21st Century Jesus
Shopping, I find one white tub of sour cream
that has no GMO ingredients and wonder if Jesus
would consume with a conscience. Would he even
eat sour cream? No. 21st century Jesus is a vegan
who only drinks shade grown coffee. He hangs
around farm markets and buys potatoes from
neighborhood carts on the side of dusty dirt roads.
If you ask him, he’ll give you a ride to Wal-Mart
but he never goes inside; waiting on his bike,
motorcycle, or mini Cooper. He knows
local farmers and often stops to help harvest,
plow up the fields, and chat with the family.
He is given peppers, tomatoes, corn, potatoes,
squash, onions, garlic, and fruits, too.
With bounty he rides his bike into the city
and gives it to the men with cardboard signs
reading homeless, help now, in black marker.
The corporations hate 21st century Jesus.
“Who does he think he is, feeding the hungry?
That’s our job!” During a sun eclipse,
he is arrested for distributing without a license
and goes to jail in his overalls and plaid shirt.
Meanwhile, other people start visiting farms
and meeting with open hearted volunteer plans.
The people murder multinational corporations
by not buying air lifted and boat tugged
oranges and peanuts letting 21st century Jesus
return home, mission accomplished.
I never forgot the whole WWJD campaign. It haunts me to wonder what kind of car Jesus would drive, whether he would buy bottled water, would he buy a smart phone, would he have a Facebook fan page, a personal website? I’d like to think he would be enthusiastic about using new technology to reach people.
Thinking about all the ridiculous TV evangelists, I kind of doubt he would have his own TV show. I imagine him as a modest kind of guy who would eschew fame. If he did, it would probably be like the Jesus and Friends call-in show featured on South Park. Phone in your questions and Jesus will answer them.
I want him to come back. I desperately want to see him walking amongst AIDS patients, cheering on local farmers, standing with union sympathizers, and comforting the abused people and animals in shelters. I imagine him being outside the typical political debate though. Neither Democrat nor Republican, I see him as fiercely independent making decisions carefully based on a politician’s character.
The way I describe him you would think he was an old hippie telling stories and championing the weak and sick but isn’t that part of who he really was? Whether you’re religious or not, you have to admit that the iconic nature of Jesus really transcends the religion of Christianity itself. How could anyone hate this guy? And yet, I think his love and kindness would be rejected since it doesn’t sell.
My poem sort of hints at this with the GMOs issue. Multinational companies have one goal and that is to sell something. Jesus isn’t easily commodified even though people have tried. In the blog post “The Jesus of American Consumerism (or: The Commodified Jesus) by the Reformed Reader, points out that “consumer Christianity is sacrilegious, not to mention that it just plain looks silly.” I couldn’t agree more.
Maybe in the same vein my 21st Century Jesus would appear the same way. I don’t know. I do like the idea of him coming back to fight Monsanto for the health of Americans and the world who also eats our food. And despite what the Reformed Reader says, I do think he would make a fine addition to any coffee house crowd, reading poetry, and drinking fair trade java, grown in the shade, of course.