For Lauren, who is trying to tell people what they could do instead of what they should do.

I watched the mist roll off the mountains and way up there was Jesus, like a dashboard figurine, his arms spread wide to greet the sky, calling us back home.

The problem with Jesus is that everyone likes the dead one. The dead one or the baby. The ones who don’t ask anything of you. My mother says that Jesus already came back, as a black woman in Oakland, so no one in America listened. The moral of the story is: don’t hold your breath.

He’s up there on the mountain in case you were looking for God but I don’t think God is hiding. I don’t he’s dangling heaven above our heads like a treat to his dogs, reminding us that we don’t get the good stuff until we’re dead.

I don’t think God would do that.

I think what we need isn’t more God, it’s more love. It’s not Jesus, it’s each other. There are no saviors. No one is outside this. I’ve seen and done a lot of good and my fair share of evil. Heaven and hell are both right here, I found them and I live there.

I don’t know what happens after we die. I’m not dead yet. What I wonder is if there’s a heaven, why is there an earth? Why make us learn the hard way? Why make us at all?

My favorite Jesus isn’t dead yet either. He didn’t perform miracles. He doesn’t remember the Three Wise Men, maybe no one ever told him. When they nailed him to the cross, he died because he died and that’s what people do. He was a guy in Palestine who knew that love meant you had to get your hands dirty. He talked and people listened until the time came to get their hands dirty too.

I like to think Jesus would like that about me. Like it, or at least understand, that I’d rather have a faith I choose than one I’m bound to serve. To be a good person because I want to, not because of heaven. To do what’s right not even because it’s right, but because I want to. I want a God who lives inside me.

I might be wrong about God. I might be God, and we might be one, you, and me, and Jesus, and everything. Either way, we can agree that if Jesus is the answer and if he’s coming back down from heaven to save us all, we could at least try to make this feel like home.

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