Skip to content

The Cowtown Christ

Chapter VIII: The Cowtown Christ Comes Back!

John 20: 19-29
By the Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch

John, Peter, Joanna, and Anna traveled with the hearse to pick up Jesse’s body at Eagle Pass. When they arrived, they had to pass, once again, through reporters and distraught crowds. Jesse’s pale, slightly bluish body was arranged on a metal morgue table, covered by a sheet from the chest down, over which could be seen the “y” incision made by the coroner.Read More »Chapter VIII: The Cowtown Christ Comes Back!

Chapter VII: The Cowtown Christ Is Dead

We Crucify the Cowtown Christ, II: The Cowtown Christ is Dead

John 13:1-18

Jesse the Cowtown Christ had become a political lightning rod. On one side were the far-left wing liberals, calling attention to the fact that Jude, a prominent psychiatrist, had declared Jesse in need of serious mental health treatment. Well, she wasn’t going to get any decent treatment in Texas, they said, noting the shortage of mental health services in the Lone Star State. And anyway, isn’t threatening to lock up or deport Jesse just a way for “The Man” to quiet dissent? Kinky Friedman put together a “Free Jesse” Concert in Zilker Park.Read More »Chapter VII: The Cowtown Christ Is Dead

Chapter VI: We Crucify the Cowtown Christ, Part One: To Tell the Truth

By Fritz Ritsch

John 18: 28-38

 For a couple of days after their arrests for interrupting the broadcast of the National Day of Prayer in Cowboys Stadium, Jesse the Cowtown Christ, and Peter and Mary, her two self-acknowledged accomplices, wore the orange jumpsuits of the Tarrant County Jail on Weatherford. They were represented by a law firm that specialized in federal crime. Jesse had no clue who had hired the law firm until their very expensive bonds were paid and they were released on their own recognizance. As they were leaving the courthouse with their lawyer, they were met by two men Jesse knew: the rich man from her old church job who had tried to pay for her to start a new church, and the political power-broker who’d tried to get her to run for office.Read More »Chapter VI: We Crucify the Cowtown Christ, Part One: To Tell the Truth

Chapter V: The Cowtown Christ Jumps the Shark

Matthew 21:12-17

Isaiah 1: 12-17

Cowtown Christ is a sermon series that reimagines the stories of Christ in the gospels as though they were happening today, right here in Fort Worth, dealing with the issues of our times. The Cowtown Christ is Jesse, a Mexican American woman with a group of followers she calls her Close Companions.

 After this sermon, we’ll take a hiatus from this series for Palm Sunday and Easter, and for the next two Sundays, I will return to my normal preaching style. But following Easter,  we will finish the story of the Cowtown Christ.

 Jesse, the Cowtown Christ, turned to her close companions, those who’d followed her for some time, those who had been there at Oakwood Cemetery when they saw her revealed as some sort of supernatural being, and had heard a voice say, “This is my Daughter–Listen to Her.”

Jesse turned to them and said, “Who do people say I am?”

]Read More »Chapter V: The Cowtown Christ Jumps the Shark

Chapter IV: The Cowtown Christ Shines Among the Saints and Sinners

Psalm 8
Mark 9: 2-8

This is the Fourth of a sermon series called “The Cowtown Christ” that reimagines the story of Christ from the gospels by setting it in modern day Fort Worth. The Cowtown Christ is Jesse, a Mexican-American young woman with an unusual relationship with God. She preaches that “The City of God,” “la Ciudad de Dios” has come to Fort Worth, just as Jesus in His ministry taught that The Kingdom of God had come to the earth. It’s a message of God’s presence and hope in the real world, but also of concrete responsibility.

The grave of Broadway Presbyterian Church’s first pastor, the Rev. Junius French, in Oakwood Cemetery. Broadway was St. Stephen’s predecessor church before they moved to the TCU area in 1950.

Jesse, the Cowtown Christ, had assembled a diverse group around her, whom she called mis compañeros cercanos, my close companions.

