There is a prominent statue of Jesus Christ as a beggar. He sits in a cloak, face covered, hand out for the willful that would provide him alms.
My aunt Sally is an avid Christian. Avid is the best term for description, and you will understand soon, I hope. She also has a devotion to one-armed bandits.
The statue gets a lot of flack and derision because, in America, the best that I can tell, the figure of Jesus Christ is marketed in such a manner that one can only assume he has a paid team of professionals and a financial advisor. This can cause quite a few issues, as you can imagine. It seems that the further back in time one studies, the case for paid career ministry teams and goateed fresh graduates in skinny jeans diminishes.
Aunt Sally has a self-appointed position at her local church that nobody else really recognizes but her, and everyone allows her to prattle on about it as it breaks up the silence and monotony, and there are few other subjects that she historically has seemed to be able to input on. I don't say that she fails in attempting to do so.
Part of the platform of piety is in feeding the poor. She tried that a time or two but failed in the food safety department. Bless her heart, she couldn't roast a fish over a fire on the beach as Our Lord did for Simon Peter, and she also missed the memo that mayonnaise is not shelf stable in the summer after opening.
Her gift of a creative potato salad became a potential implement of death. If this had occurred two thousand years ago, she could have been the very reason Lazarus needed to be raised from the dead. Thankfully, my father and I bailed out of consuming that dish like a scene from The Matrix.
I do seem to recall that there was great moaning and writhing from the after-effects of the dark side of the Holy Spirit. Since you are able to read this without a dictionary, I imagine you might call it botulism. Pride denied the obvious blame for the thing that should not have been eaten. It was blamed on the Devil at work, and that was sufficient.
For those with a handle on what was going on, their eyes had to be strapped lest they roll right out of their sockets. The rest, fully engulfed in a baptismal pool of malarky, well, I reckon their brains just fell out.
Jesu also cared for the needy. It was a great reason for many of his miracles. She was more in the vein of floral design. It sounds delightful, really. These works were some of the most beautiful arrangements one could ever hope to see if the observer were legally blind. And if they were not, their position on that could change soon enough.
Nothing quite feels like a stranger pissing on your doorstep in winter or the horror of possibly marrying your sister like a bouquet or two of plastic flowers.
The Savior also tended to the sick, and this was the place where Saint Sally really shined. She had two friends, an elderly couple of saints in their final days, that needed her assistance and tender care. Everyone knew their names, but no one I questioned had actually ever met them, sadly enough.
They were migratory, like a flock of birds, and like fowl, they always had the same places that they would haunt over the American South. They sought to salve their ailments at institutions of health and welfare, specifically in places with names like Biloxi, Tunica, and Cherokee, North Carolina.
Sally had a couple of friends, high on the service of the Lord, that helped her in her divine mission of aid, like assistants to Florence Nightingale. She was a lady of a different kind of lamp, however.
Praise the Lord.
I don't properly recall if she accepted donations to help with her missionary work, but I do recall that whilst on a phone call, my mother offered to contribute. My father cocked his head ten degrees and, looking at her over his glasses, said, "Louise, we ain't doin' that."
Not everyone can sacrifice themselves for the greater good of others, and Christ's selfless example. She was an inspiration and object of fawning for quite a few older defenders of the faith that I witnessed firsthand. She made an effort to be humble about it.
She got upset at me when I brought in the mail, and it contained postcards from these blessed institutions. Like what I assume was the First Church of Caesar's, Harrah's World Baptist Missions, and Bally's Medical Supply.
Of course, I talked to Dad about it. He snorted with a grin and said, "Son, all the smart people already know she's full of shit. But don't tell your mummy. She hasn't figured it out yet. It's best if you not let their lives involve you."
And I did exactly that.
I lived in Los Angeles for almost a decade and had my time in Vegas. I wasn't upset about the gambling but more about the lying hypocrisy and deceit around it. And it would be easy to say that My Dear Aunt Sally is, in this case, math that doesn't add up, but one must acknowledge the institution that put her mind in that condition.
Hell, I have a nice list of half-truths, escapades, and utter horse-hockey against her, and I would have probably given her some cash to gamble with if she'd been honest. But who am I? It was the Church of Jesus she was taking for a spin.
Color me reactionary, but I get the vague impression that you don't want God as a slot host. You certainly don't want to introduce loaded dice to his craps table.
As many a confidence artist has pointed out, everyone has a price.