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Today’s Tom Sawyer

It’s 4am here and this occurred to me strongly enough just now to have me say it just now. For Vic, Ken and the rest of my Christian friends, as well as Michele, Kathryn, and others who get twitchy when I bring up the Bible.
 
I had breakfast with my friend Vic a little while ago and we had some of this conversation–I mean this conversation. The one we’ve been having if you’ve read any of this stuff around here, or if you’ve been to see me at my Facebook, or on the sidewalk or whatever. Vic is a Christian, and about as solid a practitioner as I’ve ever met. He “works” as a prayer director for one of the internationally influential untaxed Christian pseudo-businesses one might easily enough find scattered around town here in Colorado Springs. Years ago I lived in Lindale, Texas and I used to say Lindale was the buckle of the Bible Belt. Now that some of the big organizations down in Lindale have disappeared due to fraud and embezzlement and the like and some of the people I knew down in East Texas have moved to this very town I sometimes say America’s waistline has risen with age and the buckle has found a home in Colorado Springs.

Anyhow, Vic is an affable guy and a good friend and we had a good time over our platesful of arterial lubrication such as we Americans like to do at breakfast. He said he had read some here on these e-pages–I aaalmost cringed because of a certain propensity of mine. Then I remembered one of the axiomatic rules I’ve taught my kids since they started picking up English: “There’s no such thing as a bad word, only bad timing.” It’s time for this.

Vic said he found some of the thoughts he’d come across here, “interesting,” and mused that I had a bone to pick with “organized religion,” which is true, but hasn’t really come up at hipgnosis just yet, I don’t think. I cringed a bit at having utilized terms like “motherfuckah” while discussing a Bible tidbit known as the Beatitudes from a longer passage known as the Sermon on the Mount. It’s one of those axiomatic rules for lots of Christians, and for many who’ve never set foot in a Christian edifice as well. One finds the passage, (from the book of Matthew, chapter 5, in the Bible, if you’re interested), hanging on wooden plaques and the like in people’s living rooms and over their toilets and chapel entrances all over the world, and I suppose in every tongue still in print. I felt a twinge of embarrassment at the time that I get now and then from writing strongly about such grand subject matter knowing well that I’m no saint myself. So I brushed my way by that one at the time, and we went on with breakfast, and with other portions of the Conversation. That’s why this is for Vic at the top of the page, not ’cause I mean to point him out as a prime exemplar or anything.

I have lots of Christian friends, and I often claim that very appellation amongst them, (though not so often amongst the “Romans”); some of them may now think of me as shooting my own foot as I continue. I also have friends that are occultist dope fiends. They’ll find this bit rather more amusing, I expect, but I’ll implicate myself with them too, when I get a round tuit. This is not about organized religion–it’s personal, you see, and directed at people I know, among others including myself where it applies, by which I mean, “where it applies.” Not, “where it applies unless it’s uncomfortable to apply it there like Mercurochrome or something.”

Christians are full of shit as a defining point–the idea of Christian full-of-shitness is all over the New Testament. Many if not most of them have not the merest clue about their own doctrine and those that do spend hours and hours at intricately complex and totally reducible discussions about irreducible complexity and such while ignoring the business of Love so central to their own foundations. (Recall my comments about pseudo-statements now, if you will). One of the so-called Ten Commandments reads, “Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain,” in that poetic old Frank Bacon English I love so much, (Exodus 20:7, if you give a damn). I’m not gonna dig out a Hebrew lexicon to make this point, and some translations say “misuse” or something instead of “take…in vain”. Whatever. You Christians quit tapdancing and think about this.

Just about any Christian will get at least a little uncomfortable if you say, “God damn it.” There are injunctions in their doctrine warning them away from curses, as well as oaths, unpiloted tongues, and “coarse language”. They don’t so often know the difference and figure this sort of thing for “taking the LORD’s name in vain.” Think about this: When a woman marries a man in most contemporary societies, she takes his name, though this is no longer so mandatory as it had been given the slow and incremental abandonment of the notion of women as property in vogue these days. If a woman, say, marries some patriarchal dude and then goes to work for some pimp on the side, she’s taken Dude’s name in vain. So when Christians do their little tapdancing around points in their own bedrock supposedly established by Gawd Himself and endorsed by His Only Begotten where they’ve not-quite-deliberately, (that’s a dance move called an NQD in the studios, BTW), failed even to drill for pylons, they join the Golden Calf Party, and according to their own lore will be consumed in the fires as they fall through the very fissure in that bedrock I describe here now.

This is the same sort of thing going on when a guy zips up his fly after reading about turning the other cheek and steps out to shoot his quota of Afghans for the day. Or votes a “hawk” into office at his 8-year-old’s school assembly room. Or works up a smokin’ hot head of steam about the crackhead that broke into his garage to feed a real live demon that lives in any crackhead’s pocket and gets real hungry and cranky, (snicker), when its belly is empty. And practicing the sort of bullshit Christianity that allows for this sort of Gene Kelly move is like sailing down the mighty Mississip’ on a flat Tom Sawyer raft made of the concrete that you ought to have been using to build your foundation instead. You’re already at the bottom of the river and the Water of Life is flowing right by your drowned bones.

I’ll be danged…the Sun is coming up over a fine Colorado Sunday morning and I’ve just come to wrapping up a genuine sermon, complete with brimstone. Who’da thunk it?

Pay attention Christian: The World doesn’t hate you because you bring Jesus up all the time. It hates you because you sully a beautiful thing. It hates you because you’re an abject hypocrite, the worst variety of an asshole! And they can smell it, even if they can’t articulate the thought. And none of this is wrong; the fact that it’s coarse is a separate matter. I may have blown my disguise for some…it’s ok, I’m still pretty clear with my own notion of where I stand, and this is for you at least as much as it’s for my own amusement. To paraphrase Gandhi, “I’d be a Christian if it weren’t for the God damn Christians.” That nor any of the above has nothing at all to do with whether I’m actually a Christian or not, nor does it have to do with “religion”, organized or otherwise. It’s about that personal relationship you guys keep talking about. It’s dysfunctional, Yo, and it’s up to you to straighten yours out while I worry about my own.

(Reprinted from Hipgnosis)

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