I've Been To My Share of Pizza Parties (Transcript)

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Chris Sims: Hello friends and neighbors, and welcome to Apocrypals. It's the podcast where two non-believers go through the Bible, but we're not, you know, a-holes about it. My name is Chris Sims. Joining me in this service and in all future services is Benito Cereno. Benito, how are you today?

Benito Cereno: I'm very well, Chris. And how are you?

C: I am also very well.

B: Excellent.

C: So yeah, this is our new Bible podcast, everybody. Thank you for listening. And we thought we'd take this zero episode to sort of explain why we're doing this. Because for me, the answer is very simple, and that's that I try not to do anything, that I do not record and distribute.

B: Exactly. Why do anything that you can't share with everyone and hopefully somehow commodify? Why not? Why would you do that?

C: Okay, okay. Look, you are ascribing some nefarious motivations to what I'm doing, but no. Here's the thing. I realized a couple weeks ago that while I can, like many people, I can name more members of the Wu-Tang Clan than Supreme Court justices. But it turns out I can also name more Supreme Court justices than apostles.

B: Mm-hmm.

C: And I thought I could name them all.

B: Yeah, that didn't go great.

C: 'Cause I'm pretty sure— I got Luke.

B: I'm pretty sure he's—

C: — Luke was correct.

B: No, Luke is not correct. Matthew is correct.

C: Okay.

B: 'Cause I think you started with the four evangelists, I think, and that's where you went wrong.

C: Yeah. I started with Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and you told me I had one right. And here's the worst part, I tried explaining this to someone this past weekend at a comic book convention and they had to correct me on who, which of those were members of the apostles. Much like you just did.

B: Arguably, John was also John the apostle from the Gospel of John. But that's stuff we can discuss later.

C: That's true when we get to those books. So this was, this happened in a conversation with you.

B: Yeah.

C: And I decided, I realized that like a lot of people, I thought I knew more about the Bible than I actually do, which turns out to be next to nothing. Whereas you are, are a scholar of some report?

B: I guess, man, I guess I'll take it. or even biblical history or anything like that. I am officially, by training, a classicist. I have degrees in classical languages and literatures, I have degrees in classical languages and literatures, It doesn't mean that I have a degree in Huckleberry Finn, although I do also have a degree in English literature. So I have had plenty of opportunity to look over and read and study biblical texts as literature, but in addition to that, I have a whole lifetime of Bible and church. There is church all up in my DNA, and so I literally spent every day in elementary school at a church after school. And so Bible stories are all up in me.

C: So when I realized I didn't know... like I could name one for sure of the apostles, 'cause I think my second guess was Paul, and he was not.

B: Yeah, Paul is...

C: He comes in later.

B: He's technically an apostle, but he's not one of the 12.

C: He's not one of the original, like the Golden Age team.

B: Yeah, yeah.

C: Yeah, he's not a founder. Like how Captain, like he's kind of the Captain America, 'cause you know how Captain America's not a founding Avenger.

B: Exactly,

C: And you suggested that we kind of book club it and read it through together. And if we're gonna do it, why not record it for our pals?

B: Exactly. If we're gonna be discussing it anyway, why not do it on metaphorical tape?

C: So I bought a Bible for the first time ever. I don't think I've ever, I think this is the first Bible that I have actually purchased as opposed to having one given to me. Like, which again, I don't think has happened in 30 years.

B: Yeah.

C: Like I remember having like a small Bible when I was a kid and we had, you know, the big leather covered family Bible that was handed down. 'Cause here's, I guess we need to get into background here. You and I are both Southern.

B: Sure, yes.

C: Which means even apart from you spending a lot of time in church, there is like a background radiation of Christianity.

B: Most stuff.

C: That just like, I don't know, I know very little, honestly, especially compared to you, but I do know a lot just from growing up in the South. I have been to my share of pizza parties, which is maybe, should I explain the pizza parties, Benito?

B: Yeah, go for it, man.

C: Okay, so when you're in high school in a Carolina, in my case, South, you will occasionally be approached by a friend or a classmate, and they will say, "Hey, we're having a pizza party tonight that you should come over to. Like maybe we can talk about some pro wrestling, eat some za." And sometimes they'll even give you like a ticket, like a pass, that's like good for, you know, one free slice of pizza at this pizza party. And you, if you're me, you'll be like, "Heck yeah, I love pizza. Pizza is dope." So you will go to this place, this address, guess what, it's a church, guess what, it's not a pizza party, it's a revival that happens to have pizza. They lure you in and then they try to get you to come up to the front and accept the Lord into your heart, which is false pretenses.

