Thursday, January 27, 2005

Psalm 9: My Bile/God's Judgment, (for Inauguration Day)

[1] God, I know I’m supposed to spend time praising You. I remember this sometimes and feel a familiar guilt, a superstitious notion that things won’t work if I’m not doing it (praising). I apologize for not doing so more. I should think more often about the way I felt when I first approached the Rockies. [2] I recall a sense of enthusiasm and of hope. “Here is something Good and Pure,” I remember thinking. Those mountains force me to encounter You. I don’t know if it’s because of their daunting beauty or their size and scope or maybe just their close proximity to outer space (which is where we’re taught You live).

[3] This weekend I was in the country on a hill with a large collection of warm and bright Young People from several uncommonly thoughtful Baptist churches. For the time I was there I felt confirmed in my faith that Your kingdom can be built here on earth. I remembered my conviction of the victory that Your people are waiting for. [4] I believe (though I don’t always feel convinced of it) that the right things I’ve done- few and far between- have been successful because they’ve been ordained by You.

[5]I heard that the pastor of some of these young people preached a sermon recently entitled “The Greatest Tragedy of All.” It was about the Tsunami. Stop me if You think You’ve heard this one before. Apparently the “Greatest Tragedy” was that most of those people who died weren’t Christians (he probably said they didn’t “know God”).

He’s a funny fuckin’ guy, God, I just don’t get the joke.

I read the 9th Psalm (the one in the Bible, not the one I’m writing). It suggests some interpretation for the Tsunami from the same sort of point of view.

[6] If they (the people who died) were enemies of Yours (which I just don’t imagine) then I guess You put a pretty definitive stop to that. Their cities are gone and with them much of their history. [7] Apparently they were going to destroy You. Isn’t that the Old Testament rationale? Enemies of God destroyed by God (or by God’s human tools)? That way, see, we can have a binary vision of good v. evil and dismiss the mass dead. Like when You let the bad Muslims destroy the World Trade Center because America loves Fags.

Well.
That’s fucking stupid.

[8] If Your standard of judgment is righteousness and You’re as harsh a judge as Falwell claims, then the United States would have been snuffed in its colonial infancy. But instead the prestigious forefathers of this proud nation gave away blankets infested with small pox.

Just to clarify: You do know, don’t You, that nefarious shit like this has been done for thousands of years by people claiming Your name and that of Your Son.

[9] But, see, it’s my understanding that You will harbor oppressed people. And that’s a little contradictory to the idea of slaughtering a bunch of poor people. (Bear with me here, I’m trying to believe this.) [10] And I understand also that those who know a bit about You trust You and that You’re kind to people who are trying to figure things out.

Am I on Target so far? I got these ideas from the Bible.

[11] This is the You in which I believe. A Good God who loves and wishes the people to do likewise. To feed hungry people and house people without homes and to Act Justly, God, and not kill people. That’s the You I’m interested in telling other people about. Me? Not so big on the deathly destructive version of You I’ve heard so much about.

[12] And if You’re the killer I’ve seen You painted to be, why isn’t my country dead yet? You love humility, right? And kind of despise hubris, am I right? How, then, do “we” win wars, this prideful ugly nation?

[13] If You’re who they’re saying, America should be really fucking afraid. We should be begging Your mercy (Well. We should be doing that anyway, right, fear or no.) and apologizing to the families of so many dead and poor and enfeebled humans.

And also we ought to be busy draining the funding of our killing machine and absolutely pouring that money into selflessly easing the suffering of the world around us.

Because- ooh, what about this? - what if You have chosen the U.S., and just love this place. But! We keep fucking up, just like Israel did so much in the Old Testament. Maybe we should, like I said, work on rectifying the wrongdoing we’ve perpetrated, but do so recognizing all the times we should have failed in our endeavors but just didn’t somehow (I mean, ask logicians, they generally think Hitler would have won the war at the rate he was going).

[14] But You have spared “us.” Like You’ve spared me so many times, times when- looking back- I can’t help thinking You made the wrong decision. But You’ve done so, redeemed little ol’ unredeemable me, so that- I believe- I could recognize Your wonder and pass it along to the people I know and simply Rejoice at their own recognition. How good! How prolonged the realization of redemption!

Dr. King knew of whence he spoke, Bless him.

[15] My enemies are usually internal, as You know. But in spite of how much battle I do with them, I realize they are bound up of themselves.

[16] I mean, hey, You made me and I’m fucked up. And like my man Lenny Bruce said, “If it’s flawed- if it is dirty- the fault lies in the manufacturer.” And we humans like to acknowledge You according to Your punishments. But I wonder if You didn’t punish me preemptively by supplying this self-loathing in accordance with all the shitty things I’ve ended up doing in spite of contrary options.
Just sort of riffing here, God.

Let me take a breath: Higgaion.
Selah.

[17] I fear that I simply accept all my misery as a given only because I secretly hope all the bad people will suffer, too, and all the empires (like ours here in the U.S.).

I don’t want anybody to suffer, God.

