Not long before Christmas 2007, I posted a blog on MySpace entitled “Ask Jesus Anything.” Because I felt there were far too many questions and answers to post all in one blog entry, I decided to split them up into three separate postings on this site. This is the second installment. Click here to read the first.
In the cases where my friends’ profiles aren’t set to private (you’ll know when you click on their pictures), I encourage you to visit them (and their often excellent blogs), if you haven’t already.
Here’s a photo I included in my original MySpace blog. Taken around Christmas 1998 by Chaplain Hugh Daley during one of our prison’s famous Ministry of Theatre productions, it features me (as an inmate) playing the lead role of Rev. Isaiah Hawkins in an Old West musical entitled Reflections of Possum Gulch.
Chris, your questions are every bit as good as anyone else’s – though perhaps somewhat easier to answer, because they don’t require me to think as much. Sometimes I feel I’ve had too much to think… lol… and I welcome a respite.
Your second question is not really hard to answer – but it requires a very long story. (-; You see, we met when I was 19, but we didn’t marry until I was 39 – and now I’m 41. That’s a lot of history. We’d worked together, gone to college together…. The first six years I knew her, I was with someone else. I was very unhappy with my live-in girlfriend at the time – but somehow lacked the courage to leave, for a number of reasons, including my fear of what that woman would do to herself if I left. Geri was everything my girlfriend was not – including kind, compassionate, understanding, and mature. One night after Geri and I had known each other for a few years, I got drunk and begged her to run to Las Vegas with me that night and marry me. She was all for it, but wanted to wait a day – perhaps to see if I still felt the same way when sober (lol), but also because she had children she couldn’t just leave overnight at the drop of a hat. Needless to say, we didn’t end up marrying then. I stayed with my girlfriend. Not too long after that, her boyfriend asked her to marry him. He was a good guy who loved her immensely and would do anything for her – and I was unwilling to leave my girlfriend. So Geri gave me an ultimatum: essentially, shit or get off the pot. Commit to her, or let her go and marry this other dude. But I was scared of the commitment and let her go. She thought I would show up on her wedding day and take her away, but I didn’t. While she was married to this guy, I went to prison. Meanwhile, she realized she’d made a mistake and still loved me. She and that guy ended up divorced and she started visiting me. To make a long story a bit shorter, after all sorts of crazy, unexpected events, good and bad, we were living together. Two and a half years after my release, we went on a sort of vacation to visit some of my family in West Virginia. Out of nowhere I said to her, “You know, we could get married while we’re there.” She said, essentially, “Yes, we could.” And the next thing we knew, we were married.
And that’s just a fraction of the story. To tell the whole thing, especially the last few years (which I’ve glossed over somewhat because my response is getting long) would take a whole book…. or at least a future blog. (-;
Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 21, 2007 – Friday at 2:39 PM
Seems to me like the “powers that be” were waiting for the moment that everything would be perfect for you guys. And it also seems to me like you guys are perfect for each other Great story! I’ll come up with an interesting question or two and come back after the holidays when I know you’ll be able to answer
Posted by Michelle on December 22, 2007 – Saturday at 11:51 AM
I was going to ask how you and your wife met and got together but someone’s beaten me to it so I’ll need to think what to ask now. You two remind me a bit of me and my husband, especially the drunken proposal, I’ve had a few of those with the pull off a beer can for an engagement ring, very romantic.
Posted by josie on December 23, 2007 – Sunday at 1:26 AM
WoW!!! I’m glad I asked that question!!! I’m absolutely enthralled and want to know more…LOL… (That is the born romantic in me speaking there.) This requires a book too I think. But maybe Geri could write it instead. I don’t know why, but I had a strong feeling it was going to be an interesting answer… and it was.
