Albert Einstein once joked, “A good scientist should be able to explain the law of physics to a waitress.” Einstein concurred, “If you can’t divulge complex subject matter simply, you don’t know it well enough.” 2,000 years prior, Jesus Christ used parables (everyday examples and relatable analogies) to bridge the intellectual gap with the ignorant masses. You know, the depraved butcher and baker. The regular folks caught up in the rat race, stressed out with recurring bills, dependent children, and minimum wages, living paycheck to paycheck. The passive-aggressive moody type: average Joes and Janes that make twerking videos, parking lot fistfights, celebrity penises, and fart noises go viral. And pardon my candor, but our kids (distracted millennials with nine-second attention spans)—by and large, for the most part—aren’t spending their ample downtime Googling fine art, generally speaking (hello Avengers, Fortnite, and Game of Thrones). As balanced and well-adjusted as my children are, I’ve never seen my kids researching the “Mona Lisa” or the Sistine Chapel or an English sonnet (of their own volition). Chalk it up to being young and dumb. Chalk it up to lascivious human nature.

Anyways, one of my favorite Jesus metaphors is about “new wine.” Indeed, “Nobody puts new wine into old wineskins, lest they erode (from acidity/fermentation) and burst open (thereby ruining the goods). Nope. Wine sellers (with half-a-brain) always put new wine into new containers so that the contents may be preserved effectively” (Matthew 9:17). To all ye atheist meatheads, the Messiah wasn’t talking about alcoholic beverages! Jesus was talking about ideas! New ideas. Really good ideas. Radical ideas. Game-changing ideas. Transcendent ideals…like turn the other cheek (be long-suffering), love thine enemies (be merciful), he who is without sin cast the first stone (nobody is completely blameless), choose the life more abundant/the more perfect (seek togetherness/cooperation/inclusion/unity), man doesn’t live by bread alone (there’s much more to life than food, clothing, shelter, and mundane functionality), store treasures in heaven where thieves can’t steal and rust can’t deteriorate (do good down here in the material realm and it will surely come back to you in intangible eternity), and forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us (an evolutionary principle, the root of all communal living, i.e. practice patience and compromise with crabby neighbors)…to name a just a few (right off the top of my head).

Gee whiz, what a really nice guy (that Jesus dude). And not only did we shoot the messenger; not only did the angry, stressed-out mob crucify him…but we’re still crucifying the underemployed handyman from Galilee some twenty millilumen later. Perhaps that’s why Gandhi lamented, “I like Jesus. I really do. He is ideal and wonderful, but you Christians are nothing like him.” As a matter of fact, I’ll throw all the naysayers and skeptics another doggie bone: there are (no doubt) tons of assholes and perverts who claim to be Christian. Total phonies. Frauds. Fakers. Two-faced. Think terrorism.

If a terrorist intends on blowing up a football stadium (and they happen to be from the Middle East), they’re not going to attend the sporting event in Islamic attire (a turban). Nope. Instead, they’re going to wear a red, white, and blue Make America Great Again T-shirt. Moreover, they’re going to stand reverently for the national anthem with their right hand over their heart and a draft beer in the left (like all God-fearing patriots). The covert mission might even be nicknamed “Operation Blend in with the Morons.” Similarly, if I’m a real prick, Christianity (claiming to be a Christian) is the perfect deflection point (reverse psychology). The ultimate camouflage. The perfect cover and smokescreen. The ole wolf in sheep’s clothing maneuver (pun intended). As a matter of fact, I’ll even go a step further: no entity on the globe has done more harm to the brand name of God than outwardly religious people. Hypocrites! Perhaps that’s why Jesus warned his disciples not to be self-righteous, “Don’t be too preachy or holier than thou. Don’t exaggerate or oversell your devotion in public” (Matthew 6:1). Perhaps that’s why “many call My Name (God’s), but I know them not (Matthew 7:21)!”

