Save Us

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    Andrea Mantegna, Lamentation of Christ

There is something about what Jesus represents that I cannot hate—no matter how annoyed I become with his most ardent followers—and that is the mind-obliterating concept of ABSOLUTE love; that crazy thing where no matter what someone fires at you the only thing you fire back is love. Always. Forever. That’s @#$%ing absurd! I would like to believe that there is/was/will always be at least ONE real flesh-an’-blood being who gets down like this. I don’t care who or what they are. I just think that it would be cool-as-hell if there were a person or better yet—people—who ACTUALLY gave zero @#$%s walking around; that’s what it takes to be an absolute lover. You have to give not one iota of a @#$% what a person looks like, sounds like, smells like, walks like, where they come from, where they’re going, who they’re related to, what they did, what they’re currently DOING, what they’re thinking about doing, their gender, sexuality, religion, height, weight, etc. You gotta love ’em regardless. Actually, let’s lose the ‘gotta.’ True Lovers don’t feel obligated to love. It’s just WHO they are. Speaking of ‘who’…

What does Jesus look like…to YOU? Is he white, black, Bangladeshi? Does he even have a face? A shape? What is the nature of his physical being? Does any of this even matter? Perhaps the only REAL thing about him is your belief in him; and why can’t that be enough? Why must we incessantly bicker over what the dude looked like? Or whether or not he even existed? Speaking of whether or not he even existed…

Maybe we’re wired1 to create (or exaggerate the real-life exploits of) True Lover anomalies every now and then—outliers who look like us, but love in ways we cannot fathom. Their love is extreme, absurd, unflappable. And perhaps that is what we have faith in. Not the man, but the spirit of what he represents; we want to believe that unconditional love is possible. Especially if we have never experienced it in our lives. Maybe that’s the reason for the aggressive evangelism. The more people who believe what we believe the realer the True Lover seems (and more importantly: the realer true love seems). He exists—fragmented—within the minds of people all over the world (think of believers like particles that together form the body of Christ). When they converge on places of worship the savior becomes dense; faith, like misery, loves company. We see a very similar dynamic within ‘geek’ culture (or any subculture for that matter). A guy walking around his small conservative town dressed as a Stormtrooper might provoke some curious glances, maybe even ridicule, but at an event like Comic Con he is just one of many Stormtroopers (along with several other characters from the incredibly dense Star Wars universe). His world becomes broader. Realer. Any doubt he had about his ‘faith’ vanishes. Speaking of comics…

These guys are reflections of all the ancient super men and women who came before them; and like Jesus, they are hugely popular. If their popularity continues to grow they may one day be worshiped as if they actually walked the Earth. Don’t laugh. These guys already have ‘canons’ that their followers are aggressively adamant about maintaining (just peep the fallout that resulted from the end of the latest Superman flick). There are also thousands upon thousands of ‘books’ devoted to them, some accepted as the final ‘word’ of the character, others no more than intriguing apocrypha. And like Jesus, they represent what we WISH we could be; and we would rather be judged based upon what we aspire to be instead of what we ‘actually’ are. What we ‘actually’ are is a confusing, contradictory, morally relative mess, but the Superlative Ones are consistent, densely moral and competent beyond measure…and they ride for us and only us. So what if they’re as fake as Canadian money. Actually, them being ‘fake‘ might work out better for us; they can be whatever we want and need them to be ALL THE TIME. No matter what the real world is doing, Batman will still be doing Batman shit. His origin story will likely remain relatively the same as will the ancillary characters that people his world. In other words: His spirit will outlive us to be resurrected another day. A future generation may even receive him as their savior because…well, just look at all the cool shit he ‘did’ in our time! Imagine what our descendants will think when they come across all this stuff—memorabilia from all over the globe that points to a broad-reaching fascination. However…

There are a couple differences that may prevent our tights-an’-cape-fitted True Lover manifestations from becoming saviors. The first, their perception of good and evil. Our heroes believe humans can be both good AND evil whereas Jesus believes we are inherently good and incapable of absolute evil. The other difference is how we perceive them. Our heroes may provide thrills and spills, but do they love us? Well, maybe the ‘true’ love we put into their creation and the ‘true’ love we feel for them will manifest as JUST love. In other words: Our descendants may feel OUR love THROUGH our creations. So in a sense there is no difference at all. I’m sure there are some of you who find this concept ridiculous, probably thinking to yourself…

    “Come on man, Batman’s JUST a damn comic book character created by a man. He’s JUST entertainment. An escape from our soul-crushing reality.”

I bet early Christians—passing around the books that later became the Bible—had a similar idea about their chosen form of escapism. Bible stories are entertaining, titillating allegories dripping with visceral, bloody human truth dressed in gobs of deliciously appealing fantasy. I think the fantasy dynamic is responsible for their endurance. Remove the Lord of the Rings element and they would probably be as memorable as minutes from a zone board meeting. The sensational grindhouse-like vibe of some of the more oft-repeated Bible stories has kept us interested all these years. I’m sure the folks who anthologized the books knew this. Work that provokes, scares and titillates us tends to do very well. It captures and maintains our fickle attention. But it’s the True Lover that moves us. He is the one we RELATE to. Believers may not be able to agree on how to interpret the Bible—just peep all the different denominations—but one thing they tend to agree on is Jesus’ undying, sacrificial love for humanity. I think the ubiquity of this concept has a lot to do with lack. You will find the most Jesus fervor in communities where true love (that not-give-one-iota-of-a-@#$% type love) seems to be lacking and fear seems to be in abundance. Oftentimes these commu—

    Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. -Matthew 7:15

Damn. Should’ve known that was coming. This passage seems like it was intended to shut down any curiosity one may have about competing philosophical ideas. But why the need to monopolize the dressing we place over the spirit? Why can’t they ALL be ABOUT the spirit (of love)? Why can’t we have multiple OPTIONS when it comes to impending-inevitable-death-distractions/reconciliations? Speaking of death…

It’s a LIE!!! Just a point of reconfiguration. I think a hint to the nature of the reconfiguration can be found in our dreams. Note how the people we love are there. I would like to believe that they will always be there. And we could visit them, build a house out of gummy bears together. Maybe even hurl cars off of Jupiterian cliffs. I guess what I’m saying is that the after-life may be like an infinite game of GTA…or Minecraft. With infinite clothing options, skins, vehicles, maps, enchanted diamond swords—just the most open world you could ever imagine. And everybody is there, and it never gets monotonous because it doesn’t really ‘feel’ like anything.


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1. Us being wired to create True Lover anomalies does not take away from their divinity. It just begs the question: Why? WHY are we wired to CREATE love? Why do we NEED it?

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