Yikes, but have people been bitching at me this week. You’d have thought that by suggesting Jesus is divine, or that during Holy Week Christians might consider going to church, I was suggesting that Mister Rogers was in the KKK, or that nature lovers around the world should go pee in a lake.
It’s funny, too, how easily I forget that I’m not always writing to people who regularly read this blog. You wouldn’t believe how often this week I’ve been accused of being an uncritical thinker, just another evangelist, of refusing to speak out against all the wrongs and evils of Christianity. (“When have you ever fought against fundamentalism?” one guy wrote me. “Never! And you blithely ignore all the harm done to LGBT people by the same Christians you don’t dare criticize!”)
So, if you think about it, Jesus and I are both the same. He was tortured in public, nailed to a cross, and left to die. And I had a lot of people unlike my Facebook page.
Anyway, tomorrow is Easter.
And unto you do I say yayeth.
Yes, I believe in the actual and real bodily resurrection of Jesus. I know a lot of Christians have concluded that’s lame, simple-minded, Theology for Uncritical Dolts, etc. And of course I get why that is, for sure.
Yet verily do I insist upon a God who is actually impressive—one who is at the very least capable of not being dead anymore.
If I watch a guy get slaughtered, and am perfectly aware that guy is then perfectly dead—and three days later that same guy is walking around, and inviting me, so that I can experience just how real again he really is, to jam my finger into the spear wound I saw him receive, I am going to immediately rethink a few key aspects of my worldview. I’m also going to be disgusted, of course: Prod the Wound isn’t my favorite game. But mostly I’ll just be freaked. And awe-struck. And humbled, to say the least.
So I believe today. Of course I don’t have to. I have a mind. I understand how … retro it is to believe the story of Jesus Christ as told in the Gospels. I’m slow, but not so slow I don’t grasp that.
Do you think I enjoy being at all associated with that stinking pile of “Christian” fundamentalists whom the media so frenetically sells to us as representatives of all Christians? Of course I don’t.
What I do want, however, is a world that’s more than the world I know. I want to exist in a reality that’s part of a larger reality. I want human life, and human suffering, to mean something. I want it to matter.
I believe in the dignity of humans. So I want a God who has done everything he/she can to let me and everyone else in the world know that he/she gets what it means to be human—who understands suffering, who understands pain, who understands failure and defeat and poverty and humiliation and injustice so great it breaks your spirit, your heart, and every last bone in your fucking body.
I want a God whom I know knows what it means—what it is—to be human.
And that means that I must have a God who knows what it is to suffer as much as any human can. I need a God who has suffered unto death.
And then I want that God to prove to me that death is not, in fact, the end. That suffering is not the end. That evil doesn’t prevail. That everything that is good and true and right and just in humans does not perish. That the grave is nothing but a gateway to Chapter Two. That our loved ones aren’t taken from us. That children aren’t dead forever. That all of this—all of our suffering, all of our pain, all of our confusion, all of our fear, all of our losses—meant something.
That it wasn’t all for naught. That it all matters as much as it all sure seemed to matter when it was happening.
I want a God who proves to me, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that ultimately goodness prevails—that, in the end, love really does win.
Upon sunrise tomorrow I will have my proof. When the day’s first light falls upon me, I will have everything that I ever wanted out of life. And you bet I’ll be on my knees, grateful for the dawning of that bright new day.