A Journal of America's Political Soul Heaven & Earth: Where Politics and Spirituality Meet
July 15, 2024  
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Issue No. 9 - Heaven & Earth
F E A T U R E S :

New » A Message for Humanity

On Morality: The Most Sacred Good

On Courage: Acting in the Presence of Fear

From Darkness, Awakening: A Department of Peace

Spirit Matters:
G&G Interviews Michael Lerner

We Still Need a Religious Left

9/11 and the American Empire:
How Should Religious People Respond?

Saving Fundamentalists From the Religious Right

The Dark Jesus: Spiritual Imagery Inspires Change and Heals Racism

Will We Choose To Survive?

A Sneak-Peak Interview with the Messiah

G&G Arts - Essay
Whose Good? Who's Evil?

A Sneak-Peak Interview with the Messiah

Tonight on The Charlie Tulip Show: Jesus Christ

The year was 78 ASC (After the Second Coming). Jesus Christ, on his second visit to Earth, was about to turn seventy-eight, and since humans had stopped using technology to prolong physical life by any means necessary, seventy-eight was considered a ripe old age. Although most of Christ's teachings had been recorded in large data fields accessible through the Auranet (a fireless medium that had replaced the antiquated Internet and its wasteful plastic and fossil fuels), there were still those who dreaded what was to come. Hadn't his sage words become twisted and his name slandered once before? Would humankind be able to represent him better this time, after his second passing? The thought of losing the ultimate peacemaker – the one who had managed to stop his fellow human beings from dropping bombs on each other – was frankly a bit overwhelming. Thus it was that on the eve of another illustrious incarnation Jesus Christ was a sought-after heavyweight on cosmic talk shows.

It was considered a coup when Charlie Tulip, host of the cosmically syndicated Charlie Tulip Show, landed the ultimate prize interview.

The Charlie Tulip Show

"Tell me, Jesus," Charlie Tulip began, turning to the Messiah. "When you got your first big break, back in the days of television, how were you able to capture the imagination of an audience so spiritually drained and politically polarized?"

"Well, Charlie," Jesus said, his calm voice and scintillating image resonating on the cosmocast. "From when I was a little boy growing up in Ramallah I always had the gut feeling that no matter how badly people treated each other, they all were kindred spirits imprisoned by circumstance. After my parents moved my sisters and I to East L.A. when I was thirteen, this impression was only confirmed: so many great people back then had just been forgotten by their own society, trapped in a vicious cycle of crime and punishment. On the other side, there were souls who had lost track of their natural, caring hearts, who had become distracted by the temptations of wealth and numbed into deep apathy. In my early adult years, as the world was enveloped in wars of greed and an incessant thirst for consumption, the urge to ponder these conditions and to do something about it only became stronger. Since I had just been on a two-thousand year retreat from Earth, I thought my mind and heart were refreshed enough to give it another try."

What was great about the post-television and computer era was that corporate programming had become obsolete, making it impossible for mental clutter to pollute the soul waves. In fact, a kind of revolutionary software that Jesus himself had helped to develop had grown widespread: silence. Like any new software in the post-hardware world, it took a while to come up with the most user-friendly version, especially since "doing nothing" had been eliminated from the prehistoric tech-age vocabulary. However, once meditation had been resurrected from its ancient slumber to become the default operating system, people were once again able to distinguish propaganda from meaningful dialog. As a result, they needed much less memory to build their knowledge base.

"Jesus," Charlie Tulip now leaned toward his venerable guest, his eyebrows raised in the heartfelt sincerity of his question. "There were a lot of folks back then who were frustrated with the status quo, but who felt paralyzed to say or do anything for fear of having their words spun around and ridiculed by the sound-bite masters of the old media. When did you realize that you had something special to say? How were you able to get your message past the spiritual editors and religious spinmeisters?"

"An excellent question, Charlie." Jesus smiled, running his hand through his ballooning gray afro. "You may be too young to remember this, but when I was in my mid-twenties there was a public debate on whether life was the result of evolution or intelligent design. The proponents of each theory were very adamant about the exclusive validity of their respective theories, to a point where things got pretty nasty. At the time I was a substitute teacher at an inner-city middle school, and we were struggling to keep our neglected kids from killing each other. After the politicians had spent millions of dollars of taxpayers' money legislating new language into science textbooks, they sent us a letter ordering us to use the new books. The irony was that we were in no position to buy any new books. 'Jesus,' our principal said, 'we haven't had enough funding to buy new books in ten years – for all I know they could be writing about frogs in bible school.' You know, Charlie, something clicked in me that day. Something blew my heart open. It dawned on me that everyone has a piece of truth, but as soon as our minds become possessive of it or we try to impose it on others, it begins to run away from us. Like a beautiful mountain stream: you can marvel at it, but you can't take it with you."

Charlie's face lit up with recognition. "Is this when you had your first out-of-body experience?"

"Yes," Jesus nodded. "That was the first time. I was simply not equipped to deal with the paradoxical ways of the mind, and how they affected human relationships. I had to go deeper to understand my own mind without judging it."

"What happened next?" Charlie pried.

