JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

Jesus in the window

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So I’m sitting inside my favorite Los Angeles coffee shop, and at the table in front of me is a man who could be Jesus Christ.

He’s wearing a blue shirt and khakis and brown sandals. He has brown hair cut short with stubble where a beard could have been. He’s been reading what appears to be a Bible for the last 20 minutes, and there are a whole bunch of religious texts placed before him.

Is he Jesus? Probably not.

But even if he were, would people act differently? Would they stop and pay for his meal? Offer him a place to sleep? Wash his ratty clothes? Would they listen to his words, or just presume it all to be the rambling of a crazy man?

See, that’s the weirdness of society and, specifically, religion. Every week … month … year we receive the same messages and stories over and over and over. Love thy neighbor and care for the needy and walk with righteousness and on and on and on. But, with rare exception, we don’t. We walk past the homeless with either indifference or disgust. We attach the word “morality” to issues like gay marriage. We pray, but often for ourselves and our families. Not the kid in Africa. Not the man in the window.

Were Jesus here, I don’t think anyone would give a damn.

We’d just assume he’s some guy in a window.