I was a biblical studies minor in College – memorized the Lutheran catechism, did all the good stuff the good church boys do. I am comfortable with calling myself a Christian, (thought not a member of the Religious Right) – although the name now is so diluted and convoluted I’d rather just say I believe in Jesus and what he stood for and what he did and avoid the label altogether.
And after much study, I am happy with it’s core tradition – that God came down to Earth to cover the sorry debt humanity had racked up. All you have to do is believe it- no salvation by works, or remembering who Allah’s prophet is, or worrying if your good outweighs your bad…simply accept the gift and order a double for yourself and the Holy Spirit.
Today is Easter. This day and Christmas are supposed to be “must do’s” for me. Yet I will not set foot in a church this day. I will light no candles, and share no celebration with my church family.
For years there has been a curtain between them and myself – I could say it’s understanding or kindness, but many of them have little of either and I no longer have any patience..
There is a language in what I will define hereafter as “Churchyanity” that is very similar to an insane asylum…to become free, you must become a slave, to love, you must admit you can’t love at all – George Orwell called it doublespeak in “1984” – the solid belief in two fundamentally opposite beliefs without letting their opposition shake your belief in either one.
It allows George W. Bush, called by many a born-again Christian, to preach the love of Easter Sunday while his actions cost the lives of hundreds of US troops and thousands of Iraqi’s. It allows the churchgoer on Sunday to preach love and compassion to the poor while segregating itself in nice buildings, far from the Indian reservations and inner cities where that love would be needed so much more.
And worse yet, there is a mindset – a baby talk of spirituality. It makes me want to vomit. I remember them – I read their crap and learned how to speak the language of Churchyanity at College –
“Fulfill me, lord…show me your will…break me, but don’t break me…– guide the walk…be glorified…speak to me – renew me…transform me, blah blah blah” How about - make me baby mush to be gobbled up and chew up and crapped out according to thy image.
Nothing in that paragraph makes any sense to me…(ok…I’ve overdone it a bit, but I GUARANTEE you there’s stuff like this all over bible campuses and online blogs all over the world) – But the worst part is that if you have issues/problems, or whatever, this is the answer for YOU.
“you’re not trusting in God enough….you need to examine your life for sin to see why trouble has befallen you – God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life – if there’s distance between you and God, it’s not him that moved….”
Brrr…just writing that makes me want to go to the Uptown Bar when it opens for business at 9:30AM –
My dad is currently reading “The Purpose-Driven Life” - it was loaned to him by a friend after some problems he’s been having. My ex-girlfriend recommended it to me once and for that reason alone, I’ll probably never touch the son of a bitch as long as I live. But last week, my dad called asking “well, this clown talks about turning it all over to God….well, HOW do you do that?” – How do I try to comfort someone when the blind mantras of Churchyanity have left them down?
I had no clue what to tell him. If God wants to drive, he can have my car keys, but he seems to be insistent that if he wants me in Chicago that I get off my sorry ass, put the keys in the ignition, and hold the gas down for 7 hrs. Am I breaking God’s will if I can do it in 5? – (BTW, for the same reason, I could never join a 12 step program for anything – it requires blind obedience to principles I could never simply relinquish without ceasing to be)
Maybe I’m just bitter – After my major bout with depression, I spent months reciting the slogans – trying to give up/give control, or whatever. I would have tried anything to make that go away, but in the end it all turned into fervent prayers for my heart to stop beating and several indirect attempts at trying it for myself. I came out of it with a profound disrespect for brainwashing slogans of the church and ignorant doublespeak that have no basis in fact or scripture.
Man, I’m all over the roadmap today…. where am I going? – I wonder what God wants. I wonder if I’m doing the right thing. I’m like Habakkuk or John the Baptist – I’m willing to embrace God’s love, but there’s a lot of crap going on I don’t understand, and if he is the almighty creator, I’d really like to know just some of what he’s got going on. I know, I don’t deserve one, right? – But does that make it wrong to ask? Could it actually be the sin that everyone wants me to believe it i?
And what if I want a different relationship with God? – What if I want one like Christ had with his disciples, and not the “speak in vague doublespeak to please God” language – (Even Jesus railed on people about this…. thinking God was gonna hear them cause of their long winded speeches) – What if I want him to be an actual person I communicate with, as opposed to leaving messages on his voicemail and listening for the “spirit” to answer me.
