Last night, when Nate came in from walking the flatulent dog, he was chuckling at the direct mail piece (no, not one with another nickel) he pinched between his fingers.
“It has my name on it but I think it’s for you,” he said passing it to me, before cursing the Yankees and storming off to bed.
On the front of the folded card there were four small, square portraits: A smarmy 40-ish guy in a tie who looked like he just slept with your teenage sister; a bearded guy with salt and pepper hair wearing the practiced but forced smile of a self-help guru; a thirty-ish woman with hair by Flowbee; and a hippie chick with a chestnut, middle-parted Marsha Brady ‘do, despite being thirty years too old (and it being thirty years too late) for such a display.
Then I read the headline:
Who is for these Jewish people?
I thought, not me. They’re creepy.
Then I thought, wait–what does that mean, who is for these Jewish people? Is everyone against them? Are they all serial killers? Did they pay retail? What was the problem exactly?
So I opened the pamphlet to find that apparently, their mothers are for them, their spouses, their friends…and Jesus too!
The Jews for Jesus guys used to drive around my heavily Jewish college campus in these scary black vans, shouting into megaphones at women in AEPhi sweatshirts. I had to scamper away from a few myself from time to time. Once in a blue moon I catch them around the city, but mostly they’ve been off my radar. And yet now, they’re targeting Nate, of all people. Nate, my lapsed-Mormon, institutional religion-hating sigoth. Genius.
I’m not particularly scholarly when it comes to religions, including my own. But to me, the whole thing is counterintuitive. Jews for Jesus is like Devout Muslims for Wanton Nudity. Or Pasty Irish for SPF-Free Sunbathing. If Jesus is your homeboy, your copilot, your rock, your beacon–awesome. More power to you. But don’t be walking around in a yarmulke humming the Sh’ma. That’s all I’m sayin’.
Along these lines, there’s something I’ve been meaning to get off my chest for quite some time now.
I’m not sure that I’ve ever told anyone this, but it’s haunted me for many years. I just feel safe with you all, that I think this might be a good time to finally put it into words, release it into the universe, and move on.
When I was young and I used to picture God? It was this guy: