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Jesus Returns

Jesus Returns

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Jesus Returns

217 pagine
3 ore
Nov 19, 2012


Jesus returns to Earth in the 21st Century, and he lands in Asheville, NC, where he reveals his true identity to one of Asheville’s denizens. They become friends and decide to travel to the Holy Land so that Jesus can see what has happened since his last sojourn there. In rough figures, Jesus is two thousand years of age. Satan has him beat by four thousand years. Where is the Devil living, and what part does he play in this story? What sort of adventures do Jesus and his sidekick experience as they travel?

Nov 19, 2012

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Jesus Returns - Doug Walker



When this chronicle began, a man who was living in the downtown area of the city told me he was Jesus. He wanted to befriend someone like myself. Why, I wasn’t certain, but I thought there was some prank involved. So I told him my name was Ishmael. At the time it didn’t seem to matter.

Call me Ishmael. When it all started, I was living in Asheville, North Carolina, and maybe I still do. At that time Asheville prided itself as being a weird city, with lots of people, many of them young, who dressed oddly in an assortment of wool hats, long skirts, and skimpy attire. They seemed to be hippy throwbacks. There were also many microbreweries, an ample and diverse supply of restaurants, and lots of music of all sorts. Tattooed folks were everywhere one looked.

Some of these characteristics would change periodically, but what doesn’t change is that the city sits on the French Broad River, a very broad river, not too deep, running over rocks. It’s a bit odd because of its northerly direction. It flows into Tennessee.

The city rests in the western part of the state in the Smokey Mountain part of the Appalachians. The altitude varies but averages around 2500 feet, which supposedly keeps it cool in summer, and sometimes this is true. There are various festivals and outdoor events, generally throughout the summer season. Organic, green and local food is extremely popular. This might be best illustrated by the odd food stores, farmers markets and an almost unwholesome desire to recycle anything that doesn’t move.

The citizens of the city are justly proud of the art deco city hall. However, these citizens of the city and Buncombe County, in which the city sits, are equally in a state of despair over their ugly courthouse. Originally the county fathers said they would match that artistically excellent structure with an art deco courthouse, but then went back on their word, apparently for convenience and political expediency. It remains a scandal in the streets. If Asheville is about anything, it is heavy on art. This might be further explored later on.

There is also the Grove Park Resort Hotel, the Biltmore Estate, which boasts the largest private home in America, the Grove Park Arcade, numerous art galleries, and Pack Square, which is named after a famous person. There is a statue of an angel, which represents the city’s most famous author, Thomas Wolfe, who includes among his works a book titled Look Homeward Angel. Wolfe, who lived a fast-paced thirty-eight years, is buried in the city. Also buried here is O. Henry. Zelda, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s spouse, died here in a fire. Both F. Scott and Zelda rest in an obscure cemetery in Rock Creek, Maryland. The remarkably lovely Blue Ridge Parkway runs directly through the south and eastern sections of the city.

These last things I mentioned are the unchanging characteristics of the city. Fairly obvious is the truth that Wolfe and O. Henry are not going to rise from the dead and walk among us, or catch a tour to Asia, although there are things to come later on that might cause one to doubt that seeming fact. As we have heard from various sources, there are known facts and unknown facts, and the known facts might sometime prove to be not unknown, and indeed not facts at all.

Before we get into the actual chronicle, there is one thing left: a brief description of the Grove Arcade, which sits in downtown Asheville, and is an architectural delight.

It is an arcade. That is you can walk through it, and there are shops on the first floor. During World War Two it was taken over by the federal government. After the war it was closed up and abandoned for some years while Asheville was wiggling out of its cocoon to burst forth in its present radiant form. Rehabilitation, or refurbishing, followed.

On one side there are a series of small eateries and a wine shop that can be entered from inside or outside and where there is often sidewalk seating. Inside there are mainly touristy shops. These are all subject to change. Shops, galleries, restaurants, and music venues continually rise and fall throughout the Asheville area for many reasons. The arcade is located on a slight hill, so one goes either up or down depending in which direction one walks. Hills are ubiquitous in Asheville, including at least three mountains within the city – Sunset, Town and Beaucatcher Mountains.

Upstairs in the arcade there are fairly pricey condos. It was to one of these condos that I, Ishmael, was summoned. Single, I am. The live-in long ago departed, weary of my long sessions at the computer scratching out a poverty level living as a freelance writer.

