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Byron Shire
December 2, 2021

Here & Now #60

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Image S Sorrensen
Image S Sorrensen

My place. Tuesday, 1.20pm


Look, I’m a big fan of Jesus (the Jewish radical, not the Spanish soccer player).

I still dig his message of social reform and human compassion, despite my having been brought up in Catholic weirdness, and despite having to suffer the phlegm of born-again naffness that desperation sometimes coughs up. But I’m a bit over it.

Two plastic Jesuses stand on the window sill above my sink.

One is laughing and giving the thumbs up. That’s Happy Jesus. He thinks things are okay, his peace-and-love vibe plus comfortable clothing creating a hippie-chic coolness – even though the hipster beard is so last year – and he believes in a fluffy future full of heavenly delights.

He reckons we’ll be saved by chucking out the financial types, by hugging the broken-hearted, by freeing the captive, by giving insight to the bling-blinded, by loving the enemy and by liking his page. He makes miracles happen. I heard Happy Jesus was at Bentley and beat Metgasco. I think I saw him there…

The other Jesus looks worried. This is a prophet on a spring – he constantly shakes. Anxiety. He obviously has read the IPCC report, the letters to the editor, the Al Jazeera tweets, the Budget details – and wonders if peace and love are going to cut it in a world where war and hate generate the big bucks. Hugging is good but it doesn’t conquer oil fields.

Worried Jesus’s constant fidgeting as I wash up last night’s wine glass, rice bowl and chopsticks foretells a looming doom – and, um, insufficient bracing under the shack.

I really should do something, but it seems pointless bracing the shack’s stumps if Jesus’s enemies are going to cook the joint with a mindless, planet-warming assault on the environment.

Like Worried Jesus, I get anxious. I’m growing a beard too. What’s the point of shaving if thousands of tonnes of calthrate-derived methane will be released into the atmosphere as the permafrost melts. Or if I never catch up with the rising pension age.

Bleak futures are best faced with a beard. I’ve seen it in the movies.

I don’t have faith anymore. Not in Jesus, Superman or the power of the people. I don’t believe in miracles. I’m not fooled by heaven. And, try as I might, I cannot love the enemy.

Outside, a gusting wind from the south is ruffling the feathers of a bush turkey. It stands below the sink window waiting for the two plastic bible blokes to rain down compost, like manna from heaven, its little brain having worked it all out.

I really do wish Jesus would come again and have lunch (poached fish and unleavened bread) with the CEOs. He could tell the camel/eye/needle/mining magnate story over a glass of red.

I wish he’d visit the old Christians who run this country and do that ‘I was hungry and you fed me; I needed refuge and you sheltered me’ routine. That’s one of my favourites.

He could tell new Christians that they mustn’t use his name to justify their foibles.

But it would be a miracle if anyone took any notice of him. The age of miracles is long gone. Or is it?

I grab Happy Jesus. The bush turkey gets excited.

I carefully place HJ on the surface of the washing-up water. A shiver of hope runs through me.

‘Walk,’ I say.

Happy Jesus sinks beneath the waters and settles into the rice bowl, thumb still up. Hmm.

I turn to Worried Jesus. He quivers.

Well,’ I say, nodding to the dishwater, ‘what about some wine, then?’

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