Tag Archives: religion

What’s So Good About Good Friday?

It’s Good Friday, and I never really liked it. Even as a child, I could never see what was good about it. It was a tragic day. A horrible day. A day of mourning. And now that it’s become ‘a thing’ to re-enact the crucifixion, it’s even worse. All those so-called Christians indulging in what is essentially sadomasochistic porn, and not even bothering to get the nails in the correct places.

“Don’t you know?” I want to scream at them. “That’s not what it’s about! It’s not about what they did physically! That’s nothing. None of that matters. They couldn’t hurt Him. It’s what they did spiritually. Can’t you see? It’s what they did to themselves and to this world. They were given a great Gift…a wonderful miraculous Gift, and they rejected Him. They rejected truth, love, progress, faith, life, potency, God. They rejected everything we needed for this world to become a better place and all because He interfered with their petty wants and desires…because He challenged their convenient self-aggrandizing identities…because He was proof that their fabricated self-serving narratives were wrong.” That’s exactly what I want to scream at them.

And when I look around and see people worshiping money and class, clinging to man-made politically motivated dogmas, even using the name of Jesus to placate their own soul-eating egos, I wonder, would it be any different today? If He came back as He was, not as many imagine Him to be, would anyone recognize the precious Gift or would it all be the same thing over again? Would people look down at Him for not driving a fancy car or being a botox-filled celebrity on Letterman? Would they turn away from every wonderful thing He offered because none of it made the list of Oprah’s favourite things? Would they ridicule Him because His clothes were not as fancy as Kate Middleton’s? Would they believe He was not a real man of God because, unlike Osteen, Jake, Hagee, Robertson, He didn’t make Himself rich by exploiting religion? Would they do it again? Would they throw away their only hope once more? Would they?

A Few Facts About Jesus

-born to an unwed mother in a sexually oppressive society where both mother and child would have been stigmatized (whether you believe in Immaculate Conception or not, this was His social status)

-born into the lower class of a highly structured class system

-shunned wealth and the wealthy

-shunned power and the powerful

-spoke out for the poor and helpless

-chose truth over making friends

-most of the friends He did make were from the bottom rungs of society

-publicly challenged social injustices and hypocrisies

-publicly challenged oppressive religious traditions and rituals

-publicly challenged social hierarchy

-never bowed to a king, high priest, military leader or wealthy official

-never allowed them to crown Him as an idolized king

-never made alliances with or manipulated people for political or personal gain

-never tried to sell God as a commodity

-was questioned, ridiculed and scapegoated for being from the ‘wrong side of the tracks’

-never turned away from God because more people would like Him and it would make things a whole lot easier

(If He were here today, would you side with Him?)



The Devil Speaks in Tongues

At the time, I didn’t ask myself why she invited me. I was young, wanted to make friends and was open to new experiences. But now I know. I know now why she invited me. She decided that she would ‘save’ me. I was the project she was hoping to get an A+ on—an A+ that would open wide the gates of Heaven. Why, one day old Saint Peter himself would greet her and exclaim, “Way to go (I forget her name)! The best gold harp for you!” That’s the way she must have imagined it. She wanted me to be, not her friend, but her pre-paid ticket to Heaven.

I can’t remember what exactly she said, when she invited me, but she did use the term Charismatic Catholic. Whatever! Sure, I’ll check it out. Why not?

The meeting was in a school, (must have been a Catholic school), on the second floor. We sat around in a circle, and people talked. What they talked about, I don’t recall, so it couldn’t have been that interesting. If it were interesting, I would not have forgotten it.

There was a stout little priest who was quiet and docile, and always seemed to be battling something within his own mind. There was a blind guy they doted on because blind guys feature big in Christianity. And there was a very outspoken middle aged woman who ran the show. At least, I think she was middle aged…when you’re that young everyone over 25 looks middle aged.  Those are the only ones I can remember.

So I went maybe 2 or 3 times to sit in a circle and listen to these people. They were a little weird, but I’d been in a Pentecostal Church before, so I knew about weird. Weird didn’t particularly weird me out.

Then it happened…

There we were sitting in the circle when suddenly the outspoken woman who ran the show started ‘speaking in tongues.’  Okay, whatever! Go with the flow.

I watched as her male ‘attendants’ would bring someone to her. She’d babble something then thrust her hand forward, making that person fall backwards. The attendants would then dutifully catch the fallen in their arms. From there, the person would be laid out on the floor like a freshly slain body. I assumed the idea was that they were so filled with the Holy Spirit that they were rendered paralyzed. Soon the floor was covered in people.

