Because you asked…


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A transcription of the poem, “I’m sorry I’m a Christian,” by Chris Tse. If the *f* bomb offends you, you may not want to read this post. If you can see past that,  these words may crawl under your skin and poke your soul. Read on…

Used with permission of the poet.

I am a Christian. I’m sorry.

 

I’m sorry for the way that I come across
So fair and faith friendly and full of myself
Judging your spiritual health by the words that you say
And the way that you dress, and the things that you do
Or maybe just judging you.

 

I’m sorry for the way that I live my life
So confident of my own beliefs that
I would never even think to think about thinking about yours

 

I’m sorry for the wars.
Ivory clad Crusaders mounting steeds and drawing swords
With such a spirit that if The Spirit spoke they wouldn’t hear
But you see the sword of the spirit was not a sword but the Word
And the Word was with God and the Word was God
And they preached this as they marched on the Holy Land
Singing and Praying and Killing and Slaying
And purging and healing and raping and stealing
It’s ironic that they lined there pockets in the name of God
Just like the priests who line their pockets in the name of God
Just like the people that you can’t stand, because they always raise their hand
And spread their faith and hate and judgment in the name of God

 

I’m sorry that I take God’s name in vain
Or rather I’m sorry that I stain the name of God
Defending my selfish actions as selfless actions pertaining to the will of God

 

I’m sorry for being intolerant
For trying to talk down to you
For trying to talk over you
For not letting you talk

 

I’m sorry for not walking the walk
For being a hypocritical critical Christian
Criticizing your pagan lifestyle while my lifestyle styles itself
Just like the televangelist’s hair
All slick and sly and slippery
As the silver syllables slide their way into your ear

 

But see that’s my greatest fear
That the steps I take won’t match the words I speak
So that when I speak all you hear of me
is a weak hypocritical critical Christian
Doing one thing, but saying another
Loving my friend, but hating my brother
It’s a show.

 

I’m sorry I get drunk on Saturdays
and go to church on Sundays to pray
for my friends who get drunk on Saturdays

 

And on that note,
I’m sorry for making the church about the pews and the cross
And the walls and the steeple
Because see the building is not the church
The church is the people

 

I’m sorry that I hate you because you are gay
I’m sorry I condemn you to hell because you are gay
Instead of loving I jump to hatred
Mouth open and tongue preaching
Eyes open but not seeing that you are the same as me
Just a fucking human being

 

I’m sorry that I only hang out with Christian friends
And we do nice Christian things
Like pot luck dinners and board game nights
While in the night a man beats his girlfriend again
Another homeless man died again
Is this the way that my own crowd has been?
But here I am with the same friends again
But see what I always forget is that Jesus didn’t come
to hang out with the priests and the lords.
No, He hung out with cripples and beggars and whores

 

Love

 

I’m sorry for history
For native tribes wiped out in the name of the church
Lodges burning stomachs churning and yearning for justice
And mothers screaming and pleading
Pleading for the young ones
As they are dragged away to church schools
Where they were abused
I’m sorry for the way that I refused
To learn your culture
Instead I just came to spread the Gospel
And the plague

 

I’m sorry that I stand at the front doors of abortion clinics
Screaming at 15 year old girls as they enter
Instead of waiting at the back door to hug them as they leave

 

I’m sorry for taking my wars and my faith to your lands
When historically it was on your lands that my faith was born
And in the face of the storm, I realize that
If God is Love and Love is God
Then why are we shooting instead of sharing?
Why are we launching instead of learning?
Why are we warring instead of walking together?
Why are we taking instead of talking together?
Why are we bombing instead of breaking bread together as brothers?

 

You see I think that God looks down and He’s sad
And from His right hand throne above
Jesus asks where is the Love?
And if it takes Wil-I-Am and Justin Timberlake
Asking that same question for us
To start asking that same question
Then where the fuck are we headed?

 

So I will take this stage to be my chapel
And this mic my confession booth
And in the presence of God, the few,
and the blessed I confess, that
I am a Christian. I’m sorry.

Thanks for reading.

LAE

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A politically (in)correct rant…


Patrick Stewart as Locutus, the assimilated Je...

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Asking you about God is going to get me in trouble, isn’t it? It’s gonna polarize people, ‘cause some will hear preaching and pontificating, while some will breathe a sigh of relief.  Some won’t give a shit either way. It’s true.

