The discussions with Casey are tough shit, because he gave me a theological grilling… ecclesiastical questions that blew my hair back. I felt simple-minded, and in fact, I think it creates the best theology of all. If Jesus said that children would lead us, then perhaps we should start acting in ways that help us to understand them. After all, they’re picking your nursing home. Dream big.
What do I mean by this? Realistically it means having time to go to out for fro-yo and just letting the kid rattle on, because theology happens in their stream of consciousness. They’re just entirely bathed in truth, and it will nail you every time. For instance, my friend Donna was preaching at Bridgeport UCC and told the story of a parent who said that when she tried to explain the death of their cat by saying it was going to God, that the kid replied, “what would God want with a dead cat?” I laughed until I stopped the entire service for a nanosecond while I composed myself.
Especially in church, I tend to be loud because when a joke lands, I know it is the most inappropriate time to laugh which only reinforces embarrassment because I just cannot even. Bill Lupfer, who is now at Trinity Wall Street after having been my priest at Trinity Portland, told a joke which involved a kid’s mother’s Chapstik and a cat’s anus had me literally falling over in tears. I wish I could remember the details, but this was like ten years ago and I think it’s more fun for you to wonder how the hell Bill tied a cat’s anus to God.
I am betting that Trinity Wall Street will find this blog entry. I hope someone does, because I am sure it will up Bill’s attendance considerably.
As for me, I’ve really started to delve into the idea of Biblical literalism and how it reinforces shame when we don’t think we’re worthy of God. That it adds to the shame to feel an enormous amount of guilt that you are not the perfect person that everyone manages to look like on the outside. No one knows each other’s skeletons, and the more we don’t talk about them the farther away God feels. It is so hard when you get abandonment issues with God, because you don’t realize that you are giving up peace within yourself that you cannot get any other way. You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian and you don’t need approval from a Christian to be anything else. How you get to God is how you get to God. I am furious that anything the Religious Right doesn’t understand is deemed unhealthy and unworthy. Shame spreads, especially if you don’t have any money.
If you are poor you start isolating. Not because you want to, but because you can’t afford to meet someone anywhere that costs money, even if it is just for one cup of coffee. I remember trading buying coffee often when Volfe and I started meeting early in the morning. When I couldn’t afford it, he and his then-girlfriend would somehow manage to cover me because it was more important to them to spot me than it was not to see me at all. This is why poor people share, and as they get access to more and more money, stay with the people who have known them the longest. It is my dream to be able to spend money on other people. It’s my favorite, especially at Starbucks. My friend Ron bought the coffee of the girl in front of us at Starbucks (Hawthorne is my favorite) and I kvelled. You should meet Ron. You’d like him. Maybe you will if you become my roommate.
You’ll join a house of four- three roommates and hipster Jesus. He knows three chords. He has a gig next week.