"Well," Jesus went on, "I calmed down, breathed steadily, and entered a trance-like state. It felt as if in just a split second the two thousand years between my last two visits flashed in front of me – as if the entire history of time were happening in that single moment. It felt as if I had come home, because I hadn't incarnated for so long. When I say 'long,' of course I mean in human terms; in cosmic time it was just an instant. In that timeless moment that felt so much like home, I suddenly understood why I had spoken of the 'Father' during my last visit – it was a word I found to convey the glory and power of the whole universe from which we come and to which we return. Little did I know back then that my words would be taken so literally and used to intimidate people. But in that moment, as so many things dawned on me at once, my soul traveled into the great heavenly living space and everything came pouring out of me like a giant waterfall. 'Science,' I heard myself say, 'is the physical path to the metaphysical. Intelligent design is the acknowledgment of a higher purpose. Combine the two. We are evolving souls in a meaningful universe.' It is all one and the same, just different paths to the same truth.

"Everybody is learning from every other on the physical plane to evolve spiritually. Well, Charlie, the rest, they say, isn't history. My renderings captured people's imagination and we chose this new level of consciousness that is still with us right now."

The Messiah's aura cooled off a bit so as to give his audience some space on the cosmocast to process what was being said. Millions of people from around the planet and from even farther galaxies were now tuned in, listening as well as releasing their own experiences into the auranet. Not since the infant days of the old internet had there been so much room for meaningful dialog in a public medium. (Of course, what most people remembered from the internet were spam e-mails, search engine manipulations, and rampant commercialism.)

Charlie Tulip's image twinkled and sparkled. "Jesus, looking back over the entirety of your Second Coming, what would you say was your biggest accomplishment? Where, if anywhere, do you think you might have failed?"

For an instant a trace of disappointment flickered across the Savior's face. "Charlie, ask yourself for a moment why you might ask this question. I see that I have not fully completed my mission. Dividing things into failures and accomplishments is what got us into a cosmic doghouse in the first place. Remember that back in the old days all our troubles came from dividing people and things into good and bad. Countries used to invade and bomb other countries under the banner of fighting the bad guys." His voice softened. "Nowadays we don't do that anymore, and for that I am grateful. Ever since we stopped relying so much on sound-bites and learned to trust our own intuition we've been able to choose representatives who are more universally attuned and speak truth to our hearts. These days it's unthinkable that anyone without a charitable mind and divine grace would have any kind of real power. A conscious society knows it cannot neglect its weakest parts. It takes concrete earthly measures to provide a save haven for the downtrodden, but not for political or ideological reasons, but from conviction in the heart. This is enlightened action, something which I have been most honored and humbled to be part of."

Once again there was a long pause, filling the empty space. What used to be consumed by sitcoms, commercials, and weather forecasts during the dark ages of television suffused instead with heavenly introspection. When Charlie Tulip's visage reappeared, everyone joining the cosmocast had had a chance to take a deep breath.

The Charlie Tulip Show "Now Jesus, you are turning seventy-eight. Your time to leave this planet is once again getting near. What gospel would you like future generations – who will not have a chance to hear you in person – to hear and to live by? How can we as enlightened humanity ensure we steer clear of the spiritual and cultural literalism that has caused us so much pain in the past?"

Since death was commonly considered not just a natural step but a beautiful passage through the gates of infinite consciousness, Charlie's question raised neither the Messiah's nor humanity's eyebrow. Now resonating at full flux, Jesus turned his earth-toned face in an omnidirectional angle.

"Humanity has come a long way since my last visit, particularly within the span of my current lifetime. It hasn't always been easy, and there have been many crucial junctions that we as soul sisters and brothers have come to. However, despite all the inherent complexities, the lessons of life are quite simple: act from your love, not your fear.

"As practical advice, to keep us from choosing corruption or war, I urge you not only to listen to the poets, artists and musicians; I urge you to be one.

"Do not fear fun, creativity, or mystery; stay open to the planets and stars in the great sky, and their movements, for they reflect our own inner movements.

"Never cease to be a child, for curiosity and playfulness preclude judgment.

"Love your mother and your father, and as I alluded to earlier, be careful with the meaning of words. You are birthed not only by your parents, but by the whole earth, which sustains us all and likewise is sustained by us and by the cycles of the universe.

"Make small deeds from a large heart.

"Be here now, for everything else is just a thought.

"And most important. Don't follow a messiah. The meaning of life is within you."

Christ then faded from the auranet's vibrational fields, leaving humans to contemplate his message.

Charlie Tulip went on to welcome the Prophet Mohammed for the show's second segment. Mohammed had incarnated as a painter-turned-statesman and had helped his native Mesopotamia bioregion heal from a brutal civil war at the end of the fossil fuel age. His apparition promised to be a great complement to the first half of the program. Rumors began circulating around the auranet that Jesus would return for a round table discussion.

On the eve of Jesus Christ's 78th birthday, the world was at peace with its humans.

Sven Eberlein (tubernation@sbcglobal.net) is a musician with Chemystry Set, a writer for the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and a contributing editor at Garlic & Grass.

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