I was reading a piece about culture the other day, in a nationally respected rag, (that I ordinarily choose not to read because I’d rather not focus on the bad news of dailiness), but I digress… So I read how it’s not considered correct to discuss ethnic distinctions with respect to child raising, or anything else. And it’s just as incorrect to create cultural stereotypes. They suggested what we need, no desire, is a homogeneous culture based upon polite equality. ‘Cause nobody really wants to stand out with unique and unpopular thinking. Everyone wants to fit in. And like the Borg, once you have fit in, you live to assimilate others. Yet the woman in the article passionately refused to be assimilated.

And so do I.

Resistance is not futile.

Here’s the thing… no matter what I write of a ‘spiritual nature’… poetry, stories, rants, rambles, there’s a question that begs to be asked.  Is there a God or not? You, dear reader, can’t sit on the fence forever. You can argue using scientific facts, test my theology, list the atrocities done in the name of religion ‘til you’re out-of-breath-red-in-the-face and making me wince, like when I see myself in this slam poem by Chris Tse. You can talk about my intolerance and ‘my truth’, but you still land in the same place of having to decide for yourself. Does God exist?


You can dull your mind with work and with technology and with whatever other addiction you’ve got hidden up your sleeve that prevents you from thinking about big annoying stuff. Or just busy yourself with the everyday-ness of life. One day leads to another and unless some drive-a-stake-cataclysmic-thing happens to stop you in your rut, you grow old. We all eventually die. And because of that fact, still the question lingers… Is there a God?

Perhaps I’m responding to having watched the amazing, thought provoking play ‘The Screwtape Letters’ just yesterday afternoon, or maybe I’ve got a screw loose? But, I’m fed up with my own insipid waffling. All the rationalizing and relativism and political correctness is really pissing me off. And the ways of watering down the truth so as not to offend, offends ME! Sorry, but it does.

No, I’m not wishing fire and brimstone preaching back, nor do I believe in shoving my beliefs down anyone’s throat like back in the day when I delivered evangelistic tracts from door to door, to complete strangers!. But there comes a time to be honest in every relationship. It all starts there… because you care about the people in your life… there’s a time to be truthful… to speak up!

So, I have to ask, In the face of all the evidence that surrounds you, to…

… take a minute to look out your window, at the mountains, the trees, the snow, the sunshine, the birds, the stars, the minute details of the natural world (and that’s without a microscope)…

… then consider metamorphosis, DNA, the chicken and the egg, erosion, volcanoes, the creation of new life inside a woman’s body, the germination of a tulip bulb in spring…

(Not-withstanding all the crappy, inexcusable ways that ‘Christian’ people like me have done things in the past to hurt you deeply with hypocrisy and unloving words and ways… please forgive them… please forgive me.)

… now think of the words of all the people of all the nations in the world who share their unique stories, telling how about their lives were ripped from the jaws of ultimate peril by a God who changed everything

… and then, as you consider the beauty of music, and architecture, and art, and all the unexplainable heart ripping creative forces in this world…

… bravely, hesitantly, ask yourself the question that just won’t go away…

Does God exist?

Lesley-Anne

Sunday Soliloquy


 

 

 

 

 

When did Jesus know He wasn’t welcome
When did HE first feel the rejection of men
When did HE know this world
The world HE made
The world HE loved
The world created by the power of HIS word
Was not his home, that he might be alone
Did he know the manger wasn’t fitting for a baby king
Or did you rest, contented baby, where you were for that season
When did HE sense
That he didn’t fit in
That it was so temporary as to be a breath
Or a withering piece of grass
I sometimes get a whiff of that stuff
I know the happy sad feeling of being but not belonging
Longing and living but coming up short
Making a house a home but never really settling
Settling would mean belonging, being one with this world
And I am not that
Peace evades me
Contentment blankets me at times,
but then a deep discontent that longs for more
that’s not at the store
it rises to a roar
More of what I don’t always know
But more belonging
More wanting
More connecting
More knowing
More feeling
More Jesus
More me and yet less me
I am not ‘it’
I am a part of something I can’t even figure out
I have a promise for a hope and a future
I want the future, but instead I have now
Life, packaged one day at a time, that’s it
And the promise
Jesus, Baby Jesus when did you know
When did you feel the sting of not belonging
When did you sense you were different, inspired and despised
What did you do with those feelings, those longings
What did your mama do to soothe and comfort your hurt
What did papa Joseph do to assure and secure you
What can I do with the knowing
What do I do with the wandering happy sadness of being here
And not being there
Where is there, when is there
Bringing me back to the place from where I was taken
Ending exile
Baby Jesus did you feel exile
Did the angels song make the screaming ache of not belonging go away
For a season, for a day
Did the Shepherds admire and the angel choir
Did they make it ok for the day
When did you know that season was over

When did rejection season begin
What did you do with rejection
How did you endure and last and overcome
How did you love the haters, heal the sin stained, feed the greedy hungry mob
How do I? And Why?
This is not my home, I know exile, this is exile
Why no home? Why no belonging?
Why the constant pain of exile, being away?
Longing for Baby Jesus peace
Peace that isn’t for sale in a Walmart flyer
Peace that isn’t cheaper in Bellingham at the mall
Peace that isn’t groovy and disrespectful of the strain and pain of today
Peace, Baby Jesus Peace
When did you know you were the Prince of that Peace?

