Big Shot


Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead. (Galatians 1:1 )

Nobody messes with Paul.  He’s on a mission from God.  That’s what being an apostle is all about.  In fact, apostle literally means “an insane Jesus fanatic with an inclination for astral travel and a hyper-active adrenal gland who is sent into a world pretty much going to hell in a hand-basket.”  That’s from the original Greek itself.  I looked it up.

Paul doesn’t want anybody thinking that he got voted into office by a bunch of dweebs in pointy hats.  He didn’t win the judges over on American Apostle with his rendition of “I Did it My Way.”  Paul doesn’t want anybody thinking he got his badge by cutting a deal with the former governor of Illinois.  No way.  Paul was hand-picked—well, maybe drop-kicked is more accurate—by none other than the Big God himself.

You remember the scene: Paul (traveling under his old name, Saul) is on his way to the city of Damascus to do some persecuting of Christians there.  Suddenly a bright light blinds him and knocks him to the asphalt.  He hears a voice saying, “Saul, you idiot!  What in blazes do you think you’re doing?”  Saul, a pile of quivering stupidity, asks the voice, “So, like, who are you up there?”  The voice answers, “Like, duh.  I’m Jesus, the guy you’re messing with.  Now get up!  I’m going to give you a job which will involve a whole lot of suffering.”  And that’s how Saul (who soon becomes Paul) gets into the apostle business.  His job is to make Christians and those Christians, in turn, will make other ones.  It’s like Amway except way different.

From then on Paul was a human spark-plug.  He went all over the world telling people that Jesus got himself raised from the dead and has the only tickets to the last picture show.  If anybody disagreed with him, they got a none-too-subtle prescription for genital reduction.  (Uh, yeah.)  Not everybody appreciated Paul; they thought he was acting like a big shot.  That got Paul into a lot of trouble.  He got chased out of town, shipwrecked, beaten up, stoned (with rocks, you hemp-heads), imprisoned, and eventually got himself killed.  All in all it was a wild ride that makes Jack Kerouac’s On the Road read like Mother Goose on Valium.

Without the Apostle Paul there’s a good chance most of us would be bowing down before trees, fondling technology fetishes, venerating political cardboard cutouts, sacrificing to expediency, praying to cell phones, or worshiping steroid macho men and silicone-enhanced media goddesses. . .

I wonder if I have Paul’s phone number somewhere.


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