As a broken humanity, there are no words to fully encompass the violence we inflict upon one another emotionally, physically, and spiritually. What can we say to communicate what happens to a person’s Incarnational being when an act of violence occurs? Even if there is the call to see one another as imago dei, even if there if a “golden rule,” we certainly don’t live by these standards. We are a broken and sinful humanity… despite our best efforts, we are actually weaponized against one another. This happens Biblically and at the very onset of Scripture.
Adam blaming and accusing Eve of the end of their time in Paradise.
Cain murdering Abel.
A pre-flood world of rampant violence.
Christ crying out from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
But the acts of violence do have words.
Some are clinical.
Some are vile.
Some are visceral.
Some are traumatic.
Which is how a fellow pastoral troublemaker and friend, Jason Chesnut, and I ended up with #FuckThisShit.
Jason and I were in lament over two recent police shootings of Black men: Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte. I told Jason that I was waiting for the global trumpet sound at any moment and sent him the Advent psalm/ poem by Micah Murray, “Rend the Heavens.” In this communal lament, the Advent devotional #FuckThisShit was born.
There is a deep need to express one’s self on a visceral level. After a tremendous experience such as the death of a loved one, an act of betrayal, an experience of righteous anger, or a sense that something is not right with the world, there are many people who yearn for a way to communicate something they feel deep within their souls. Communicating such a deep emotion cannot be accompanied by flowery and polite language; if anything, the language that accompanies such emotions communicates a rawness and a sense of being both literally and figuratively torn open. There is a desire for God to rend the heavens, to have things torn open to enter into the world. Like the heavens being torn open in Mark’s Gospel at Jesus’ baptism. Or like Christ’s flesh being torn at the crucifixion… and bearing those scars in the resurrection, giving validity to our hopes, yearnings, and anguish.
We are not using #FuckThisShit to be edgy or radical. We are not using this to be “cool.” We are using these words because they are troubling. They are unsettling. They are being used to move us from places of complacency. If anything, we are using these words to reflect the brokenness of the humanity in which we live. We are using these words to reflect a deep sense of heartbreak and yearning to be in restored relationship with one another, and to be in restored relationship with God. We are using these words to call out for Christ to come again in a world where we…
see continual modern-day lynchings of Black bodies,
experience the vitriol and hate of white supremacy that has been unleashed in this current presidential election (from which we can never go back),
and deal with the yearnings and brokenness within our own bodies and souls.
I think it is Spirit-led that this is happening in Advent, a time of anxious anticipation. A time when we await the coming of the Christ child into our fleshy and broken humanity. We also await the second coming of Christ to set this broken world on a different path to the wholeness and completion of what God fully intended for God’s creation. This devotion is meant to push us to those uncomfortable spaces where we may see a glimpse of the Holy Spirit. This devotion is also a way to challenge not just how we read and engage with Scripture in our daily lives, but how we deal with our own personal issues and issues within our systems and institutions.
For me, #FuckThisShit is a prayer of deep lament and deep yearning. These were the words I screamed out into the world and at God when my father died. The only thing that I could think to equate would be a prayer of lament that is nothing but sighs and groans for a desire to God to rend the heavens and have this deep yearning to have Christ come again “for the world is about to turn.” The prophets of old may have used equivalents of these words. But if their words could be translated to today, they could very well shake their heads at us and proclaim…