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The TL:DR Bible: Acts 3-4


Chapter 3:

Peter and John are going to Temple to pray. They see a guy who can’t walk begging for money, so Pete stops.

“Hey, man, I don’t have any money, but in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, walk!”

Pete grabs the guy, yanks him up and the man can walk now. So he leaps and runs around praising God for his healing and causing a big stir. Pete notices the crowd looking at them, so he figures it’s time to give another sermon tinged with just a bit of antisemitism.

“Why are you all so surprised? We didn’t do this. God through Jesus did. You know, Jesus, the guy you killed and asked for a murderer instead of him? You killed the prince of life, but God raised him from the dead. We’re witnesses of this, and that’s how we healed this man through faith in Jesus.

“Okay, you guys didn’t know you were being all Christ killers, and God did sort of foreordain it all to happen, like it says in the Old Testament… if you kind of squint and take verses out of their context and apply them to the future instead… Anyway, Jesus is the prophet Moses promised, and if you don’t follow my… I mean, his teachings… you’re going to die. So who wants to join up?”

 

Chapter 4:

But, wouldn’t you know it? Apparently the priests aren’t happy about the big stir their causing, not to mention preaching about a resurrection and Jesus, so they grab them and throw them into religious jail overnight.

But another 2,000 men join the church, making the total number of believers 5,000 or so men… because they’re the ones that count, amirite?

So the next morning, the priests bring them out.

“So how did you heal this man?”

“You’re putting us on trial because we helped a sick person?”

“You’ve read the gospels. Of course we are. We’re the super evil villains.”

“Yeah, we healed him by the power of Jesus. You guys rejected him, but God exalted him and raised him from the dead. There is no salvation apart from him.”

So they are all super amazed at Peter and John and can’t answer them, so they send them away for a moment while they talk among themselves.

“Well, we’ve got to shut this new religion down. Bring them back in. Okay, guys, you did a little miracle. Good for you. But now you must stop teaching and healing in the name of Jesus. MUHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

“Yeah, we’re not going to stop.”

“Okay, you got us, but seriously stop it. You can go now.”

So they all go home and everyone prays and says, “God totally predicted all of this. Help us not to shut up, but to speak even more and do even more miracles.”

Then an earthquake happens, everyone is filled again with the Holy Spirit and starts running around saying bible verses out loud.

Still being an apocalyptic cult, the wealthy start selling off their goods and lands and giving the money to the church to share with the poor. So everyone got what they needed. And a guy named Joseph sells a plot of land and brings the money and puts it in front of the apostles.

“Didn’t Jesus say something about not letting anyone know about your giving?”

“Yeah, that’s a part of the bible we’re going to ignore.”

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The TL:DR Bible: John 13-14


Chapter 13:

Jesus and company are in the room where they will eat the Passover meal. Before that happens, Jesus grabs a basin, some water, and a towel and washes the disciples’ feet.

Peter: No way, Jesus.

Jesus: If I don’t wash your feet, you have no part with me.

Peter: How about a sponge bath then?

Jesus: Just your feet will be fine.

After he’s done, Jesus says, “I’m your master and I washed your feet. Do the same to each other and act in humility and service. Also one of you is totally going to betray me.”

Peter signals the disciple whom Jesus loved to ask who it is. This disciple, resting their head on Jesus chest or stomach or shoulder, asks who it is. Which, maybe it’s a cultural thing, but that seems really intimate for just friends to be doing.

Jesus signifies that it’s Judas, who gets possessed by Satan and runs off to tell the Pharisees where Jesus is going. Despite asking the question and getting an answer, everyone is still acting like idiots and lets Judas go.

Jesus: I, uh… I just told you guys that he was going to betray me.

Disciples: Durrrrr…. I thought he was going to go buy more groceries.

Jesus: No, I just said, “My betrayer is the one I give a piece of bread to dipped in sauce.” Then I gave it to Judas.

Disciples: Maybe he’s going out to give money to the poor…

Jesus: If there’s a fifth gospel, I am so getting better disciples.

Jesus: I’m going away and you can’t follow right now. But I give you a new commandment to love one another as I have loved you. All men will know you are my disciples by your love.

Peter: Where are you going?

Jesus: You can’t follow me now, but you’ll follow me soon enough.

Peter: I’d die for you.

Jesus: Yeah, we’ve been through this three times already. You’re going to deny me three times.

 

Chapter 14:

Jesus: Don’t be troubled. You believe in God, believe in me too. I will go to prepare a place for you and come back. You know the way I go.

Thomas: Yeah, know we don’t.

Jesus: I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to God but through me. If you know me, you know my Father and have seen him.

Philip: We haven’t though. Show him to us.

Jesus: IF you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father. If you believe in Me, you will do greater works than Me. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it. If you love me, do what I’ve said.