Well, didn’t someone just come over to me and grab me by the arm. I didn’t want to go, but what could I say? I was young and just wanted people to like me. And they were so gung-ho about this speaking in tongues and people all over the floor thing. So I went.

If I remember right, the outspoken and now tongues-speaking woman was about eye level with me, but she didn’t look at me. Instead, she was looking upwards as if she could see more than just the ugly classroom ceiling. From there, it all happened so fast. She was saying something that didn’t sound much like anything at all, when suddenly WHAP! she hit me in the forehead! I couldn’t believe it! She hit me HARD! right in the forehead! I didn’t get it. Wasn’t it supposed to be the Holy Spirit who knocked you down, and not some bare fleshy undeniably corporeal hand?

The hit caused me to stumble backwards, but I quickly regained my footing and stared her right in the eye. She stared back at me and that was when I saw it…the hatred…the anger…the ‘how dare you not fall to my authority like the others.’ I tell you, if I’d never seen the devil before, I saw him that night in her eyes. What a situation I was in!

Thinking to myself, that if I didn’t fall back she might keep hitting me until I did, the next time she hit me, I fell back. They put me on the floor with the others and I covered my face with my hands. The others did not cover their faces, but for some reason I felt I couldn’t leave my face exposed in this room. So there I was, on the floor, praying to God and saying, “This is ridiculous. What do I do now?”

Anyway, I stayed there and played along for while, getting more and more frustrated with the entire silly situation. I kept wondering just how long one was required to be ‘overcome.’ Finally, I peeked through my fingers to see if the others were off the floor and many of them were, so I decided that it was okay to get up.

In keeping with the show, I then got up, walked over and hugged the blind guy. That seemed to confuse the heck out of him, but it also seemed an appropriate ending scene to this crazy play.

The next week I went back. I don’t know why. I guess like so many lonely teenagers, I would overlook a lot in pursuit of friends. So I went back, but they were gone. The school was locked and there was no light on the second floor.

Later in the school hallway, I would sometimes pass the girl who invited me. But we never really spoke again, and I never asked her about the group or what happened to them. I suppose it just seemed fitting that it should end that way.


The Horrible Things They Still Do To Jesus

Of course, it must have all started near the beginning, but where exactly? I suppose, at first, it was only in small ways—Peter using selective memories of Jesus to ease his immense guilt, and then after him, Paul, a reformed torturer/murderer using Jesus to try and purify himself.  Certainly, it gained real momentum when the new political machine they called the Catholic Church was born, and the crucified man became the mascot. It was genius marketing really—playing on such deep fears, deep shame, and deep perversions. A man unclothed, broken, beaten, and permanently staked up for public display. Oh, the emotions such an image could evoke!

Sometimes I think of what it takes to physically manufacture such a thing. These days, a slave-worker in Asian likely makes most of them, hammering the little nails into the crucified man statue—day after day—tap, tap, tap—thousands of nails into thousands of hands and thousands of feet. I wonder if she’ll ever realize that the nails should actually go into the wrists, and not the hands.

And then there was a little Polish boy I babysat as a teen. One day he pointed to the crucifix on the wall, giggled devilishly, and declared, “The Lord is barren.” At first, I couldn’t figure out what he was talking about in his less than perfect understanding of the English language, but then I realized he meant that the little crucified man was without clothes. The crucifix was a bit of naughty pornography for this boy. Out of the mouths of babes, eh? Suffering-pornography. That’s why I never will watch The Passion of the Christ. It’s suffering-pornography.

And then all because of a fluke generated by politics and the marriage problems of elite inbreds, the Church split, and Protestants were created. Eventually that little switcheroo caused branches to form in all directions…and oh, what directions…directions that, henceforth, resulted in my Sunday school teacher excitedly waving the ‘miracle photo.’ It seems she had gone to a special presentation organized by the church. The key-note speaker was a woman who had been privy to a stupendous, incredible, marvelous miracle! What started out as just an ordinary photo being taken of her and her husband turned into so much more. For when that ordinary photo was developed, POOF! Jesus appeared in the picture next to them!  The Sunday school teacher let us all have a good look at the evidence. Sure enough there was a man, a woman and a guy in a Jesus costume. I was just a kid, but even I knew that was not Jesus. What does it take to perpetrate such a crime? Thinking up the scheme, dressing up as Jesus, setting a price for the photo, going on a preaching circuit, turning Jesus into a bold faced lie—it’s horrible! And this was sanctioned by the church.

