A Parody by Allen Flemming
of David Di Sabatino’s Film
Fallen Angel: The Outlaw Larry Norman, a Bible Story
When you stop to think about it, it’s very easy to dismantle someone’s legacy using the method David Di Sabatino employed in crafting “Fallen Angel: The Outlaw Larry Norman.” If I were a struggling playwright in the first century who had decided to destroy the legacy of the recently ascended Jesus of Nazareth, I could do it simply by using the Di Sabatino method (with apologies to Albert Goldman). A documentarian could easily do this with Abraham Lincoln or Mother Theresa or Bono or Lonnie Frisbee or Francis Schaeffer or your neighbor or you. But I have chosen Jesus because most players in Fallen Angel claim to believe that Jesus is the sinless Son of God. (Of course neither Larry Norman or anyone else comes near the stature of Jesus. I knew Larry. In my upcoming biography Rebel Poet I will reveal him warts and all.) Imagine now that you lived during the time of Jesus, heard Him speak a few times, maybe bought some scrolls about Him, but were not part of His inner circle. I have come to your town to put on a play…
Buffoon Theatre and the Ignoble Players present:
Fallen Angel: The Outlaw Jesus Christ.
A Bible story. By Ovid of Bologna
(As this scroll title is unrolled the chorus sings:)
Some say He was an outlaw, that He roamed across the land,
With a band of unschooled ruffians and few young fishermen.
No one knew just where He came from, or exactly what He’d done,
But they said it must be something bad that kept Him on the run.
A chorus of actors who supposedly knew Jesus appears on stage and one after another the actors step forward to recite their lines:
“And there was this rabbi, not very good looking, but a real mountain presence, and He spoke with authority.”
“In Galilee, Jesus was totally popular for years but Galilee was way too small for Him. The world hasn’t heard of Jesus but they need to because He has something to say. He was trying to wake up the young rich people and the old Pharisees in the Temple.”
“He was a virtuoso I think at writing a sermon, and as a magician. And He was certainly a virtuoso when He climbed the mount and started preaching.”
“It was as if Jesus was walking right into The Kingdom of God and said to everyone else ‘Follow Me’.”
“Jesus was like King David in Goliath’s body.”
“Yeah. This sounds like the Jesus I’ve heard about.”, you say to yourself. “Maybe the title Fallen Angel is meant to be ironic or something.” Then, with your defenses down, you are flooded with alternate accounts about Jesus by people most of whom you have never heard of but who claim to have been close to Him.
“Just when you were really starting to love Him, Jesus would go beyond pushing the envelope. Yeah. I love Jesus but . . . He hangs out with tax collectors and prostitutes. Yeah. I love Jesus but He wastes community money that could have gone to feed the poor.”
“I’ve heard He used the money to wash His feet in perfume!” “Which is hypocritical of Him after telling the rich young ruler to give all his money to the poor.”
“Most of His sayings I just couldn’t parse.”
NARRATOR: The more popular Jesus got, the more difficult He became.
“At the beginning He came across as the Prince of Peace; with miracles of wine and bread and fish but when He got really big it was all ‘take up a sword, pluck out your eyes and chop off your hands. And go to hell.’ ”
“He also said, and this is a direct quote from the so called Prince of Peace, ‘Don’t think I came to bring peace to the world. No. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.’ “ (Matt10:34)
“I never heard anyone talk more about hell than Jesus. And what was that psychotic rage in the Temple all about?!?”
“Yeah I heard His mom was delusional too. Explained her baby out of wedlock by saying God made her pregnant.”
“And Jesus, when He wasn’t criticizing the other rabbis or cursing fig trees or talking about hell or teaching us to hate our parents, would just wander off into the desert, sometimes for months!”
“Plus, Jesus started to believe His own hype. He claimed to be The Messiah! The One Way to heaven. But He was from Nazareth! No prophets come from Nazareth! Just check the Scrolls!”
“If someone told me Jesus really had not died on the cross but was living in a cave in Qumran I wouldn’t be surprised.”
NARRATOR: These inconsistencies foreshadowed what was about to transpire.
“Why did the demons always seem to know Jesus’ name?”
“He spent way too much time with Mary. When she was washing his feet, I was like ‘this is SO out of line.’ ”
”And I said, ‘You know something. I bet Jesus is at Mary’s house right now.’ And I said ‘I’m gonna sneak over there and have a look.’ And there was Jesus’ donkey tied up in her driveway.”
”And I said, ‘You know Jesus; He’ll just say His donkey was left there by someone else or something.’ After I peeped in the windows I said to myself, ‘I’m gonna go knock on that door and see if He’s there.’ For me, this was my moment of reckoning. If I had invested everything I believe in, I wanted to know what’s going on. I knocked on the door. I could hear someone doing the dishes. Finally, the door just opened and there was Jesus in the hall. ‘Jesus, do you think it’s a good idea that you’re here? Your best friend is in the tomb, You’re here in his house with Mary sitting at your feet.’ “
“For sure, and what was He REALLY doing with that Samaritan chick?”
