The Newer Testament.

Posted by admin on March 26, 2012 in Religion |

I’m not a big fan of sequels, but they seem to be all around us these days. There are even sequels to really bad movies that themselves, didn’t deserve to be made in the first place.

Even Gone With the Wind got a sequel, and as we all know, it never needed one. There was something so refreshing about leaving the characters be, leaving each of us to decide for ourselves whatever happened to Scarlett and Rhett.

I am really surprised no one ever wrote a sequel to the Bible. Well, I know it can be argued that someone did, as at some point the New Testament joined the Old Testament. The New Testament had a much better plot thread, salvation and everlasting life with the threat of the apocalypse at the end. A real barn burner.

The New Testament has been around a long time. It was obviously a solid piece of work as there’s never been a Newer Testament. You know, something that really captures the messages of our times. Sure, anything we attempt today would probably pale in comparison to Psalms or Leviticus, but I think some pretty good things have come along since that are relevant and guiding.

So, in the interest of public service, I have selflessly begun work on the Newer Testament. Selflessly? Why yes, who ever gets a byline on these things? The New Testament, a riveting new work by Israel Moses Levine. Come on. In the writing business we are painfully aware that the we never get any credit for these types of collected works.

Since I think it’s important to pay homage to the original in some way, I have decided to keep the gospels according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, four of my personal favorites.

I mean, who doesn’t love Luke’s message about ego: “Your overconfidence is your weakness.” Or the patriarchal, “Search your feelings, father. You can’t do this. I feel the conflict within you. Let go of your hate.

How about Matthew in his letter to the Ferrisites: “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Or Mark’s observation, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.” Words to live by, I know.

We all know a little bit of John. “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” Or his soothing passage about mortality: “I’m not afraid of death, because I don’t believe in it. It’s just getting out of one car and into another.”

Just going with these four books alone is a monumental undertaking, but we can’t have a Newer Testament with just four installments. Who wants to read that? No, we need more wisdom so that believers in these words can shout them from the highest mountaintops without people yelling back that they should really find some new material.

After a lot of thought, I added the Books of Paul, James and Timothy.

I think Paul really said it all, “Let it be, love is all you need.” I know I’m mixing verse, but a little literary license is necessary when you’re creating a monumental work like this, one for the ages. And, who could forget his riveting thoughts about growing older and the plight of the aged: “Will you still need me, will you still feed me… When I’m sixty-four.” It leaves me breathless.

The wise words of Timothy can’t be ignored either. Who doesn’t need this piece of guidance: “Think for yourself and question authority.” Or the sage, “Turn on, Tune in, Drop out.” Or the telling, “Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition.”

I couldn’t possibly write a Newer Testament without the thoughtful words of Jimmy, patron saint of wasting away. His wisdom is for the ages: “If life gives you limes, make margaritas.” Who doesn’t take that to heart? Or the far lesser known, but equally important: “Searching is half the fun: life is much more manageable when thought of as a scavenger hunt as opposed to a surprise party.”

Oh, the tropical lessons we have learned from the Gospel According to James.

Putting this stuff together is pretty hard work, I can tell you. I know from my own religious instruction that the New Testament had some of its books chopped out over the years. And some religious orders have different books in them than others. For instance, the Catholics have extra chapters – Tobias, Judith and Buruch among them- that were edited out of the Protestant version. And those of Jewish persuasion only have to read the first volume, not the second.

I guess keeping things short really is better, but still, there are some pretty wise people who just shouldn’t be ignored in the Newer Testament.

Let’s see here. So far I have the Gospels according to Matthew (Broderick), Mark (Twain), Luke (Skywalker) and John (Lennon). I’ve added in the Paul (McCartney), James (Buffett) and Timothy (Leary).

Of course, I have to include George: “Atheism is a non-prophet organization” and “I would never want to be a member of a group whose symbol was a man nailed to two pieces of wood.”

Now, I don’t prescribe to these views, but I’m not really sure any book should be so one sided. Besides, having George Carlin in the book will increase sales.

And doesn’t a book of this magnitude beg for a little levity? I think the original works would have been much better with just a few jokes in them… kind of break up the whole doom and gloom of the great flood, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and that whole Egypt plague thing with the frogs and locusts. I mean how many times can you rework the same basic plot here? Plagues, we got it after the pestilence.

I know my Newer Testament has some work to do. The originals were hardly thrown together over night. There was lots of rough drafts and revisions. And I’m only one guy here on an iMac.

Hey, wait… I almost forgot the Gospel According to Jobs, Steve.

Out on the Treasure Coast, wondering if John’s going to claim that he wrote Paul,

– Robb

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