I will ask the Father to send you the Holy Spirit.

I will return to you. After a while, I will be gone, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live too. If you keep my commandments, you show that you love me, and you will be loved by the one who loves me. If you don’t keep my commandments, you don’t love me or the Father.

The Holy Spirit will help guide you and help you remember my words.

But the devil comes soon. He has no power over me. Let us go, so the world will know that I love the Father.

The TL:DR Bible: John 6-7


Chapter 6:

Jesus goes out to the countryside and a crowd follows him.

“Hey, Philip? Where can we buy bread for the crowd so we can feed them?”

“Yeah, Jesus, that’s a bit out of our price range.”

“Hey, there’s a kid here with five loaves and two fish, but that’s not going to do much good.”

So Jesus has everyone sit down and He blesses the food and feeds everyone with a lot of leftovers to spare.  And everyone’s like, “Yea! Jesus just solved world hunger! He’s got to be the prophet Moses promised!”

And Jesus is like, “Aw, crap, these people are going to make me their king now.”

“That’s a good thing, right?”

“No, no, there’s this whole… thing… anyway, let’s go.”

The disciples head over in a boat, but Jesus decides to take a walk on the lake. They freak out when they see him, he tells them to knock that shit off, gets into the boat and they land on the other side. This time, Peter stays in the boat, I guess.

Then the crowd gets up, notices Jesus is missing and goes out to find him. When they do, they ask him when he got there.

Jesus says, “You guys only want me around because of the free food. Stop being concerned about the food for the body, and look for the food for the soul.”

“That’s easy to say when you can just make food. We live in the Iron Age with poor sanitation and no refrigeration. Anyway, what do you want us to do?”

“Believe in me whom God has sent!”

“Why should we believe in you?”

“I just fed all of you with five loaves of bread and two fish? Hello?”

“Yeah, but Moses gave our ancestors bread too.”

“No, God gave them the bread. God is giving to you bread which will give life to the world.”

“Okay, let’s have some of this bread.”

“I am the bread of live. Come to me and you will not hunger or thirst again… spiritually… totally spiritually because a lot of you are going to die of starvation and dehydration over the course of the next two thousand years… but I’ve come from heaven to do the will of God. Everyone who believes in me will be raised up to eternal life in the last day.”

The Jews are like, “No, you didn’t come from heaven. You’re the son of Joseph and Mary.”

“Only the ones my Dad brings can come to me and I will raise them up at the last day. I’ve seen the face of God because I came forth from God, if you believe in me, you will have eternal life. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but I am living bread. Eat of my body and you will live forever.”

“Dude, we’re not cannibals.”

“If you don’t eat my body and drink my blood, you cannot have life within you.”

“Jesus, dude, this is pretty weird,” said the disciples.

“This freaks you guys out? How about when I go back to heaven? But I know at least one of you doesn’t believe in me… Judas…. Lookin’ at you, dude. So are you guys going to bail too?”

“You’re the Messiah who has the words of eternal life,” Peter said. “Where else could we go?”

 

Chapter 7:

There’s another feast and Jesus’ brothers say, “Let’s go to Jerusalem and you can show off your miracles there.”

Jesus says, “It’s not time yet and a lot of other mystic words about why everyone hates me.”

But after they leave, Jesus goes off in secret. And the crowds were looking for him in Jerusalem and everyone had a different idea about him, except the priests who didn’t like Jesus very much. But Jesus shows up and starts teaching and everyone wonders how he became so wise when he is barely literate and didn’t go to Bible College.

Jesus says, “Hey, I’m just speaking for God, so you know you can totally trust me that I’m not speaking for my own gain. Also, you’re all hypocrites and sinners and you’re trying to kill me.”

“Uh… we’re not trying to kill you. You might be a bit touched in the head, Jesus.”

“Look, I did one healing on the Sabbath (it was more than one) and you all freak, but you people circumcise babies on Saturday and it’s not a big deal.”

“Is this the guy the priests want to kill? Why aren’t they stopping him? Do they know He’s the Messiah? But that doesn’t make sense. No one knows where the Messiah comes from, but this guy is from Nazareth.”

“You know me, but I come from God. You don’t know God, I do. He has sent me.”

They try to arrest Jesus and fail. Jesus says, “I’m only going to be here for a bit longer. You won’t find me again.”

They try to arrest him again and everyone assumes he’s leaving Judea to go teach the Jewish communities in foreign countries.

“If anyone is thirsty come to me and I will give you living water.”

No one has any idea who Jesus is. The police don’t arrest him though and get chewed out by the priests and Pharisees when they say Jesus speaks so differently than they do. Nicodemus tries to stick up for Jesus, but is also rebuked.

Personal issues


Taking a day off, folks. My dad is heading into surgery this morning. Thoughts and prayers appreciated.

