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Slow Jesus: Why Quick Isn't Right

          "Doesn't this guy know there's no such thing as a bad short sermon?"
          "Shhhh.  He'll hear you."
          "He's too busy preaching.  You'd think anybody with anything at all to say could get it said in an hour.  This guy's been going on all day."

          "Well, he's said some pretty good stuff."
          "I've heard better."
          "Oh yeah, when were you in synagogue last?"
          "I go when I can.  Anyway, I was tied up last Sabbath evening.  Had this real crisis that came up.  You know, one of those emergency things."
          "Oh yeah, what'd you catch."
          "Just a couple of mullet and . . . Hey, wait a minute!  Real cute.  So, is he going to go right through lunch?"
          "I dunno.  I did hear him tell this great story a few weeks ago.  Seems there was this farmer, out throwing seeds, and some of them fell on . . .".
          "Heard it.  I didn't think it was that funny."
          "I don't think it was a joke.  It's more like, you know, like an earthly story with a heavenly meaning."
          "A what?"
          "An earthly story with a heavenly meaning.  Just seemed like the right thing to call it."
          "That’s the dumbest thing you’ve said today.  Anyway, I can't imagine any man who has his head on straight getting that fired up about religion."
          "I hear He works miracles."
          "Yeah, so does our grandpa.  Reaches for my kid's nose 'n then sticks his thumb between his fingers.  'Gotcher nose, junior!'  First time he did it little Jed just about jumped out of his tunic"
          "All grandfathers do that trick.  I'm talking about real miracles."
          "Okay, name one."
          "He told some fisherman to cast in their nets and they were full of fish."
          "He calmed a storm."
          "A fast moving high pressure system moved in."
          "He made a paralyzed man walk again."
          "Psychosomatic answer for a someone suffering from hysterically induced paralysis."
          "What?  Where did you hear that?"
          "I read about it last month in Provincial Inquirer."
          "Brilliant.  Inquiring minds want to know and all that.  Did you also read the article about aliens building the pyramids?"
          "Well, they could’ve.  Wait, you don't actually believe that stuff do you?"
          "Jodab followed the guy around and says he saw some pretty amazing stuff."
          “Some people are just gullible.  Anyway, you getting hungry?"
          "Well, now that you mention it, yeah.  You?"
          "I'm hungrier than a Pharisee at a pork lover’s convention."
          "You didn't bring anything."
          "Nah.  I thought he’d be done long before lunch.  Who ever heard of a preacher going all day.  Hasn't he heard of our limited adult attention spans?"
          "Who knows?  Let’s slip out and head back.  I saw this little fast food place down near the road.  They had a special on fish sticks and matzah munchies."
          "Now why can't preachers take a lesson from that?  People want their religion like they want their food:  fast and filling.  Nobody wants to go out to eat and wait on a meal these days."
          "I suppose you’re right.  Nobody has the time for slow anything.  It's rush here and then rush over there.  These are my third pair of sandals this year."
          "Exactly.  Quick-cooked and ready-made.  That's what sells.  Religion ought to be the same.  A little singing.  Some quick little tidbit of wisdom.  A nice warm feeling of God in your belly.  All in small digestible bites.  That's sure the kind of synagogue I'm looking for."
          "You're looking for the kind of synagogue that meets by your boat for two minutes of prayer just before hop in and row out to your favorite spot."
          “Uh oh.  We’ve waited too long.  Everybody’s sitting down.  Come on, let’s sit with those people.  What’s going on?”
          "How should I know?"
          "Look!  There’s a kid up there with some food.  Maybe we could…No good.  The preacher’s calling the kid to come up.  Look down and pretend you’re praying.”
          "Oh my.  Look at that?  Those guys are trying to feed all those people with the kid’s lunch. Bad idea.  Listen, there’s already some shouting.  This is going to get real ugly.”
          "Listen closer.  It’s not that kind of shouting.  That sounds more like, well, kind of like cheering.  Hey, brother, think it could be some kind of miracle?”
          "Are you nuts?  There’s no such thing.  Maybe everybody's been hiding food in the robes and now, so inspired by the kid, they’re hauling it all out and dumping it into those baskets."
          "And that’s your explanation?”
          "Okay.  Stupid idea.  But real point is that the food is on its way.  Maybe the day's not wasted after all."
          "You know, I’ve been thinking about the fast food."
          "Me, too.”
          "Not like that.  Remember back when we were kids?  How the women used to work all day on supper.  The food had a different taste to it, you know?  Kind of wholesome and filling and closer to the soil . . .  I guess I'm not making any sense."
          "No.  you’re probably right.  Fast food is quick and tasty, but it isn’t the same.  It’s kind of greasy and cheap.  But, hey, it’s what sells."
          "So, that’s what matters?  What sells?  Are we missing something?  And, I’m thinking about that Nazarene up there.  Did we miss something?  Did you see that lady who ran by a minute ago.  Did you see her face?  She’d been crying.  And, you heard what she kept saying to people as she went by – this was the greatest day of her life."
          "Yeah. So, maybe we should have been listening a little more."
          "But we listened."
          "For about ten minutes.  Give us instant God or we’re outta here."
          "Okay, so maybe we missed a few things he might have said.  So what?  We can catch the high points on the news tonight."
          "Fine, but what if he doesn’t fit into a sound bite?  What if this kingdom he keeps talking about can't reduced and packaged into convenient little happy meals?"
          "Everything can be reduced.  Everything can be improved to respond to the marketplace.  You know that."
          "Do I?  What if that’s not really true?  What if the real God is never the same as the tidy packaged version?  What if religion has to be slow to be real?  What if the kingdom everybody’s waiting for is already here?  What if conquering Rome has already started?  Everybody’s waiting for some big battle while the real thing works a lot slower.  So, no one sees it because no one’s actually looking for something slow?” 
          “Funny, I just had this memory of the bread mom used to make.  Remember? It came from the wheat Uncle Josh grew.”
          “Sure.  They’d harvest it and then Aunt Beth would grind her little mill stone.  She’d grind away while her and mom talked and laughed about their kids.”
          “And then mom making the dough before bed. Remember?  Waiting all night for it to rise.  Putting it in the oven.  I can close my eyes and see it right now.  Man, take a taste of this bread those guys are handing out.  It's good.  Down-home cooking slow-bread good.”
          “So, you think we need to come back and hear this guy tomorrow.”
          "You're kidding, right?   We just sat here and watched a man feed thousands from just a couple of loaves.  Do you realize what we've seen happen here?  This is what we've been longing for since we were kids.  This is what we've been praying for.  After all the years of waiting. Think about what just happened.  You know what it  means? We could make a fortune."
          "I have got to get that recipe."

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