I must confess – Ed Dunn
I must confess I enjoy a special tradition on the morning of each new New Year’s Day. With my college Sophomore, Lauren, upstairs and still fast-asleep, I like to bundle up, coffee up with a large “to-go” thermos and sneak quietly out of the house. The sun is rarely up as I do.
What could be my destination so early on the first day of each new year? That’s simple. I like to make my way with the crowds of excitable spectators hurriedly streaming southward towards a world-famous piece of real estate. I like to join in with one million or so other fans on their way to the narrow sidewalks of Colorado Boulevard. We’re all there together in eager anticipation of taking in the wonder and pageantry of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade. As a long-time resident, it’s a morning rich with pure Pasadena, California splendor!
When I reach Colorado Boulevard, I like to turn westward and walk the parade route in reverse, all the way back to Old Town Pasadena. The trek is just short of three-and-a-half miles. As I make my way, I enjoy some of the best “people watching” anyone could do, anywhere. All the fans of two major college football programs, there to support their teams later that afternoon in the Grand-Daddy of Them All, the Rose Bowl game. All the families from all over Southern California and beyond, there to see the precise flora and fauna of the colorful floats and the tight rhythms and ranks of the well-rehearsed marching bands. It’s a spectacle like no other, to be sure!
But, without fail, year after year, all the happy faces, all the flora and fauna, rhythms and ranks and wonder and pageantry of a perfect parade morning is pierced abruptly by the sound of angry megaphones. They’re out again in full force. Those who feel called to witness and warn a captive audience of all their sins and the coming wrathful judgment. Those who see Jesus as the judge, jury and high-executioner of all those who don’t confess their sins and do as they’ve supposedly done, repent and conform to their religious ideals.
Those poor people. Stuck. Trapped even. The freezing, under-caffeinated, huddled masses, there just to enjoy a parade, can’t budge an inch in any direction to flee the scene. They have no choice but to sit there and take it…another misguided message of someone else’s Jesus. An angry, retributive Jesus. Although I can admire the passion it must take to stand in the cold and preach, I must confess the message of their Jesus is one I can’t run away from quickly enough!
I must confess, this is not the Jesus I am coming to know. I must confess, this is not the Jesus I would want anyone else to come to know. I say “coming to know” as I too have come out of a difficult religious background. And, I’m still unlearning as much as I’ve come to know of Jesus. The Jesus I am coming to know loves, accepts and includes. I must confess, I love that message. That Jesus makes for a wonderful New Year’s Day, and every day thereafter.
–Ed Dunn is a member of the Plain Truth Ministries Board of Directors.