The Queer Messy Drama of Easter
Updated: Apr 19, 2022
We love Easter about as much as we love good drama. So what better way to celebrate the second anniversary of Yass, Jesus than with a Baked Bible Story about the chaotic mess caused by the resurrection?
Yass, Jesus! is hosted by Danny Franzese and Azariah Southworth. Our producers are Ross Murray and Meredith Paulley. Sound, music, and post-production by Chris Heckman. Special thanks to Sophie Serrano and Sam Isfan.
Yass, Jesus! is brought to you by Audity. Audity execs are Ryann Lauckner, Steve Michaels, and Jessica Bustillos.
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Daniel: [00:00:00] Hello Kings and Queens and in-betweens, sinners saints and I don't know if is or if I ain'ts. Welcome to another drama filled or chocolate chocolate filled episode of Yass Jesus. I'm Daniel Franzese and as always I'm here with my egg head bestie..
Azariah: Azariah Southworth.
Daniel: And here at Yass Jesus, we believe..
Azariah: Easter is all about the drama queens.
Daniel: So before we do that, just sit down on the pew, pew pews, and listen to some Queer Christian news.
Azariah: Queer Christian news. This is from the advocate and it is a story of justice on Twitter of all places. The Babylon Bee designed itself after the onion, but for Christians and church culture, well, they have gone full on right wing troll. And now they are finally getting pushback on their hate. The site was suspended from Twitter because it mis-gendered Admiral and Dr. [00:01:00] Rachel Levine, who is the assistant secretary for health at the us department of health and human services. In an attempt to be funny, a poor attempt, the Babylon bee named Rachel Levine, who is saving lives from COVID as their 'man of the year.'
Daniel: Misgendering is just not funny at all. The worst thing is like watching stand-up comics do it or watching people do it. It's just so like, it's just not funny. It's just cheap and damaging.
Azariah: Keep Rachel Levine's name out of your mouth!
Daniel: No, you shouldn't slap comedians. We are not advocating the slapping of mean comedians.
Azariah: I'm just saying, keep her name out of your mouth.
Daniel: But you're going to yell or you'll get suspended on Twitter.
Azariah: Right. And the suspension was meant to last for 12 hours if the Babylon bee took the post down, but they are refusing. So it [00:02:00] is ongoing and we're going to see how long the suspension lasts. But it's good to see that Twitter refuses to give a platform to mis-gendering, especially as a source of humor.
Daniel: You know, the whole thing of comedy, everybody keeps saying it again, punching up, like you can't punch down. Like you can't make fun of a marginalized community. It just doesn't...
Azariah: it's not cute.
Daniel: It just hurts. It ruins the fun of it all. Um, but you know what, we'll pray for them, which brings us to this portion of our show. This is the praise report and the prayer request. This is where if you have a little something extra, you want to hallelujah about, just tell us about it and we will praise God with you. And then if you have a little bit something that's just weighing on you a little bit extra heavily this week, you need some prayer, you need some guidance you don't know what to do, you been praying your little heart out and need more prayer well, we'll be like that wifi extender and add it to our prayer request list and we will pray with and for you. And so will our listeners, uh, so please send us your prayers report and prayer request to yassjesuspod.com. Uh, we're gonna start with a prayer request, Azzie. [00:03:00]
Azariah: Yeah. This one is short and sweet from Larita. Larita is asking that she prays to find her purpose. So we are going to pray for Larita and that is relatable.
Daniel: I tell you that is a big one. I mean, sometimes in life, I think your purpose is to search for your purpose for awhile. That's a hard concept to realize, you know? A lot of times when I talked to college students, I tell them it's like, you don't have to be something you have to search for the thing to be. Like, that's just the job right now. And I think that sometimes God puts us on paths where it really isn't about the destination as much as it is about the journey. So, uh, hang in there, Larita, we are praying with you. Uh, we have a praise report also. This came to us from social media. So I think it's a handle rather than a name, but it's Eric KP. Yeah. We know him. It's fabulous, but you know, it's Eric, we know Eric. 'This is a praise report for Danny and Azzie. You brighten the world at such beautiful light. Thank you.' Right back at ya, friend.. [00:04:00] Uh, what a sweetheart and a supporter of the pod since day one. Um, you guys, uh, we're going to come right back after this with some soul food for you with the scripture of the day.
Scripture of the day- it's food for your soul Azzie. Tell us about it.
