“Jesus is Lord” is Not Enough

In response to the already batshit crazy we’ve seen come out of the White House this week, I’ve heard a lot of Christians say things like “Don’t worry, Jesus is Lord.”  “God is on the throne.” “Jehovah is in control” and other bullshit platitudes that, while they may be true, are wildly undermining and dismissive. I’ve also noticed that a lot of the Christians who say things like this are white. Or men. Or both.

Listen. It’s easy to say trivializing shit like that when your body is not the one being threatened. Your religion is not being criminalized. Your gender is not being denied medical care. But statements like that take away our agency. Sure Jesus is Lord, I’ll go with you on that. But you also have a brain. And a heart. And a moral sense. I, being a believer that “Jesus is Lord”, do not think that absolves us of our responsibility to think critically about toxic systems in place in our society and WORK to bring them down.  To be frank, I don’t think Jesus does either. This isn’t me giving him a political party— I feel like both Democrats and Republicans give him a migraine. But what I’m saying is that if there is injustice, Jesus says we have work to do. If there is inequality, Jesus says we have work to do. Y’all wanna say “Jesus is Lord” like that lets you to sit on your ass and not get out and fight. Or call out a bullshit ordinance when you see one. “Don’t worry about systemic racism, gender inequality, capitalist greed…. Jesus will take care of it.” Yo, FUCK. THAT. Fuck not worrying about it. WORRY ABOUT IT. Protest! Write your senators! Call Paul Ryan! (The fact that his office has been flooded with voicemails is my favorite thing). Stand outside the White House and shout until you go hoarse! I don’t care what you do, but don’t hide behind the words “Jesus is Lord”, that shit is weak. Get up and fucking fight.

 

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Well, This Is Awkward.

Today boys and girls I’d like to share with you my interpretation of a passage of scripture. We’ll go in our bibles to Luke chapter 22, verses 31 and 32. In the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ:

“Simon, Simon, listen! Satan has demanded permission to sift all of you like wheat; but I have prayed especially for you Peter—“ (don’t worry, it’s the same guy) “—that your faith and confidence in Me may not fail; and you, once you have turned back again to Me, strengthen and support your brothers in the faith.”

Now I’ve heard that verse a thousand times and I’ve always thought Jesus was saying to Simon-Slash-Peter something like “Hey yeah so, super awkward, the devil has come asking me to sift you like wheat—“ (which I think is something like being utterly and absolutely broken) “— but hey man don’t worry there’s NO WAY I’m gonna let that happen! We’re bros, I’m God, don’t even worry about it you’re chill.” Also in my mind sometimes Jesus sounds like He’s in a SoCal chapter of SigChi— that’s my own personal struggle. But anyway point is: I always thought Jesus was telling Peter that the devil was trying to fuck him up but that He, being God, was going to keep that from happening. And then a couple months ago I realized JESUS NEVER SAID THAT. *shocked emoji face* Instead he says “I pray your faith would not fail”, to which I’m kind of like
question marks

In my mind, this is how the actual exchange went:

Jesus: Okay so Simon, listen. The devil came by earlier, he asked if he could really fuck you up. Like reallllyyyyyy rake you over the coals you know, we’re talking complete and absolute devastation here. Maybe physical, maybe emotional. Might be both, I dunno, he seemed like he was in a pretty foul mood.
SP: *obviously distraught* Shit, man seriously? That does not sound good, what did you say?
Jesus: …Okay here’s the thing: I didn’t say no.
SP: WHAT THE FU—
Jesus: Hear me out! Hear me out! Alright it’s true, I didn’t say no, I’m gonna let him have at you, BUT! Here’s what I’m gonna do man, I’m gonna pray for you. I’m gonna pray for you that your faith won’t fail! Good deal right? And hey listen, when you’ve made it through the inevitable hell-fire shitstorm that’s coming your way, encourage your brothers as well. Tell them I’m praying for them too! Stay strong dude *gives hearty pat on the back*
SP: ….

That awkward moment when God has the power to stop something awful from happening to you but lets it happen anyway, am I right? #Yikes. Anyhoo, that’s what I’ve been sitting on this week. And if you too feel like you’re being sifted like wheat by Beelzebub himself, well then. I guess Jesus and I are both praying for you that your faith would not fail. He more than me though, I’ve got my own shit to worry about.

 

This is the Word of God for us today. Namaste, Peace Up A-town Down.

Healing.

No one ever talks about how painful healing can be. The word conjures positive connotations, which makes sense because you’re like, “getting better”. But the process – the road to “better”- is often so messy, ugly, challenging, awful… and I feel like I never hear about that part. Maybe I wasn’t listening, but in either case, I missed it.

Due to my Christian upbringing and countless hours spent in Sunday School, when I’ve thought of “healing”, the quintessential image I get is of Jesus walking through the streets “laying hands on the sick to be healed” (Somewhere in the New Testament). As though he’s walking around with a magic wand – except for instead of a stick, he’s using his hands – touching everyone as he goes by and they’re suddenly getting healed. Not unlike Oprah at the end of a taping: “and YOU get healing, and YOU get healing, and YOU get healing!”

Who knows, maybe that is how it happened. Jesus touched you and that very instant you felt better. The more I think about it though, the more I look at how healing has happened in my life and lives of people around me, the more skeptical I am of this microwave brand of healing.  I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a case of healing happen instantaneously, be it physical, mental, or emotional. I’ve seen it come as a process – a super slow, sometimes super painful process depending on how deep the wound is or how long it’s been there. So I’m like how many people touched by Jesus still walked away in pain or afflicted? How many of them didn’t see their healing come to fruition for months or years afterwards? If we’d included follow-up surveys in the Biblical canon, how could that have changed our perception of what healing is?

After my first trauma therapy session, I wrote to my best friends to tell them about it. One of them responded enthusiastically saying “Wow. This is healing!”
This is healing, I thought.
I mean she’s absolutely right, 100%. But as I considered it I was like, wait… healing feels like shit. If this is healing, I want my money back! I feel sad, I feel devastated, I feel crushed, I feel overwhelmed; I thought “healing” made you feel better, not broken. I’m thinking it’s like when the doctor has to break your bones to reset them so they heal properly. Technically the breaking is part of the healing process as well, but it did not heretofore fit into my cute Sunday School picture of what healing looks like.

It’s not magic. It’s not characteristically fast, and it might even involve causing further injury. The beginning and the middle can feel like someone’s broken all of the bones in your body. Healing can be complicated and chaotic, and leave you feeling absolutely spent. I mean in the end, they call it healing for a reason though right? The middle might be the worst but eventually it’s supposed to get better. So I guess we’ll just hold on to that through the breaking.
It gets better, It gets better, It gets better.