And what if I don’t wish to enter the contract with Churchyanity? – It’s an unspoken contract. It states I will come to a church and be here and present, etc. And in return it allows any church brother to have an opinion that I HAVE to listen to because it’s COMING from GOD. I will always be bossed around, lorded over by someone, but what if I want it to be in the form of greed and tyranny for tyranny’s sake then in the name of God, but still using the same tools?
One thing I’ve loved about poker. You sit down at the table, you know they’re there to try and screw you and take your money. There is an incredible refreshing honesty to it that you don’t get when the man on TV asks you to give to his ministry, which apparently involves building million dollar homes in 3 states.
What if the road paved with good intentions (which isn’t the road to hell, BTW – not according to the Bible) looks better then the road more often traveled. Perhaps I don’t wish to travel a road out of blind ignorance or refusal to ask, “hey, why the hell are we using this road and not that one anyways?”
Maybe the nothing act of not being vocally supportive of a war in which children die for our way of life is better then doing the “godly thing” and supporting the troops. I don’t know. I keep kicking it around in my head – I, like everyone else, am a unique individual – (love that line) – and every relationship I have with anyone, personal, romantic, or spiritual is different from everyone else’s – even with the same people in common. How can I listen to a cookie cutter faith on Sunday and try to make my relationships fit that mold when what I want desperately is to understand God in my world now. Not the pie in the sky crap….not the “treasures in heaven” crap.
I want to understand how I can find something to treasure in the face of overwhelming depression. I want to see these pictures of starving families (many of them not of the Christian faith), wounded/maimed civilians, and greedy rich white guys and I want God to be as angry about it as I am. And I want to shout at him and ask him how he can allow it, and maybe he’d ask me and everyone else the same question. After all, I’m supposed to be his representative on earth, right?
I read a great article this week in MSNBC – it said for Easter, don’t take the family to go see “The Passion of the Christ” – For a good Easter story, go take them to see “Hotel Rwanda” instead. It’s a better and more real analogy of Christ and Christ like behavior. It’s also a good example of the worst parts of Churchyanity though as well. Many Christian Hutus participated in the genocide there. And many more outside the borders sat in their churches in Minneapolis, looked to the ceiling with arms raised singing “In my life Lord, Be glorified” and would have given anything in the world to know that they had fulfilled their spiritual obligation and weren’t required/asked to know such atrocities were going on
They say the church is many parts of a whole body…and the body needs all it’s parts – the arm can’t tell the brain or the leg “I don’t need you” – I think guys like me are the assholes of the church body (literally as well as figuratively…. LOL) – we’re absolutely necessary, but no one likes to admit we exist and we are kept stashed out of site and everyone just wishes we’d clean our act up. Hell, I don’t know…. maybe I’m cancer – I could be wrong about all of this. God may want blind obedience and he may want to hear that same stupid simple song over and over again till the end of eternity. But when I read the bible, it doesn’t sound like that…it sounds like a person who has lost their true love and would do anything to get them back, including threatening to divorce them, throw them out on their street and kill their kids. It is a jealous love, almost an irrational one, but one that 99 percent of humanity can easily understand.
In any case, they don’t want me around messing with their cookie cutter world and I don’t want them around forcing their ridiculous view of faith on me. Everyone is happy today, at least in the suburbs surrounding me.
So I’m going to say happy Easter to who I think today is the only person that matters…happy Easter, Jesus. I’m glad that death/dying/flogging thing was only temporary.
And If God is still capable of walking on earth and doing stuff (I think he doesn’t like to do that…messes with the free will thing he likes) – But if he’s capable of coming down and walking around – I might be at one of the two regular bars I frequent later tonight. I’ll drink whiskey, and you can drink wine or grape juice if those denominations who say that all alcohol is evil are right, and you can explain it to me. You can explain to me how that idiot that shot 4 people and was “delivered” into the hands of the authorities by “A Purpose Driven Life” – you can explain if that was your plan or just stupid stuff. You can talk to my Dad via cell phone and let him know that although the woman is gone, a short time will pass and we’ll think of her no more.
And I’ll thank you for putting the steps in motion 2000 years ago that ensure that no matter how screwed up or messed up I get, as long as I’m trusting in you somehow/someway, that there will be room for me in those mansions in heaven a couple hundred years from now. (he’s going to let me live that long just to piss me off) – and he’s going to stick me in the attic or in the room farthest from the TV just to get a laugh out of me, I know it…..cause I’m probably the only one who would appreciate the joke – HA.
And to everyone else….don’t end up like me – it’s no fun….kill those brain cells and drink the happy juice – I wish I could stomach it, but it makes me ill.