Azariah: I may not be an actress, but I am a singer, okay? Our scripture of the day came from Mark chapter 16, verse six- do not be alarmed at Azariah singing. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He has been raised. He's not here. Look, there is the place they laid him.
Daniel: It's time for the Easter. Hallelujah. It is Easter. Christ [00:05:00] is risen. I love Christmas. Christmas is so great because we all get together. There's a lot of cultural things that come along with the spiritual aspect of the birth of our Lord. But I have to say that Easter is such a, like a happy, just a nice, uh, comforting time, uh, for Christianity. Christ is risen!
Azariah: In a weird way, yes. And for those who are listening, who struggle with using a lot of the Christianese language around this, how I like to put it is goodness is still alive, even when you knew it was dead. So, you know, there's, there's still a way to see this, even if you struggle with some of the Christian language, but Christ is risen indeed, hallelu, and it's time for us to do what the bunnies do.
Daniel: You also have to remember that Easter is when we celebrate Jesus rising from the dead.
Azariah: Like a zombie!
Daniel: That's stone was rolled away, honey.
Azariah: Roll that stone away, honey, and roll on.
Daniel: The tomb was empty Azzie.
Azariah: No one's here. Jesus. [00:06:00] Is not. Here.
Daniel: In addition to it being the joyful celebration of Easter tide it is also the birthday of Yass Jesus
Azariah: Yay!! Yes, we launched on Easter in 2020, back when the world was also tightly locked down in our own tomb of some weird way.
Daniel: Easter in the living room, honey.
Azariah: Yes. Where we felt like we were in a tomb and scared of coronavirus, scared to go outside...
Daniel: Playing breath of the wild.
Azariah: Yeah, we did. I don't think we left your place for like a solid two or three weeks at the very beginning. And it was a strange time.
Daniel: Amongst that time, we had a lot of time reflection and we found a way to get God's message out to everybody. Isn't that right, Azzie?
Azariah: Yes, we did. We sure did.
Daniel: It's amazing. And in the last two years we've been able to build a beautiful community. I feel like we've done that. How many people have come up to you, Azzie? Like a few, quite a few right? And say that they listened to the pod.?
Azariah: Yeah. And I always get a little nervous afterwards because I say some bullshit sometimes. [00:07:00] They're like, I listened to Yass Jesus! I'm like, oh girl, what's that? What's about ready to come out next? But it's always very complimentary.
Daniel: We're treating our own community, just like the Christian community that formed after Jesus was raised from the dead.
Azariah: Yeah, and I'm not saying we're exactly like Jesus, especially me.
Daniel: No, girl. I always say we're not a preacher, we're not a teacher, we're just sinners wondering with everyone else.
Azariah: We're just like, who's this girl Jesus? Um, and we are doing our best to follow in her footsteps.
Daniel: Yeah. In the midst of all of the Easter celebration, it might be easy to miss this, but the first Easter was messy and chaotic.
Azariah: Just like, Yass Jesus. We are messy and chaotic. Just another way we are like our Lord and savior.
Daniel: Remembering Jesus's followers had just endured his crucifixion. And that's like just a few days before they are in grief, they are shook. They're in shock. The news of rising from the [00:08:00] dead creates drama.
Azariah: And just like Jesus, we love some drama around here.
Daniel: Now to help in our celebration of Easter and to celebrate the drama of Easter and just to rumble on the queer chaotic mess of Easter, we are going to read the Easter story.
Azariah: Yes to drama. Yes to queer chaotic mess. In fact, This is how you know that Easter is a messy, queer, chaotic story. The story got retold with multiple endings to try to, you know, clean it up a little.
Daniel: Yes. The book of mark has three different endings, sort of like the movie clue. That movie could have ended this way, but could end this way, but it actually went down this way. Anybody? No. Okay. Um, that was a pretty queer movie. They had a gay character in there, but you know what, um, it was, if you, you had to go to the movie theater and see it, and they showed [00:09:00] only one ending. So you had to go, they told you what ending A, B or C, and you would go to the movie and try to catch them as if it was a little trick or whatever. But anyway, if you haven't seen Clue, check it out. Long story short, too late.
Azariah: Well to celebrate Easter and revel in the messy queer drama that it is, we are going to tell the story of Easter as it's told in the book of mark.
Daniel: What could we possibly do to add to the messy queer drama of the story of the first easter? I know. We can make it a big Bible story.
Azariah: Okay queens. Here we go. Chapter 16. Are your Bibles open? Minds open, hearts open, legs open. Mark 16:1- when the Sabbath was over Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of James and Salome. They bought spices so that they might go [00:10:00] and anoint him.
