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  • Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
    Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright


    I don't care what they may say, I don't care what they may do
    I don't care what they may say, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
    Jesus is just alright


    I don't care what they may know, I don't care where they may go
    I don't care what they may know, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah


    Jesus, he's my friend; Jesus, he's my friend
    He took me by the hand; led me far from this land
    Jesus, he's my friend


    Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright, oh yeah
    Jesus is just alright with me, Jesus is just alright

    By Tom Johnston, “Jesus is Just Alright”, by the Doobie Brothers

    Then I was inspired, now I'm sad and tired
    Listen, surely I've exceeded expectations
    After all I’ve tried for three years, seems like thirty, seems like thirty
    Could you ask as much from any other man?

    Tim Rice, from “Gethsemane”, Jesus Christ Superstar

    Easter used to be one of those days that was shrouded in great mystery for me. In my Roman Catholic upbringing, we learned the whole passion of Christ story. We learned how those terrible people in Jerusalem turned on Jesus, putting him through the most terrible of suffering - they beat him, whipped him, spit on him, then nailed him to a tree, planted him on a hill with a couple of common criminals, while the whole time, he just took it, and forgave them through it all. Even his own gang, the Aposttles, turned on him, especially Judas and Peter.
  • I remember going to a passion play when I was about 3 or 4. We were sitting right up near the front of the theater. Every time someone called out Peter’s name, I thought they were calling me, and I would say “What? What do you want?” I was so wrapped up in the compelling drama, I thought I was part of it, especially when they kept calling my name. Meanwhile, the guy on the stage who answered to my name, was being a complete coward, denying he knew this dude who’d been his best bud up to that point.

    The way it was all presented to us, or I should say, the way I took it, was that all those other people were terrible, bad people – heathens. We Catholics were the holy ones. Yeah, man, if we’d a been there, we would have stayed on Christ’s side through it all. We wouldn’t have betrayed or disowned him, like that bad, bad Judas, or that weak Peter did. I came to truly hate my name, when I realized what Peter did. The message we got, the hidden meaning behind it all – we were better than all those non-Catholics. We were going to heaven, while they were all doomed to Purgatory, at best, where they’d have to spend, oh, maybe at least half of eternity before they might finally get to come in the back door to heaven. This was the nature of the brainwashing of being raised Catholic.

    Up until around age 14 or so, I bought into a lot of it. I was a good altar boy, and tried to be a good Catholic. When I experienced bullying and torture, from friends, no less, and from one of my brothers, I considered it my trial, my own personal passion play, and I endured it. This was what I was taught to do, I thought. I tried to just forgive them, and be a decent person, and sooner or later they would see the way. I would not be weak, like my namesake, Peter, had been in the passion play. Instead, I would be the rock, I would remain grounded in Christ’s teachings, and turn the other cheek. Throughout that time, I was certain that I had a friend through it all. I had a friend in Jesus.

    When I’d finally had enough of the beating and put-downs, I very much felt like I was turning to the dark side. I felt like I was consciously choosing to embrace hedonism, and that I was weak, after all, like Peter, like Judas. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I turned my back on the “good” Catholic kids who were losing their favorite scapegoat, and became a heathen myself, most likely bound for hell, but I was going to have fun on the way down. Heaven was just too much for me to aspire to any longer. I wasn’t good enough.
  • It took me years to sort all of this crap out in my mind – to realize it was all a bunch of hogwash, and all I had to do was ask God, or the universe, for help, and be open to whatever form it came in, and help was always there. I was not meant to suffer all forms of pain and punishment here on earth, waiting for it all to end so I could go to heaven, if I had been good. As Jim Morrison so eloquently said, “You do not have to petition the lord with prayer!”

    As far as Jesus goes – as the song says, Jesus is just alright by me. I did feel like he was there with me, and for me, when I was enduring all that suffereing as an adolescent and young teen. He was there, because I reached out to him, and he provided comfort and sustenance when I needed it. Not because he was the son of God, or that he was the part of the chain of command that I was supposed to go through. He was there, because I asked. Just like my father was there when I reached out to him after he died. And my friend Reed was there when I needed him. And my Mom. The world of the spirit is not exclusive. I learned that if I reach out, the help is always there.

    I don’t have to make myself good enough for God. I just have to make myself open to whatever help it is that I need. The less I think I know, the more open I am to it. All I know is, it’s good to be alive, and it’s good to be free of all that hogwash I grew up believing. I have no idea why they thought it was a good idea to fill young minds with all that garbage we were taught in Catholic school. I’m just glad I learned how to lose it all, and find something of real meaning and purpose in life.

    Life is good.

    Happy Easter, everyone. Have a chocolate bunny on me!

    Life is bigger
    It's bigger than you
    And you are not me
    The lengths that I will go to
    The distance in your eyes
    Oh no, I've said too much
    I set it up

    That's me in the corner
    That's me in the spotlight
    Losing my religion
    Trying to keep up with you
    And I don't know if I can do it
    Oh no I've said too much
    I haven't said enough

    Losing My Religion, Michael Stipe, R.E.M.
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