Low-Carb Jesus

The low-carb craze proceeds relentlessly in the US. Now every store sells low-carb pasta, reduced carb non-dairy creamer and of course nearly carbless bread. I’ve tried the low-carb bread with its extra chewy, spongy consistency. It’s a lot like the real stuff but not quite.

It looks and smells like the bread I’ve devoured since youth, but after three slices—dressed up with almond butter and apricot jam or faux turkey and soy cheese, it still does not satisfy, does not provide that starchy comfort, that real food feeling I crave.

It’s nothing new though; I’m used to this feeling of dissatisfaction.

I’ve consumed low-carb Jesus all my life.

I don’t mean those bone-dry wafers the priest adhered to my tongue during my Catholic youth. (I couldn’t even wash down those woodchip-like hosts with wine since the cup was reserved for the sole use of Father Justin and his altar thugs.) No, Jesus with reduced carbs is not just a Catholic offering. This low-carb Jesus transcends denominations. He is fed to the masses by the Baptists, 7th Day Adventists, Presbyterians, Methodists and most of the other Christian franchises that dot the landscape of America.

Here’s how it works.

They serve up Jesus, but they purposely leave out the carbs of Christ.

These churches offer his body, not only broken for us, but also stripped of any recognizable humanity, except of course the suffering. Anger, lust, passion, confusion, bowel movements, all removed so that we receive a colorless, spongy Jesus so unlike ourselves we despair of ever following him.

How can I, a human, a man, ever emulate the perfect, carbless drone of God?

Again, I am used to this kind of thing.

For years I had to put up with the skin and bones, fat-free Jesus.

They displayed before me every Sunday, the spotlessly clean and impossibly lean son of God. He hung pinned up in front of me like a bloody butterfly with wings splayed out wide.

Who wants to eat the undernourished sacrificial Lamb of God after they beat the shit out of him? That sort of meat always tastes gamey and tough. Toughened through suffering and holy living, not animal adrenaline coursing through he frantic body. No, their Jesus had no such physical reaction to trauma.

The Jesus they served me, the evangelical, fundamental, orthodox, catholic, Pentecostal Jesus was instead filled with divine power—a supped up version of humanity, no longer human except for the chaise. . How I longed for the bubbling over with cellulite and laughter, Buddha, the enlightened one, obscenely and hilariously obese.

No wonder for years I took and ate the gutted Jesus, drank the crystal-lite grape juice blood of Christ then ran out and sought other men to devour. The Jesus they gave me, sitting at the right hand of God, high and lifted up, larger than life yet skinner than a runway model always contained twice the God with only an eighth of the humanity. No fat, low carb, sugar-free Jesus. I never gained spiritual weight yet once I left church, I lived my life like it was an all you can eat buffet.

In an age when scientists, not grandmothers decide what makes a healthy, tasty loaf of bread, and church leaders conspire to reprocess an already over processed son of God, I say give me that old time religion when Jesus was a just a human, one filled with light and hope, but still profoundly human, and folks like me, mere handfuls of dust, could aspire to even greater works then his.

Cut out the crap; give me the real Jesus, carbs and all.

This post has 8 Comments

  1. Ruthie on February 2, 2005 at 11:41 pm

    Hee hee 😀 I love this! I’ve just moved to America (NYC) from the UK to study for 3 months and I am amazed at the no carb/low carb obsession! I saw some soy blue cheddar the other day – what exactly is that stuff :S (I buy cheese of the full fat dairy cheese-coloured variety and it doesn’t seem to have done me any harm!)

    I’m off the opinion that carbs are the basis of a good diet (ever seen those food pyramid things?)Ok, so enough of my anti-Atkin’s rant. This makes a wonderful point, Jesus without his humanity, without passion, without his tendancies towards raucous celebrations, emotional outbursts, zest for life (the guy made his own wine for goodness sake) and the adrenaline pumping agony of the cross – there’s really not much left.

    Thank you for your thoughts.


    PS. Welcome back to blogging!!!

  2. 1dayin7 on February 4, 2005 at 3:05 pm

    Hmmmm. I know what you mean. And I’m a Catholic.



  3. Rowan on February 13, 2005 at 7:25 am

    yes, low carb bread sux. I myself just go for the Nature’s Own WhiteWheat. It tastes good. It’s not that low on carbs, but it’s wheat bread, not refined white flour.

    I don’t know why someone eating low carb would need soy blue cheddar. You’re allowed to have fat, cream and cheese on a low carb diet. And I see Ruthie points out that you need carbs. This is true. It’s just that most Americans consume way too many carbs a day. And people also need fat. That’s why low fat diets don’t work so well. If you’re body is not getting enough fat, it stops burning it and starts reserving it. You can’t lose fat that way. Normally your body burns carbs first, then fat. If you don’t eat a ton of carbs, it burns fat first. That’s the beauty of low carb eating.

  4. Progressive Traditionalist on July 31, 2005 at 5:50 am

    Jesus not only turned the water to wine, he turned it into the good stuff!

    He knew how to throw a party, as well as how to start a riot.

    He knew how to say, “F— you!” and be terribly polite, yet sarcastic about it.

    He got pissed at people. He got hungry. He got testy when he got woke up.

    But I don’t believe that Americans strive for the bland. They merely overwhelmingly accept it, believing that which is popular is necessarily good.

  5. Calia77 on October 11, 2006 at 8:49 pm

    As a new reader, thank you for your honesty and candidness in all your posts.

    This one – wonderfully put! I heard a talk over the summer by John Bell who heads up the Iona Community. His main point to this talk (‘An emasculated Jesus in a defeminised church’) was that Jesus had a penis – you’ve never seen so many shocked faces – was a child, a teenager, had hormones, spots, probably had crushes. Thanks for bringing the real Jesus back to our minds.

  6. Anna on November 6, 2006 at 10:02 pm

    I heard you read this at Courage recently and I was going to ask you for a copy. It expresses so much to me of what I feel the church is lacking and you put into words the things I could never verbalise. Thank you.

  7. Claire on September 14, 2008 at 6:07 pm

    Peterson, love – have you ever considered getting some of your blog entries published into book form? I see you as a sort of Gay American Adrian Plass :)) He has helped me so much during my walk with Christ and I’m sure you could help so many people, gay and straight. I love your bravery and humanity. You’re a total star!

  8. Peterson Toscano on September 14, 2008 at 6:10 pm

    Aw, thanks Claire. I have been thinking of some publishing projects. I now know at least one person will buy my book. Cool!

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