Gimlet Media's Every Little Thing podcast is based on a pretty simple concept: you call a hotline and leave a message with a question that's been bugging you. If it's intriguing enough, they make a podcast about the answer.
When a guy named Kyle left a meandering voicemail about the nature of spacetime as it relates to black holes, the show's hosts couldn't resist. His giggley, midwest-by-way-of-California-surfer-dude tone seemed like the perfect stoned-at-3-am-philosophical-question fit for their episode scheduled for April 20. Host Flora Lichtman came prepared with all the clever stoner puns she could muster in her repertoire as they got down and dirty about getting high in outer space.
Except it turns out that Kyle is not a raging weed aficionado, because Kyle is a Pastor who is already delightfully high on Jesus.
Kyle actually reminds me of two friends of mine who are also pastors. While the descriptions of and information about black holes are informative and interesting, it's Kyle's earnestness and awkwardness that really carries it through, even as Lichtman bulldozes over him with bong joke after bong joke. Clifford Johnson, professor of physics at the University of Southern California who also advised on some of the Avengers movies, is also a guest on the episode (much to Kyle's excitement).
I listened to the 22-minute episode while I made breakfast and honestly, it was a wonderful way to start the day.
Black Holes: Free Your Mind [Every Little Thing / Gimlet Media]
Image: Assnogholeo / Wikimedia Commons (CC 4.0) Read the rest
The Catholic church has plenty of weird relics stored in ornate boxes around the world. Tourists flock to these churches to get a glimpse of the vessels that allegedly contain the original Crown of Thorns, or some of Christ's dried blood that turns to liquid every now and then.
And then there's Jesus's foreskin—the last (allegedly) surviving piece of flesh from God-made-flesh, chopped from the tip of his penis on New Year's Day, according to the official Roman calendar.
The fact that Jesus's foreskin still allegedly exists in the world somewhere is pretty weird, but its existence alone is not the weirdest part. No, the weirdest part is that Jesus's foreskin has been missing for more than 30 years—and that in true Dan Brown style, it may have been stolen by covert agents of the Catholic church.
According to "records," Charlemagne received the foreskin from an angel, and gifted it to Pope Leo II on Jesus' 800th birthday. It moved around a bit before being stolen during the Sack of Rome, then eventually turned up in a small village north of Rome called Calcata, where it remained until 1983, when it was stolen under mysterious circumstances. Calcata had become a sort of pilgrimage destination thanks to that little slice of petrified baby foreskin.
The Catholic Church started to downplay the foreskin in the early 20th century, even threatening to excommunicate those who mentioned it. Meanwhile, Calcata went through some changes on its own. The whole town was condemned in the 1930s, deemed unsafe by the local government due to the crumbling volcanic cliffs nearby. Read the rest
Yes, this is real. Someone actually made a first-person shooter for the New Testament. From the game's Steam page:
"I am Jesus Christ" is a realistic simulator game inspired by stories from the New Testament of the Bible. Get into old times and follow the same path of Jesus Christ 2,000 years ago. Game is covering the period from Baptizing of Jesus Christ and to Resurrection. Have you ever wondered to be like Him - one of the most privileged and powerful people in the world?
Check if you can perform all famous miracles from the Bible like Jesus Christ. It is a simulation game and you can try to save the world as He did. Are you ready to fight with Satan in the desert, exorcising demons and curing sick people? Or calm the storm in the sea?
I have a lot of questions. Like, why is it possible to beat the game without dying? Can you change the outcome of Bible stories, or do you just have to recreate it step by step? Does that mean you get to kick the crap out of a bunch of greedy bankers in the game? Do you actually get to fight Satan, too? Like physically? Does that mean Jesus has attack skills? Are there power-ups to boost the abilities with which you've already been divinely bestowed? Why is Jesus taking Polaroid pictures of everyone he helps? Why isn't Jesus shaking his Polaroid pictures to help them develop before placing them in the Bible? Read the rest
Jeff Sessions says that the Bible commands him to cruelly separate thousands of children from their parents, but Colbert -- a devout Catholic -- begs to differ. (Thanks, Rutherford B Hayes!) Read the rest
Alicia Zeek and Zac Smith of Franklin County, Pennsylvania were surprised and delighted to see Jesus looking at their baby girl in this sonogram image. From Fox43:
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The expecting parents say while they aren't very religious, they see a man dressed in a robe with a crown of thorns looking on at their baby.
Zac says the image made him emotional, "when I seen it, it almost brought tears to my eyes... I was speechless, I just couldn't believe it, I really didn't believe what I was seeing."
That image is putting them at ease after Alicia experienced a number of complications with her first two children...
The couple posted the photo to Facebook asking people what they see in the sonogram. Regardless of the response, Zac says the image is a sign from above, "the angel or God or Jesus, however you want to propose it, I look at it as my blessing."
Earlier this month, landslides in Manizales, Colombia killed 17 people and devastated the city. As emergency workers and citizens responded to the tragedy, some people reportedly noticed the clouds part and a beam of sunlight form into the figure of Jesus.
"‘Jesus’ Appears Over Landslide-Stricken Colombian City" (Mysterious Universe)
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According to Google Trends, the search term "memes" is now more popular than the search term "Jesus," a fact noticed by Dominik Vincent Salonen, @Kuwaddo on Twitter.
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Just days after yet another mass shooting in America, Tennessee's Lieutenant Governor says Christians who are ‘serious about their faith’ should consider buying guns. The unbelievably idiotic decree to God-fearing citizens by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R) was delivered via Facebook, where indeed, so many idiotic decrees are delivered.
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With "Obama's pot dealer beaten to death for farting in gay lover's face", I think The Daily Mail may reasonably claim to have created the second-best newspaper headline in human history. Read the rest
Erik Davis hits the high notes of 60s Jesus freak psychedelia.
Nathan Grindal, seen here, was ejected from the stands of a major dart tournament in Butlins, UK because his resemblance to Jesus riled up the crowd. Apparently, spectators' chants of "Jesus! Jesus!" were distracting the players and disrupting the match. Security staff escorted Grindal to a local bar and bought him a beer while he watched the rest of the match on TV. "It was all very weird and distressing," Grindal told This Is Somerset. Watch video of Grindal and the crowd here. Read the rest
"39 Lashes" from Andrew Lloyd Weber's Jesus Christ Superstar (1973). Those visuals! That groove! On Halloween 1992, I saw the Afghan Whigs open with this song and it was sublime. Speaking of the recently-reunited Afghan Whigs, they rocked it on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night. Read the rest