If you don’t do a book about it. Maybe a blog would do… because I’m fascinated. Thanks for sharing that… Chris
Posted by Rune Warrior on December 21, 2007 – Friday at 10:42 PM
2) This might sound like a cop out… but after a considerable amount of reflection, I’d have to say I’d choose to be me right now. I think I have a “duty” or “purpose” – maybe those aren’t the best words…. Let me put it this way, I think I have a need to be ME. Sounds kinda mystical or supernatural… and so I wish I had words to describe it without sounding that way. I guess “need” and even “responsibility” to “be me” is the best way to put it. there are a lot of times and places that are alluring to me. Like San Francisco during the Summer of Love in the 60s…. In some ways, I’ve always felt like a bit of a hippie/peacenik… and that place seems so cool to me on the surface… but then I recall George Harrison writing about how enamored he had been with the whole hippie scene (from a distance), until he actually visited San Francisco that summer and realized there were mostly just a bunch of lost souls, trying to create a little heaven, looking for the light, but nevertheless, at heart, just lost… I don’t remember exactly how he put it, but he came away from that experience disillusioned. We seem to sugarcoat, idealize, romanticize people and places in the past. But they’re just as mundane and real and problematic as our lives are, I think, if we can really look at them with clear eyes. On the surface, I think it would be cool to be someone like John or Jackie Kennedy. Rich, influential, bright, beautiful – the world was their oyster. And yet it’s disillusioning to think of what it would be like to have my brains blasted all over my wife’s pretty dress in a fancy car on a Dallas street. I’m just thinking aloud here. I think Kennedy had to be himself… for better and for worse. So did George Harrison, and so did those hippies, and so, I think, do I. There are things I might wish were different or easier in my life. But if given the choice, I’d want to be me. And I think that’s best, ultimately, for both me and the world. And the same could be said for each and everyone of us – we “need” to be the best us we can be.
I haven’t gotten to your other questions yet. (-; But I will. They’re just excellent questions, and I want to give them the consideration they deserve. I could say the same of many of the questions other friends have asked as well.
Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 20, 2007 – Thursday at 7:53 PM
1) I’d think I’d like to have infinite patience, boundless compassion, the ability to go without sleep and still work and write effectively, limitless financial resources to use for good (but with some sort of magical spell on them, so that they’d vanish if I’d every tried to misuse them, but reappear as long as I remained committed to using them properly for the benefit of others). I wouldn’t want the money if I would be corrupted or changed by it.
Thanks again for some great questions, Lisa!
Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 20, 2007 – Thursday at 11:03 PM
3) My favorite G-Rated memory with my wife is our 2006 vacation to Philadelphia, Atlantic City, Maine, Canada, and Vermont. Neither of us had been to any of those places. And maine especially felt like heaven on earth. So many great memories from that trip… and that’s probably the happiest we’ve ever been. (-;
Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 20, 2007 – Thursday at 9:59 PM
I have been a vegetarian a couple of times in my life… why? I think we ought to have compassion toward our fellow creatures. Just because they don’t look exactly like us doesn’t mean they don’t feel pain, aren’t conscious at all, and don’t deserve to live. Right now, ‘m trying to abstain from meat, though I find myself still eating things like fish. It makes me feel like somewhat of a hypocrite – yet so does eating salad, because I have trouble drawing the line. Fruit trees, carrots and lettuce are living beings, too. Though they don’t “bleed” like we and many other living beings do – I wonder does that make them any less alive? So should we resort to eating rocks? Even they, on some level (for example in their atoms) might be alive. How can we be sure? And where do we draw the line? And then there’s the issue of living things eating living things to survive – if all do it, isn’t it natural?
I’m in quite an ethical and philosophical quandary over it, as you see. (-; My current status is that I strive to avoid meat whenever possible. I don’t stick to it 100%, however. I suppose my opinion and taste are still in a process of evolving.
Thanks for your question, Laney!
Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 20, 2007 – Thursday at 11:18 PM
“I don’t want to hurt you. I just want to eat you.” – The Frisco Kid
Meat from the Kosher butcher comes from animals that are killed in the most humane way possible. Kosher eating honors the animal and the sacrafice of the animal for human sustenance. It does not answer the problems with the way the animals are raised, but it’s a start.
Posted by Tara on December 23, 2007 – Sunday at 11:36 AM
Why do you expose yourself to strangers when it shouldn’t matter one way or another if you committed a crime or not, what purpose does it brings out for everyone to know what you may or may not have done?
Posted by shyloh on December 19, 2007 – Wednesday at 5:24 PM
I’ve kinda answered this (at least partially) in my private response to you, and I thought about copying that response here. It’s a hard question, as there are many reasons why. Part of why I’m exposing myself now is to raise awareness of the flaws in current sex offender laws. Part of it is because it’s therapeutic for me to talk about my issues with my MySpace friends. I liked having everybody think I was great because of the “Crisis Interviews,” et cetera. But it means a lot more to me if people KNOW me and still like me… if that makes sense. Part of it is also because these laws and my “status” are some of the things that are on my mind at the moment; although I don’t want to write about them all them all the time, it’s nice to feel free to write about whatever is going on in my life at a particular time. Part of it is because I foresee being deleted from MySpace and I think my “friends” who’ve been so kind and supportive deserve to know why before I just vanish. And finally, part of why I’m exposing myself now is that anonymity is no longer going to be much of an option with me. As of January 1st, the new law in Ohio will require me to register all e-mail addresses and internet screen names with the local sheriff. There are ways to get around this, I suppose. But they are illegal and could land me in prison. I don’t feel I have anything to hide, and I don’t want to lead a secret life in that regard and always have to worry that the authorities might “catch me” being Jesus Crisis or something. I just want to be ME, for better or worse. If you’re going to like me, like me for ME, not for my image. You know? That’s not necessarily directed to you, but to ALL my MySpace friends. (-;
You’ve posed a very valid (and vital) question, Shyloh. Thank you!
Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 20, 2007 – Thursday at 7:49 PM
1) I have thought about working with troubled youth. Part of me is a bit uneasy about being around teenagers who aren’t family members. I was falsely accused once… and so in my mind there is always a fear of the possibility that it could happen again. On the other hand, I have returned to the prison as a civilian and done some volunteering with troubled adults. I wouldn’t mind doing something like that as a career, if someone would be willing to hire me.
2) In some ways, I acquired more skills and became a better potential employee as a result of my incarceration. And a lot of places have no problem hiring ex-cons. One of the guys I was in prison with is now a college professor. Another is a well-respected Church of Christ minister. Even the deputy warden at the prison where my wife works is an ex-offender. The difference is that none of these successes were convicted of sexual crimes. None of them are on “sex offender registries” for the rest of their lives. Businesses that have no problem giving the average ex-convict a chance, often aren’t as willing to hire someone labeled a “sex offender.” That label has been a greater impediment to employment than my incarceration.
3) I have a great many friends who are willing to do all they can to help. I have dozens of letters of recommendation, several well respected professional references… and yet the “sex offender” label remains a huge impediment. One problem is that when I register my home address, I must also register my work address. So for example, if I work at the local car dealership, that car delership will end up on the very public sex offender registry – and that will turn off some potential customers. Most businesses are unwilling to take that risk. I do have friends who are in a position to hire me, and are willing and eager to do so… but they’re not very near where I live. I would have to drive two or more hours each way to commute – or my we’d have to move, away from our families and away from my wife’s job. I have tried commuting long distance in the past… but I ended up hardly ever being home, it was a strain on our marriage… and the low wages and relatively high price of gas became issues as well. If I could get a rewarding enough job somewhere else, we would consider moving. But we are reluctant to relocate too far from our grandchildren and our aging parents.
Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 20, 2007 – Thursday at 11:50 PM
Since Geri went to the emergency room with what may be flu, I hope she has been treated and is home tonight. I know this is going to be a rough time for them both at Christmas season.
So I just want you to know what I know. John has been to the Horizon Program in Marion and went quite a few times to support the men still in prison. He however cannot get a job teaching there in spite of his qualifications since he is a sex offender. What crazy injustice is this?
I found that there were 500 jobs opening for a new business here in Lorain County. John applied for a position at TeleTech and was interviewed. He was hired and went to LCCC for training. He waited while the others who were hired went in and he waited and waited. Finally they came out and told him he wasn’t wanted since his background check was sex offender. No JOB!!
I JUST WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW THAT ALL OF US WOULD LIKE TO OPEN DOORS FOR HIM. THESE LAWS SLAM DOORS, KEEP MEN FROM LIVING WHERE THEY ARE TOO CLOSE TO CHILDREN, AND FURTHERMORE ARE TAKING THEIR LIVES AND ABILITY TO MAKE A LIVING.
Posted by Elena on December 19, 2007 – Wednesday at 9:35 PM
Elena, I may be breaking the “RULES” here but have you ever had a child raped? Have you ever had to endure such pain by the acts of a rapist? I council children and adults daily in my practice and it is devastating to say the least. The tears that they cry, the fear they seem to never want to let go of. I do not and will not ever condone a rapist. I am not in your “ALL OF US” category here. Just thought you should know I am one person that disagrees with you on this one.
Posted by shyloh on December 20, 2007 – Thursday at 11:51 AM
Just to make clear for everyone: I am not a sex offender (I did not commit the rape I was accused of) – but I AM required to register as a “sex offender” because of my conviction. And so in the law’s eyes at least, I am a “sex offender,” though I am innocent.
Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 20, 2007 – Thursday at 7:23 PM
There are many innocent men convicted of rape who are still in prison. The problem is this: even if innocent once convicted in a court of law they carry the stigma of “sex offender” This is applied to the new laws for registration, job applications, and where a “sex offender” is allowed to live and these laws are not just for ten years but for life if the conviction is for “rape.” Does anyone realize what this means for someone like John who has served 11 years as a “rapist” but didn’t commit this crime. There was no DNA or evidence presented in the court. He was condemned for 11 years on the testimony of a 14 or 15 year old girl. He couldn’t get an appeal since the court appointed lawyer assigned for the appeal never followed through on this and the appeal was dismissed. All of this I know from his letters and talking to his mother over the past years. Now he may lose his rights not only to get employment in any place where children are involved, cannot live near a school, playground or other places where children are involved and furthermore has to give them his profile names and e-mail addresses, etc. This law takes effect on January 1st and he may be again deleted on My Space. He harmed nobody, did not commit this crime, has suffered incarceration for 11 years and now is losing all his rights to employment, housing and even the right to express himself on the internet. Damn, is all I can say about this. He is not a rapist and definitely is not a “sex offender” and I believe in him. I think most of us do also.
Posted by Elena on December 20, 2007 – Thursday at 9:07 PM
The prison wanted me to come there and teach literacy – was willing to hire me.
But they are not permitted (by law) to hire me unless I have my teaching certificate.
Despite my education, the State of Ohio will not grant me a teaching certificate – even one for adult education. Ohio law offers legal allowances for a former felon to show he’s been “rehabilitated,” receive “forgiveness” and earn a teaching certificate. But anyone convicted of a crime like rape is not eligible for the same “forgiveness” afforded to other ex-convicts.
And as far as the job you mentioned… I was up front about my conviction on my application and in my interviews. They still loved me and hired me. But then the supervisor of a supervisor saw that I’d been convicted and was very squeamish. He told me they couldn’t use me after all.
Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 20, 2007 – Thursday at 2:53 AM
I think that it’s ridiculous that you cannot receive a teaching certificate. Its absurd that you cannot teach adults. The shortage of capable teachers is at crisis level now. It’s largely a thankless job, and I think that anyone who has the ability, heart and guts to teach should be welcome to do so. I know that your willingness to discuss these matters publicly and without bitterness or self-pity is raising awareness. I hope that with this new awareness change will follow. (I was very careful not to use up my two questions. I know the clock is ticking . . .)
Posted by Tara on December 20, 2007 – Thursday at 11:35 AM
Such discrimination! John, have you thought about Canada or another country that isn’t as asenine as ours to teach? I realize leaving your home is terrible, but perhaps the it could shut the door to this ridiculous event in your life.
Posted by CONNIE on December 20, 2007 – Thursday at 8:39 AM
I actually have given it some thought, though I’d hate to move away from Mom, our grandchildren, et al.
When planning a vacation to Prince Edward Island a couple of years ago, we learned that the Canadian government has rules against me (or any “convicted felon”) even traveling there. I am eligible to do so, but only after I apply for “forgiveness” from the Canadian government and get a permit. From what I recall, that’s about a two-year process. And I’ve been meaning to get that ball rolling. As far as living there… I don’t really know.
Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 20, 2007 – Thursday at 1:00 PM
I had to think about that one… lol. The first thing that came to mind was Pierre – but that’s South Dakota. My second thought was Fargo, which I know is the largest city in North Dakota, but not the capital. Then finally it came to me… Bismarck!
Why is Johnny Horton’s old song “Sink the Bismark” going through my head now? Ha!
Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 20, 2007 – Thursday at 1:57 AM
Hey there new friend. I loved this blog. Thanks for the link to Mike’s blog. It sparked my little rant about “Killing Teenagers” Its my latest blog… Its great. MIND BLOWING (THAT was a shameless plug) …. ahem. Anyway. I don’t know what questions I should ask you since I don’t know you that well. So I’m going to take a rain check and cash them in ( I get three since I did your art doohickey thingamabob) when I really need them.
Otherwise peace and prosperity and future bountiful kudos to you bro.
Was there ever a time when you thought, fuck t his all, and wanted to “check out” so-to-speak? If so, what stopped you. I mean, at one point, it seemed like doom was covering you…Did you want to give up?
Absolutely, Chi! When I was convicted, I felt my life was over… what was the point of going on. I knew any hope of being a teacher (my dream) was gone. I was young, skinny, kinda, cute, going to prison for a sex offense, and had recently been on the front page of the local newspaper as part of a “Gay Bashing in Lorain” expose (they interviewed me because I was manager of a local gay club where some of the bashings had occurred). So I figured I would be a prime target. I was scared beyond imagination, and seriously considered suicide.
Two things (primarily) stopped me:
The thought of what it would do to the people who loved me… especially Mom. She had already gone through so much in her life, and my suicide would to her be the absolutely worst thing in the world. And what would it do to my younger brother, who at that time seemed to idolize me?