B: Yeah, that's one of the main strategies of evangelical churches. Here's my worst experience with that. This would have been like, I don't know, like 12 years ago. I was probably still in grad school and I was very poor, as many grad students are. I was down on my luck in a number of ways. And I was walking down the street and I looked down and I saw $50 on the ground. And I was like--

C: Oh no, this is the worst.

B: I need $50 very badly. And I leaned over and I picked up the $50 bill, and it is not a $50 bill. It only looks like one on one side and on the other side, it says something like the real treasure is Jesus.

C: Hmm, that's a rough one, buddy. That's like way worse than being promised pizza.

B: Oh yeah, oh yeah, it's bad. But yeah, like the trap, very common strategy. It's like come out to our trunk or treat, read this little comic book I handed you or whatever, and it's a trap.

C: Yeah, so this was a common occurrence. Did you grow up in an area that did hell houses at Halloween?

B: Yes, I didn't... I don't think I ever attended one, but yes, I definitely knew kids who participated in them. Yeah, for sure.

C: I never managed to get to one because they were always put on by First Baptist, and First Baptist was, in the town where I grew up, was a very well-to-do church. Like, it was a very, like, even at the time my nascent enmity towards capitalism like warned me off of hitting up First Baptist. I will say I was baptized at 15. I was baptized in the Presbyterian church. That's where we settled. But yeah, there is a strong kind of evangelical Christianity background that you, like, look, I have been, I have seen Carman live at the Columbia Coliseum, which was a packed house.

B: Yeah, man. And anyone that's heard us talk, anyone that's ever heard us have any discussion before has heard of Carman, because we cannot talk to each other without Carman eventually coming up.

C: Yeah, 'cause here's the thing, it's a very common touchstone for us. Like, weirdly enough, for two people, I described us as non-believers, I have considered myself an atheist shortly after being baptized, honestly. But we do have that common ground on this specific version of Christianity and this specific version of religion, which I think makes it a very interesting subject just for you and me.

B: Yeah.

C: So yeah, that's my background. My mother was religious, although we are also lazy. So we would, it's like a 70/30 shot of whether we were gonna sleep in on a Sunday or not when I was growing up. But I did, I attended plenty of church services. I used to have an hour long commute and before I had like an iPod and before podcasts were a thing, I would listen on the first half of my journey home... The Christian radio station would play the radio drama Adventures in Odyssey, which I am genuinely kind of a fan of because as much as there are just episodes about, you know, Bible lessons and let's use the Christian holodeck to go back in time. There's also like, at one point an evil man takes over the town and the cast has to form an underground superhero organization to form a resistance.

B: Yeah, man.

C: He gets riled.

B: I used to listen to that too, yeah, for sure.

C: But yeah, so very, you know, my house had copies of "Daily Bread" in it growing up, as I think is the way that I should describe it. Like I grew up in a place where when you went to get your Halloween candy, you did have to move aside Jack Chick tract to get the Reese's cups. So, Benito, you said that you spent every day in a church?

B: Yeah, in elementary school between first and fifth grade, yeah, my school was across the street from the church. And every day after school, I would go, I would walk across there until my dad could take me home. And so, yeah, I spent a lot of time, probably, explains some some things about me that I spent much of my formative years by myself wandering around a spooky church. It actually, it wasn't even like an old church, it was actually completely modern, but I was fully convinced it was haunted. And if you heard my story about the time the church ghosts tried to kill me, that was at that church. But I actually went to a bunch of different churches. We moved around a bit when I was a kid due to church stuff, but I've attended churches with memberships up to 1,000 or more down to much smaller ones that had maybe 40 members where we met in a storefront. One church I went to Sunday school was held in a double wide trailer in a little country town. And yeah, and like I said, it's in my DNA.

I would refer to myself as ethnically Christian, I suppose, secularized ethnic Christian. But yeah, like, pretty much any member of my family from the generation before mine and going back a little bit has at least something to do with the church, whether it was playing piano in the church or minister of music or whatever. So much of that is like it's in my DNA. Like I don't know how old I was the first time. It was a Sunday and I didn't go to church. It might have been when I went to college and then I realized I didn't have to go to church if I didn't want to. So yeah, definitely a big part of my life and family.

