Primitive religion is not believed, it is danced!

Arthur Darby Nock

Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Browning

Saturday, September 8, 2018

New Skins

spread wide your arms
and protect us
from the multitude of your guardians

stand by those who wander
who’ve not lost the gift of hearing
and listen within their solitude
stand by those who stay and wait for you

I refuse to engage prayers as a weapon
I wish it to be like a river between two shores
for I seek neither punishment nor grace
but new skin
that can bear this world

lord save me from people of faith
from those who would protect you
from those who would sell you
vend you

save me from those who would stand between you and I
telling me your will for my life
offering me their version of who you are

for frankly lord, what they are telling me doesn’t compute
it doesn’t add it
if I were to believe them, you are angry

you callously send most people into eternal conscious torment
you hate a lot of people
and you teach your people to hate too
you teach your people to look down on the poor
to look down on people of color
to look down on people created in your image
but created LGBTQI

you teach your people not to just look down on others
but to shame them
exclude them
oppress them

From what I understand
You are love

From what I read, you made all people in your image
From what my soul tells, me, you are present in me, and in every person who lives
From what I see in Jesus, you are kind, generous, and forgiving

I do not see you in your guardians
I do not see you in the shouting, arrogant white males on TV
I do not see you in the Bible waving people who treat others with disrespect, because they are different
I do not see you in those who shame the poor
Or shame women

I do not see you in the pastors and priests who grope young women
and excuse their behavior by shaming those women

I do not see you in people who create chaos and anger in a Facebook thread,
And then, when it is clear they have lost the argument, try to shame people for standing against them
Accuse them of being “judgmental” and say “I’ll pray for you”

I do not see you the 100 Judases who sat down with Herod
And then presented him with a Bible, touting his greatness
While excusing the fact that in thought, word and deed, he is the enemy of Jesus

I do not see you in a Christianity that is all about personal gain
Personal safety
I do not see you in a faith that is nothing more than fire insurance
Or a tool to be used in order to coerce and manipulate others into an antiquated cultural social norm

TV evangelists make my ass twitch (French Kiss)
So does the “Ark Experience”
So does the Family Research Council, and all others who espouse bigotry in God’s name

I do not like much of what now passes for Christianity
For it seems to have little to do with Christ

Christianity started as a religion for losers
For “the least of these”

Lord, when it got power, your Church changed
We starting looking at the world from the position of maintaining power and social order instead of experiencing the profound power of powerlessness that Jesus revealed.

we stopping giving up all, even our lives
we stopped being generous
and kind
and sacrificial
and became power hungry, and entitled

We stopped meeting in caves, and built auditoriums with theater seats
And special effects

In short, Christianity almost became a different religion!
It became not Christian

I hate this lord
I am a pastor
I love you
I love your way
I don’t live it very well, some of the time, but I love it

But some much of what is being taught, and lived by those who call themselves Christian
Has nothing to do with Jesus

and I want to walk away
not from You, Lord
but from the title, the label, away from a church that
can give a messed up man a Bible, not to change him,
but to empower him.

Away from a church that spouts arrogance and an implicit selfishness from its very pores.

So, lord
Help me to listen
Help me to hear
Help me to pray
Help me to use prayer and faith in love
that sacred love might flow, like a river, between myself and those around me

Give me a new skin,
and help me be comfortable in that new skin
take me a new way
where I, through the Sacred power that resides in me (and in each of us), lifts us up world
or at least the people in it
or at the very least, the people whose lives I touch

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