Then we got to that part just before the gospel is read, when everyone touches their index finger to their eyes, lips and chest. I must have been absent that day in catechism, because I never learned to do it, and though I get the gist of the gesture (bless my eyes, my lips, my heart?) I never developed the habit to mimic those around me. Why, I wondered.
It occurred to me that I don’t bother with that particular gesture because it bestows some magical power upon the text that is about to be read. I don’t bother with that ritualistic movement for the same reason I bury my face in my hymnal – checking out copyright dates, composers, and trying to sight read the music – each time a reading from the bible is presented. It’s because I don’t hold that book in all that high esteem. I get the basic lessons it imparts, have for years. Each time the reader or the priest launches into a reading, I discern the meaning behind that particular reading, acknowledge how it relates to my own life, and then turn my attention to my hymnal.
How can I be so callous? So presumptuous? So sacrilegious? Is it because I’m gay? Not really. Because I am a hedonistic sinner? Ummm… naw. My disregard for the highly regarded book stems, not from my lack of moral compass, but from my understanding of the history, origin, purpose, and creation of that particular text.
The bible is not the word of God. It is the word of man – and in this particular case, the word of many, many men (and maybe a few women, but I doubt it, given the overall sexist nature of the many of the passages). The basic lessons to be imparted are quite valuable, much like those found in Aesop’s Fables. However, the bible, unlike Aesop’s Fables, has been subject to a lot of tinkering and padding. The men that helped shape this text over the years have managed to infuse these tales and lessons with their own not-so-hidden agendas and biases, which has resulted in the vilification and exclusion of certain segments of the population. And so it becomes rather confusing. All are welcome? Did God make me? Does God love me as I am? In spite of what and whom I turned out to be? Am I, indeed a child of God?
Well, no. Not according to the bible. Or at least some folks interpretation of the bible. Fortunately, the church I attend has a priest that seems to steer away from the more exclusive parts of the bible. For a Catholic church? It’s pretty damn welcoming. There’s a hymn we sing quite often entitled “All Are Welcome” and this congregation really embraces and lives that message.
And that’s as it should be.
Yes, I’ve heard that whole ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ creed. I don’t find it very comforting. In fact, I think it’s something people came up with just so they could feel superior to someone else. It’s a bogus theology. Especially when it comes to gay people. You either accept us as God made us, or you’re really not all that in tune with the basic lessons the bible has to impart. Either you accept us as children of God, just as you have presumed yourself to be, or you’re a bloody hypocrite. In which case, I feel sorry for you – those who live life as a hypocrite – for yours is a burden of woe. I don’t know how you can live a life of such conflicting truths – either you are a Christian, or you are not – but I accept you as you are because as a sexually active gay man, I too, live a life of conflicting truths. I think hate, like wanton sex, must feel really good, otherwise, why would anyone pour their energy into creating and sustaining it? I believe that those people who live their lives condemning other children of God must really get off on that emotion. Apparently, just as I believe God made me gay and that it is not a choice, so God made them hateful hypocrites put on earth to distort his good works and lessons. (It’s okay, Michele and Marcus Bachmann. I don’t like you or what you do, but I do understand.)
And to take that last assumption one step further, I would like to theorize that what Michele and Marcus, and the Dr. Laura’s, Limbaugh’s, O’Reilly’s, and Coulter’s (aside – did you know that if you Google “blonde hateful republican pundit”, Ann Coulter’s name is at the top of the list?) of this world are really about has NOTHING to do with the word of God, or moral stewardship. They are just media whores, hungry for power, fame and – above all else – money. For that is their true God – MONEY. They may fool themselves, along with a lot of gullible others, but money really is the only thing (other than fame and power) they truly care about.
That – their money, how they achieve it, their need for it - doesn’t make them evil. It merely makes them human. In fact, it makes them the kind of people that the lessons of the bible does such a good job warning us about. And as such, we need to understand them. That said, I wish I was a good enough Christian to forgive them, too. To just let them be. But I am a flawed human, too. And I can’t. Like the Dixie Chicks – I’m Not Ready to Make Nice.
Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I'm not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I'm still waiting
And I am waiting. Waiting for the day they own up to being the money-hungry media whores they are. For therein lies the difference between us. I own my shortcomings – I am a sexually compulsive, hedonistic, grudge-harboring, flawed human being. However, as much as I dislike the hate-filled, divisive rhetoric that spews out of their mouths, I still understand that they are children of God and products of God. But for me to forgive them? They first need to cop to their brand of whoredom the way I own mine.
Yes, it takes a whore to know one.
I’m looking at you, Ann Coulter.