And yeah, basically what happened was I learned too much about it. Like I learned more than they probably want you to know about like the Bible and how it was written and the history of it and that like Jesus wasn't even the only magical rabbi in the Roman Empire around that time. They don't tell you about that stuff. And the more you learn about it, the more you're like, it's just a book, you know, it's just one of another series of things and when you start to see the seams, it starts to unravel a little bit. So yeah, I don't know. That's a rough sketch of my background anyway.

C: Well, you also have, as people know, if they follow you on Tumblr and if they followed your writing, like you have a keen interest in not only saints, which is something that you're extremely interested in, but you are knowledgeable also about infancy gospels and the Apocrypha, which are things that we will probably be getting into at some point.

B: Yeah, I would say so, yeah. And I'd like to probably get into some which is stuff I had to get into on my own because evangelical Christianity is not into saints. That's not a thing. Or actually rather, you don't venerate saints because there's the sainthood of all believers, any believer is a saint, and so there's nothing special about Saint Patrick, and so there's nothing special about Saint Patrick, for example. But--

C: He did turn the snakes into the sea.

B: He did, he did, and--

C:♪ Swimming through sick lullabies, choking on your alibis. But it's just the price you pay. Destiny is calling me, Open up my eager eyes ♪

That's as much as I can sing without paying someone.

B: Wow, yeah. Amazing though. I feel like we should be paying you.

C: Thank you. I agree, personally. But you brought up, you are very knowledgeable about the infancy gospels and all that stuff, but you did bring up something that I think is very common very common to people who have that kind of upbringing. Um, where I think there's a point that you get in your life where you're super into it and you're going along with it and then it gets to a point where you take a hard turn away. Yeah. Which is, is genuinely what happened to me. I just came to a point where it, for me personally, it just didn't make sense.

And there, there, you know, in my twenties, I feel like there was probably a lot of, a lot of, you know, enmity and, and pompousness to that. But as I've grown up and become more or less an adult, like I have kind of come to the conclusion that there's a pretty big difference between not believing in something and thinking it's wrong. Right. You know, like if you, Like, if you think gay people are bad, you're wrong. Like, I can throw that one out there. Like, no matter what you use to support that belief, like, that's wrong. But if you think, you know, Jesus was the son of God, I don't believe that, but I don't think you are necessarily wrong for thinking it.

B: Sure.

C: It's like, you know, it is a matter of faith that I do not share, but that I don't, you know, at this point in my life, I don't begrudge anyone for having it.

B: Oh yeah. Yeah, for sure. I've like, I've, I've come to develop what I like to believe is a more nuanced take on things, which is basically like, you know, I definitely had a part where I was, I was more hardline like, no, this is definitely not real. It's not a thing. But now it's more like, well, I believe God is real and I believe Jesus is real for certain definitions of the word real, right? Like, it is impossible to deny the power of these things and these stories and these ideas. I mean, you can see the physical palpable effects that they've had on history and on the world and they continue to have now, right? So, it would be foolish of me to say, "Well, Jesus isn't a thing," because Jesus is a thing. Even if he wasn't even a literal historical person, even in that case, it doesn't matter, right? And so basically I believe Jesus is real the same way I believe ghosts and Santa Claus and Superman are real, which is real in a very real way, just not necessarily a literal way.

C: Yeah, and I think you and I, being comic book writers by trade, and people who spend a lot of time thinking about stories and the power of stories and you know, particularly like the inspirational and moral instructional powers of stories, really helps shade that idea. I think it was Chris Roberson who once said that he believes in Superman the way some people believe in Jesus. That it's, you know, Superman famously wrote on the moon, "do good to others and every man can be a Superman," which is pretty close to being a religious maxim.

B: Absolutely, someone asked me on Tumblr, they're like, what are your religious beliefs? And I boasted that panel. I was like, that's all you're getting out of me, but it's also true.