One of the books that had had a profound effect on me as a young man was John Steinbeck’s To a God Unknown. In it the main character had to endure losing everything in a Dust Bowl era drought. His farm was ruined, his livestock died, he lost his family and friends (some to death and others to moving away). But he was determined not to give up his farm and move away. Finally in the end, he couldn’t take it anymore. He had no water, no transportation, nobody… and finally gave up hope. So he committed suicide. And as the lifeblood drained from him, the rain began to fall – a long, steady, drought ending rain. And I always thought that if he could have just held on one hour longer, he would have seen the beginning of his hope being fulfilled and his dream coming true. He gave up during the darkest part of the night, not realizing dawn was a mere hour away.
This story came to my mind – encouraged perhaps by my lawyer’s assurances that I would likely be out in six months on appeal. And it, along with the thought of what my death would do to my loved ones, kept me putting off “the final cut” until I no longer seriously considered it.
Posted by Jesus Crisis on December 21, 2007 – Friday at 2:46 PM
hello my dear pal. how do you know when you are telling the truth–and communicating something “spiritual”–and when you are just trying to be honest, trying to touch truth, trying to believe in something more than the obvious, just trying not to spew bullshit even as you spew bullshit? i need this answer. hugz…
Posted by ZAYN PIERRE on December 19, 2007 – Wednesday at 8:28 PM
I didn’t give you my immediate answer when you first posted this question, Zayn, because I didn’t want it to seem like a blow-off-non-answer. But after some time has passed, I am more convinced that my first, heretofore unshared thought was indeed the perfect reply. A better one, if it exists, eludes me. And so here it is, finally:
Your question – and the fact that such a question is conceivable – is, in itself, the answer.
“But what would be the answer to the answer man?” – Grateful Dead
Posted by Jesus Crisis on January 22, 2008 – Tuesday at 5:07 PM
For all of you who have read J.C.s blogs you may have many many questions. I do also. Maybe he can answer them, perhaps not. Here is a letter I wrote to him last June after he was deleted from My Space. I could waste a blog on this but I put it here for all to read. Date: 6/8/2007 Subject: Freedom
I have read and re-read your blogs on My Space. How true it is that you have suffered the consequences of the parole rules for sex offenders. When I found the foot fetish condemnation for this pitiful principal in the Lorain Journal yesterday and sent it to you, it has to be beyond the limits of any infraction of the sex rules and conduct allowed in this country. This business of “minors” and sex by the way is ludicrous. Why is it that reaching one’s 18th birthday automatically makes one an “adult”? Romeo and Juliet were only 15 I believe. Jewish young men reach maturity at the age of 13 when they have the Bar Mitzvah. In the days of old they often were married at that age in a pre-arranged ceremony. Why is age 21 the age of allowing a man to drink? They can join the army but can’t drink or vote in some states until that age. The puberal existence of over 50% of our young people is questioned. Do they need parental authority to have sex? Often they get pregnant before 18 and they have children. Today to get knocked up before reaching a certain age is not only common but even looked at as normal. How many single mothers are there in this country? Are they all over 18? Do sex offenders rush to school yards to entice kids? The predators find them in their own neighborhoods and probably the kid next door. The priests find them in the church choir. Doctors, lawyers and teachers find them on line. Porn sites on cyberspace make billions of dollars. Even My Space makes billions on advertising. Have you noticed? Some of the videos and pictures allowed on My Space are sexually provocative. Why are abortion and gay rights so important in political campaigns? SEX SEX SEX. Should we have sex education in the schools? Should condoms be made available to teen agers? Maybe we should ban all books to kids if they have any sexual content. Do priest have to be totally abstinent? What the hell is going on? Maybe every man needs a vasectomy. Maybe they should outlaw sperm. Does everyone know who their father is? DNA testing is now the rage. It even gets some men out of prison. In your case there was no DNA presented as evidence because there was none. But you have to suffer for 10 years as a sex offender in spite of no evidence of criminal activity.
Finally will the real Jesus please stand up and be identified. Was he a rabbi, married and with children? But the church made him a prophet, a son of God, and abstinent of all sexual activity. Was he human or a God? Did his mother conceive him by an angel? Was she a virgin? Didn’t he have brothers? Who was Moses? Why was he found floating in the bullrushes. Why were Adam and Eve punished and driven out of the Garden of Eden?
Peace, love, justice and freedom.. You have earned my respect, my love and my caring.
P.S. The world we live in is totally nuts.
I SUBMIT THIS COMMENT INSTEAD OF QUESTIONS. YOU CAN’T POSSIBLY ANSWER ALL OF THESE. LOL
Posted by Elena on December 19, 2007 – Wednesday at 9:17 PM