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|As a young adult, Jesus became even more obsessed with his scriptures- and his cousin Barbara. Her younger sister Mary was in love with Jesus.
Barbara loved Jesus but didn't want to marry him. In fact, she didn't want to get married and start making babies. She wanted something else from life, but as a woman, her prospects were quite limited.
|Fortunately her father was an import-exporter, who moved goods around Palestine for a living. Barbara persuaded him to let her help out with the business, even eventually talking her way into business trips with him. She got to visit Tyre, Sidon, Ptolemais, Joppa, Samaria, Jerusalem, Jericho, Bethel, Azotus, Gaza, and even Damascus. She was regularly in Capernaum, Tiberius and Cana, conducting commerce.
It seemed Jesus became a little more obsessive every time she saw him. Her career kept her busy, so they didn't see as much of each other as when they were children, but he was becoming less able to carry on a normal conversation about anything but religion. He had become a colossal bore, and it saddened her. Her sister Mary, on the other hand, was more captivated by Jesus than ever, and was making it her life's ambition to marry him. She would have made an excellent soap opera character.
In her mid-twenties, Barbara traveled with her father to Qumran to deliver some copper which they had procured from an Edomite caravan. Jesus and Mary had joined the cult there several years before, and after an initiation during which Jesus impressed the elders with his vast command of Biblical trivia, Jesus and Mary had been granted membership.
Jesus was beside himself with joy at seeing Barbara on her sales trip, but he tried to no avail to feign a certain reserved, regal dignity. Mary hugged her sister with genuine reserve, because after working on Jesus for lo these many years, she wasn't happy to see her sister appear and possibly upset her heroic matrimonial efforts.
Because of the bizarre sexual strictures of the cult, Jesus was not allowed to be alone with Barbara, but he managed to pull her out of earshot (though still within view) of the other sexually repressed members to have a word with her. He was fairly brimming over with news. "Barbara," he enthused, "I am to be king! The sect has investigated my lineage and found me to be descended from King David. They have just a few more details to check before I am formally pronounced the Davidic heir! I am going to be King of the Jews!!!"
Barbara scarcely knew how to react. There was no King of the Jews. There was a Roman emperor and a regional client king, Herod. To declare oneself King of Anybody was treason. Before she could collect her thoughts and subdue her amazement, Jesus added, "I want you to be my queen, Barbara! Just like we talked about when we were children."
All she could think was, "You mean you talked about." He had never bothered to notice, but Barbara's priorities had never been the same as his. At this moment Barbara felt unlistened to, disregarded, and completely dehumanized by him. She was furious at this deluded nincompoop who was ploughing ahead with his own agenda for her, while entirely ignoring any needs, desires or goals she might have. Not to mention her love struck sister, for that matter.
"I've always loved you", Jesus bulldozed on, "You know there's never been anyone for me but you. Please say you'll marry me."
She could not believe his audacity. Yet, he thought he was paying her a huge compliment. Such is the gender gap throughout history. "I have a career, Jesus."
Incredulous, Jesus said, "As my wife, you'll be a queen!"
"I like being a career woman. I like my work. It's very fulfilling. I enjoy traveling all over the place. I'm even hoping to get to Greece and Rome one day."
Jesus gasped at the thought of his beloved in these cesspools of Paganism. "Barbara, you've got to settle down and have children. You're not getting any younger, you know."
|"I'm not fond enough of children to spend my life raising them, Jesus. That's your dream."
"You used to be so sweet, Barbara. What's happened to you?"
"So, I'm not sweet because I don't want what you want? Because I won't cooperate with your master plan? Because I have a different opinion than you?"
"I think being out in the heathen world has made you hard, Barbara. Maybe even a sinner."
"I disagree with you on many things, Jesus, but that doesn't make me bad. Can you no longer make that distinction?" She was only being this indulgent because of their long, emotional history, but it was clear they could no longer even remain friends.
|Mary finally got her man. Jesus settled for the sister, but Mary convinced herself it was true love for him, just as it was for her. People have been doing that to themselves for millennia. It's a very bad practice.
A few months later, Barbara and Zebulon were on their way home from a trip to Bethel, when they were accosted by a gang of crazed Sicarri, militant Jewish nationalists who used terrorism against the Romans in a futile attempt to expel them from Palestine. The Sicarri accused Barbara and Zeb of collusion with the Romans because they considered their trade with them to be helping the empire (or should I say "evil empire"?), and they sentenced Barbara and her father to death, on the spot, and were about to fall upon them with daggers. But Barbara raised her hand regally against them and said in a commanding voice, "Stop! Do you not know that I am Barbara, Queen of the Jews, Betrothed of Jesus?"
|After some well faked allusions to Jewish ascetics, Essenes, Qumran, and the Messiah, the zealots bought it, and Barbara and Zeb survived to regale some fellow travelers with the tale, at the inn that night. (Later, when Barbara would tell Mary the story, true to her sister's soap opera persona, Mary's only response would be, "You should have said you were Mary, Queen of the Jews, Betrothed of Jesus.") Oh, yeah, sorry Mary, next time I'll make sure I think of your ego when I'm trying to save my skin.|
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