Schlepping to Brooklyn
A few blocks from my apartment in Park Slope, there is a church with a large sign proclaiming “Making Jesus Famous.” I was not aware this was necessary. I assumed Jesus had a lock on his celebrity status. Never had I thought about all the work that goes in to keeping him on the charts, or all the little people who do it. The Lizzie Grubmans of the religious world.
I wonder about the work of this church. Do they exclusively represent Jesus? Or is he just their only client I’ve heard of? Are they a catchall agency, working with Jesus, Sarah Jessica Parker, a few saints and an indie rock band out of Williamsburg? Or do they specialize in the religious types; messiahs, prophets and visionaries only? Do they watch the newspapers for reports of miracles, looking for unsigned talent? Or do wanna-be saviors come to them, with portfolios of dead people revived and prophecies come true?
What else does this church have in the works? Will they soon launch a reality show with Jesus as the celebrity judge: “America’s Next Top Messiah?” or “Who Wants to Be the Son of God?” Maybe a comeback tour? Endorsements? How about a reunion special with all Twelve Apostles, or a tearful Doctor Phil in which Jesus and Judas hug and make up?
It’s funny to think all of this is coming out of a storefront church on an un-rehabilitated block in Park Slope. I imagined Jesus would at least command attention from an agency in Manhattan. But maybe he wants to be in Brooklyn, for the street cred or just to be closer to the little people. From what I’ve read of his book, he seems to like the little people. Maybe it’s just a branch office, or one piece in a larger guerilla marketing campaign.
But I like to think it’s the real thing, that if a messiah did decide to visit the 21st century, she (or he, or ze) would start here, in between the Halal Chinese restaurant and the punk rock coffee shop; where the old Italian ladies still sit out in lawn furniture on hot days and the lesbian couples push their babies past in strollers. Where on the morning of the summer solstice, I heard drumming pagans in Prospect Park and the call to prayer of the muezzin. Where from my window I can see the lights of Manhattan, but I know the names of my neighbors because it’s Brooklyn, and that’s how we roll.
Sure, it’s no fertile crescent, but the Gowanus and the East River are kinda like the Tigris and the Euphrates – if you hold your nose. We’re a center of culture unlike any other, and with a population of over two million, there’s room in this inn, baby. We’re waiting. Like Motel Six, we’ll leave the light on for you.
What wonderful being, its hour come round at last, shleps to Brooklyn to be born? God only knows.
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