Something about me. For you.
I saw this thread first thing this morning (1/27/2017) and considered sharing it on Facebook. Then I thought to my self, “Self, it’s Friday, and you’ve been hitting this politics thing pretty hard. I know it’s Holocaust Remembrance Day but maybe you should take a few plays off, let the people enjoy some pics of puppies and kitties.”
And I almost made it. Sure, I tweeted all kinds of shit, but most of you weren’t subject to it. No, I was happy to let it ride into the weekend.
So I’m enjoying my hard-days-work whiskey after paying the plumber to tell me I’m stupid (and casually chatting about his vote for the current President, a whole other story) and I see a headline pop up on my bubble phone that says Trump is signing an executive order prioritizing Christians when deciding who to let in our great nation. People around the world suffer every day. Would kill for our stupid problems. But the ones who — for reasons we’ll never know — have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior are now at the front of the line to be saved by US in this life.
I was raised agnostic, by a Jewish mother, and attended a private, Episcopal school. I was consciously Baptized in 2016 on the same day as my young son (who has no idea, because he’s really really young. I chose not to give him the choice I was given, but I’m OK with this, shit’s complicated. Another story for another day).
Like any white boy, I’ve been exposed to the Bible my whole life. A lot less than many, a lot more than others. As some (most? I have no idea) of you know, it’s not a comprehensive book. It’s a compilation of things. Things from the Torah. Things from oral histories thousands of years old, filtered through 1, maybe 2 translations. Things from a meeting in 325. It’s not something that can be covered in a paragraph. But any student of literature in the Western world needs to be aware of it to parse the Great Works of Shakespeare, and the others (shut it, you know it’s him and the rest, different topic). In other words, you can’t know how we got “here” without some cursory knowledge of this book. I have that. Nothing more and nothing less. And from that, I know this:
I’ve yet to read a word attributed to Jesus that I’m not ok with on any level. Doesn’t mean it’s not there. Just means I haven’t seen it yet. As for the rest? Well, it’s touch and go isn’t it? Lot of stones. Lot of pig restrictions. Lot of concerns about where and where not to insert your penis (not a lot, really, but that’s a great line, isn’t it?). My opinion is that you can pretty much ignore all of that. Jesus kept it simple. He knew what was up. His words work. The rest? Meh. Touch and go.
Anyway, I guess I’m in the club now (or was prior to that last paragraph). A woman Bishop (if you are going to church, Episcopal church is good like this) sprinkled some water on me and I’m cool or whatever. Doesn’t mean I’m not probably more Deist than “CHRISTIAN,” but I believe in hope. I believe in the concept that doing good here, on this rock in space circling a star, is good. I have no idea how that really plays out, because I’m a human just like you. But I believe that hoping for such things is better than not hoping for such things.
Of course, I also believe in aliens. I believe that God, as I understand Her (big fucking smiley face), has very little to do with our everyday lives. She’s beyond all of us, and the politics of one nation under Her are as relevant to Her daily existence as the bug we accidentally squash on our way to the kitchen for morning coffee (I live in an old house. Bugs happen) is to our own.
Suffice to say, I’m not a fan of religion as it pertains to politics (it doesn’t). Apples and oranges, in my opinion. Cosmic and earthly.
I’m not going to include a quote here. Find your own that fits. There are plenty. But I’ve read and lived enough to know that God does the judging and we do the — well we do the “judged.”
So, on Holocaust Remembrance Day (whatever that really is), when I hear from our American President that we are going to prioritize Christians over other suffering people, well I sit down and I type. I type in anger and disappointment. I’m a Christian now. I have a good life. I’m white, too. I should just enjoy that. But Jew blood courses through my veins. Though the Episcopal Church recognizes me as one of God’s children, I can’t escape my ethnicity (and have no interest in escaping it). So, if I’m in Germany in the late 1930’s, I’m on a list. If I’m in Rome in the late 4’s, I’m on a list (2 lists, actually). But today, I guess I’m good. Yay.
I make no pretense of understanding the suffering of those from war-torn places. I don’t. I have a beautiful family. I have a job. I even have occasional flashes of fulfillment. And I’m Christian! In America! Literally nothing to complain about.
So let’s go with that. Let’s go with the concept that us Christians are saved. Our eternal life is bliss (I’m not sure about that one, but let’s say it is ). Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, has touched our souls and deemed us worthy of eternal Salvation. I hope that’s true. I struggle with that part of my faith.
But as I understand it, the path to Salvation is not paved with Gold. No. It’s generally paved with sacrifice. Sacrifice for sinners, for strangers, for those you do not know or understand. For those you fear and for those who fear you.
Wrestling with religion and faith and everything in between is something we all must do. Or not. It’s personal. Whatever. But one thing I know. One thing of which I am certain. Absolutely certain. Is that nobody. Not one of us. Is the Judge. Oh, some may choose who lives and who dies. But after that, we are in Her hands.
So let’s bring this back. Today, in the greatest Republican Democracy humanity has managed to conjure, an elected leader has decided that one religion, one faith, supersedes another. Has written a “legal” policy that says exactly that. Well, all that I know and all that I feel says that is total and complete bullshit. I say this as a Christian. As a Jew. As a Person who lives and breathes.
Not long ago, I’d have been poisoned in a shower, then cooked in an oven before I ever got the chance to type this rambling diatribe (wink to somebody who probably isn’t reading).
I’d like to end on a happier note, but I’ve got no ending. My glass is empty and my beautiful wife, pregnant with our second son, is waiting downstairs. Where do we go from here, friends? Your call. Good night.
PS. I’m not joking. She really is waiting for me. I expect several spelling mistakes and grammar flails in the above paragraphs. I’m not proud of that. But posting it on the actual day kind of matters. Thank you for bearing with it. Love and puppies and kitties.