There was Joanna, an Iraq war veteran who was now a Fort Worth Police officer who worked with the homeless; Anna, a Palestinian Muslim doctor, who admired Jesse as a wise female leader; Peter, the former gas company executive and recovering alcoholic whom Jesse had met at the Apple store; Nate, an African-American community organizer from Stop Six; John, the mega-church pastor who hadn’t quite decided what he thought of Jesse, yet; Mary, the teenaged runaway that Jesse had rescued from working at an underage strip club; Glenda, a slighty-off-kilter homeless woman who was diagnosed as paranoid-schizophrenic and was very laid-back about taking her meds; And Jude, a well-known local psychologist with a burgeoning practice.

One day Jesse came to the eight of them with eight picnic baskets. She said, “Okay, mis compañeros cercanos, it’s time for you to start doing my work. Each of you take a picnic basket.”Read More »Chapter IV: The Cowtown Christ Shines Among the Saints and Sinners

Chapter III: The Cowtown Christ Throws A Party At Billy Bob’s

Isaiah 55: 1-3

Revelation 19: 4-9
John 2: 1-11

The Cowtown Christ is a series of sermons about what it would be like if the Christ of the gospels came to modern Fort Worth. The story is entirely imaginary, though many situations are real to our local community.

The Cowtown Christ is Jesse, a young Hispanic woman who has begun to build a following in the community with her message that the City of God, la Ciudad de Dios, is in Fort Worth, that God’s presence is here, and that healing for the community can happen, if we believe.

By this point, Jesse had a fair following, but three regulars were her central group—those she called “mis compañeros cercanos—my close companions.” They included Peter, the former gas company exec who was working at the iPhone store when she met him; John, the suburban mega-church pastor; and Joanna, a Fort Worth police officer who Jesse knew from her days working with the homeless. Joanna was one of a couple of FW cops assigned to the East Lancaster area specifically to work with homeless youth. Youth are especially vulnerable on the streets, and often are there because of difficult family situations. Many of them are gay, as was Joanna herself.Read More »Chapter III: The Cowtown Christ Throws A Party At Billy Bob’s

Chapter II: The Cowtown Christ Gets Her iPhone Fixed

The Cowtown Christ Gets Her iPhone Fixed

Isaiah 61: 1-3

Romans 3: 21-26

Luke 5: 17-26: 

Then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed… When Jesus saw their faith, He said [to the paralyzed man], “Friend, your sins are forgiven you.” Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, “Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”…Jesus answered them, “Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk?’ But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralyzed man—“I say to you, stand up, take your bed, and go to your home.” 

 And immediately [the paralyzed man] stood before them…. Luke 5; 17-26, edited.


The Other Fort Worth

A few years ago former Fort Worth city manager Charles Boswell started talking about “The Other Fort Worth”—the Fort Worth where the economy wasn’t developing, where the jobless rate plummeted, where violence and crime were high, and where the dropout rate from school was the worst. He was challenging people to think about the other side of the coin, and he always emphasized that for Fort Worth to be truly successful, “The Other Fort Worth” needed to succeed as well.

It was a vision for what the Bible calls SHALOM, the health and wholeness that God wants for us all. For any community to be healthy and whole, then everyone needs to benefit.

Read More »Chapter II: The Cowtown Christ Gets Her iPhone Fixed

Chapter I: The Cowtown Christ Loses Her Job

By the Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch
St. Stephen Presbyterian Church
Fort Worth, TX

February 17, 2013
First Sunday in Lent
Luke 4: 1-11

The Cowtown Christ is a series of sermons that reimagines the ministry of Christ as if it was taking place in Fort Worth today. Please remember that this is a work of fiction, happening in a fictionalized Fort Worth. While many events, facts, places, institutions, and characters are real people, The Cowtown Christ, her followers, most of those she meets, and her adversaries are completely fictional, as are any of the events that take place in her life. 

The Beginning of the Gospel of Jesse, The Cowtown Christ.
“The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Mark 1:1

Jesse grew up a child of Mexican immigrants. They lived a few blocks off Berry Street in a tiny neighborhood along with other Mexican immigrants. Her parents both worked hard, and so did she from very young.Read More »Chapter I: The Cowtown Christ Loses Her Job