Some of these factors were likely involved in why Jesus picked me. He needed someone with whom to discuss his ideas and the global situation. Of course he has special powers, although just what they are I’m still not certain. But his e-mail, the type one would usually dismiss to the spam file, caused me to have a look. It contained the aforementioned invitation to a condo in the Grove Arcade. Normally I would have declined, but something compelled me to keep the appointment.

Upon knocking, he opened the door and said, I shall call you Ishmael, the name given to Abraham’s first son.

You’re trying to impress me, I replied.

Really, I’m not, he said. Why would Jesus Christ try to impress anyone? I’m something of a mild mannered wanderer.

He looked to be in his early thirties, maybe 5 foot 10, possibly 180 pounds, clean-shaven, light brown hair, brown eyes, sun tanned, and wearing jeans and a gray T-shirt. Fairly handsome, but not star quality.

Entering the sparsely furnished condo, he invited me to have a seat in one of two easy chairs. There was also a love seat, coffee table and a couple of lamps. A stack of magazines and newspapers was on an end table. The place came with these, he said, indicating the furnishings.

I nodded that I understood, but added, A man with no visible means of support is sitting in an expensive condo with the attendant expenses of simply living. A flat-screen TV was on the wall.

I visited Wall Street in your New York City. There’s money lying around there almost for the taking. Of course I don’t steal. As you know, I’m said to be the only person without sin. So I walk the straight and narrow. I make a modest living here selling reverse mortgages.

It sounded like one terrific put on, but I went along with the gag. You go door to door?

Jesus laughed. Of course not. I have access to nation-wide phone lists, and I can tell who might profit from such a mortgage and those who might find it a disaster. I sell to those who would profit in a persuasive way.


Yes, the same way I enticed you to come here, Ishmael. You are here, aren’t you?

Indeed I am. And I’m interested in just why I’m here.

We’re a couple of guys with time on our hands. I can put you on to some easy ways to earn a living. And I need someone to talk with. It’s lonely, and I’ll admit I’m a little confused.

You, confused? Now that is odd. You want me to peddle reverse mortgages?

Certainly not. You’re not cut out for that. I’ll give you stock market tips. You can day trade. Make whatever you like.

Insider trading?

Not really. Who would you know to give you inside tips?

No one. Tell me more about your confusion.

Of course you know I’m two thousand years old, more or less. When I departed and left my band of buddies, I promised to return.

We call it the second coming, I interjected.

Call it what you will. The fact is I’ve kept my promise. I’m back. Is there something you know of I’m supposed to do?

I think it’s all in the Bible, I replied.

I’ve read that stuff. Not much of a job description. I don’t know if I can make all those things happen. In fact I’m certain I can’t.

This guy had me hooked. I was beginning to believe he was the real McCoy, the authentic Son of God. I’m guessing you’d have better luck talking to a few Christian leaders.

Jesus smiled, like a father trying to humor his son. Do you forget that I’m a Jew?


So I found a cheap day trading service and Jesus gave me leads. We decided that I should lose money on every fourth or fifth trade. Regardless, I was rolling in money after the second week and hired an accountant to take charge of my records and insure that my taxes were paid promptly.

My schedule was simply to check my e-mails from Jesus in the morning, make a few trades, then have idle time until the market was about to close when I would sell and forward my profits to the accountant. Later we would start working the international markets, which would cause me to climb out of bed at an insanely early hour. But I compensated with well-timed naps. And sometimes I held onto the stock for several days.

This left me many free hours to chat with Jesus and show him the sights. He enjoyed people watching, and Asheville is the mother lode for that sport from early morning until past midnight. And there were the restaurants with a multitude of exotic and domestic cuisines. These were happy times.

Nevertheless Jesus was at a loss as to what his role might be. Long ago he had been nailed by the Jews as a fake messiah. The real one was supposed to do at least four things: build the Third Temple, gather all Jews to Israel, bring about world peace, and establish God as king of the world.

He had not done one of these things and, frankly, didn’t know where to start.

Even the Muslims who hailed him as a prophet thought he would return toward the end of the world and that everyone would turn to Islam.

The Baha’i Faith believes that the second coming was begun by Bab in 1844. For the life of him Jesus could make no sense of this one.

We discussed Hinduism, which seemed to be more realistic. Those believers see Jesus as an Avatar and the second coming as the resurrection of Christ within you, an inner peace within the individual heart. Jesus could live with that one.

There were other beliefs, including theosophy, which had the vague notion that Christ would return sometime after 2025.

