Tuesday, January 30, 2007

‘Parousia Project’ Is on High Alert

Luc Richard Limoges, Staff Writer

Blair Craddock drove slowly along Cesar Chavez Avenue in downtown Los Angeles, his eyes fixed on the crowds gathered on the sidewalks. Only occasionally did his gaze wander to the traffic ahead. Craddock studied every face and every gesture. He was looking for the Messiah.

“We know Jesus is coming back,” said Craddock. “We just don’t know when or where.”

The 42-year-old Craddock is the director and founder of the Parousia Project, the sole mission of which is to “find Jesus as soon as he returns.” The Project has three part-time staff members and more than 20 volunteers who comb the country looking for Jesus. Craddock hopes to expand operations to Canada and Mexico next year, and ultimately, to every country in the world.

Craddock is a former high school English teacher who was converted to Christianity in 2004 after he saw the film The Passion of the Christ. “As I left the theater,” he said, “my chest felt oddly feverish. I truly met Jesus for the first time that day.” At the end of the school year, Craddock quit his job and used his savings to start the Parousia Project.

“We look everywhere,” said volunteer Sylvia Brueggemann. “The Son of Man could be that old guy over there”--she pointed to a transient on the curb--“or some rich executive in Hollywood, or even a kid who goes to the mall and plays video games.”

All Parousia Project members have taken extensive training in Messiah recognition. The group understands that not everyone will be able to identify the Christ when he returns. In fact, Craddock emphasized that many false Messiahs will appear before the real deal shows up.

How will Project members know when they have spotted the real Jesus? “First of all,” said Craddock, “we know that Jesus will be vegetarian. That information is deeply encoded in the book of Daniel. Second, our numerologists have concluded that Jesus will stand between 4’6” and 6’9” tall. A couple of years ago, we mistakenly thought that Shaquille O’Neal was Jesus, but the numbers didn’t fit.”

The Parousia Project keeps a chart, updated in real time, of characteristics to look for when searching for the Christ. The data comes from Project numerologists and code breakers. For example, there is a solid 98% chance Jesus is a vegetarian. There is a 73% chance Jesus will return as a man. There is a 27% chance Jesus will have blue eyes, a 64% chance he will have brown eyes, and a 3% chance he will have one eye of each color. There is even a 20% chance that Jesus will return as an alpaca.

Could this be Jesus?

Craddock and his colleagues are involved in this ministry in order to facilitate Jesus' work when he returns. The sooner they can identify him, the sooner his cleansing work can begin, they assert. Project members want to get in on the ground floor of Jesus’ Second Coming, just as the twelve disciples were during Jesus’ first time around the block.

People often ask Craddock, when they learn of his work, what he will do if he acutally finds Jesus. “At first, I didn’t know what to say. Then, I thought about how I’d feel if I had just made the long trip between heaven and earth. I would ask Jesus if he needs to use the restroom.”

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