Monday, September 28, 2015


By Lisabet Sarai

Uh—oh—oh—uh—uh—uh, uh, uh—ah—yes, oh, yes, uh—aaah!”

You all right, honey?”

Oh...oh, yeah, I’m fantastic. Just need a bit of time to recover. Thanks, Miriam. That was sensational—as always. You’re still the best, after all this time.”

That’s sweet of you, Sh’muel. We each serve according to our separate gifts.”

He say that?”

More or less.”

You knew him, didn’t you.”

Very well. Intimately, you might say.”

So...what was he like? Putting aside the hype and all? How did it feel when you were with him?”

Cherished. Beloved. Enveloped in warm, nurturing light.”

You were special to him.”

Everyone felt that way, Sh'muel. That was his gift. Total, unconditional love. Perfect compassion. It didn’t matter who you were, what you did for a living, what country you came from or what gods you worshiped. What so-called sins you had committed. He loved us all. We couldn’t help loving him back.”

Even Judas Iscariot?”

Of course. Poor Judas might have loved him more than anyone. Most of us were too selfish to fulfill the master’s will. We wanted to keep him alive, with us, so we could continue to bask in his incredible light. Even if that undermined his ultimate purpose.” 
It must have been hard to let him go.”

Torture. I wept non-stop for two weeks. It felt like my heart had been torn from my body, leaving nothing but a vacant, echoing gap. I wanted to kill myself, to tell you the truth, but I knew he wouldn’t approve. It took a long time before I understood that he really wasn’t gone at all. That his light could never be extinguished—unless I allowed it to be.”

I’m—um—kind of surprised you went back to your old profession. Afterwards, I mean.”

His mother never liked me. She never felt I was good enough for her precious Yeshua. I don’t blame her. We all have our flaws, our blind spots. Anyway, I didn’t feel comfortable with the direction the disciples were taking. Celibacy just doesn’t suit me.”

I’m grateful for that!”

I’ll bet you are, you old goat!”

So, tell me Miriam—what about the sex? Was it different? Better than with an ordinary man?”

You want me to kiss and tell? Naughty boy! I keep your secrets—I’ll certainly keep his. But I will say this—he was as lusty and eager as anyone else. Not the pale, emasculated, passionless figure that some of the communities worship these days. He was flesh and blood, full of juice and joy.”

What do you think? Was he really the Messiah?”

You know, Sh'muel, I don’t really care. All I know is that everyone he touched was changed for the better. His love kindled ours. We wanted to please him, honor him, and so we tried, in our own poor imperfect way, to be like him. Each according to our gifts. Speaking of which...”

Mmm—oh, that feels so good!”

Looks like you’re ready for another round, honey.”

Oh—ah—oh, God, I’d love to, but until next month’s harvest, I don’t have the shekels to spare.”

It’s on the house, honey. Because you’re such a loyal customer and such a sweet guy.”

Ooh—oh, Miriam! You’re a saint... What can I do in return? Can I give one of next spring’s lambs?”

Just feel my love, Sh'muel. Feel it, and pass it on.”


  1. I really can't figure how they arrived at modern so-called Christian thinking from Christ's life and teachings. Christ was a nice guy, a hippie who hung out with fishermen, dock workers and likely lived with a prostitute. He even brought the wine. Nicely told here, Lisabet. As much as I rail against religion, I have to problem with art inspired by faith.

    1. Yeah. And although the notion probably horrifies some Christians, I'm certain he must have had the sort of charisma that translates into instant sex appeal.

      You know the Who's rock opera Tommy? That's the way I imagine Jesus. "I overwhelm as I approach you/Make your lungs hold breath inside./Lovers break caresses for me,/Love enhanced when I've gone by"...

      I was trying to capture a bit of that here.

  2. I like Ghandi's comment that he likes Jesus, but not the Christians...because they are so unlike their Christ. Never fails to amaze me that people claim to be true believers, enjoy movies about being visited by angels disguised as homeless folks, but they still lead the charge to discriminate against everyone not like them. The hypocrisy of the human race knows no bounds.

  3. I've been noodling about in Wikipedia for references to sacred whores, which isn't exactly what your story is about, but considering all the practices of older religions that Christianity incorporated (Christmas trees, etc.) I wouldn't be surprised if some early sects hung on to this one.

    This reference to Mesopotamian cultures seems appropriate here, in any case:

    "Very little evidence for sacred prostitution in Palestine exists outside the Hebrew Bible. However for corresponding Mesopotamian cultures all prostitution could be send as sacred, because sexual acts were seen as a natural force personified in the Mesopotamian goddess. It was also the only form of economic activity in which a woman could earn a good income."

    1. Trust you to take a historical, research-oriented approach to this little riff, Sacchi!

      Actually, according to Wikipedia, the notion that Mary M. was a prostitute seems to stem from some conflation between her and other characters in the gospels. However, I am not convinced.

  4. This is a great story. It makes me smile.

    I agree with the point you made above that it's not clear Mary M. was a prostitute. I noticed at some point that everyone seems to assume that all female sinners in the Bible sinned sexually, but of course there are plenty of other ways to sin. What if she cried on his feet because she'd killed someone? Or stolen something?

    Also, the story reminds me a bit of the way the Jesus-type figure in Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land is described. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

    1. I'm glad I could get a smile out of you, Annabeth!

      Part of my point here is that for this woman, sexuality is not a sin. And I'd like to suggest that Jesus wouldn't have necessarily viewed sex as sinful either--certainly not sex that's as generous, fulfilling, and kind as what Mariam is offering.

      Stranger in a Strange Land was one of the seminal influences on my sexuality. I read it when I was in my midteens, and I'm sure that my attraction to polyamory comes from that source.

    2. Heinlein influenced me hugely that way. It wasn't just Stranger. The Moon is a Harsh Mistress also painted polyamory in a way that felt very attractive to me. I've often been struck at how much overlap there is between SF fans and practitioners of polyamory. Not an obvious connection, but seemingly a common one.


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