Daniel: Um, right off the bat, I have some observations. Who's getting up early, the ladies, like where are the men? Are they sleeping in?
Azariah: I would be. And I recognize some of these names, Mary Magdalen. We did a whole episode on her. That was a good one. Listen to that. Uh, well, she's getting up before sunrise. She's getting on the road to do the work. And how does the church think her? They slut shame her. They call her a prostitute. And there's nothing wrong with sex work, believe me. But if she wasn't one, then don't call her one. Yes.
Daniel: Mary, Mary, and Salome. Now that's the trop of women that are really putting in the work here.
Azariah: The spices were to prepare the body for burial. Remember, Jesus was crucified on a Friday. Remember, good Friday? So the Sabbath well at least this is how the tradition goes. So the Sabbath began on sundown that Friday night. And as [00:11:00] observant Jews, they didn't do any work on Saturday. I love that. So they had to get up Sunday morning to go do the work to prepare the body for burial in mark 16 three, it says they had been saying to one another 'who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?'
Daniel: They needed someone big and strong to roll away the stone that sealed the entrance to the tomb.
Azariah: Maybe they needed to use some of those spices to bribe a guard, to open it for them. Hey, Mr. Guard...
Daniel: I used to watch the scrambled spice channel when I was little. That was a different thing.
Azariah: Offer him a little bit of herb. Um, but mark 16:4- when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back.
Daniel: Yeah. So what do you think the women thought when they saw the stone was rolled away?
Azariah: I'll be like, oh, that bitch down the street beat us to it. She [00:12:00] already got this body prepared.
Daniel: You think? Or they were the instantly suspicious, like in a horror movie?
Azariah: You're asking me what I thought?
Daniel: When someone comes home and it's like [creaking noise] and the front door is already cracked open.
Azariah: Yeah. Yeah. Well, maybe they thought, oh, good someone already took care of that for us. Maybe there wasn't so cynical then.
Daniel: Or like in the descendants where all those lesbians go spelunking.
Azariah: Love that.
Daniel: The Descent. That's what it was, descent. Yeah. But either way, whatever it was, they did it.
Azariah: Yeah. They braved on and in mark 16, verse five, as they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side and they were alarmed.
Daniel: Damn right they were alarmed. There's a strange little man, just sitting in the tomb?
Azariah: Is he the crypt keeper? Is this the tales of the crypt?
Daniel: Is he a [00:13:00] grave robber?
Azariah: Is he a perv who gets his jollies from breaking into tombs to self-pleasure? I don't know. We don't know until we continue on to Mark 16, verse 6.
Daniel: What would you do if you were just going into the tomb and you saw some guy just sitting in there?
Azariah: I, I would, uh, get panicked and probably run out. That's probably what I would do. I would not stick around. And mark 16 for six tells us - but he said to them do not be alarmed.
Daniel: It's too late. You're sitting in a tomb a little creeper.
Azariah: Yeah. And we all know when angels who have the eight heads, eight eyes, whatever it is... when they say do not be alarmed. Okay. Yeah. Girl looking like that, coming in here on the day of his burial, but looking like that acting this way, we're alarmed. Angels are always starting out by saying do not be afraid. So it was an angel. This is what we can conclude. And when we continue with verse six, the angel says 'you are looking [00:14:00] for Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He has been raised. He's not here. Look, there is the place they laid him.'
Daniel: So now the creepy little angel guy is giving the ladies a tour of the tomb. And over here on the left, you will see where your Lord and savior was laid after he was assassinated by the government. Please watch your step. The blood stains can get slippery.
Azariah: Once again, who are the first to learn about Jesus's resurrection? It's the ladies. The women, they are first and they are always the best.
Daniel: Well, you know, all the ladies at my Easter's always knew all the hot tea anyway, you know what I mean? They were always sitting on all the good tea. Easter's about women who do the work, remember that.
Azariah: We love our Easter ladies. So the creepy little angel guy continues in verse seven- but go tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee. There, you will see him [00:15:00] just as he told you.
Daniel: The disciples and Peter? He's not one of the disciples, why does he get a special mention?
Azariah: Maybe it's like Gladys Knight and the pips or Diana Ross and the Supremes.
Daniel: Oh, okay. So creepy little angel guy is telling them to pass the news with the others who are just still sitting back at home in grief and confusion.
Azariah: Right now, everyone thinks Jesus is dead. Even the women don't know what's really going on.
