Sloppy Jesus

Sloppy Jesus (1,117)

April 15th, 2011

I fixed it again last night. Traditionally, it is called Sloppy Joe, although I don’t see any reason why “Jack” would not have been equally as effective—and no need to be sexist—we should welcome the possibility of “Jane.”

I have changed my recipe a little bit over the years. I used to use ground beef or sausage and now I opt for ground turkey. But I have been known to cut up left-over hot dogs, onions, peppers, a little bit of spinach the last time—or whatever was handy in the refrigerator into the mixture to blend together, adding in the finale the great anointing of catsup. It’s hard to fail. It never tastes exactly the same; the addition of some new ingredient always adds its own pungency. But it is a sure thing, a quick thing, a tasty thing and a filling thing.

It’s also very American, although I’m sure some member of the French Foreign Legion would insist he came up with it while traveling with Lawrence of Arabia. It is sloppy and it is Joe. It is delicious.

It’s hard to offend anybody with Sloppy Joe. Of course, there are some folks in life who think they’re better than Sloppy Joe, but they are sufficiently annoying enough that we don’t have to deal with them. You can eat it on a bun or bread or, if you’re trying to avoid carbs, you can wrap it in a lettuce leaf or throw it next to some mashed potatoes, like we did last night. You can make it low calorie or put cheese in it and clog up a heart artery here and there.

It’s kind of the way I feel about Jesus. Jesus was not one to be terribly concerned about finesse. Nowhere is that made more evident than in the event which we have royally dubbed “The Triumphal Entry”—Palm Sunday. What a haphazard collage of thrown-together people and ideas, designed specifically to communicate Jesus’ disdain for organized religion and perhaps organized anything.

Just place yourself there on that day: a following which was at least half women and children, tearing branches down from trees, following a man sitting on a donkey colt, his feet probably nearly scraping the ground, traipsing their way into a holy city filled with tourists who have gathered there for the holiday of Passover, singing off-key praises to God and “hosanna in the highest.”

It had a spontaneous, grab-bag feel to it—like throwing together a really great pot of Sloppy Joe. This is coming from a guy whose philosophy was “whosoever will may come;” someone who believed “if they’re not against us they are for us” and who made his message accessible to everyone, including all the everyones most people thought were nobodies. It was a huge meal of humanity, stirred together, seasoned with the salt of truth and peppered with a history of iniquity, failings, illnesses and temper tantrums.

It was Sloppy Jesus. And people did not have to study, work, struggle, buck up or primp to be included in the pot of activity. It was so open to the public that the hierarchy of religion and politics despised it for its commonness. Because after all, even today conservatives, still hate tax collectors and sinners. And liberals are still amused by the presence of “uncouth” portraying itself as viable.

Jesus was not trying to make porridge; Jesus was not trying to serve a delicacy. It was Sloppy Jesus. It made room for the prostitutes and turned them into proselytes who prospered the cause and led to great spiritual prosperity.


So say what you will against Sloppy Joe—you can even use finer cuts of meat and change the name to Sloppy Joseph, but when you throw diverse things together into a pot, season them just right and add just enough catsup, you can serve many people—to their delight.

Sloppy Jesus.

Grab a branch, take off your clothes and start singing. There’s room for all of ya’.

Published in: on April 15, 2011 at 2:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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