Andrew Neaum


Christianity is on the nose, these days. It’s the Donkey’s fault. Our Good News is bad news. It’s the Donkey’s fault. We stink in the nostrils of the world. It’s the donkey’s fault.


A donkey dolt

When I was a boy, I spent a lot of my time with donkeys. They ran wild all over the little island in the South Atlantic ocean where I lived. I chased them, caught them, rode them, scrutinised, studied and loved them. I was always scrabbling up onto their backs my nose rubbing into their dry, scurfy skin. Their distinctive smell, as I recall this, rushes straight back to my nostalgic nose my mind’s ear rings and echoes once more to their mad, unmusical bellowing in the mating season. I recall their strange love-making habits which provided me with my first sex-education.


With my brother and several friends, I was a cowboy when I rode them, toy pistol in my holster, ten gallon hat on my head, imagination running wild.


Some of those semi-feral donkeys were docile, some were frisky, some were lovable, some were downright nasty, and would rub your leg up against barbed wire or stone walls, if you were less than vigilant for a moment.


I’m a donkey man, a donkey dill, a donkey dolt, a donkey dunce, a donkey dude, I know donkeys, am a bit of a donkey myself.


If I blame the Donkey, take me seriously, I know what I‘m talking about. It’s the Donkey’s fault.


Drifting to denouement

There has to be something really, really odd, shonky, peculiar about a hero, an exemplar, a role model, a messiah. who rides a confounded donkey.


They are fine for little boys to play cowboys on, because little boys imagine them to be horses, but real heroes, real cowboys don’t ride donkeys. So if our Good News is bad news, if few people these days respect Christianity? If we stink in the nostrils of the world? The donkey will have something to do with it. It’s the Donkey’s fault.


Celebrity in those days and in these days doesn’t do donkeys Our hero, our exemplar, our role model, messiah, Christ dreamed and drifted to his denouement on a donkey. Something real heroes don’t do, wouldn’t do, shouldn’t do.


The donkey gives him away

Our hero was suspect then, dubious. The donkey gives him away. It was a criminal-in-waiting, sitting on that there donkey. A law breaker from Nazareth, of all miserable towns. A fellow who violated the Sabbath law, who mixed with enemies, traitors, adulterers and rat bags, who suggested, taught, and expected people to accept that God loved, approved, favoured such rat bags, who advised folk to seek out such company rather than shun it, advised people to love such people, turn the other cheek and forgive them, as well as Samaritans, Romans, enemies even.


He appeared too, to give not a fig for possessions, security, wealth. He talked about taking up the cross of crucifixion, giving away everything to the poor, and what is more claimed the poor to be blessed. Even his family came second, or third or fourth. He didn’t find time for a spouse, married life, having kiddy winks. He turned his back on the comforts of hearth and home.


Only a radical like this, would have the insight and derring do, to choose a donkey as the most appropriate and best vehicle to express love’s majesty, love’s authority, love’s power and might.


The donkey symbolises his radicalness and unacceptability, It is the donkey’s fault.


If our Good News is bad news, if we stink in the nostrils of the world.


A shonky donkey’s fault

It’s the donkey’s fault, and the donkey on a donkey’s fault.


Though not entirely. People might just come to admire the radical Jesus if we his followers were more like him.


The trouble is, people don’t smell a donkey when they come near us, they smell a rat. We claim to be like Jesus, but aren’t.


How radical are you? How radical am I? Do we love our enemies? Do we give away all we have to the poor and follow? Do we turn the other cheek, walk the second mile, take up a real cross and sacrifice our self for others?


We don’t, we don’t, we don’t. We don’t live Jesus of Nazareth. We don’t shock and attract as he did.


Oh that we did. Oh that I did. How I long to be radical like him.


Instead I’m more a donkey than I am Jesus. And it’s the donkey’s fault. This shonky donkey’s fault who is me!


So, it is Holy Week. I’ll walk the way of the Cross, watch with Jesus, admire him, love him, trusting that more of him will rub off on me. And that my own shonky, donkey hee haws will transpose into authentic, shocking, hosannah hosannahs.