Indeed, no entity (since its inception) has done more damage to the convoluted reputation of Higher Power than organized religion. Period. No source has turned off millennials from traditional religion more than our religious predecessors. End of story. We must own it (the spilt milk). It’s a done deal. Fact. We can’t wave a magic wand and erase the past: from the Catholic Crusades to Victorian England to the institution of slavery to the rigid dogma of conservative fundamentalism to priest pedophilia. Perhaps that’s why Nietzsche chagrined, “Whenever I come in contact with a religious man, I always feel like I need to wash my hands afterwards.” I get it: we (Christians) fall short of the mark every day. Forever short of the glory. I get it (we’re held to a higher standard). In many ways, I’m not much different. That’s why I often liken myself to C.S. Lewis (of The Screwtape Letters): I am often typecast (preordained) a Christian apologist. It seems like I’m always forced to clean up our hot mess. You know, the dumpster fire we call “Christianity” (trending downwards, plummeting towards extinction).

But wow, are you kidding me, the Lord of Lords (as it turns out) was an underemployed handyman (God certainly doesn’t think like a pompous CEO, Higher Power definitely has a bizarre sense of humor). What a sick joke: a blue collar man has influenced everyone from Roman emperors to imperial kings and queens to Founding Fathers to every single American president to Shakespeare to Einstein to Sir Isaac Newton to da Vinci to Michaelangelo to Mozart and Beethoven (the list is endless and unceasing). Indeed, no single soul has had a greater influence on enlightened minds more than Jesus Christ. Mic drop! Until the end of time, history can never separate America from the love of Christ (from our messianic origins). The whole kit and caboodle, from the American dream to the veritable pursuit of happiness to life and liberty to the more perfect union: it’s all based on Biblical precepts. Fact. No getting around it, my beloved!

Yet and still, 2,000 years later, the disgruntled masses are still excoriating Mr. Nice Guy (the most significant figure in human history, bar none, not even a close second). Whoa! Correct me if I’m wrong, but Jesus Christ didn’t sell crack or shoot heroin. He didn’t snatch a purse, rape a child, or rob a bank. Why is Jesus so hated and despised? What’s up with all the vitriol? After all, the Savior wasn’t a pimp, drunkard, shady tax collector, vile street thug, or ruthless boss. Christ wasn’t a heartless bureaucrat (Jesus didn’t work for the DMV, post office, or IRS). Nope. All the Messiah did was spread love, be a straight shooter, give a little hope to the poor, perform a few outstanding miracles, and tell the God-dang truth. And we killed him! We killed Jesus in less than 36 months. We killed the Chosen One (the Son of God) lickety-split (a few days after He revealed himself on the big stage—during Passover—in Solomon’s Temple)!

In the same vein, Emerson rightly concluded, “Our opinion of the world is often a confession of our own character.” Likewise, how you view Jesus (pro or con) has less to do with the actual facts surrounding the religious icon (His legacy is cemented in the annals of time forever). But rather, your misinformed perception of Jesus (Mr. Nice Guy) is really a reflection of your own soul, your own disposition (whether your glass is half-empty or half-full). Moreover, not only did we torture the Christ, we mocked and murdered Mr. Nice Guy in the most brutal, humiliating, degrading, and despicable manner! Heinous civilization tarred and feathered Jesus! We put Mr. Nice Guy through the fckng ringer (like an innocent Lamb in a meat grinder). We literally slapped and spit in God’s face (the sublime personification thereof). And Immaculate Conception, Son of God, and religious factionalism aside, can we all agree that we (society, in the court of public opinion) slaughtered the best version of ourselves (in Christ)? We (the butcher and baker, the average Joe and Jane) annihilated the celestial human template. The King of Kings. The Best of the Best. The sovereign (most high) specimen of our divinity. The living embodiment of Intelligent Design. The Son of God! Wisdom incarnate (in the flesh)! Alas, “to be great is to be misunderstood” (Emerson). No matter how you slice it, can we all agree, no one is human history continues to be more grotesquely misunderstood than the part-time carpenter from Nazareth?