C: Yeah, and you talked about Santa Claus and I was on a podcast with a very good friend of ours, Elle Collins, where I basically brought myself to tears talking about how I believe in Santa Claus and how it's this force that I believe we've all agreed on to... that, you know, once a year, we do something nice for someone else, but we don't expect, you know, we do it under the name Santa Claus. So that, you know, you know, oh, don't thank me. That's a present from Santa. And I find that magical and touching and inspiring. And coming to those conclusions, I think, gave me a different perspective on religion than the angry atheist of my teens and 20s, which I think was also a very acceptable reaction to being surrounded by the kind of Christianity we were surrounded by. Another thing that Elle pointed out, like we were talking about Stone Cold Steve Austin, and honestly, I can't wait until we get to the book of Austin, 'cause I only know one verse from it, but it's a good one.

B: Yeah, it's the one everyone knows. It's the one everyone knows.

C: Yeah, but we were talking about, you know, Elle was talking about how valuable it was for people who weren't part of the in crowd in the late '90s, like right when Southern evangelical, a very smarmy form of Christianity was really ramping up to have a counter to John 3:16 being thrown at them, and how valuable that was just in order to fend off this kind of weaponized belief. But that does bring me to a point that I wanted to make right here at the start. I said at the top of the show, we don't wanna be a-holes about this though.

B: Oh, for sure.

C: I don't think, obviously I think we, at bare minimum, have the respect for the Bible as a foundational text of virtually all Western literature?

B: Yes, 100,000%, absolutely.

C: Yeah, someone asked me why I knew so much about the Bible and I was like, oh, it's 'cause I wanted to understand comic books. It's very useful to know what everything is alluding to.

B: Yeah, it's true. Good knowledge of the Old Testament makes Jack Kirby make more sense.

C: Yeah. you know, like, God, comics are full of, crucifixion imagery and revelation imagery and names that are pulled out from the Bible. So bare minimum, I think we have that respect for it. And I think on those grounds, our attempt as we go through this is going to be to engage with the text on its own terms.

B: Oh yeah, yeah.

C: Like in the same way that we wouldn't, we wouldn't make a sidebar every time we talked about Superman and go, "But you know Superman's not real."

B: Right.

C: Like, that's not a thing that we're going to be doing with this particular text.

B: No, I don't think so. I mean, as far as I'm concerned, the way I would like to approach the text is, yeah, first we take, we look at it at face value, right? We look at the, and we discuss the kayfabe version of the story, right? Like, we look at the book of Luke and we say, "Yep, that was written by Luke. Here's who Luke was," right? But then from there, we can branch out and say, "Well, the historical context tells us, you know, probably written in this time, we understand that the book was actually anonymous, etc." And then from there, we can branch out a little bit more and lean into a bit of what the title of our podcast hints at, and look at what apocryphal books, extra canonical books, all these other writings that exist that people may not be familiar with, what do they have to say on the matter? How does that, how does the stuff that got trimmed out, how does that enhance our understanding of what we're looking at? That kind of stuff.

C: Again, in the same way that we did, if we were talking about the creation of Superman, or if we were talking about Golden Age Superman stories, we would never not mention the environment in which Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster created Superman. Like there's surrounding pieces of history that inform any text. And I think we kind of want to get into that. That's something we find interesting.

B: Absolutely.

C: So let's talk about the Bible.

B: All right, man.

C: The specific Bible that I'm holding in my hands, because again, I have purchased this Bible. Mine is purple with silver gilt edges. So it looks like what I imagined Prince's Bible looked like.

B: His Bible looked like issues of the Watchtower, but.

C: Well, yes, okay. Oh, I should fill out the presented to page in this Bible.

B: Presented to Chris from Chris.

C: Yeah, good luck, buddy. So we will be reading at your suggestion, the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

B: Yep.

C: This is, you know, as opposed to the King James, the New International Version, which are more common, why did you pick this one for us?

B: Yeah, well, first of all, you suggested, when we were started talking about this, you said, "We're definitely gonna read the King James," right, and I said, "No, hell no. "We are definitely not doing the King James because--

C: Heaven no.

B: Heaven no, heavens no, because I was like, I would like both of us to be able to get through this and to know what we're reading and talking about. And so while the King James version is very beautiful to read, it's not always the easiest to understand. And while we could have gone with the New International Version, which is completely fine and one of the easiest translations to find copies of. I personally like the HCSB, the Holman Christian Standard. It's a newer translation within the last 20 years, really. Probably even more recent than that. I'm looking at the copyright.

