Welp. Here we are. It's Easter. Or whatever fertility holiday it was to your ancestors before the forefathers of Madison Avenue started greeting cards and mass-marketed Christianity. (*actual teachings of Jesus sold separately. For more information, visit the public library near you.)
Ugh. I've got to put this into copy and paste-able text. Argh. Okay. So... I'm more in tune with our Muslim siblings on this one. Not so much my Jewish siblings. They don't even acknowledge the carpenter Christ as a prophet. The most they give is “a pretty good Rabbi.” Muslim theologian friends feel the same way about people exploiting their faith for political purposes as I feel about the people in my faith exploiting our faith for political purposes, so I hate bringing them into this mess... But, Muslim siblings believe Jesus was the messiah. They just don't think Zombie Jesus was a thing.
For me, it's not so much that I don't believe in Zombies, but that I love the band the Zombies, was way into the Walking Dead before you even knew it was a thing, and don't even need Jesus to be a zombie to want to be more like him than I'm ever going to be able. I'm still going to try though. And that's why I have to start talking about this stuff some more. Sorry it came out in the Trump era, with everybody already on edge. I know it weirds people out that I'm embracing my belief system, and weirds them out even further when I tell them I feel a calling to start a church.
I don't want to be preachy. I honestly don't care about anyone else's belief system beyond that they care about other humans, and all of the other animals and lifeforms as well. Just be more of somebody other people feel better to be around, and less of the type of person that people think they can get away with more when they are around. Encourage goodness. Not that deviancy can't be fun. That's the problem with free will. Anyhow, I digress...
I don't even need to believe Jesus as messiah like Christians and Muslims do. I honestly come away from reading the Gospels (More times than a person should. Still at least one more time away from feeling like I can give you more than my own interpretation.) I really only know that everything I take away from reading about this guy, is exactly how I wish everybody was living and treating others. I need to try and do that too. I want to help take this Christ guy back from the Christians who make him out to be a judgmental jerk. That's not what I read about him.
So, I don't believe in big end-times conspiracies, even if written by John after he survived being boiled in oil and I don't believe in Zombies. I've bought more burritos for homeless folks than I can ever count and think that's all it takes to be an entry-level Christian. What a person claims to believe doesn't dictate faith. Actions do.
Since I was a wee child demanding to watch the Iran Contra hearing, I've always loved learning about religion and politics. Knowledge in both has been a life-long pursuit. I didn't come to being a Jesus cheerleader easily, and if it wasn't covered accurately enough earlier, am still skeptical. I zoned out while making bells ring with sticks for longer than I think I've actually lived meditating with Buddhists. I took peyote and mushrooms with all of the best first Americans that try to keep those traditions alive and would have me. I've listened intently to every atheist who treated me with mutual spiritual respect. I've talked Islam with Muslims more than I've ever seen on the TV. Well, that last part isn't setting the bar very high. TV treats Muslims like atheists treat Christians and Muslims. They let a vocal minority paint an extremist caricature for the majority living, loving and believing so very much differently.
I'm guilty of that with our Jewish siblings lately, and need to go even further off topic to apologize for that. I actually do know that a majority of Jews are agnostic, and identify as culturally-Jewish the same way I still identify as culturally-Catholic, even though I've not participated since my confirmation, and I believe that church is the biggest villain in human history. Anyhow... Jewish friends: I know you're not all Zionists and supporters of the STATE of Israel, which has nothing to do with your religion if you are religious. I know that. But I'm starting to think it's time for y'all to condemn and renounce, as they do say on the tee-vee, when a variety of human that can have an identity attached to them makes the news. Like, (hair flip) there's actual genocide going down. Snipers are performing racially profiled murders as much as 775 people a day killed. Don't let BiBi take away all your street cred from that thing white-supremacists like to deny along with Sandy Hook.
But hey, I get it. Politics really fucks up religion. I'm trying not to swear so much in these missives, even though working blue is the only job my vernacular truly knows. Despite my doubts, I still identify as a Christian Socialist, despite Christianity being started by the people who murdered him and modeled after the Roman army. This is all without going into how they fetishized the cross they killed him on. Which I think is where the Coptics split with the church. I need to learn more about Copticism. Somebody hit me up.
So, imagine a guy like me, Woody Allen without the success or the pedophelia, neurotically doubting everything in life, especially his faith... A guy who nobody who knows him thinks he should be doing this stuff... A guy who does not want to be commenting on this stuff... feels a calling to try and connect with other fans of Jesus, who don't want to bring any of that Old-Testament judgmental, bring God the foreskins of your enemies kind of downerisms along for the ride.