Thus (as the Greatest-Story-Ever-Told goes) we (in our anxiety-riddled pigheadedness) denied the grace and majesty of Higher Power. Says a lot about mankind (if you ask me). Boy oh boy does persecution give me shivers! Man oh man, does ignorance grieve my spirit! God darn it, the devil (our dark, insecure side) is a liar (John 8:44)! Jealousy is such a filthy rag! I hate it! I hate haters! Lord pray for me! And that’s exactly why Jesus (the radical, Jesus the law breaker, Jesus the fugitive from justice, Jesus the outcast, Jesus the falsely accused, Jesus the antihero), who lived to the ripe old age of 33, who resided outside the mainstream, living on the fringes, near the intellectual edges and margins; with His three year underground ministry and grassroots network; a continuing criminal enterprise, accompanied by his band of loyal disciples (his unlikely gang/entourage/motley crew), was (in essence, at the risk of blasphemy) the world’s primary dissident. The Original Gangsta!

Indeed, to people like myself, casualties of war (traumatized veterans of the felonious War on Drugs); to nonviolent persons like myself (with over three decades in the criminal justice system, with eight and a half years behind the wall in state reformatories)…you’ve heard the spiel (the cliché)…sometimes guilty…sometimes hauled in on trumped-up charges (pun intended). Most people get the gist…(like Jesus, thru thick and thin) I (somehow/some way) remained a much nicer person (a more caring and considerate human being) than 90 percent of the people arresting me…more than 90 percent of the people processing me…more than 90 percent of the persons demonizing me…warehousing me…criminalizing and judging me (secretly profiting off my misery). Maybe that’s why Winston Churchill (one of the unsung heroes of WWII) surmised, “Perhaps it’s better to be irresponsible and right then to be responsible and wrong.”

Thus, for Jesus to be portrayed as a maverick and outlaw was emphatically recognizable. Epic! People like myself (the direct descendants of the institution of slavery, from the rebellious African-American underclass) totally identified with the Messiah (the overt rule breaker and stylish extremist). We were cut from the same cloth! People like us (born into the vicious cycle of poverty, the ignoble legacy of American slavery) couldn’t deny that Jesus Christ was the truest O.G. ever. The baddest mtherfcker on the planet. The Big Homie. The original ride or die soldier. And what hurts me most, what bothers me more than anything (what is so painfully obvious) is that all parties involved (from both camps)—that either adore and/or denigrate Jesus—don’t know Him in the least. Most (from both sides) don’t know sweet Jesus from a can of paint! Wouldn’t recognize a good thing if it dropped in their laps or stared them in the eyes.

For, if nothing else, to know Jesus (the real Jesus) is to get but a faint glimpse of God’s preference. God’s favor. God’s archetype. God’s only begotten (the apple of His eye, a person after His own heart). To know Christ (the untapped power within) is like witnessing a vague (subconscious) image of the best version of our collective selves. The ideal soul. Simply put, to know Jesus (the Son of Man) is to love Jesus (mankind as a whole). Accordingly, there will always be an unspoken symmetry between the ancient Israelites (the original chosen, God’s foremost instrument of antiquity); and impoverished African-Americans (the new chosen, God’s most impactful subculture in the modern era). An unbreakable/unwritten bond between the souls of poor black folk and Jesus Christ of Nazareth (our spiritual progenitor/architect)! The Original Gangsta of Love!


Anyways, to all ye boneheads and numbskulls: think high-definition television. You can’t engage digital technology (or sophisticated applications) using an analog operating system (or old wineskin). Subsequently, this query letter is less about me securing a literary agent and more about the industry’s dated infrastructure. A referendum on old science. A critique of antiquated models. The old way of doing things. The ineptness of the status quo (the crummy business-as-usual mindset). This query letter sheds light on the woeful, parasitic, ambulance-chasing, settling-for-less approach. The life less abundant, the life less perfect (the lingering remnants of the industrial complex and male privilege). Therefore, this query is mostly about tainted temperaments. Incorrigible and distorted points of view. This query is about your skewed understanding (or lack thereof) of revolutionary ideals. This essay is about small-mindedness!

