermon.
“My son, I know you to be a non-believer. I understand that you reject all manner of superstition and gods, me included, as being imaginary; that the cause of faith is rooted in man’s inability to divest himself from ancient myth devised as societal control and to answer that which his unscientific mind could not answer.
Yes, I know that you know religion and belief have been the cause of great injustice and suffering. I accept that you can cite centuries of acts of brutality, intolerance, genocide, and irrational obstacles to science, reason, and people’s pursuit of happiness perpetrated by my blind faith zombie like followers. And even as I stand before you, I know that you are rational enough to know you’re dreaming my presence, or that it’s the result of celebratory liquid refreshment hallucination.
But I have always perceived you to be a man of compassion, a person of ethics; someone who has been non-judgmental when it comes to being charitable to those in need. For often you have said morality and goodness towards ones fellow man does not depend on a boogie man’s dictates or threat of eternal punishment. That the thinking can be good without God because empathy is a byproduct of evolution and that the suffering of others does not serve society but diminishes it.”
At about this point in his soliloquy Jesus was getting himself worked up. He took on the persona of God the Father made popular in Michelangelo’s painting. His voice rose to a thundering crescendo as he lifted his right hand above his head, index finger pointed skyward.
“Thus, verily I say unto you that by turning away this poor soul, this ‘least among us,’ this homeless, downtrodden, rejected and dejected, impoverished, and put upon denizen of society it gives lie to your oft touted goodness without God.” His last three words were accentuated by dark and stormy eyes that glared at me below a knitted brow , exuding condemnation and accusation of hypocrisy.