I didn't have a come to Jesus moment. There was no burning bush. God didn't part traffic during rush hour to talk to me. I just knew this conversation I should be having. I have spent years trying to recruit clergy I think could go there, because I didn't want to do the talking, only to be rejected because real denominations have benefits packages and I don't even have a building yet. I'm used to working for free and DIY projects. If the universe is pushing me in this direction, I have to accept that calling card.
I mean, I'd love this Sunday sermon to be about how I finally got caught up on The Americans season premier, which is so much better than the knock-off the Democratic Party is trying to write right now. That show is having a conversation, set in the 1980s, about disarmament, feminism and family that we need to have right now. But... I feel like I need to talk about Jesus, instead. Because one quarter of the earth's population has a distorted view of a hero of mine, and they're the ones calling themselves Christians. There's got to be a better way, and a way to encourage one quarter of the world's human population to live in a more Christ-like fashion.
It's no secret that I'm drawn to activists, despite not being so inclined in that area myself. I love to cover and report on a direct action. I hate to be at the front lines. I don't think anybody should be following my lead. I love being around the people who feel like they have to be at the front lines and leading. I want to be a person who fights to be at the front lines without doubting if I'm worthy to lead. I think we're all worthy to lead, because so few step up. I'm trying to step up more. I really don't care if people think I'm silly for believing I've been called to start a Christian Socialist church. All that I care is that if we get that church, it feeds some folks who are hungry, and helps neighbors without judgement. I am a sinner. I'm likely the wrong guy for any job. Yet, there's still air in my lungs, so I'm going to use it.
It's no secret that I love liberally, that I advocate for the poor, that I want justice for all peoples. It's no secret that I indulge far too much in pop culture, make weird music about weird topics, make love liberally, and am well known to be a loud mouth who speaks before truly thinking it all out, far too often.
I am both qualified and not qualified to talk to you about faith. But since all I really want to do is offer a different perspective on what we accept as history, and how both religions and politics corrupt both truth and zeitgeist, I think I can navigate this calling as long as I keep reminding you and myself: I'm just a loudmouth. You do you. But let's all do something.
That first episode of the Americans this year... The women spies are basically getting intelligence reports base on how current events are being taught in an American high-school. Maybe college. I don't know how old the daughter is supposed to be now. It is refreshing to see this in a program. American history and American textbooks as well as testing, have been so whitewashed and decanted into sound bite distortions that the 1950s have been rewritten as a vision of utopia to the point a political party has built brand around turning clocks back 70 years. That's when Madison Avenue came from out of the shadows, abandoned their recent movie theater news programming and bent down at the alter of television.
Where am I going with this? You've read this far. You're well aware it's just a rambling mess at this point. (Thanks for hanging in there, though. When you're on the edge: don't lose your grip.) My point is, all of the good prophets, including the one Christians like more than anybody else and the one Muslims like more than anybody else, were bad boys who became good. These guys were civil disobedients, enemies of the State, and are still talked about 2,000 years later. Sure, Jesus was more a street magician running a soup kitchen and chilling with hookers and grifters, who threatened the biggest government in his time and Mohammad was more of a Che/Castro styled guerrilla political revolutionary. Dr. King was blackmailed by the FBI. Socrates went to jail for defying religious and political norms of his day too. If you're willing to die for telling people there's a better way, odds are it will come up again from time to time after that death.
All of these thousands of years later, and we're still having the same arguments. I know, this is a long “sermon.” It's Easter Sunday. People go to movie theaters for these services. This one may not have zombies, but you can take it in at home, on the toilet. All of these years later, and we're still having the same arguments. I move that we can do some of that work on the toilet at this point. It's Easter, as long as you took in the sunrise, you've celebrated the son's rise. If you overslept, that's fine. I just don't want you searching this missive for any message more profound than: zombies are cool, but don't forget the life of the person who turned. But don't listen to me if you don't want to. I'm just putting this stuff out there. I won't be offended if you think I'm crazy. That's probably the proper take. Still, I don't believe in Zombies. I believe in people.
In this case, that zombie is Jesus, a fella who they called both a carpenter and the son of God, so he built a movement that he gave his life for. He gave medical attention to the sick, fed the poor, advocated you let the homeless into your home, and put a pretty big scare into bankers and their political puppets. He never once condemned abortion or sexual identity or said America was beautiful for her guns. He just tried to get folks to love each other more and share their toys. That pissed off people in power and they killed him.
Happy Easter. Happy Sunday. Happy new-episode-of-the-Walking-Dead day. Happy April Fools, for clearly after this word salad, I am. Eat chocolate with the kids, unless your diabetic. Drink wine with the adults, unless you're alcoholic. Try to surround yourself with love however that fits into your exact personal experience. And remember, Zombies were people too. Remember them for who they were.