Revisiting the age-old question: “Where does the next big thing come from?” And here’s a little hint: the life more abundant doesn’t come from Rodeo Drive. The more perfect never comes from Beverly Hills (the 90210 ZIP code). Indeed, search the ends of the earth, and I’ll bet you a million bucks the next big thing won’t be found in the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel (being served hand and foot, sipping on mimosas). Nope. No way, no how! The “new wine” or “new ideas” (the really good ones) don’t originate from jaded privilege, comfort, or ease (hello Garden of Eden, hello prolonged adolescence).

Nope: historically speaking, shameless privilege (impotent bourgeois thinking) always feeds the ego (the outward appearance of things), but invariably starves (really hurts) the competitive soul (our rough and tumble character development). Privilege offers temporal, fleeting, superficial status, but brings little real value. Privilege stunts our existential growth (the pilgrim’s progress). Indeed, privilege may allow you to travel the world—all 196 countries and seven seas—but privilege constricts (stymies) our aerial view of life. Our big picture. Our eagle eye perspective. In a nutshell, the long and short of it: snooty literary agents severely overvalue themselves within this burgeoning digital landscape. I’ll say it again: in this brave new world, literary agents (the proverbial middlemen) overestimate themselves. Under these everchanging environmental conditions, in this wireless matrix of accelerated returns and constant upgrades: a privileged / pampered “stagnant mentality”

(Hubris) is a bad thing. A very bad thing. Maybe the worst of things!

Perhaps that’s why intelligent design (or twisted fate) birthed Jesus (the greatest of all time, the best of the best) to a working-poor family in a manger next to a bunch of goats and cows. Not too low/not too high. After being born in a shed on a haystack, apparently, none of us have a valid excuse for failing to live a meaningful life. Nope, one thing is for certain: the next big thing will never be found on Easy Street. Edison confirmed, “Opportunity is missed by most people because its dressed in overalls.” Indeed, “Inspiration exists…but it must find you working” (Picasso). Alas, it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6), but faith (theory) without works (practice) is dead (James 2:14). A bitter pill to swallow, counterintuitive on so many levels, especially to a gentrified America. Especially to our conceited heirs and spoiled benefactors (with their noses in their smartphones, taking nonstop selfies, with their brazen self-promotion and instantaneous downloads/gratification).

Think basketball (for I have a parable of my own).

There were once two plastic surgeons from Beverly Hills (why do I keep picking on the super-rich). Anyways, these two doctors were very tall and rich. They lived in a mansion. Their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents were all wealthy. They had every blue-blood advantage conceivable. The world was their oyster. The mother was 5’11″ (very tall for a woman), and the father was 6’6″. They birthed twin boys. Both grew to be 6’10″ with crystal blue eyes and curly blonde hair. The silver-spooned twins seemed to have everything: private schools, personal trainers, expensive tutors, and matching Porsches. The twins had gone to every elite basketball camp in the Unites States since they were eight years old. But in the end, the King (Lebron James) was born to a wild child (a rambunctious, 15-year-old girl, a surly single mom from some dilapidated low-income housing development in some quaint village/college town outside of Cleveland, Ohio). Hear ye, hear ye (all thou buffoons): the King of the Court (the Chosen One) wasn’t raised in some shimmering castle (in some affluent section of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, or Washington D.C.). But in lowly Akron…in Nazareth.

Hallelujah! Praise God! Can I get an amen? Life is so unfair! Life is so uneven! Praise God, who tips the scales towards equanimity (as the first are often last in the kingdom of Heaven, in God’s eyes). Praise God that life is hard! Thank God that life is unpredictable! Thank God for the beautiful struggle! Praise God that life is topsy-turvy! Chaotic. Unscientific (at times). Praise God that life is absurd (Albert Camus)!

For Providence so loves a long shot. Serendipity favors the underdog. And the universe still conspires in behalf of the foolish dreamer. Never despise small beginnings (Zechariah 4:10). Come Hell or high water, never forget that (I am living proof)!