The TL:DR Bible: Mark 14-16


Chapter 14:

Priests: We have to kill Jesus before he starts a riot and Rome starts killing us. But we can’t do it during the holiday or we might start a riot.

Jesus gets anointed with expensive perfume.

Disciples: Hey! That could have been sold and the money used for the poor.

Jesus: You can help the poor whenever you want to, but I’m leaving and she wanted to make sure I smelled nice. I mean, dudes, we’ve been trekking through the deserts for years now. You don’t have to announce when we’re coming to town anymore, people can smell us from miles away.

Judas: Well, this is just too much for me. I’m off to betray you.

Jesus: Okay. The rest of you go find someone in the city and tell him we’re crashing at his place for the Passover meal.

They eat the Passover. Jesus starts the Communion sacrament. Jesus passive-aggressively lets Judas know that he’s a traitor. Jesus predicts Peter’s denials. And they go off to pray.

Jesus: Dear God, okay, you totally got me in Matthew. So how’s about we call it a day and don’t kill me off in Mark? Let’s just maybe forgive humanity without a bloody, gory death for me.

God: I’m sorry, were you saying something? I was just playing with my new iPhone.

Jesus gets arrested. One of Jesus’ followers invents streaking.

We get Jesus’ trials and Peter’s denials.

 

Chapter 15:

“Mark” wants the nice Roman government to know that Christians do not blame them for the death of Jesus. Since good, tolerant Pilate found no reason to kill someone calling himself the King of the Jews. It was those Jewish people.

Jesus gets mocked and beaten and flogged and nailed to a cross. Again.

Everyone mocks Jesus including the thieves being crucified next to him. Jesus cries out to God asking why God has forsaken him, then he yells again and dies.

The Temple curtain is torn in two, and the centurion crucifying Jesus proclaims him the son of God.

Joseph of Arimathea claims the body and buries Jesus for the second time.

 

Chapter 16:

“Mark’s” resurrection story is the shortest of them all. The Marys come to the tomb on Sunday morning and find it open. A young man in a white robe greets them.

Young man: Hey, guys. Jesus is not here. He has risen. Go and tell the disciples and Peter that he is going to Galilee and you will see him there as He promised.

The women flee from the tomb and say nothing because they were afraid.

And that’s it.

Later authors probably found this ending insufficient and added verses 9 and following, including the bit about snake handling. So don’t pick up a rattlesnake because Jesus didn’t actually say that would be one of your superpowers.

The TL:DR Bible: Matthew 18-19


Chapter 18:

Disciples: Hey, Jesus, who will be the greatest in the kingdom?

Jesus: Hey, kid, come here. People like this child. Innocent, honest, trusting… you need to become like kids to enter the kingdom of Heaven. But if any one hurts one of these kids, it would be better if they jumped into a lake with cement shoes, capisce?

This world sucks because of how easy it is to sin. You don’t want to be the person who tempts another into sin.

If your body causes you to sin, mutilate yourself. It’s better to go to heaven missing some body parts than to go to hell.

And don’t look down on kids. Their angels in heaven see God’s face continually.

A good shepherd will leave his 99 sheep and go search out a missing one. God doesn’t want any of us to perish.

Great. Now let’s talk about church discipline, because I’m sure this won’t ever be abused by sanctimonious arrogant people as a way to berate and control others. If someone sins, go and talk to them one on one. If they don’t listen, bring a couple of buddies along. If they don’t listen to them, bring it in front of the church, and if they don’t listen to the church, shun them and treat them like scum.

You have the power to bind and loose things in heaven. If two or three of you agree on something, it will be done for you by God.

Peter: Hey, Jesus, how often should I forgive Andrew here for pissing me off?

Jesus: All the times.

There was a king who was balancing his checkbook and he found a vassal who owed him millions of dollars, so he commanded the man and his family and his possessions be sold to pay back part of the debt. But the vassal begged him for more time, and the king was moved with compassion and forgave the man’s debt.

But then that vassal went out and found another man who owed him a few thousand dollars and he demanded payment and began to choke his debtor. The debtor begged for more time, but the man threw him into jail.

Some of the others saw what happened and sent word to the king. The king was incensed and confronted the man for his lack of compassion. Then the king ordered the man tortured until he paid back every cent of what he owed the king.

That’s what God will do to you if you don’t forgive.

 

Chapter 19:

Pharisees: Hey, can we divorce our wives for any reason?

Jesus: God joins a man and a woman (or a slave girl, or many women, or sometimes a man and two sisters, etc.) together in marriage, so what God joins together let no man separate.

Pharisee: So why did Mo say we could divorce our wives?

Jesus: Mo did it because you guys couldn’t handle marriage for life without the possibility of divorce. But I say that unless your wife cheats on you, if you divorce her and marry someone else, it’s adultery.

