Saturday, December 20, 2008

Eixt 148 GSP Bloomfield Jesus

The residents of Bloomfield give Staten Island a run for their money having the most Guidos per square mile. But alias, the town’s not all gold chains and wife-beater Tees.

After all, William Batchelder Bradbury is buried here. Who you ask? Well, every Sunday School student knows his biggest hit, Jesus Loves Me and folks still walk down the isle over at Brookdale Baptist Church to his other song, Just as I Am.

I wonder what William would think of the state of home Christmas decorations in town nowadays. On the positive side, just driving one mile in town I counted 15 front lawn Nativity scenes. But gone are the plastic-GE-lit manger scenes, replaced by inflatable, blow-up types. At first, I thought I spotted a wayward Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloon that crash-landed at East Passaic Ave. But the more I drove, the more I spotted.

While I’m not into inflatable Wisemen, Mary or Joseph, at least thieves can’t just pick up baby Jesus and run. It’s all or nothing, and it’s pretty hard to go unnoticed stealing a 15 ft. blow-up manger.

But the inflatables do have one major flaw. They deflate with major temperature changes and strong gusts of wind and just wither away; not very sustaining.

Luke 8:6 Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Exit 11 GSP Sayreville Missing Jesuses

By Mary Jo Patterson
Religion News Service

Sayreville, N.J. - Detectives investigating the theft of a baby Jesus statue
from an outdoor Nativity scene at a Sayreville church followed a trail on Monday (Jan. 2, 2008) that led them to the missing statue -- and 26 other baby Jesus figurines.

Police said they assumed all 27 statues had been stolen, although they did
not know from where.

Police spread the figurines out on a counter at police headquarters to take
inventory. All lay, in swaddling clothes, on their backs.

"It looks like a nursery here," said police spokesman Ken Kelly.

The figurines, most of them plastic, were found stashed "in plain view" in a
car parked outside the home of Christopher Olson, 18, of Old Bridge,
N.J.,police said.

The discovery brought relief to the parishioners of St. Stanislaus Church,
who had taken the theft of their statue very hard, according to the Rev. Ken
Murphy, their pastor.

The theft, as well as the theft of a smaller baby Jesus from the church's
school and the toppling of a 15-foot crucifix in the church's cemetery, took
place late last week (Dec. 30 or 31).

By late Monday, word of the baby Jesus stash had begun to circulate in Old

Lou Saverese, a resident of the street where the car was found, said a
mystery had been solved. About three weeks before Christmas, he said, the
baby Jesus in his Nativity scene disappeared.

"My wife thought the wind might have taken it away, but then we noticed
other people on the block were also missing their baby Jesus," he said.
Then, in a park down the road, he saw two more plastic Jesus figures hanging
from a telephone pole. Police cut them down.

Rev. Murphy said it best: "As I told people ..., the most important thing is, we celebrated the birthof Jesus," he said. "Jesus is in many different places. If they saw the display and saw he wasn't there, they would be reminded that he is in them."
John 15:4" Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Exit 35 Rte 287 Morristown Jesus

Morristown’s Green has the biggest, brightest, tackiest and most wonderful Christmas decorations of any public square in the state. And while St. Nick (yes, he is referred to this way in Morristown) was being hoisted down Fire Engine #3’s ladder to the sounds of Bruce Springstein’s (of course) Santa Claus is Coming to Town, something else was discretely going on the Green over on South Street.

A group from Morristown’s own Liquid Church, fresh from spending the early part of the day handing out coats to the homeless in New Brunswick, was busy cooking up grub in the name of Jesus for the residents of The Eric Johnson House, Morris County’s transitional house for people living with AIDS.
Dance instructor, 2nd grade teacher, landscaper, photographer, safety guy, accountant and student were cooking up gorgonzola & walnut-stuffed stuffed chicken, home-made spinach gnocchi and corn bread. Though Crystal has been making the corn bread for the past few months, I still needed to maintain a close eye on her in the kitchen, after all, as the cornbread goes, so does the meal. I think Savannah’s Paula Deen would strongly agree.

Now we’re not the most overtly Christian bunch (as perhaps you may surmise from the hammer and knife photo) but the residents all know we’re from Liquid, the church with the funky name and oddly conservative theology. Though we seek to be a little light to the residents, sometimes God’s intended audience is not the same as ours.
As we began eating, the house nurse turned to me and told me quite a little amazing story. She belongs to the county’s Interfaith group and because the residents of The Eric Johnson House spoke so much of our volunteers and food, that the group thought they’d pop in the Hyatt one Sunday and check us out. Now as she’s telling me this, I’m thinking, "Oh no, Interfaith….there-is-no-right/there-is-no-wrong left-wingers, they must have hated worship." On the contrary, she said the group was very impressed with the church and couldn’t believe that so many young people attend. What she said next, blew me away.

"Our staff brought their kids out to Liquid and those kids have been coming back every Sunday. Our parents really still find it hard to believe their kids have any interest in Christianity at all."

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
***photo by elbaliz mendez, daily record