[18] We, here in the world’s wealthiest nation, have allowed poverty to not only persist, but flourish. I have a hunch You’re keeping score in this regard. That makes me want to hide. Because the People (of whom I so falsely fond) will not remain in a state of death.

[19] God.

(Here’s my thing.)

God, please don’t let the human sense of self-preservation win. Don’t let believers get sucked into the vacuous masquerade of individualism and narcissism. We’ve traveled very far down that road hence and we have only done good there by freak accident.

I’m asking You to remove the potential for those accidents. I think that’s the best way to change our course: Stop allowing us to benefit from base selfish behavior.

[20] I believe You are great.

Well, change us then. Make us right.

God, as dangerous as it is, I’m asking You to make us humble.

As in:
Humiliate Us, God. It’s the only way I think we’ll be saved.

1/18-20/05

I’m collecting friends, fast as I can, before I make sure this is all over. Have you seen me lately?

21 Comments:

At January 28, 2005 at 7:11 AM, Blogger Trav said...

Huge props to you, my friend, for reminding me of that self-appointed, cheap moral barometer Jerry Fallwell. What an idiot. I don't know why certain ministers of God try to make other Christians feel better by crediting God with disaster. Honestly...are we Christians supposed to sit back, wipe our brows, and think, "Whew! Glad that I'M a CHRISTIAN! God would never do that to US."

Ministers who use fear to "move people to God" are lousy, and what they are doing is kith and kin to terrorism. And I don't mind telling them so.

 
At January 28, 2005 at 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really like the thought and have been thinking a lot about it, Marty, but is it not our own job to "humiliate" ourselves?
R.D.

 
At January 28, 2005 at 4:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

correlation...
not thought...
correlation.

 
At February 5, 2005 at 10:37 PM, Blogger Roman said...

Very nice. Very brave. You seem to be one of the people who is proof that Christianity is changing.

 
At February 5, 2005 at 10:38 PM, Blogger Roman said...

Very nice. Very brave. You seem to be one of the people who is proof that Christianity is changing.

 
At February 7, 2005 at 2:34 PM, Blogger ali said...

Thank you, Marty - for the time you spend, the effort your squeeze out. You teach me gobs.

 
At February 7, 2005 at 4:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm not a Christian.

 
At February 7, 2005 at 4:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was horrible, I'm sorry.
I felt bad writing it and I felt even worse about it after reading your site.

 
At February 7, 2005 at 4:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God, I really need a new defense mechanism.
Okay, really, I'm done.

 
At October 31, 2005 at 1:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps instead of spending your time writing your own version of the Scriptures, maybe you should read it yourself. You can mock God all you want, but you need to realize that one day you WILL be held accountable for what you've said & done with your life. Remember that not everyone who calls Him 'Lord' will enter heaven.(Matthew 7:21) You can choose your own 'choices', but remember that you CAN'T choose your own 'consequences'. You can't put you hand into the fire and choose to not have it burnt.

 
At October 31, 2005 at 5:16 AM, Blogger Tack City said...

Alright, Anonymous. I can appreciate your opinion, even though you chose to share it in a cowardly way, remaining anonymous while criticizing. Fine.

You've missed the point. I'm not mocking God. You won't hear me doing so nor read me doing so. In this poem I am definitely mocking one President Bush. And I'll continue to do so long after his reign of death has ended. And I have news for you. Bush gets to be Christian only because somebody kinder than me is responsible for opening the door. You get to be a Christian, apparantly, just by saying you are. However, if as you say, one will be held accountable for what they've done in their life then I'm sure the 30,000 children who die each day fromt he lack of clean drinking water and other poverty-related maladies and the more than 10,000 people who died in the crusade in Iraq will be witness enough for your President's "christianity."

Go away, Anonymous. Or have the courage to identify yourself and enter the conversation.

 
At October 31, 2005 at 3:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I were to sing your praises, then it would be fine to remain anonymous, but the moment I critisize you, I'm a coward? I don't defend President Bush & his tactics, but had there been a terrorist on your doorstep with a knife to your throat, (because your an infidel) all in the name of 'Allah', then I suppose you might've been glad something was done. Or would you? As far as being a Christian, half the world would claim that their 'Christian'. But you can't just 'say' it, and then become one. You can't just say your a rocket scientist, and then you automatically become one. Being a Christian is accepting God's grace, putting your faith in Jesus, and accepting & following His ways. You can say you're a Christian, but are you living as one? As far as the death of so many innocent lives, it is tragic, isn't it? But I ask, what have you done to help? No, that would be too easy. You would rather critizice & blame others bad decisions & actions, rather than lifting a finger yourself to help them out. The saddest thing is, it's not those who know and do very little, it's those who know and do absolutely NOTHING! I sincerely apologize if this sounds harsh, and I'm not just pointing the finger at you alone. I myself am guilty of sometimes doing nothing.

 
At November 1, 2005 at 6:47 PM, Blogger Tack City said...