C: The original copyright is 1999 on this one.

B:Yeah, okay. So it's more recent, but what I really like about it is the balance between accuracy and readability. I always find it's got a solid apparatus criticus for people who care about that kind of thing, like your boy. But I find it really readable and good. And so I thought it would be a good choice for this, 'cause it's got a nice balance to it.

C: Yeah, and it's also a Bible that starts off with its translational philosophy, which I appreciate, which covers even stuff like gender issues and the pronouns that they have chosen to use and why they left a lot of stuff as man or he as opposed to people or they. Like there is a thought put into that that I appreciate. Also, mine is purple, which I like. I bought a note-taking Bible because I figured that would actually encourage me to take notes and highlight. And that's a thing I have a lot of trouble with as a book reader who comes from the world of comics is that I have two copies of Glenn Walden's book on Batman because I have one that I've taken a highlight or two and one that's pristine.

B: Nice.

C: I figure getting a book that was designed to take notes and that had these big margins specifically for note-taking and it looks like maybe coloring 'cause it's the artist's note-taking Bible. So it's got like little coloring book pages that I quite like. Psalms is very pretty in this book.

B: Nice, very nice. My copy is excellent. It is a study Bible. It is, according to the description on the box, it is brown and tan simulated leather. But it's got gilt edges that stick together pretty bad.

C: You've got some dope chapter breaks in this. Yeah, man. You've seen some pictures before you started recording.

B: Yeah, it's got really good introductions to each book that lays out the historical context, as well as giving general outlines and what we understand about the author of each book. and what the motivation for each one is. So that's really handy. Lots of illustrations, full color maps, that kind of stuff. It's really nice. It was a Christmas gift. I've had it for a number of years and I'm glad to have a real opportunity to fully use it. I will also probably, throughout the recording of the show, as we go on, consult several other translations. Currently, we're not even discussing a book today, but currently I have three different translations of the Bible on my bed right now. I've got that. I've got the Holman that I was just looking at. I also have a copy of the New Oxford Annotated Bible, which is, the text is actually the new Revised Standard Version, but it's got pretty thorough annotations on each thing. I also have a copy of the Complete Gospels, which is not a full Bible, obviously, but it collects the four canonical gospels in addition to extra canonical gospels and reconstructed gospels like--

C: You got Thomas in there?

B: Yeah, man, I've got Infancy Gospel of Thomas and I also have the, I have actually several Thomas gospels here. But the secret book of James, did you know that's a book? That's one.

C: No? I don't know about the secret book of James.

B: Yeah, so that's the thing we can talk about at some point. But yeah, I've got the, I have the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, the Infancy Gospel of Thomas. I also have some reconstructed gospels in here like Q. Chris, do you know what Q is?

C: You told me a little bit about Q.

B: Yeah.

C: And there were, like when I was looking, I think I was looking for information on the homie Simon Magus.

B: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

C: I think I saw a little bit about Q when I was doing some research.

B: Yeah, so, yeah, if we wanna dip into Simon Magus, we're gonna have to hit some other books. We'll hit some apocryphal acts, the Apocryphal Acts of Peter, the Apocryphal Acts of Peter and Paul, because they definitely expand on some things that are not in the canonical gospels. So you wanna see much more magic flying around. That's the one we need to check out.

But anyway, "The Complete Gospels" is a really excellent book that I recommend to people who are interested in looking at what the kind of stuff didn't make the cut. It's put together by the people of the Jesus Seminar, which is a historical Jesus scholars foundation. The translation they use is called the Scholars Version. It's very plain speech and doesn't really stick to conventions that we have over time. And so, for example, they don't call him Jesus Christ, they call him Jesus the Anointed. They translate what the word "Christ" means, right? It's not his last name. So they refer to him as "Jesus the Anointed" and that kind of stuff.

So those are additional kind of books. I'm sure at some point we'll also be consulting the Septuagint and the Vulgate just because I am a fancy pants man who likes to look at those things sometimes. So those would be the the ancient Greek and the Latin versions of the Bible as well.

And I should say, anyone who doesn't want to drop like 60 bones on a fancy study Bible can find most versions of the Bible, including Latin and Greek versions, on the website biblegateway.com. It's free and it's fairly easy to use. You just pick the translation you want to look at and click it and you can go from book to book or chapter to chapter. I think Chris and I both were using that when we were first getting started.