“Jesus sometimes seemed delusional…destroying the Temple… ‘greater than Moses’… Son of God?… Ha! A bit of a megalomaniac if you ask me. I mean, who did this dude think He was?”
“Well, if He said God was His own Father then He was saying that He was equal to God. Just like Satan tried to do!”
“And I never met anyone more concerned about their image. After his sermons, Jesus would rush over to His disciples and ask, ‘Who do you say that I am?’ ” (Matt 16:15)
“For me some of the most, you know, things I sort of had questions about was; What was going on when another Gospel came out, and it was like, let’s tell the same plot over and over and over again. A kind of mythologizing was starting to happen where it’s not okay to just have ONE Gospel. There had to be several Gospels to seem like it was written by Aeschylus or Sophocles or something.”
”His followers were as mythologizing as Jesus Himself was.”
NARRATOR: Jesus befriends and begins to disciple a young man anxious to get into the business. The Disciple was one of the most famous and pivotal people in Jesus’ life.
“And Jesus basically said, come follow me and why don’t you just take over the coin purse? Then He offered me eternal life and let me into His inner circle, and because of Him, I just knew I was going to be famous. But, I will never forgive Him for this money matter. I could have sold that harlot’s perfume He had His feet washed with for a lot of shekels. I mean, I still had love for Jesus, but if the Sanhedrin wanted help… well, I was gonna get what was due me one way or another.”
“The most stunning thing in my recollection was to see how Jesus, right in the middle of the Temple services, turned on the pigeon and dove salesman. He started like placing blame on the pigeon man, calling the poor guy names and knocking his table over. I thought, man, something’s really wrong here. I thought, what’s going on? This man is not who He says He is. He’s not who He shows the world. It really damaged my respect for Him and my own perception of Him as a Person.”
“We left everything to join up with Jesus. He promised us mansions and rewards and positions of power. Well, we did not get any of these things. I believe, and I think Peter would agree, when we decided to follow Jesus it was the end of our fishing career.”
“Why would Jesus do this to us? Promise us all these great things if we signed up with Him and then not follow through? I started to believe His critics were right, He had to have been some sort of vengeful devil.”
NARRATOR: The difficulties between Jesus and his followers were intensified by problems in their personal lives:
“I think that Jesus thought Martha had been unfaithful and so He started to hang out more with Mary.”
“Jesus just started talking about Martha’s faults to the point of dissing her for doing the dishes while at the same time publishing everybody else’s faults by writing in the sand, or shouting from the roof tops. ‘Martha is a busy body . . . Caesar is a fox. . . . Rabbis are whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones.’ And He never had a kind word to say about that lovely prophetess from Thyatira, Jezebel.”
“I’m sorry, but I got a little annoyed with Jesus when image overtook reality. Even when He taught us religious practices, it was always coached in presenting a false image to the masses. He’d say ‘When you go without food, comb your hair and wash your face so that others will not know that you are fasting, don’t wear shoes, don’t use a walking stick, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.’ And when He healed the blind, He made them promise not to tell anyone who had healed them. And remember when Peter guessed that Jesus is the Messiah?! Of course Jesus said, ‘Don’t tell anyone!’.
NARRATOR: The only ones who could see right away who Jesus was, were the fallen angels. Why? Because, like Jesus, the devil and his demons are deceivers. Because Jesus is in league with the Fallen Angel! (Matt 12:24)
“Then there were all the publicity stunts. There goes Jesus posing with the lepers again. There goes Jesus talking to the lame again. There goes Jesus doing stunts with coins and fish again.”
“On another occasion, on the Mount of Olives, Jesus said some crazy things about how we should drink His blood, and nearly the whole crowd walked away shaking their heads!”
NARRATOR: Jesus also began to tell the story that He was the King of the Jews when evidence to the contrary was obvious.
“When Pilate said to the people ‘Here is your king. . . Do you want me to crucify your king?’ The chief priests, answered, ‘The only king we have is Caesar! Don’t call Jesus the King of the Jews!’ ”
“Oh and Jesus Christ was not the first guy to ever die by crucifixion but His followers acted like Jesus had invented the cross!”
“Jesus really seemed to have problems keeping friends. In the end nearly all of His followers and even His Father had abandoned Him.”
“Jesus seemed to grow paranoid too! Right in the middle of the Passover Seder Jesus started saying that one of us would betray Him. I think it was shocking to everybody in the upper room. Jesus broke up our family. There’s no other way to put it. It exploded that night. It was done. Everyone scattered.”
NARRATOR: Jesus tried to frame Himself as the victim; asking questions like “Did you have to come with swords and clubs to capture Me, as though I was an Outlaw?”
The people answered Him by taking a bat and hitting Him over the head before they led Him out to be crucified. (Matt 27:30)
“Now, some of you are probably thinking that this all flies in the face of what you might have read about Jesus in the Gospel of John and Letters of Peter and James.
But how can we really trust their views? All those writers of the New Testament were Jesus’ friends and James was Jesus’ brother. So no matter what He did, those Christ crazies will keep defending Him to the end. I don’t want to hear any more of their Jesus-speak. So whom do you believe? The people closest to Jesus who loved him to the end or those who had him crucified?