Pharisee: Wait, according to the law, if she commits adultery, I can just have her killed, so why even include a law about divorce?

Jesus: That’s a very good question and hey, look over there!

Later, the disciples say, “Hey, if that’s really the case, then it would be better not to get married.”

Jesus: Yeah, probably, but some of you humans need to get laid pretty badly, so that idea won’t go over well.

Jesus blesses some children, then a wealthy young ruler comes to Jesus and asks what he has to do to inherit eternal life.

After listing off some commandments and being assured by the young man that he already does those, Jesus tells him to go and sell everything, give it to the poor, and become a disciple.

Young man: Yeah… thanks, Jesus, but I forgot I have this thing with the other thing… gotta go.”

Jesus: It’s really hard, almost impossible, for the rich to go to heaven. It’s really only possible because of God.

Peter: Hey, what about us? We’ve left everything to follow you.

Jesus: Seriously, dude, you’ll get your reward.

Peter: We better.

Jesus: You will!

The TL:DR Bible: Matthew 4-5


Chapter 4:

Holy Spirit: Let’s go into the desert. Let’s go into the desert. Let’s go into the desert…

Jesus: And get ourselves a treat?

Holy Spirit: And fast for forty days.

Jesus: Uh… yea?

Satan: Hey, you look hungry. Why don’t you just turn some rocks into bread, since you’re the Son of God?

Jesus: Is this a temptation? How is this a temptation?

Satan: Come on, I’m doing my best… I haven’t done any actual tempting since I got some woman and her clueless husband to eat an apple.

Jesus: It shows. Anyway, the bible says, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word from God.’”

Satan: Okay, well… what if you jump from the top of the Temple. Angels will totally catch you, everyone will see that you’re the Son of God, and start worshipping you.

Jesus: I mean… that’s better, but still, you don’t test God by jumping off of buildings.

Satan: Okay… how about I make all of the world’s leaders follow you and bow to you and all you have to do is bow to me?

Jesus: Seriously?

Satan: A little bow? A teensy-weensy bow? Just nod your head? No?

Jesus: You’re making this awkward. You should go.

Angel: Hey, boss, here’s some bread from heaven.

Jesus goes back to Galilee and settles in Capernaum. Matthew pulls a few more verses out of context.

Jesus: Everyone stop being dicks to each other. The Kingdom of Heaven is coming!

Later, he’s walking along the shore and sees Peter and Andrew.

Jesus: Follow me, guys.

Peter: Sounds good.

He sees James and John working with their dad in their boat.

Jesus: Follow Me.

James and John: Okay.

Zebedee: Hey! What about the nets? Stupid kids…

So Jesus goes around the area giving sermons and healing people and he gets really famous.

 

Chapter 5:

Jesus goes up on a hill and teaches the people:

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit, they will inherit the Kingdom of God.
  • Blessed are the afflicted. They will be comforted.
  • Blessed are the gentle. They will inherit the Earth.
  • Blessed are the hungry and thirsty for justice, they will see justice.
  • Blessed are the merciful, they will see God.
  • Blessed are the peacemakers, they will be called sons of God.
  • Blessed are the persecuted for doing what is right, they will inherit the kingdom of God.

Do what is right, good, pure, merciful, and just and be an example to others, so they can glorify God.

I have not come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. Not one letter of the Law will pass away until all is accomplished. So if you teach anyone to disobey a commandment, you will be cursed. But if you teach them to obey the commandments, you will be blessed.

Unless you’re more righteous than a scribe or a Pharisee, you will not see the kingdom of God.

It was said, ‘Do not commit murder’, but I say take the principle even farther and don’t even hate or insult your fellow man.

It was said, ‘Do not commit adultery’, but I say take the principle even farther and don’t have lustful thoughts about a woman who isn’t your wife.

Moses said you could divorce your wife, but I say that unless she is guilty of adultery, if you divorce her, you make her an adulteress, and whoever married a divorced woman commits adultery.

Do not make oaths. Say what you mean and do what you say.

It was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth’, but I say, do not return evil for evil. Do not be violent. Do not resist an evil man. If someone strikes you, offer him another free shot. If someone tries to take your coat, offer him your shirt too. If a Roman tries to make you carry his gear for a mile, go two miles.

Give to those who ask of you and do not turn away from the one in need.

Love your enemies, do good to those who hate and persecute you. God is good even to those that hate him or don’t know He exists. So you do the same. There is no reward in doing good to those who do good to you. Everyone does that, but you be good towards everyone.

I end with an observation made by Kurt Vonnegut:

“For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes (Matthew 5). But, often with tears in their eyes, the demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course, that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.
“Blessed are the merciful” in a courtroom? “Blessed are the peacemakers” in the Pentagon? Give me a break!”