And that brings us to the Jews, oy vey! Being part Jewish myself, I really hate to have to have to say this but…added to all the horrible things being done to Jesus is a group of right-wing Jews trying to bake Him into a flavourless bit of unleavened bread. Paper Jesus, (no way as fun as Paper Mario)—a flat two-dimensional Jesus who was a good kosher boy, who wanted to FIGHT! the Romans, who was not particularly amazing in any way except in that he was a Jew. These people even claim that Jews had nothing whatsoever to do with the crucifixion. Well, that’s not true. Some Jews were obviously involved in the crucifixion, but not because they were Jews, but because they were assholes, and assholism knows no cultural nor ethnic boundaries. In nature, God created assholes at the bottom, but in man’s topsy-turvy world, assholes are usually at the top, and it was assholes at the top who were responsible for the crucifixion.

So why would these right-wing Jews have such an interest in Jesus? As it appears to me, it’s a narrative specifically designed to further galvanize the support of the right-wing Christians, who already do their own horrible things to Jesus. It’s meant to correlate and control all of the horrible things done to Jesus in the name of politics, power, money and racism.

Oh, Jesus H. Christ! Isn’t it about time You put an end to this nonsense?

…but praying aside for now, Jesus is so incredibly complicated that it’s very difficult to explain just what He is. So instead let me explain what He is not.

Jesus is nobody’s:

  • self-serving idol
  • political pawn
  • money machine
  • plasticine man
  • security blanket
  • excuse
  • medallion
  • camouflage
  • costume
  • justification
  • surety
  • mascot
  • collateral
  • military uniform
  • ‘get out of jail free’ card
  • influence peddler
  • suffering-pornography
  • a simple easy to swallow sugary elixir
  • free pre-paid ticket to Heaven
  • name-dropping name
  • fraternity or sorority pin
  • self-serving lie

…and to try and recreate Him into any of these things is just plain horrible!

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.

Matthew 21:28-31

The Bible

I am enamoured with the Bible.

Please do not think badly of me being enamoured with a book that is so full of sex and violence. I just can’t stop myself from liking it. And you, hypocrite, probably watch The Game of Thrones which is just as bad.

But I do like this book. I like to quote it on Twitter and in my novels. It is just too enticing to stay away from. “Beware, the Lord is about to take firm hold of you and hurl you away, you mighty man,” said the Prophet Isaiah. I mean, how cool is that!

I still have my first Bible. It has a zipper! I was so excited to get it and it was so much fun to clasp the little cross attached to the slider and zip and unzip the book. Zip—unzip—zip—unzip. As a kid it gives you something interesting to do in church, and it also added to the fun of turning those noisy onion skin pages.

My Bible was second hand, (just call me Second-hand Rose LOL), and whoever owned it before me may have been perfectly crazy having underlined a whole lot of stuff in the New Testament using mostly a red pencil crayon. He or she, (but likely he), didn’t seem too interested in the Old Testament. Maybe it was too scary with all its monsters and cannibalism and what-not. Anyway, following with the tradition, I underlined a bunch of stuff too.

The previous owner underlined: “Let a woman learn in silence with all subjection.” Timothy 2:11  So I underlined, “Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 11:42 Ha! Ha! Jesus wins! Paul sucks! (Did you notice that Paul seemed to have some serious sexual issues?)

But I should tell you about the pictures. Yes, my Bible has pictures! They are not exactly Leonardo Da Vinci if you know what I mean, but as a child they were better than no pictures. There’s Noah with a dove and rainbow, and Moses, real angry and ready to whip that piece of rock right at those idol worshipers’ heads. And there is also Jesus looking not like you would expect him to look, but instead looking like a blonde catalogue model. Even in one of the best Bible scenes when Jesus is chasing those greedy no-good sons-of-dogs out of the Temple, in the picture, he’s looking like a ridiculous goofball. That’s just not right. I would draw a mustache on those pictures, but he already has one.

Years ago, there was a man I went to listen to a few times who was a bit of a Bible expert. He wrote a book all about the Bible. His name was Northrup (I know how funny is that!) Frye, and the book was called “The Great Code.” It’s an interesting book, and the ending is quite good. Spoiler Alert! Here is the ending:

“Man is constantly building anxiety-structures, like geodesic domes, around his social and religious institutions. If Milton’s view of the Bible as a manifesto of human freedom has anything to be said for it, one would expect it to be written in a language that would smash these structures beyond repair, and let some genuine air and light in. But of course anxiety is very skillful at distorting languages…The normal human reaction to a great cultural achievement like the Bible is to do with it what the Philistines did to Samson: reduce it to impotence, then lock it in a mill to grind our aggressions and prejudices. But perhaps its hair, like Samson’s, could grow again even there.”

…and you got to admit, Samson’s hair was very very sexy!