August 14, 2005
Your Christ is Not My Jesus
The men who are in charge of my state and my country remind me daily that their duty to my state and my country is served in Christ’s name. They go on to say that Christ’s teachings serve as the foundation of this great country.
I will repeat now, a statement I once heard proclaimed by a very proud woman: Your Christ is not my Jesus.
You see, I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church and I loved going to Church. I loved to sing, to pray, to think, to have a community of like-minded folks in which to rejoice and worship.
Until one day, some fool started spouting hatred from the pulpit. Hatred that was inaccurately, hypocritically, unauthentic-ally based on the words of Jesus.
I left the Church and my Jesus in defiance, in disgust and in disdain. I must confess that my soul and my spirit were weakened in the process.
I have decided today that I want my soul, my spirit, my Church, my country and my Jesus back.
You see, my Jesus took to the synagogues and shook some shit up – telling the money lenders to get out of his religion. Can someone say faith based initiative?
When he delivered his Sermon On The Mount, my Jesus denounced divorce as the most serious threat to marriage and made no mention of gay folks. Ever. I repeat – Jesus did not renounce me, or anyone, for being gay.
My Jesus offered healthcare to the sick. Would you like to know how Christ-espousing, Missouri Governor Matt Blunt treats the sick? Ask the 90,000 people whose healthcare he cut from my state’s budget.
Additionally, my Jesus offered compassion to the dying and the grieving. Where is our fearless leader, George Bush, when children are dying in Iraq? Oh, that’s right -- he’s spending some time in the desert – in air conditioning, in Texas. And our President will not speak to the grieving mother whose child died fighting a war for our President and our country.
My Jesus befriended hookers, fed the hungry, prayed for criminals and died for the sins I’ve committed in my past, my present and my future.
But – and this is where I differ from the folks in charge -- my Jesus does not have to be your Jesus – my Jesus does not have to be the God in which you trust, whether you trust in one or not. You do not have to trust in God to know that you are protected by your Constitution.
And that, my brothers and sisters is the foundation of America.
And that’s what the folks in charge, and the uninformed who put them there, have forgotten. They have forgotten the true words of Jesus and the true spirit in which we found our freedom.
But I know my Jesus, I know my history and I know my rights.
And I encourage each and every one of you today to look deep within yourself and find some resolve to begin doing your part to live your life by your principles and your standards.
I, myself, will pray on such matters.
For you see, in my Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, there is a passage that is not often repeated by our leadership or by our preachers in our churches. My Jesus did not command me to be present at one particular place at one particular time on one particular day to know His love and to do His work.
Jesus’ love is anywhere and everywhere where you can take a moment – spend some time alone and contemplate.
And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.My Jesus did not condemn those whose values were different from his – and that is, indeed, a struggle. Especially when you see the folks in charge taking His name in vain. And so today, I will pray for the men in charge and pray that they will welcome and not fear my Jesus.
It is confounding, how My Jesus somehow managed to love folks, in spite of their faults, weaknesses and failings.
It is a struggle not to hate and not to despise those that speak the words of Christ yet abandon the teachings of my Jesus.
But I will not judge them. That, too, is a teaching of my Jesus. Any judgment that occurs will occur at the ballot box when I vote -- which is, thankfully, the promise of my Constitution.
I will not act with bigotry, prejudice or hatred in my heart.
That’s not the teaching of my Jesus or the promise of my Constitution.
I said it before: I want my soul, my spirit, my Church, my country and my Jesus back.
My question today, for you, dear reader, is what do you want?