Pray This Prayer With Me (for those who have been harmed by the church)

prayer 115057182

Heal us, God, from:

too much talk about God, as if that could substitute for talking with people and learning their stories

fear in the steeples which has deformed us – our minds – our bodies – our sexuality – our gender identity – our ability to love God, self and others

the lies of the church which caused us to believe the history of the church was a path of sameness

church leaders who equated our being with sin, and attempted to reduce us to sinners and reduce us to silence

rituals which have excluded, piercing our hearts in the name of God

May those harmed by the church never lack the sacrament of the sweet smile of God.

May the church be healed and led by those it has harmed.

Amen.

 

(Written using some phrases from I Believe in the Resurrection of the Body, Rubem Alves)

 

At 50 I Can No Longer . . .

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

At 50, I can no longer

drive to kingdom come

talk to my parents, who died two months apart

dunk a basketball (Ok, I’ve never dunked a basketball but I have dunked a tennis ball on a regulation goal.)

work in my wife’s gardens (that’s an “s” on “garden”) without my back getting my attention

win arguments with my spouse

save the world, even in my imagination

live without regrets

claim innocence, since most of my mistakes have been made so many times they seem like next door neighbors

think about what life will be like when I turn 50

What Jesus Provides Us: A Sarcastic, Post-Crucifixion Reflection

jesus brazil 1

Jesus provides us:

perfect people with whom to follow him

perfect for us worship, designed around our personal preferences

a community in which nobody forgives because there’s nothing ever to forgive

answers to all our questions

certainty beyond belief

church leaders whose main emphasis is on empowering everyone to do Jesus stuff in the world instead of being cautious, think of everything that could go wrong so we don’t do much at all, leaders

material/financial blessings if we give money to God (the church) so we can be like Jesus who was financially well off

one gospel that contains everything we will ever need to know about Jesus and is very clear

a Lord’s table at which nobody, including those who are hungry, is fed a meal

security systems for our church so our buildings and possessions don’t get messed up or stolen

angelic choir with instrumentalists who are not drama queens and do not create or stir up trouble within the church

clergy who get out of the way

confidence that there is only one correct way to do church/follow Jesus and that just happens to be the way we are doing it

a church without prostitutes, prisoners, lepers, poor people, Good Samaritans, fathers of of prodigals, prodigals, converted short tax collectors

The Queer God (If you don’t believe me read this conservative scholar)

crucifixion2323 reduced

God is queer.  If you don’t believe me, a liberal preacher, consider the thought of conservative (but worth your time to consider) N.T. Wright.   Wright outlines several aspects of God’s queerness, including queerness on messiahship and resurrection.

. . . .the Messiah was supposed to fight God’s victorious battle against the wicked pagans; to rebuild or cleanse the Temple, and to bring God’s justice to the world.  Jesus, it appeared, had done none of these of these things. . . No Jew with any idea of how the language of messiahship worked could have possibly imagined, after his crucifixion, that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed the Lord’s anointed.  (N.T. Wright, Surprised By Hope, p. 46)

“Nobody in Judaism had expected the Messiah to die, and therefore naturally nobody had imagined the Messiah rising from the dead.” (46) Furthermore, “the ancient world—with the exception of the Jews—was adamant that dead people did not rise again and the Jews did not believe that anyone had done so or that anyone would do so all by themselves in advance of the general resurrection.” (p. 34)  Resurrection was not something that would happen to one person ahead of everybody else. (p. 39)

This Easter don’t forget we worship and serve a Queer God.  And please don’t act like it all made sense or makes sense.

Stay tuned for the resurrection of the wicked.  Did you miss that in the gospel of John?

Jesus Didn’t Leave Behind One Written Word

cross 101108373 enlarg

John 8:6

They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.

Don’t you find it remarkable Jesus didn’t leave behind one written word!  John 8:6 is the only indication of Jesus writing anything and we can assume whatever he wrote in the sand soon disappeared.

If you were God’s son, wouldn’t you leave behind a signed document outlining your wishes for your followers?

Not a single word.  No signature.  What do you make of that, especially in light of the church’s fixation with written words, with its many versions of Bibles from its manuscripts, with its grand talk about the Word of God, with its frequent dishonesty about its scripture?

Some scholars, like John Dominic Crossan, indicate Jesus most likely was illiterate, despite stores which depict Jesus as reading scripture.  More recent scholarship questions the level of ancient illiteracy others assume.  Regardless, surely God could have equipped his son with the ability to write.  If not, what does that indicate for the church and its words and its approach to its book, the Bible?

He left no written words behind.  Mainly he left behind oral stories about healing, friendships with the marginalized, disputes with religious leaders, a cross, and Easter resurrection joy.