Daniel: And they should because they know all the tea.
Azariah: Yeah. But they know that Jesus isn't there and that there is this creepy guy telling them that he's gone, even the mature.
Daniel: So what do the women do on that first Easter morning? They have seen that Jesus isn't in the tomb. They heard from the creepy little angel guy that Jesus has risen and they were given instructions to go and tell Peter and the rest of the disciples. So what did they do?
Azariah: Okay. [00:16:00] Here's where Mark's telling of the Easter story truly messes with the emotions. In mark 16, verse eight- so they went out and fled from the tomb for terror and amazement has seized them. And they said nothing to anyone for, they were afraid.
Daniel: Wait, what? They just like fled and didn't like tell anyone?
Azariah: I'm not sure I would do anything different to be honest.
Daniel: Fight or flight, I guess.
Azariah: Yeah. According to the original ending to mark that's what happens. They freaked out and didn't tell the disciples.
Daniel: But we know about this. So they have, they told someone at this point, I mean, we celebrated Easter, but the story just ends in terror and fear, so that's what, like the first Easter was just like terror and fear. What happened after that?
Azariah: From Mark's perspective, nothing. Mark's telling of Easter is like the ending to the Sopranos. That [00:17:00] was the original ending of the book of mark.
Daniel: Wait what?
Azariah: Yeah. So a few things about the book of mark. It is the gospel that was written the soonest after Jesus died and was written. Matthew, Luke, and John were written at least a generation later. So think of the game telephone. Uh, so mark is also just abrupt. So this ending sort of fits. Um, mark is more like reading a news report or a timeline rather than a novel. And there aren't a lot of details and it just goes from event to event. So the fact that the story just abruptly ends fits in line with marks, you know, writing style.
Daniel: Do you mean the mystery of Edmund drew?
Azariah: No I don't.
Daniel: It was like a Charles Dickens book, but he was writing it when he died, so no one knows how it ends. It's like, it was like a murder mystery. So it's like an unsolved mystery, I guess, of his, and it's published. But it ends with you having to figure out what the [00:18:00] ending is. And so there's a musical of it where the musical, just like the music just stops in the middle of the audience has to vote on who the killer is. It's cute. But it's kind of like this it's like...
Azariah: yeah. I mean, mark has three endings. Mark has three endings.
Daniel: So it's like choose your own adventure, right?
Azariah: Yeah, pretty much. And if you look closely the verses that come after verse 8 all have brackets around them.
Daniel: But I've got my trusty Bible open and there is more that is written. There are more verses. Now tell me why there's more verses.
Azariah: I suspect that some people reacted the same way you did. They didn't like that story ending so abruptly. They didn't like that the women were terrified and didn't tell anyone. So they went back in years later to try to add a little more resolution.
Daniel: I guess with like a little more context, a little more time after the event to see like what did happen.
Azariah: Yeah. [00:19:00] And there is the shorter ending of mark, which is only two sentences long- and all that had been commanded them. They told briefly to those around Peter and afterward Jesus himself sent out through them from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.
Daniel: Oh, that's a little of a nicer ending, but we went from women like screaming and running away, terrified fight or flight at the tomb to an imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.
Azariah: So this is how mark is saying it ends- and all that had been commanded them, they told briefly to those around Peter. So the three Mary, Mary, and Salome... they told briefly to those around Peter, so it seems like they told what happened to those around Peter and after word Jesus himself [00:20:00] sent out through them from east to west, the sacred imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. So they did go in witness? Does that, is that what that means from like east to west? They went about witnessing?
Daniel: Yeah, I think.
Azariah: Is that what it sounds like to you?
Daniel: So the people that were like the immediate people that were guests near them at the time and all of those people set out.
Azariah: So yes, that shorter ending with mark does really try to remove the queer messiness. Um, but we have what is called the longer ending, which hints at some of the same stories you see in Matthew, Luke, and John. The longer ending really tries to tie up all of those loose ends. You have Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene, but make sure to reference that she had seven demons driven out of her. So you have that a little detail that is in there. That was how they identified Mary. And they [00:21:00] made a point to say that the other disciples didn't believe her.
Daniel: But then Jesus appears to the other disciples and he scolds them for not believing.
Azariah: Is that not believing Mary? Because I think one of the lessons of the Bible is that we should believe women. Why? Because women do the work.
Daniel: One of the lessons of Easter is to believe women.