C: Yeah, I did sign up for a Bible Gateway account. A thing I actually really like about that is that you can pick, you know, as you're reading through it, you can go to a verse or a chapter and you can bop around. Like you can start with the HCSB and then like be like, okay, but what's this like in King James talk? And then you just roll it over to that. So if you want to read along with us, that is available. Also, you could just go anywhere. B: It's true.

C: Uh, if you, if you, if you stay in a hotel, you can take it. That's what they're there for. The Gideons want you to have that Bible.

B: It's true, man.

C: Uh, so, you know, hit, hit the road on vacation, put one in there or just check it out online. It's I, you know, we don't really need to tell you where to find the Bible.

B: Yeah. Just go. I mean, literally if you even just go to Bible.com, there's a Bible there. I'm pretty sure. Yeah, just, yeah. Bible Gateway is a good one. There's Bible Hub, I don't know. There's a million of them. Just type Bible into Google and you'll find some site that's got different translations on it.

C: So I think our plan of getting through this is we're gonna pick, we're gonna start with a New Testament book and then I think we're gonna alternate between New Testament and Old Testament as we go through. Obviously there are more Old Testament books than New Testament books. Here's a thing you might not know. If, like me, you don't know as much about the Bible as you thought, the Old Testament's like a thousand pages long, the New Testament's like 350.

B: Yeah, it's true. The New Testament is primarily made up of letters, and many of them are very short. Like, once you get past, especially once you get past Paul's letters, and you get into, like, Hebrews and James.

C: 1 Timothy is four pages!

B: Look at 3 John. It's not even half a page. It's like two chapters long, and it's like, "Hey, what's up? I just wanted to write you a letter to let you know this guy's pretty dope. Okay, bye." And that's a book of the Bible.

C: That'll be a short episode.

B: Yeah, yeah. Or, you know, we could pack a bunch together. But yeah, I think right now, for at least to start with, we're probably gonna alternate old and new Testament.

C: Yeah, and the counterpoint to that is that Psalms is probably gonna be two or three episodes.

B:Yeah, some of these Old Testament books we're gonna wanna split up. I mean, Genesis is 50 and there's so much going on in there. And some stuff will probably gloss over, I mean, I tried to encourage you to focus on narrative books but you seem to wanna hit everything, so that's fine too. But I feel like, I don't know how much we're gonna have to say about the huge chunks of Mosaic law that we're gonna hit eventually in like Numbers or Deuteronomy or something like that. So, but yeah, some of the Old Testament books are pretty beefy, and so we may wanna break those into chunks, and then there's gonna be some shorter ones, some of the minor prophets, some of the epistles that we're gonna probably wanna do four or five, we could probably cover four or five books in an episode. So yeah, and who knows, we may, and we're not gonna go in any sense chronological at first. I don't know if we may switch up with that eventually 'cause we may wanna go through some of the, like the Pentateuch stuff if we wanna hit that in order, maybe.

C: Literally have no idea what you're talking about.

B: That's the first five. That's Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. So the--

C: Did you learn this song when you were a kid?

B: I learned several different songs. I wrote one.

C: ♪ Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus / Numbers Deuteronomy. ♪ That's the one we learned.

B: I didn't learn that one. I did as a kid write a rap of the New Testament books.

C: Please, please perform it right now.

B: Right now? Oh, the first four books which come along are Matthew, Mark, and Luke and John. Then comes Acts and Romans 2. Yes, the first six books are easy to do. That's all you get for right now. There's 21 more books you can imagine what they're sounding like. But that's it right now.

C: That was beautiful, thank you. Look out, Carman.

B: Indeed, I'm coming for that crown. Yeah, I feel like I was saying something. Oh yeah, we might have, who knows? Who knows? We'll let this kind of go organically, but for now, yeah, we're gonna swap back and forth, New and Old Testament. You wanna talk about what we're reading first?

C: Yeah, we can talk about it a little bit right here. The book that we picked first, and I'm sure we'll be going through this again a little bit on our official episode one, is Acts.

B: Yeah.

C: Which was your suggestion, because you thought it would be good to start off with a narrative.

