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Was Jesus found in a California jail?
by James Snyder
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When I first heard the story, I was amazed. For one, I did not know Jesus was lost. It took awhile to get over that one. Second, I was surprised to discover he was in jail, particularly in California. I’m not sure how he got there, and furthermore, I do not know how they recognized him. After all, who really looks like their driver’s license photo?

Many people claim they have seen Jesus. Somebody found a picture of Jesus embedded in the trunk of a tree in their back yard. For some reason everyone assumed it looked just like Jesus. How they knew it was Jesus and not their old Uncle Herbert is beyond my imagination. I’m voting for Uncle Herbert.

Actually, the headlines ran something like this: “Paris Hilton found Jesus in jail.”

This from a person whose favorite expression is, “That’s hot.” And we all know where “it’s hot.” Not knowing her personally, she appears to be some kind of expert on this subject. I suppose you cannot raise a little hell in life without becoming something of an authority on the subject yourself.

Perhaps, and I’m only conjecturing here, she has found her situation in jail a little too hot for comfort and is seeking something that is a little less “that’s hot.” I would suggest a cold shower.

I’m always surprised, and yet I shouldn’t be, when people find religion in jail. Just about everybody going to jail gets some form of jailhouse religion.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for people getting religion, especially if they have lived a life of debauchery and immorality and celebrity status. A little dose of the right kind of religion cannot hurt anybody. Unfortunately, the wrong kind cannot help anyone.

It strikes me that the people who usually get a dose of jailhouse religion have had no thought of religion prior to their alleged incarceration. I say, “Alleged,” for a particular reason. I have visited prison many times as a chaplain and I know for a fact that there are no guilty people behind bars. Everybody there has been framed.

Well of course, the frame comes in the form of bars, and sometimes it was visiting bars that created their problem. That being the case, I do not understand why innocent people like this need to get religion. I always assumed religion was for guilty people.

I’m for people getting religion but why do people get “jailhouse religion?” Why not “coffee house religion?” That would be a lot less stressful and you could have a nice cup of coffee to go with it, and a donut or bagel depending upon the religion you get. Then, after you are done, you can go home.

One problem with these coffeehouses is what they charge for a cappuccino borders on sinful. That’s not hot. Of course, the problem with this is that when most people frequent a coffeehouse, thoughts of religion are not uppermost in their minds.

Most coffeehouse thoughts gravitate to the important issues of life like, “who’s going with whom,” and “who just dumped whom” and, “what celebrity is going to rehab this week?”

This brings me to another thought. Why don’t we have “rehab religion?” This would seem to be a better place to find religion than at some smelly old jailhouse. In fact, this would be my religion-finding place of choice.

Today’s rehab centers are the new and up-and-coming time-share properties. No honest-to-goodness celebrity (and who is these days?) would allow a year go by without spending some quality time at their favorite rehab center. Had I known about this trend years ago I would have sunk a large portion of my investment portfolio in some celebrity rehab center somewhere.

I would think, and it’s just me I know, that these rehab centers would be the perfect environment to find religion. After all, they are quiet and serene with plenty of time for reflection ... or sunbathing, for that matter. Of course, there is the possibility that you can get burnt while worshiping the sun. That’s hot!

Do you know where I would like to see a good dose of religion take hold? I know it is a crazy thought and would be voted out in the first round, but I would like to see politicians really get religion. I mean the shouting kind of religion that would cure anyone so infected with the virus of lying that is common to politicians. That would be some religion.

It would not be inconsistent with what we know about Jesus. He was accustomed to associate with some rather unsavory people: publicans, prostitutes and religious leaders. Most politicians fit rather nicely into this collection of insalubrious characters.

Imagine some newspaper headline reading, “Politician finds Jesus in the Senate.” That would be news. Nobody would believe it and insist on sending that politician to some rehab center.

Despite all this excitement about finding Jesus, he is not the one who is lost. I know some people say they found the Lord. What they do not know is that they were the one lost and the Lord was the ones seeking them.

It is more correct to say, “God found me.” Jesus made this quite clear; “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10 KJV.)

When a person really “finds” Jesus, it is accompanied by a radical change of character and behavior. With Paris, let’s wait and see.

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...in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them... 2 Cor 5:19

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Member Comments
Member Date
samuel saalwaechter  17 Jul 2007
Some Politicians have found religion on the campaign trail or at least acknowledged that they are religious. It hasn’t changed their views on the “hot” issues such as Gay Rights and Abortion, nor my views of them. Maybe if they really found religion (Jesus), I’d vote for them, but alas they’d loose the liberal vote that they feel they need to have a chance of winning. I’m glad God’s in control
lauren finchum 02 Jul 2007
Why was it suprising that Jesus was in a jail? Since He went to a tax collecter's house and ate with whores, a CA jail just might be the first place He'd head. After all (I paraphrase), "The well don't need a doctor."
Sharlyn Guthrie 29 Jun 2007
Your title captured my attention and did not disappoint. Your humor is fresh, engaging, and thought-provoking. You might even say it's hot!


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