When people go all Zen on me, I moon them, then give them the finger. I read the koan wrong I think. Guess its why I never took to Zen. That and getting whacked with a stick. We don't take to that in the South.
But some background info may be in order for those of you who may not be familiar with Southern American culture. From Thanksgiving until Christmas Eve, Southern Christian Churches perform elaborate Christmas pageants, complete with music and, depending on budget, elaborate staging and costume, celebrating the entire career of the Man from Nazareth, from birth to death to rebirth to Ascension. My second wife, who was Episcopalian, was a devout member of the largest--and richest--WASP Episcopalian church in East Tennessee, and their pageant was magnificent.
This church had the largest pipe organ in the state, complete with full array of trumpets. Now that I know a little bit about keyboard, how I would love to get my hands on it. I loved that organ. It's mighty voice rattled the buildings across the street, and as everyone knows, the larger the organ, the more intense is God's scrutiny.
The priest was an okay bloke named Father Joe; he and I exchanged Green Lantern Comics. Actually I loaned him issues from my extensive collection, and we'd have lunch and geek out over Hal Jordan and Allen Scott. I taught him a great deal about Buddhism--he actually wanted to know about it. Episcopalians are cool people. They don't care if you drink, if you're gay, if you enjoy dancing and coitus, or if you're an agnostic Buddhist--if you're a good person, you're okay with them.
Like the Baptist Church of my youth, they occasionally tried to get me to portray The Big Man in the pageant due to my dark complexion, deep dramatic voice and other wholesome spiritual qualities. The elderly ladies of the congregation always tried to get me into the fold, you see. Even though everyone knew I was a heathen, I was a diamond in the rough. I suspect they hoped for a flash-conversion if i donned the robes of Jeshua.
Needless to say, I declined. I knew I could never do this with a straight face. Most people have a little imp on one shoulder and a little angel on the other, constantly urging them to good and bad deeds. For most people, the angel wins. Unfortunately, my angel developed Alzheimer years ago and has been negligent in his job for so long the Imp of the Perverse has held sway over my actions since childhood. Putting me in the starring role of the Life of Jesus would be an act of desecration second only to using the Shroud of Turin as a washroom towel at an all-you-can-eat chili dinner at the Alabama vs Florida tailgate party.
I knew it had to be Jesus strolling down that dark highway, not his father Joseph. Joseph is traditionally portrayed in these pageants as an old man, gray of hair and wearing dark robes. The adult Jesus is played by a man in his twenties or early thirties and ALWAYS wears a white robe. So my Roadside Jesus was clearly the Son of God, not the Father of the Son of God, the one Cuckold in history who had to grin and bear it or get struck by lighting. Besides, Joseph smoked a pipe, Jesus smoked Marlboros, he was a rebellious youth.
Author of Redneck Buddhism: or Will You Reincarnate as Your Own Cousin?