All right, so, I don’t get to push The Devil Wears Nada much these days. What would be the use? I know all of my AJ readers have already read it, right? I’m just saying, the conversation I had with one of the ministers in TDWN about Jesus’s divinity and how that correlates with being a primate seems to be back in the news. And to that, I just wanna say . . .
Told you so. (It’s tough being a prophet. Those crazy kids. They just don’t listen these days.)
Check out the graffiti below:
Okay, you may not be able to read it. It names a few West Bank outposts and it just so happens to include the phrase, “Jesus is a monkey.”
As if that would be an insult.
I mean, come on. As I told Rev. Irving in TDWN, “What’s everybody got against monkeys? Has anyone ever paid attention to them? They are all kinds of awesome.”
You know it’s true. We only wish we could be that cool. Instead, we spend all of our time demonizing one another because we can’t agree on which political messiah is going to save us. And we don’t seem to get how it’s all mediated to us in such a way as to make sure we are perpetually owned by the nation-state. It’s just embarrassing. The powers-that-be are not even trying anymore. Why should they? We make it so easy. This has to exceed the wildest imaginations of Locke (while, also, possibly, terrifying Hobbes).
And this graffiti? It’s a little funny, even if ridiculous. I mean, I get the political protest part of it all, but, otherwise, it’s just silly. Between this and us in the states ready to wage war with one another due to our misplaced assumptions regarding the soteriological nature of Caesar, it has me thinking it’s time to get out. Time to go elsewhere. It’s just too hard to take homo sapiens seriously anymore. We’re beyond ridiculous. I am declaring, therefore, that I’m going to throw my lot in with monkeys. Yup. Emperor tamarins, proboscis monkeys, and spectacled langurs trump humans every time. It’s not even close. When’s the last time you heard two tamarins arguing about Jesus, Romney, Obama, Shiva or George Clooney? When? It’s just not going to happen. They’re much too busy looking for food and sex. Can’t argue with that.
I’ve decided, therefore, that if Jesus is going to be my savior (and if I’ve learned anything from Christianity it’s that we, individually, get to decide what kind of savior Jesus will be for each one of us), then he’s going to have to be a monkey. The only real question is, what kind of monkey? And here is where we can start a whole new branch of theology and in-house fighting. Just think of all of the ridiculous theological battles we can wage, all the ink spilt, trees turned into paper, all the schisms and reformations and more schisms we can look forward to, all the glorious inconsequential battles to come, all the emerging and post emerging movements, and all the reactions to those movements, and the great thing is, only one of us can be right.
And, of course, that person will be me.
I have a PhD and shit.
So, again, I ask, ‘What kind of monkey is Jesus?’
Is he an old world monkey or a new world monkey? (I imagine this is akin to what split the church in terms of East and West.)
And if we could ever hope to agree on that essential bit of information (Old or New), which I would never be so optimistically-inclined, what species would he be? What form would he have to take?
After all, what is not assumed is not saved.
(I’ve read my share of Gregory of Nyssa. Or, wait . . . was that Nazianzus?)
So, would it be the Malbroucks? The De Brazzas’s? Or, how about Squirrel Monkeys? [One of those crapped on me a few weeks ago, so I’m thinking those are the Catholics of the monkey family.] Spider Monkeys? Marmosets? Tamarins? Capuchins? [That’s the one my money is on.] Owl Monkeys? Hamlyn monkeys? Howler monkeys? [I imagine those kids are the Protestants of the monkey family–they just won’t shut up. Plus, come on . . . what kind of Christian tradition replaces the Eucharist with self-indulgent moralizing? Ugh.] Mandrills? Roloways? Douc Langurs? The Red Colobus? [Communist bastards, I’m sure.]
The rest of the animal kingdom must be so proud to be connected to us.
Because, you know, Romney is an elephant, Obama is a donkey, and Jesus is a monkey.
Granted, I think it’s a shame that elephants have to be associated with republicans while donkeys have to bear the burden of democrats. Monkeys, on the other hand (if these vandals are correct), may have lucked out.
Then again, we all know what happened to Jesus . . .
Crucified, brought back to life and turned into a clothing fad.
So, you’ll have to forgive me if I just sit back and watch whatever Caesar is enthroned “destroy” or “save” the world while doing my best to pretend I haven’t ever heard this sad refrain before. And since everything needs a soundtrack, I think I’ll wonder over to my small corner in nowhereville while listening to the Mad Caddies perform their signature tune, ‘Monkeys’.
What else do I have?
Whew . . . that part between 1:53-2:48?! It’s so sultry, isn’t it?
And the 2:30 mark? Whew.
About the Author
Tripp York teaches religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia. He is the author of more than half a dozen books including, Third Way Allegiance, The Purple Crown, and Living on Hope While Living in Babylon. He is the co-editor of the forthcoming three-volume collection called the Peaceable Kingdom Series. An actor and a lighting designer, Tripp also surfs and spends his weekends shoveling elephant and giraffe poop.