Jesus on the 50 Yard Line

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Edwin Andrade

I knelt to pray in a great coliseum
a humble gesture
to the cross on Golgotha’s Hill
I turn my heart inside out
desperate
hope, and sleep, and calmness evaded
and tremble in our desperation

Great voices spoke
from the foot of that place
and I heard them all one by one
“They slipped the surely bonds of earth…”
“Ask not what your country can do for you..”
“I have a dream, today..”
“..a day that shall live in Infamy..”
“…that this nation, under God, shall have a
new birth of freedom..”
” …betwixt the negros of the north and the women’s of the south…
“A national sin shall cause a national calamity..”
“I once was blind but now I see…”
“Homo sum, humani nahil …”

I at once so weak and powerless
made all the more humble
at the commanding voices from times long since passed
in an attempt to lower myself further, in my madness
I ate the grass at my feet
and the dirt, and the rocks were made wet
with my tears

A long silence followed
and I dared not raise my head
for the voices that had spoken was to great
and mine eyes too unworthy
until I saw a pair of sandal clad
nail scarred feet standing just inside my outstretched
hands
that braced myself against the burdens of the world

“Oh, my child…”
A warm voice softly spoke
as a gentle hand lifted my chin
the sight I can never fully describe
“I’ve not left you, or them, alone.
For they are the most beloved you see
and the most favored, the most blessed, by me”

“How?” was the only word
that managed to escape my lips
Softly and tenderly he wiped my face
with nail scarred hands and knelt down
to look me in the eye
“My love is not tangible items, my son
a blessing isn’t the same as a gift
and while they thanked me for games and wins and gold
I turned a blind eye

but when they knelt, ah yes, when they knelt
though proud gladiators one and all
I stayed the anger of twenty thousand angry fists
and kept them glued to where they stood
for even though no one could see me
I once again used all that was foolish to shame the wise
and no one would mess with the Seahawks tonight
not with Jesus on the fifty yard line ”

 

Sinners who hate other sinners

Jesus
So, I’ve been thinking about this guy quite a bit lately.
 
A friend of mine posted this earlier and for any gay man who was raised in religion – we have a fickle relationship with Christ.
 
The other day I made a comment on a Facebook page of a Popular priest, a Jesuit, who is working really hard to reach out to the Queer community as a whole. He seems very kind.
 
However, after I placed the comment about my husband and I, it didn’t take very long for someone to come along and start throwing scripture at me. Leviticus and Romans – mostly. He brought up the Apostle Paul yada yada .
 
When I was a kid, as church would begin someone would lead the congregation in hymns and someone else would sing a special – and that part of the service always had my attention.
I mean, the love of God that they sang about was so overwhelming in songs such as The Love of God.
The second verse goes something like this:
 
Could we with Ink, the Ocean fill
and were the skies of parchment made
were every stalk on earth a quill; and every man a scribe by trade
to write the love of God above, would drain the ocean dry
nor could that scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky
 
or take a verse from It is Well by Horatio Spafford
 
My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
 
Or how Great Thou Art
 
Oh, Lord my God. When I in awesome wonder.
Consider all the worlds thy hands have made
I see the sun, I hear the rolling thunder
thy power throughout the universe displayed
 
 
And then the microphone was put down and in the ten steps from the piano to the pulpit God changed. He went through a metamorphosis.
In the ten steps between the piano and the pulpit God changed from this awesomely powerful, all encompassing loving, being to a twisted, angry, petty, creature akin to a brat hovered over an ant hill with a magnifying glass.
 
In those ten steps I went from open to the experience of God, not just the message, but my body would react. My heart would beat. I would get gooseflesh and tears in my eyes tooooooo…….. nothing.
 
Not anger. Not boredom. Not fear.
 
Just. Nothing.
 
It is an amazing feat to be a child/ teenager and sit still and stare forward at a man prowling the altar like a lion, shouting, pointing, sweating, and not move a muscle and yet, be as far away as a person could be. This would go on for a couple of hours every Sunday morning, Sunday Evening, and Wednesday night and God help us, if there was a tent revival because then that shit just went on all week.
 
7 days, often times, seven different preachers, each one of them come to deliver us from the pit of our transgressions.
 
And always the same, the music was there. I would be enraptured with it. Moved by it. Experiencing God, I believe.
 
Then. Whamo!
 
The door would slam shut and I’m mentally redecorating my bedroom.
 