Written by a poet who wishes to remain anonymous

Indie, Slam and getting real


I’m feeling somewhat older these days. And it’s not just because of the way my face has transformed, my body morphed, and my energy levels declined … but it’s this feeling of a lack of connection to what’s happening ‘out there’ in so many ways. I used to feel ‘with it’, and I liked that. But, maybe I can find ‘with it’ again?

Yesterday I had a brief conversation with a promising young musician and family connection, and I was excited to spend a few minutes in the company of someone with abundant energy and zest and desire to experience life to the full. Because I still want that too… no matter my age… the last thing I want to do is to give up and become morbidly out of touch. So, thank God for the young people in my life that remind me of what it means to be relevant and real, and who keep me apprised of how things are, no matter how shocking that can be sometimes.

So this beautiful young woman and I were talking music… her passion… and she referred to ‘Indie’ music. I immediately thought of ‘Bollywood’ (film industry of India) and wrongly assumed she meant music with eastern references and overtones. The more she talked, the more I recognized how wrong my assumption was, so I swallowed my pride and asked, “What is Indie?” She was happy to explain that it meant ‘Independent’ music… sounds and voices and lyrics and an overall uniqueness that doesn’t fall within the norm of pop music. “Oh, I said… like Alternative music?” “Sort of,” she said, and then she cued up a couple of songs on her ipod and handed me the ear bud while explaining why this particular musician was Indie and so on.

I felt so privileged to have her explain this to me. And once I listened and she talked some more I began to recognize what she meant. Then I offered up some examples of my music (from the dark ages) that I considered to be ‘Indie’ and offered her my CD’s to listen to. She seemed enthusiastic about that too. So, thank you to that particular young woman and all the young people who aren’t embarrased by older people like me who are interested in understanding their world. And maybe it ‘s a world that I can participate in too?

Like Poetry Slams… for example. Fairly new to me, not new to today’s kids. Spoken Word recently came into the world’s eye when 34 year old Shane Koyczan from Penticton B.C. spoke his amazing poem about BC at the 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremonies in Vancouver. The world paused in awe and listened to this talented guy speak a poem that was anything but pretentious or out of reach or what many remember poetry being from stuffy english high school classes in the past. His words were real, raw, funny, delivered in a funky hip hop beat type of way that made us pay attention. Wow. I loved it. And I’m now finding out more about this genre and what it means socially as well as to the literary world.

So, I went to a Black History Month event at the public library where slam poet Kevan Cameron a.k.a. “Scruffmouth.” (Grand Champion of the 2008 Vancouver Poetry Slam) delivered a few poems that rivited me to my stacking chair. Followed by a reading by Governor-General Award winner Dr. George Elliott-Clarke that cut into my guts with it’s honesty and content with words that mattered. Dr. Elliott-Clarke is maybe not young, but he speaks like he is.

Again, I’m thankful for the kids, and those young at heart, that are out there changing things up in their own way, and making us sit up and pay attention. So much talent, so much passion. I would count myself blessed to sit and listen… a fly on the wall… when they speak.

Reminds me of a video I watched once at a women’s conference when I was just beginning to believe I might possibly be a writer deep inside… perhaps a poet even… and I was so overcome with emotion because of the words and delivery of this young woman’s spoken word poetry, that I stood up and said, “I want to write like her!!!” Amena Brown throws down words in a way that hits me in the gut and squeezes my heart in response to things that I’ve felt but never put into words.  Passion is contageous, isn’t it! Idealistic, untried, loud, lusty passion from the heart of the young. Do you remember what that felt like? Have you heard it lately? Here’s Amena;

I think I need to pay more attention to the kids in my circle, what they are reading, listening to, saying, singing, what they are passionate about. I need to be an explorer in their world in order to not grow old in mine. I think it might be one way to stay young, on the inside.

So I leave you with a song I know because of my son who introduced me to this artist this year. She’s young (30), and incredibly talented. I’ve not heard many vocalists who can do the things she does with her voice. Amazing.

Can you feel it???

Regina Spektor , singing “Dance anthem of the 80’s ”