Azariah: Then we have a couple sentences where Jesus appears to two disciples, which is a story which is told in Luke, it's often called the road to emmaus, which, um, we should tell that story one of these days. It's also pretty queer and messy.
Daniel: Then we jumped to doing a great commission, which is told in Matthew- and then friendly, ascending up to heaven in front of his disciples.
Azariah: Each of those stories appears somewhere else, but they have so much more detail in those other books. It's like someone went back into mark to say, oh, we got to mention that we just can't leave that out. [00:22:00]
Daniel: Yeah. The longer version does include the greatest hits from the other books, but most scholars think that it was added much later, like, as a way to try to match the other two. So it's not the original to the story.
Azariah: For as much as Easter is filled with messy queer drama, the writing about Easter in the book of mark is also filled with messy queer drama.
Daniel: And we are here for it. Our new way of celebrating Easter is to invoke as much messy queer drama as possible.
Azariah: Hi, my name is Azariah Southworth. I am messy, queer drama, and I love it. I love Easter and I love the Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Our second way to celebrate is to believe women. And when they tell us the amazing news, you can still be a drama queen and believe women. There's no contradiction whatsoever.
Daniel: Happy Easter, you messy drama queen [00:23:00] and happy Easter to all of you. You're tithe love offering charity act of good this week. Azzie, tell em.
Azariah: This act of good comes directly from our Easter story today. Believe women. Women show up, they do the work, they keep us all going.
Daniel: Actually, we could expand that out. Most minorities in our world aren't truly believed. So believe women, believe queer people, believe women of color.
Azariah: Yeah, believe people with disabilities when they tell you the challenges they encounter.
Daniel: Believe people of color who talk about systematic racism that affects their lives.
Azariah: Believe children, when they tell you who they are and what they've experienced.
Daniel: Believe those people who don't get listened to very often.
Azariah: The point is, listen in here.
Daniel: That's it. We are feminists here at Yass Jesus. Um, our song, praise, our act of praise. Um, we want to spread the love to other queer Christian music and artists. If you're a queer Christian [00:24:00] musician and you want us to play one of your songs and send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the link to where we can find an MP3 file of the song that you want us to consider. Um, and now, uh, let's bow our heads for our closing prayer. Uh, unless you're driving, don't do that because Jesus can actually take the wheel. All right. God, we love some messy queer drama, and we want to thank you for making the messiest, queerest, most drama filled moment in our lives. Your victory of life over death, your resurrection that gives us all life abundance. We thank you for Easter. A season of life, of second and third chances. God, we pray that we can share your good news, even when we are terrified. And when we hear good news, give us the understanding to hear it and believe it, and have gratitude in the moment and give thanks.
Azariah: And thank you for letting us know where the wolves are. We thank you that words that are [00:25:00] spoken to not recognize and see the humanity of another person are being exposed and booted off of social media. And we pray that you soften their hearts and stop them from hurting and assaulting your children. And we pray with Larita that she finds her purpose and that feels presence more.
Daniel: If you're listening to this right now and, uh, you just feel like someone told you that God wasn't for you.... that is a lie. Um, I want you to, just to know that God loves you, like just as you are. You are beautifully and fearfully and wonderfully made. Um, and we are so grateful God for this beautiful community of people that we are building, um, in your love. Amen. Thank you for listening to another episode of Yass Jesus. You can find us on social media @yassjesuspod or on our website at [00:26:00] yassjesuspod.com. Now, if you like the show, please consider becoming a monthly sponsor. You can find the link to do so in the show notes. And if you haven't yet leave us a review. Five stars, my friends. Share us with a friend. Doing so helps us reach new people and keeps this show running.
Azariah: You can now leave an audio prayer request or a praise report on our website, yassjesuspod.com. We would love to share your voice and your prayers on the show. So drop us a line or send us recording on yassjesuspod.com.
Daniel: Send us your praise reports, your prayer requests, episode ideas, guest ideas or even just do a death drop and then rise again. We'd love to hear from you. Yass Jesus is hosted by me, Danny Franzese and...
Azariah: Azariah Southworth. Music, sound, editing and all things audio are done by Chris Heckman. Our show is produced by the freaking deacon Ross Murray. Special thanks to Sophie Serrano and Meredith Paulley.
Daniel: Yass Jesus is brought to you by Audity. Audity execs or Ryann Lauckner, Jessica Bustillos and Steve Michaels. We have streaming and screaming on apple podcast, [00:27:00] Spotify and wherever you get your podcasts. Okay, Azzie.
Azariah: Keep praising the Lord, y'all!