There was something off about the message. Mostly, I think, it was because we made Christ into some kind of schizophrenic.
 
My husband has been watching this lecture series on The Great Courses with this professor who is as dry as an accountant’s field manual. Honestly, he’d turn it on, meaning to watch it, and before long I’d hear him snoring in the living room. But I am listening to this guy as I am working and he’s going on and on about the gospels. Not just Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John but all the gospels that didn’t make the final cut. The Gospel of St. Thomas, The Gospel of Mary, and on and on it goes.
 
I tried watching him full on, and im glad I had the filter of whatever I was doing because my eyes crossed and all I heard was, “Bueler, Bueler, Bueler…”
I digress…
Anyway,  what’s interesting about all of it – and I do mean all of it – is Christ was almost Greek-like in the stories. Like it was Mythology. He was petty, mean, vindictive. There were crazy mythological stories about magic beasts etc etc etc and it dawned on me. These weren’t included because they all made Christ and God by proxy sound …just….human. Petty. Stupid. And it was then I realized that these preachers had done the same thing.
 
There was no ascension happening. No moving toward heaven. No moving the church toward God. No rapture.
 
Christ was actually attacked from behind at a gas station, a bandanna soaked in Desflurane was placed over his mouth and he was thrown in the trunk of the grocery getter.
 
It’s like they couldn’t believe God actually loved them.
 
 They would sing about it.
But when it came to having the faith – that was different.
They didn’t really believe him.
That they were loved.
That they were so loved.
The idea that the grace that ‘saved’ them in their circumstances, would be needed to save someone else they deemed inferior and therefore made Grace as a concept, offensive.
That’s why they hang out in the Old Testament so much. They want a God to punish them.
And they want a God to punish those who they see as inferior to them and therefore become the worst kind of sinner.
A sinner who hates other sinners.
I don’t pretend to know the wisdom of God, but I do know the wisdom of man and I think these men – in not being able to deal with God as he is – had to bring him down from heaven and make him dumber than we are.
I remember when I first started dating my husband. When I realized he loved me. I hated him for it.
I was so twisted inside out with what had gone on in my life and what I’d put myself through – I resented this guy who told me that he loved me. I believed him 100 percent.
But I hated him for it. I knew me. I knew me. I was the least deserving, in my mind.
I sabotaged our relationship. I wanted him to hate me back.
When I asked him later on why he hadn’t given up on me. He looked me dead in the eyes and said, “You did nothing to earn my love. You can’t lose it.”
It makes me wonder, now, whenever I see a “Real Men Love Jesus” bumper sticker.
Do you love him for loving you? Or do you hate him for loving you because you know you?
Knowing you are not deserving of it.
Thank God, for all our sakes, we did nothing to earn it.

I’ve yet to see a hearse with a hitch (poem)

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(Photo Sylvain Reygaerts)

I learned a while ago
that know matter what I say
no matter where I go
I am both servant and master
inclined to help people do better
but should also feel comfortable enough to lean
on those who are around me

Because the truth is
despite people talking about the
importance of individuality, and self,
at the end of the day we exist in a community
where I belong to you and you to me
and those that often jive talk about Personal responsibility
thinks everyone else should have it
but their issues, their reason for unemployment, WIC, or food stamps- well, that’s a specialty

An outlier, something so exceptional
which allows them to hoard grace and then rob it
from others.
whether it be a homeless vet or a single mother
it’s that exceptional lie of ‘someone else can worry’
that makes it impossible for our culture to hurry
into its natural next phase of evolution

It’s that lie that makes ‘other’ , hatred of another
so’s they can be denied things given to their brother
on the basis of his faith, class, or skin color
things they want denied to someone else because of whom
they take as their lover
in the meantime justifying their hate by saying, ‘Well, they’re queer.”

No, see, not really
what’s queer is to run counter to your own humanity
things that man Jesus, remember him, talked about
before they nailed him to a tree
things repeated my Ghandi and Dr. Martin Luther King
that said “Yo, treat others like you want to be treated’
this isn’t rocket science
but something that rests solidly in your own conscience
that you have to daily be willing to murder
so you can say, “That man, that man right there with the funny accent. He’s an intruder. ”

Kick him out

Who’s really queer here?
Cause I can guarantee you, it isn’t the Hispanic woman
the African son, the white snowflake you intimidate with your guns
it isn’t the lesbian politician nor the Muslim man who was beaten in his store in New York
No, see queer means something entirely different it means something more
Queer means odd
and denying people their fundamental rights before you dispatch them to their respective God
says more about you than anything said about them

“Behold, this was this sin of your sister Sodom”
She was fat, she was lazy, and she didn’t give a damn
She could have, she should have, but she didn’t understand her own situation nor it’s gravity
of what happens when you willfully destroy your own humanity
and embrace chance, embrace apathy,
that the stone cold nature of mankind’s cruelty becomes ten fold
when the bell you rang or allowed to be rung for someone else
finally tolls for thee.