The question remained, should he make some sort of announcement and then attempt to sort out the various beliefs, perhaps by a simple statement of love thy neighbor? What to do? So we tarried on, me enjoying his company and freedom from want, but wondering if it was a mistake to get involved. It crossed my mind that I could wind up as some sort of icon in a new version of the Bible, a sequel perhaps.

I had learned that the second coming was sometimes called the Parousia and that Christ was to judge the living and the dead and that His Kingdom would have no end. But this was simply one of the scenarios. And there were other variations, twists and turns.

We both tried not to make his mission on earth a constant conversation piece. Sometimes it was like beating a dead horse. Him not knowing exactly what he should do and me not being much of an adviser. But little by little the past caught up with the two of us.

For instance, I asked him about John the Baptist, knowing that he had played a key role in his first earthly life.

John was a good guy, he said. A bit of a fanatic. He preached about penance, said the end would certainly come, and enjoyed baptizing folks. Of course that’s how he got his name.

I asked if he lived in the wilderness and ate locusts and honey, such as was told.

Yes and no. There was quite a bit of wilderness in those days, and many poor people ate locusts and honey and anything else they might find or be given. So John was no different in that respect. If you stayed in what is considered wilderness, there wouldn’t be many people to preach to and very likely even fewer to baptize.

I mentioned that modern-day Baptists and other religions went for immersion, while the higher types keep it simple by sprinkling a few drops here and there.

Baptism was nothing new in those days, Jesus said. Of course we’re talking mainly Jewish people here. Baptism is simply a cleansing technique very likely used since the earliest times. The idea was to cleanse the body and the soul. And it was a religious thing. You see, John was known as my forerunner, sometimes called the forerunner who was to welcome the Messiah, namely me. But no one would believe him.

But you believed him?

Yes, I knew something was up. At some point I had certain communications with my Father. He wanted to put me on the right track. So after John dipped me in water I started my preaching career, but not in his territory. We came to an understanding.

I couldn’t help but chuckle. This is like two salesmen selling same product, splitting up their sales area.

Jesus nodded in agreement. "Very much. But let me interject here that many thought that another person who was considered a prophet, this one named Elijah, would be the forerunner, or precursor if you will. So it was this Elijah who cast my status into doubt. These things happen. After my baptism I left to preach in Galilee, while John continued his ministry near the banks of the Jordan River.

You may have heard that John lost his head, and that is quite true. He became a powerful figure and had a growing following. He went too far in denouncing some very powerful individuals for their sins. An attractive dancing girl, Salome, egged on by her mother, asked for John’s head and her request was fulfilled. There is also a story about what happened to John after his death, but that is sheer conjecture on the part of mortal man.


One place the two of us liked to go was Twelve Bones, a barbecue place on the banks of the French Broad River in the River Arts district. That district consists of old brick buildings, many of them warehouses that had been converted to art studios of pottery, painting, metal work, and other crafts. The area is actually a flood plain and occasionally suffers when the French Broad tops its banks.

The food there is good. We would have half a side of ribs with side dishes, a fairly common meal in the south. They also had a MLT, a mushroom, lettuce and tomato sandwich. Very good. We would then stroll around to the various art studios, Jesus commenting on art during the last two thousand years. He had a good eye and a great memory.

There was also an interesting eatery nearby called the White Duck, another favorite, where I enjoyed the fish tacos. On all these excursions away from the downtown area, I drove. Jesus did not have a driver’s license. I’m not certain whether he could drive, although I imagine he could because he could do most things. Somehow he had faked a Social Security number. He pointed out that however he did it was not a sin.

Jesus’ definition of sin did not tally with the popular definition. He pointed to that well know story, and he insisted it was true, about him holding a coin and telling folks to follow the laws of the government wherever they happened to be, but to also follow the law of God, who was the higher authority. He chuckled when he thought about the coin trick.

It was during such a discussion that I asked him to tell me about the Holy Ghost.

That’s always puzzled me, he said. Of course there is my Father, and I am the Son, but just where the Holy Ghost enters the picture is a poser. I never asked my Father about that. Incidentally, I’ve had minimal contact with him for quite a while. He has other fish to fry. There are galaxies and galaxies and he seems to be the man in charge. To say he doesn’t pay much attention to this planet would not be any type of falsehood.

What about your mother?

"Typical Jewish. She wanted me to be a doctor and make something of myself. But there simply weren’t many doctors when

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