Jesus, he knows me. And he’s rather a friendly chap. I met Him, I mean, “him” outside the King Street Mellow Mushroom in Charleston, South Carolina.
Of course, I’m not referring to the King of Kings on which the worlds most popular book of fiction is based, I’m speaking of “that Guy” that dresses like Jesus and wanders our streets.
I make it a point to be polite to everyone. I believe this is the best way to lead a human life, plus you never know who is packing heat. It’s easier to say “Hello” than bust a cap outta your ass. Thus, when I saw Urban Jesus walking the King Street shopping mile, I took no chances on gun play and took the time to chat.
As with most things I do, there was an ulterior motive. At the time, I was in the company of my nine year old son, Gabriel, and I felt it important that he meet someone with a unique perspective. Even more important that Gabriel might forever know that his Father is NOT the oddest man in town
It turns out that this barefoot wanderer in white tunic gent is Paul Josephs. Though his online name is Peace Pilgrim 2. And unlike many of the self absorbed jerks I’ve met, Paul in no way thinks that he is Jesus. Paul told me that he simply tries to live his life in a way that he imagines that Jesus might.
To this end, Paul carries no money. Only preaches the word to those that are interested. And plus or minus, counts on the kindness of strangers to make it day to day. This was so me, I was startled. I live almost the same way.
Paul said that he has traveled this way for something like 10 or 12 years. He’s traveled throughout the USA, Europe and South America. He said that he often becomes affiliated with a local Church that gives him a place to stay and allows him to assist their youth pogroms, I mean youth programs.
Paul told me that he had just gotten to town and didn’t yet have a place to stay. He felt that God would provide. Not that I expected him to say otherwise.
I told Paul that I work for charity, which is true. And that my work often takes me to Los Angeles which leaves my downtown apartment completely vacant. I suggested that if it was ok with my Landlord, he was welcome to stay at my place for the weeks I was in L.A.
I’ll be frank. I wasn’t offering “Jesus” a place to stay because I’m a religious man. I have no formal religion of my own. In fact, I would be much happier if people stopped referring to their religions and started calling them their “speculations”. I somehow doubt that people would be willing to start and continue in protracted Wars over their speculations.
Anyway, the real reason that I wanted Paul to stay in my simple apartment is that I was curious what kind of Houseguest Jesus would make? One would assume very polite and neat. However, there is always the possibility that after a long day of washing the feet of the poor, He’s completely unwilling to put away his dishes. Oh sure, he’s happy to hang with lepers and hookers but just try getting this bastard to fold up his air mattress.
And what if this Jesus turns out to be a secretive alcoholic??? “Gabriel, bring the bucket over here. Jesus just turned wine into vomit again.”
So, I went to my Landlord, a “religious” man. A pillar of the community. He said that he had read about Paul in the local wire service that calls itself a paper and that he would really prefer it if Paul did not stay at my apartment.
I explained that there was nothing for Paul to steal from my apartment unless he has a undeveloped interest in sports balls, Coca-Cola or pornography. Still, my Landlord asked that Paul should wander somewhere other than my 2 room apartment.
My Landlord explained that the sight of Paul would make the other neighbors “uncomfortable”. Especially, I suppose if they saw him on their way to Church.
Yes, what could possibly make religious people more “uncomfortable” than a man living simply and in peace, traveling by foot and doing decent deeds. I questioned my own sanity for offering this scum a place to rest his head.
I called Paul back at a local Church and explained that my Landlord said “No”.
He blessed me for trying and I blessed him because I felt like doing it.
Jesus, he knows me. But he can’t stay here.