This cynical cross section of our time, a pie slice of our cultural soul, might take a collective gulp of beer, put it down, then explain to monk Jesus the facts of life:

The poor are with us always because they choose that lifestyle. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The love of money can actually be a good thing because it helps create jobs that those poor people are too lazy to get. Justice is a fickle matter, hombre. Best not to think too much about it. Just live a good life yourself; that’s the most you can really hope for. Helping others is best left to the non-profit experts. Otherwise you might get sued. Love’s dangerous. We tried that in high school. Most of us settle for sex instead, and try to squeeze in a vacation or two a year, along with a kitchen remodel every five, which feels like love to us.

But all would not be as it appeared. An oddball would hear what Jesus said, see Him through the smoke and past the waitresses dressed in designer black and pony-tail hair, and be unable to shake the words that he hates at times, loves at others. But he won’t give his intrigue a public display, the way we see in Billy Graham movies. He will keep an eye on this time traveler; wait till He leaves, pay his bar tab, and then under the cover of darkness, away from the view and the bullying pressure of his cynical peers, press Jesus for more information about this road less traveled. He might confide in this misfit a sin or two, even the scars of his careworn heart.


And who knows. He might with time become a redemptive oddball himself, another man with a dissenting view who seems to get his talking points from a far away time, a baseline of unyielding persuasion that brings redemption to some, a chuckle to others.

P aul Coughlin is the author of No More Christian Nice Guy and its companion Study Guide. He and his wife Sandy are the authors of  Married But Not Engaged: Why Men Check Out and What You Can Do to Create The Intimacy You Desire. Visit him online at