Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.
Friday, December 2, 2016

Chyanna Richards saw Jesus in her bathroom.

A few days ago, Richards, who lives near Houston, told a local TV news station she saw the image of Christ in a splotch of green mold on the wall above her tub. “People say, ‘Your house is blessed,’?” Richards said.

Not that there is anything unique about what she saw. To the contrary, the Son of God seems to pop up in some very odd places.

A woman in Port St. Lucie, Fla., saw Him in a cellphone picture of her TV screen. A woman in Clermont, Fla., saw Him in a power meter. A Tampa Bay area man saw Him in a bathroom door. In Sullivan’s Island, S.C., a woman saw Him on the back of a dead stingray. In McLean, Va., a family saw Him in a tree in their front yard. A couple in Anderson County, S.C., saw Him on a Wal-Mart receipt.

The reader will doubtless note that these manifestations seem to concentrate in the South — the Bible Belt. They are not exclusive to that region but presumably, when people in relatively irreligious Philadelphia or Seattle see what appears to be a face on a banana peel, they are more apt to shrug it off.

When I was a boy in Los Angeles, people said they saw the image of a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26) in the beveled window of a church two doors down from my house. For days, we had news crews, traffic jams and lines of people crowding our street. I dutifully took my turn at the window, but all I saw was the sun glancing through the glass.

That doesn’t mean those people didn’t see what they said they saw. It only means that I didn’t. Sometimes, in faith as in other aspects of life, one sees what one needs to see and there is no shame in that. “Whatever gets you through the night, it’s all right,” said John Lennon. Or as Father Ray, the conflicted priest on the short-lived TV series “Nothing Sacred” once asked: “Which man is truly crazy, the one who hears thunder and thinks it the voice of God, or the one who hears the voice of God and thinks it only thunder?”