B: Yep, yeah, even before we decided to do this as a podcast, I picked Acts, "Acts of the Apostles," first because, well, first of all, you said you explicitly did not, you didn't want to read any begats. You told me that straight up. And so I was like, well, we'll skip, we can skip the gospels for now. Also, you're probably mostly familiar with the gospels. And so I thought, but maybe you wouldn't be super familiar with the book of Acts. It's New Testament, so you'd know some of the characters, Peter and Paul, some of the stories you probably know. But--

C: Damascus. Yeah. I know about the Road to Damascus, all that. That's one that gets alluded to rather commonly.

B: Also, it's got action in the title. I thought that would be good. And also it's got not one but two evil wizards in it. I thought that would be good as well.

C: Okay, here's the thing about acts. Again, I will be saying this again. First of all, it's a great place to start because even if you're not a believer, as we are not, Like even if you didn't grow up in that environment, if you are understanding this in English, hey, you probably know about Jesus. Like it always, it's always weird to me I thought like Jack Chick comics would be like, like my friend Scott's favorite one was "The Real Force," which is a, a Chick tract that assumes that you have heard of Star Wars, but have not heard of Jesus. You've heard of him. You got it. You get the deal. Acts is like the first one after, you know, he has been crucified, he is resurrected from the dead. You may have heard of that. It's called Easter. And then he ascends into heaven. Acts is the first book that takes place after that. So it's the first post-Jesus book of the Bible, which I found very interesting.

B: It's probably a little weird that we're literally starting with a sequel. Like, the one book of the Bible that is very clearly literally a sequel, it starts off with, "Hey, you remember my first book when I talked about this? Well, now I'm going to talk about this." Like, it literally starts that way. So, it's a little bit strange, but, you know, we figure most people know the Christmas story. They have a general idea of the miracles and the parables, resurrection and all that. But, yeah, I thought you probably want want to see some of these stories. And so, you know, and evil wizards.

C: Hey, can I ask you a quick question?

B: Yes.

C: How many people are struck dead by the Holy Ghost at Peter's command in this book? Is it more than one?

B: It is more than one. I don't have solid statistics on that right now, but it is definitely in the greater than one column.

C: If you have not read the book of Acts in a while, it's wild, it's very interesting.

B: Yeah, when we were discussing it, you referred to it as, when I said, you know, it's the beginning of a new set, it's the new step in Christianity, it's the new trilogy, and you said it's the Holy Ghost Awakens, and that's exactly what it is. That's literally what happens at the beginning. A bunch of apostles get the force on Pentecost, and then they go around and they use it to fight demons and wizards, freelance exorcists appear at one point and they get beat up by demons, that happens.

C: Also quite possibly my favorite character in the Bible. The one who's gonna set the standard for everybody to come up against going forward, it's Festus and we'll be finding out all about him next time not to be confused with the pro wrestler of the same name who is now Luke Gallows.

So that does it. I think we've laid out our mission statement. We laid out where we're going from here. Like I said, if you want to follow along, it's the Bible. The HCSB translation is on Bible Gateway. And you can like, I did sign up for a Bible Gateway account because I wanted to be able to like highlight and bookmark specific verses in case I didn't have my actual physical Bible. They will immediately send you some messages trying to get you to upgrade that to a Bible Gateway premium. How you get those annotations, boy. But yeah, if you wanna follow along, it's out there. We'll be starting off with Acts, and then continuing into the Old Testament in our second episode. Anything else we need to cover before we get out of here?

B: No, man, I think that about does it.

C: All right, well, thank you for listening to our zero episode. We hope you come back for the full show when we do that. And we hope you find it entertaining and interesting to go through the good book with us.

B: Oh yeah, the good book. Capital G, capital B.

C: All right, in the meantime, where can everybody find us online, Benito?

B: Let's see, you can find me on Twitter at Benito_Cerrino. You can find me on Tumblr at Benito-Cerrino. You can find me on Instagram, Benito_Cerrino, if you wanna see pictures of my cat, cats plural. Those are the main ones, grunge.com. There you go, that's where I get paid to write about the Bible and get death threats, et cetera. That's another story for another time. How about you, Chris?

C: People can find all my stuff by going to the-isb.com. This will be the only biblical content you'll be able to find there. But you can get some comic books, which are good books, even though they are not the Good Book. So we will be back next time. Until then, everybody, peace be with you.

B: And also with you.