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Monday, April 05, 2004

I Believe In Cheezus

It was a dark and rainy day in Itaewon, the cluttered foreign shopping and entertainment district adjacent to the U.S. base in Seoul, S. Korea. My chest rattled, my joints ached, and I felt weighed down with various and sundry burdens of the soul. I had reached rock bottom, friends.

As I emerged from the subway, a was met by a vision of Korean cheerfulness and saintliness in a bright yellow rainsuit, her smile as bright as the long-absent sun. I shall never forget the words she said to me that fateful day.

She looked at me with a visage that shook my soul in its purity and as she handed me a pamphlet, she said:

"Cheezus loves you"

The pamphlet was in Hangul, the Korean script which I'm unable to read, but colorful illustrations made it possible for even the illiterate to understand the message. The frames told the story of a troubled blue stick figure comforted by an enlighted red stick figure, who bends down to lift up his companion. After a heartfelt hug, the red stick figure leads the blue stick figure by the hand to the final frame, which shows these two friends bowing down before what looks like a representation of the sun with a cross in the middle.

Of course, an educated man such as myself realizes the obvious religious allusion to the Cheezus story--our friends were obviously bowing at the base of a gigantic, crosscut wheel of Dutch Gouda--an unmistakable symbol for followers of Cheezus.

At that very instant, I knew, in my heart of hearts that her words were true, but it took a while for them to really sink in and begin to heal my sin-sick soul.

I was perplexed; confused. Sure, I thought I had heard the name Cheezus before--maybe it was in a commercial or in church--I'm not really certain on the details. It seemed to me a vaguely recalled him saying "Blessed are the Cheesemakers" somewhere in the scriptures..For the next few weeks, I mulled over this incident, and kept thinking to myself, "Who is this Cheezus?", and "What does Cheezus want me to do with my life"?

It was several years later, at a wine and cheese party, when I truly accepted Cheezus into my heart. There, I saw all the miracles of Cheezus; roquefort, gouda, stilton, sharp cheddar, brie. At that moment, the sacraments of bread and wine found their perfect compliment--that sublime product of teat and fungus--cheese.

I don't have all the answers, but I do know that since I've accepted Cheezus into my life, I've been a happier man.

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