Anonymous,
I'm sorry. I sort of lashed out there. That's not who I'm trying to be. That was totally self-defensive me, not the me I want to be.
You're right. I'd be a lot more okay with somebody anonymously telling me they affirm me than I am with somebody anonymously telling me what they think is wrong with me.
I assume we don't know each other (though if we do, I really think it'd be better for you to email me or, if you're somebody I know from Chicago, actually talking to me in person and telling me I'm not being who you think I could be). That being the case, I shouldn't presume to know what your faith is like or your life for that matter. And I'm sorry.
I shouldn't have called you cowardly. It takes some amount of courage to admonish a fellow believer.
Thank you for sharing your opinions and your beliefs.
Bless you. Take care of yourself.

 
At November 2, 2005 at 3:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tack City,
No, I don't personally know you. I stumbled acrossed your web site by accident and was disturbed when I read what blaspehmy you had written, and I couldn't just stand-by and not tell you my concerns. In your last reply, you called yourself a fellow believer, but I wonder what you're actually believing in. If your a Christian, and I must clarify that it's not just saying your one, rather it's accepting Jesus as your personal Saviour, and allowing Him to rule your life, then you should know that God warns us (in Revelation 22:18-19)that we're NOT to add or take away from His Word, the Bible. That includes altering, whether it be in good taste or bad, for the sake of a little bit of fun, or for some mere artistic value. I'm sure that if someone were to put an akward twist to your writings, degrading and self-interpreting them, than you would not be impressed. So you can imagine how God must feel when someone who claims to be a follower of His, defiantly disobeys His command, and leads others astray in the process. You should also be aware (you have obviously read some parts of the Bible because of your interpretations) that God holds such people accountable for their actions, and these people will be judged the harshest. If you're a genuine Christian, than you should be displaying 'fruits of the Spirit'. But I must admit that after viewing your personal profile, and reading parts of your site, it displays anything but that. To so blatantly mock Him (Yes, you are mocking Him. By mocking His Word, you are mocking God. See John 1:1) than you obviously like playing with fire. Now I am certainly far from perfect, and the first person to claim they are would be a hypocrite & a liar. Yes, I still have plenty of areas in my life where God needs to change me, and where I need to hand over total control to Him. I will never claim that my faith is perfect, because I will always be a sinner, until the day I'm called to heaven & God makes me perfect. You talked about me telling you what I thought you could be, forget about that. How about reading God's Word faithfully, without putting your own swing on it, and finding out what HE wants you to be. Thank-you for your time and allowing me to respond. (Luke 17:3)

 
At November 3, 2005 at 6:44 AM, Blogger Scott Jones said...

See, there is no conversation to be had with such people. They are talking from such a completely different place and their dogmatism makes genuine conversation impossible. If we are to build community with such people, it must start with simple practices being done together -- no talking about these things. So, just ignore the person.

 
At November 3, 2005 at 9:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott Jones,
The reason you don't know where I'm coming from is because your so off the beaten track. You've probably heard & maybe you already know all the things that I've talked about(being a true Christian), but you refuse to believe it. That's okay if you think otherwise, it's your choice. But remember, YOU have made the choice. On the day you stand before God, don't say, "How was I to know, no-one ever told me!" I've said all I needed to say, my consience is clear and I can sleep in perfect peace. I pray that one day, you will also be able to do the same. I apologize if I come across as being dogmatic, but I'm just giving you my opinion as I see it, as you have done the same. One thing I will never do is water-down the Bible, for fear of offending someone. The fact is, if the Bible says something, and you disagree with it & have got a problem with it, you're problems not with me, it's with God. You said it's impossible to have a genuine conversation with me, but I feel that the only way to do so and you still be happy with it, is for me to agree with everything that is being written & said. But remember, your closet friend is not the one who always agrees & affirms you, it's the one who tells you as he sees it, whether the friend may agree with his opinion or not. You can either choose to accept it, or you can disagree with it. Please don't just take what I say as coming from my own loopy world, I would hope that everything that I say is in accordance with God's Word, and please check for yourselves to make sure it is. If you think it's not, and you have Scripture references to back it up, than please don't hestitate to tell me so. Forgive me for presuming, but could it be because what I say is in line with the Bible, it has hit a raw nerve, and that is the reason why you take such offence to it. Maybe you all do know, but you just don't want to hear it. You make your own choices, and your own decisions, but will you accept the consequences for them? There will be no need to ignore me, I will never view this site again.

 
At November 6, 2005 at 9:39 AM, Blogger Scott Jones said...

I'm not even remotely offended, just in case anyone is interested.

 
At November 6, 2005 at 10:49 PM, Blogger Roberto Iza Valdes said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At November 7, 2005 at 3:20 PM, Blogger Tack City said...

Um. My Spanish isn't so great, but what you're saying, Sr. Valdes, is that the "devil" uses Google. I mean, I know that's not the over-arching point of your comment, but it's there in the meta-textual reference.

 
At December 18, 2005 at 3:10 PM, Blogger Roberto Iza Valdes said...

Merry Christmas!

 
At December 19, 2005 at 7:14 PM, Blogger Tack City said...

Y feliz Navidad a tu, Sr. Valdes.

 

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