And it does -without a doubt – toll for thee.
As it tolls for your neighbor, as it tolls for me
see no matter our lot in life, or wealth, or station
our burial plots are all the same size
death is mankind’s equalizer, the greatest of it’s kind
so whether you were born in palatial splendor or ended up dead in a ditch
I promise you in thirty six years of life – I’ve yet to see a hearse with a hitch.

Jesus Serves Jamison (Poem)

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(Photo by Tanja Heffner)

 

 

 

I have found salvation in Rock and Roll
My gospel in the rhythm and blues
when that drumline hits thump thump thump
I become the Angel Gabriel

When the trumpet sounds for me
it will be Janis singing Me and Bobby Mcgee
and as I lift up off the ground
the angels vocal arrangement will be by Barry Gordy
with the smooth sounds of Motown

Heaven will be an out of the way juke joint
where Jesus serves whiskey until two
who’ll light my cigarette and leave his bar
to slow dance with me, and sing harmony with me
when the juke plays “Chasing Cars”

See, what you didn’t know,
is that Jesus really loves Pat Benatar
and listened when she sang that hell was for children
and opened the bar, cause it’ll take a long time before
we can bear the golden streets of Religion’s hypocrisy.

So don’t you worry you hell cats and hip kitties
live your truth as best you can
because JEsus serves Jamison at the bar till two
and it’s ALWAYS midnight at The Lost and Found

Hallelujah!

Beware The Saints (Ten Thousand Angels)

Today, we observe Good Friday
This day, set aside, to observe the anniversary of the murder of Jesus.
Some believe he was the son of God, others, a prophet. And some believe he was just a historical figure.
But think about Jesus in the context of today. A man who challenged the status quo. A man who stood up for the marginalized. The outcast. Who stood up against the religious and said, ‘All ye who are without sin, cast the first stone.’ Who spoke the truth, and shamed the devil.
Pilot- found no fault in him.
Yet when Pilate gave Jesus over to the mob- to the religious to those whom Jesus had challenged the most because he symbolized change- they called for his crucifixion.
And as he was brutalized, as he was whipped, as he was made to carry his own cross, as they drove spikes into his forearms and into his legs, as they put a crown of thorns on his head, and a spear through his side, they mocked him.
Christ embodied, compassion, empathy, benevolence, forbearance, mercy….he embodied all that was good about man.
So, not only did they kill the son of God, they symbolically killed any worth that they may have had.
Over the next three days, churches will be filled with those who go to observe this moment in time. And I know that when they leave their houses of worship, they should be jarred into the reality of where this country at the moment. This great society that proclaims it’s belief in an invisible God, whose name tumbles from their mouths without a second thought. These same people, who allow the poor to languish, the naked to freeze, the sick to die, and the hungry to go unfed. Who, through their own self righteousness, would allow the outcast to remain an outcast. And who would allow to rise to power someone like Ted Cruz or Donald Trump- the very antithesis of who Christ was and what he stood for.
See, it wasn’t the sinners that killed Christ. It was the saints. It was the righteous, the saved of the saved.
It’s a tragic irony.
The Bible says that Heaven observed the death of their beloved. That angels were camped out around the cross. And personally, I believe if God gave the order for them to go and get his son, saying, “No. He doesn’t deserve this,” they would have gleefully, and justifiably, destroyed the world in the process.
My mother used to sing a song in church, and the second verse said this:
T’was not for crimes that he had done
that placed him on that tree
but the love for a dying sin cursed world
and they power to set it free
and as they blood came streaming down that cross
the debt for sin was paid
Oh praise his Precious Holy name
for What Jesus did that day
“Ten thousand angels all hovered ’round.
they could have come and taken him down
removed those nails, with loving care.
But it wasn’t the nails, that held him there. “
Thank God, it wasn’t the nails
nor the irony of who put them there
that held them there.