Conversations with God: The (Next) Transfiguration

Apparently, God’s marketing plan for Jesus wasn’t going as well as he had hoped. So, he did what any self-respecting spiritual entrepreneur would do, he held a promotional event.

Jesus just wasn’t getting the traction God wanted. His tattered and worn smock-like and ill-fitting robes together with tread-bare sandals and unshaven un-coiffed appearance tended to diminish the influence of his otherwise godly words. The modern-day rule, that the medium is the message, had yet to be realized. In today’s parlance, he had been trending but as an influencer his popularity was waning. It was time to rebrand Jesus.

In the gospels we learn that Jesus took a few of his pals including his disciple, Peter, James (son of Zebedee), and James’ brother, John the Baptist, up to the top of a mountain. (Mountains are always impressive venues for big promotional events.)  This is where Jesus’ rebranding through transfiguration takes place. Matthew 17:2 suggests that Jesus was “transfigured before them. His face shown like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” Two other important pundits of the day, Elijah (representing the prophets) and Moses (representing the law) also arrived just in time to witness what the disciple Luke described as Jesus’ new and obvious glory (Luke 9:32). “Spreading the Good Word” as is the calling of any dutiful Christian today, meant for that particular event these important opinion leaders would later provide street-cred for Jesus’ rebranded magnificence.

In Christian theology, the Transfiguration becomes a pivotal moment in the transcendence of Jesus’ stature as a divine philosopher placing him at the top of the charts among those focused on hearts and minds until the ultimate event—his crucifixion and resurrection—would complete the pillars of a belief system that has survived now for more than two millennia. The Transfiguration is widely held as the moment between what Dorothy Lee described in her 2004 monograph, Transfiguration, as the connection of the temporal and eternal placing Jesus as the bridge between heaven and earth. A whiz-bang promotional event, indeed. God had nailed it.

Fast-forward to today. God, I have a suggestion. And, don’t act like you can’t hear me. Turn up your hearing aids if you must.

Behaving ourselves—living up to the Good Word—is, as I understand it, a prerequisite to pass through the gates of heaven, which apparently now-a-saint Peter has the gig of guarding. However, like the allure of airline frequent flier miles to affect loyalty, the incentive of be good and live forever in heaven is wearing a bit thin today. (I know you don’t need frequent flier miles, God, but have you seen how hard they are to redeem lately?) Maybe modern medicine is to blame keeping us alive way longer than in Jesus’ day, but being good in a world where so few are is starting to take on the odor of Black Friday deals where you pay more than you would have on Thursday. Today, it seems the path to wealth and power depends on how bad you can be. So, […]

By |November 26th, 2023|Categories: Current, General, Recent|Tags: , , |

Imagination Nation

America has always been a nation driven by the unbridled imagination of its citizenry. In our first two centuries when we saw something we could improve, we acted to do so often without asking permission. The declarative mindset was, “We the people” can do better. Of course, there is a fine line between ambition and hubris but, for the most part, our unique and enduring concoction of courage and optimism—expressed through our imaginations—has served us […]

By |November 19th, 2023|Categories: American Identity, General, Recent|Tags: , |

Altered States: My Road Trip West

When I last road-trip reported in May from my first extensive windshield-time since the onset of the pandemic (“Healing the Heart in the Heartland,” May 21), I had cruised through nine states in the Midwest—the American Heartland. For those who missed it, or have forgotten its message in the ether of a glorious summer, I observed that “What I found was a paradox of prosperity and fear; both inspiring and heartbreaking.” I also found “lovely […]

By |October 29th, 2023|Categories: American Identity, General, Recent|Tags: , |

And the Winner is: None of the Above

What was most remarkable about the second Republican debate of the non-Trump presidential aspirants and the almost-but-not-quite shutdown of our federal government was how few Americans seemed to care. According to the Nielsen ratings service, viewership in the second debate dropped 38% from 12.8 million to 9.3 million—the lowest viewership since Trump became a candidate in 2015. As for the prospective shutdown, people were much more interested in the budding romance of Taylor Swift and […]

By |October 6th, 2023|Categories: Donald Trump, General, Leadership, Recent|Tags: , , , |

The Rule of Impermanence

It is a great blessing to live where apps connect but no one responds. Want a ride? Drive yourself. Hungry? Cook. Something broke? Fix it. Lost? Look at the sun, moon, and stars. Many folks don’t understand a life without apps while I can’t understand why anyone would give their life over to pernicious algorithms and phony social media-curated friends. One day, years from now, we may come to the realization that the promise of […]

By |September 24th, 2023|Categories: General, Recent|Tags: , |

Let’s Get Really Real

That sickening feeling you have in the pit of your stomach when you think about (or perhaps are forced to think about) the 2024 presidential election is, unfortunately, based in reality. Most sickening feelings are. And, like all things that bother us—from little mental disturbances to sickening feelings—we summon all manner of coping behaviors to rid, or at least quell, the trepidation. In this manner, we are only guilty of being human. But in this […]

By |September 10th, 2023|Categories: Donald Trump, General, Recent|Tags: , , , |

Lean into Integrity

As I watch our country today—from Instagram and TikTok thirst traps to presidential mug shots—I find comfort in taking leave from these egoistic perversities, settling back into the seat of the soul, and reminding myself of higher forms of human dignity. On this Sunday, of the simple yet resolute strength of integrity.

Woven from virtues

as strong as braided steel

Anchored by truth and humility

integrity is the spine of character


Like the rock in the river

unmoved by the torrent […]

By |August 27th, 2023|Categories: General, Recent|Tags: , |
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