A few weeks ago, I was having lunch with a co-worker friend of mine. He is one that we occasionally get on the subject of religion. He claims to be a Christian man, however in my observation, he is somewhat alternative. He is one of the few people I can share some of my views on the organized religion industry here in western society. He's not really very critical of my opinions on the subject, although we do occasionally joke that he may someday convert me in the Christian fold.
I have been practicing my own "religion" now for almost six years, since late winter of 2010. And during that time I have been through many stages, and phases on my spiritual journey. A few times, I had even considered returning to the Christian flock, as I do not consider myself "anti-Christ", simply anti-Christian. In fact, I find many passages in the bible encouraging and soul lifting as I read through it. I enjoy reading about the teaching of Jesus, and believe that he was defiantly an evolved man or sorts, with a unique understanding of humanity. There is a lot of fascinating lore and mystery in the Christian faith.
However, at the end of my soul searching, I always seem to come back to where I'm at now... a simple Nature worshipper who occasionally does a little mild witchcraft. Still, over the years I have tried to be nothing, if not respectful to Christians, especially since virtually everyone in my family, and most in my circle of friends are Christian.
Then came the summer of 2015, and the politics or the year. Gay marriage was legalized in all 50 states, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz started to campaign for president in 2016. I read with a shaking head, the shenanigans of Kim Davis, Mike Huckabee, and lest we forget, the "blood of Jesus" oil infomercial on our local TV station. I watched as the Bristol Herald Courier reported the protesting parents lined up in opposition to an academic teaching of the three Abrahamic religions, that being Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. They took no issue with Judaism or Christianity, but they hit the streets at the mere mention of Islam! They held high the separation of "church and state", however that separation doesn't apply to Christian values being taught in public schools. I felt sorry for the poor little Muslim kid who might have been attending that school.
Over the years I have had to listen to the political and religious rants of virtually everyone in my family. I've had to listen to my father, who's illogical political rants I could fill a novel on. Dad is a pro-right, Trump supporting, minority hating, bigoted, nut job. A good man at heart, just don't get him started on politics. It's easy to win in debates with him because his only source of knowledge on these matters is that of Fox News. Hell, I don't even think he' reads the bible at all.
I grow so tired of having to hide my spiritual light so as not to offend people, yet on the other hand, I have to sit here and constantly listen to Christians go on and on about how wonderful their god is, and how I could never be more wrong about where I stand on the issue. I tire of the fact that I have to hide my pentacle necklace around certain company, yet they do not have to hide their crosses. I tire of the fact that I live in a world where women can wear the bottom of their choice, yet as a man, if I wear a skirt I'm going to burn in hell.
I'm 35 years old, and I feel like the whole world has me by the balls. I work, I pay my own way. I owe nothing to anyone, and yet I find myself on the constant short end of the stick when it comes to exercising my civil liberties. For some reason, my actions, which bring no harm to anyone, seem to cause great offense with those in my life. I find it vexing. It slaps of double standards, and I'm tired of it.
Today in the newspaper I read that Mississippi has enacted a new law, falling in line with other conservative Republican, Godly, Christian states allowing businesses the right to invoke "religious freedom" to deny services that would be contrary to their religious view. I suppose this means that virtually anyone could be denied services as everyone sins and fall's short of the glory of God, as per the bible. But I think they were referring to homosexual couples. Still I wonder what would happen, if me, a man, already married to a woman, went to a Mississippi restaurant wearing one of my skirts. Would I be denied for wearing that which pertaineth to a woman? It makes me wonder would they deny any woman who wore trousers service? Probably not, because we all know women can do what ever they want.
So after thinking it over, I realized that the great state of Mississippi, and it's profit-prophets probably don't care if I don't patronize their business. Hell, Chic-fil-a made a bold anti-gay statement and their sales increased 12%. It seems hate sells!
Well, I can't do anything about the hate that lives in too many Christian hearts, they probably don't care if I never set foot in their establishment again. If they don't want to serve homosexuals, or other sinners, I guess in accordance with their backward bigoted state law... that's their prerogative. However I shall deny them their biggest prize.... my soul.
Yes that's right, you right wing profit-prophets, televangelist, etc, I don't know what kind of God you're serving, but I won't serve one that thrives on hate and fear. If that's the gospel you're preaching, I'll have no part of it in my life. There is no room for hate, bigotry, and intolerance in my heart. I'm not saying I'm perfect, I'm not saying I am not guilty of occasional hate, bigotry, and intolerance, but I do know I always aim to eliminate it from my life.
With that, I will say, I don't hate you [Christians], but I do hate what you do. If you are hungry, I will feed you, if you are cold, I will clothe you, if you are suffering in any other way, I will do what I can to alleviate your pain, and I will do so while you scorn me for my religious and moral beliefs. But you won't sap the love from my heart, and you won't win my soul.
Heaven, is a place on Earth
I shared an interesting story with my daughter the other day. We joked when I said that when I die, I'm going to go to hell, and when I get there, I will share eternity with all the people who have annoyed me over the years, the Kim Davis's and Mike Huckabee's of the world. God told me that this is my punishment for not accepting his grace. But the puzzle of the story was all of the right wing Christian zealots were also sharing eternity with me! Did this mean they were in hell too?
I guess it did. So my joking story continued, after much time had passed I had slowly transformed this group of bigots into loving tolerant people. We found out that Trump was really a woman in a man's body, and Kim Davis was a closet lesbian, you know, stories such as those.
So anyway, some time later God paid us a visit, and he saw what had happened, that we were no longer hating one another. Then God said, "behold, you have passed the test, now you all may be with me in heaven". We all looked at each other, and said to God, "but with our hearts filled with love, we would rather stay here, for how could heaven be any more pure?"
Then God smiled and said "you have passed the final test! For in heaven, there is no room for hate, there is no room for fear, there is no room for intolerance. For heaven can not be found in the sky, or on Earth, it is not found where God resides, but rather God is found where it resides, and it resides in the hearts filled with love."
I pray someday that hateful Christians of the world will find love in their heart. To let go of the fear and embrace their fellow men and women, brothers and sisters of humanity. Will there be quarrels? Of course there will, but love will overpower the strongest of hate. I pray someday we can lay aside our petty differences and learn to not just tolerate one another, but actually embrace and cherish our differences.
Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.