Sunday, October 26, 2008

Exit 151 GSP Montclair Jesus

Montclair NJ, a wonderful place to live and dine where every other home has a lawn placard for Obama-Biden.  In this ultra liberal tree-lined town, one wouldn’t expect Jesus to be a big seller on….Halloween.  Guess again. 

 A stop in the local Pharmacy on Grove Street one could find Jesus hair and beard in Grey, White and Blonde.   Take your pick.  This town does pride itself on diversity. I couldn’t figure out though why the description as a Jesus beard was only written in Spanish.  Talk about target marketing. 

Just when I was pleasantly surprise to find an incarnation of Jesus here (more so than in some of the local churches), a few counters away were some disturbing little Halloween statues.  Is that a little goblin trying to constrain the cross in a glass dome?   What are those skulls and why are they near a glass domed cross?  (Footnote:  it didn’t snow when I shook the globe).   I asked the sales clerk but he just shrugged his shoulders and said, “It’s Halloween, ya know.”  

Mark 15:22
They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull).

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Exit 5B Rt 280 North Caldwell Jesus

Something is lacking from the Rutgers University Football this year. The NJ Devils are also missing something. I just I just didn’t know it had anything to do with Jesus, but hey, there’s a reason the Weird NJ book is a national bestseller. Here in North Caldwell, the Devon Trading Company has it all figured out for a mere $21.95.

At first glance, these statues appear totally ridiculous. Then while I was looking at the baseball Jesus it hit me, and hit me hard. I could have really used this vision of Jesus as a kid. I couldn’t hit a baseball for squat. I wouldn’t even envision Jesus by my side to help with a hit, or pray tell a homerun. I could have used his comfort while the psuedo-jocks mocked this 4-eyed kid going down swinging with another called strike.

The company’s spokesperson says, "They're a great contemporary gift for kids, and it kind of keeps them in touch with their faith and what they're doing today… This kind of reminds them of what they're doing on a daily basis." She may have a point but as one professor at Stanford University notes, "It raises the whole question about what religion is for in a culture…This, in my view, is something like just the endorsement of our sports life. In one sense, it's harmless. In another sense, you'd think Christianity would raise questions about our daily activities."

Job 33:11"…he keeps close watch on all my paths."

as originally reported by Henry K Lee, SFChronical

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Exit 9 NJTurnpike - South River Jesus

Since 1683, this town has been named South River Landing, Willettstown, Washington, Washington Village, Washington Woods, Little Washington and finally in 1897 everyone agreed on South River. All the name changes will make your head spin and probably accounts for the name not appearing on the Exit 9 sign.

Also head spinning is the dual portrait of Jesus here. At one end of the spectrum is the Jesus at the center of St. Mary of Ostrabrama Roman Catholic Church. Surrounded by majestic angels, he holds up the written word evoking the words of John 1:1.

In sharp contrast, South River also gives rise (or perhaps fall) to Jesus Bomb, the punk band. Vocalist Danny credits Pope John Paul as a musical influence and states: "god is dead, lies in truth are in my head..." His goal is to play CBGB. Truth is CBGB is closed and worshipers still gather at St. Mary of Osbrabrama Roman Catholic Church.

John 1
The Word Became Flesh:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

St. Mary’s interior photo courtesy of Oleg Shpak from

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Exit: Alexander Rd, Rt 1 - Princeton Jesus

In 1933, Albert Einstein relocated to Princeton. Einstein described Princeton as "a quaint and ceremonious village of puny demigods on stilts." The town is still quaint and the locals here are the most educated bunch in the state.

Forget the US mint with the, "In God We Trust" motto. The University’s vault contains a Byzantine coin from 1000 AD which reads both in Latin and Greek, "IHESUS CHRISTI BASILEUS BASILEI" or "Jesus Christ, King of Kings." Imagine that.

And the Princeton elite do think about Jesus, quite often as it turns out. In just a few weeks Princeton will host the "Jesus Seminar On the Road." Lectures are all about Jesus...
Jesus: From Nazareth to Nicea
Jesus: In the First Century
Jesus: For the Twenty-first Century.

Matthew 14: "And when the men of that place recognized Jesus, they sent word to all the surrounding country…"