FirstDay Sermon: Your Faith Makes You Worthy

Let’s just establish this: you don’t have to call yourself Christian to follow SexyJesus, or know that he’s worth his salt. SexyJesus is real, the kingpin guru yoga leader, and he downloaded and lived in what was true about life and the world, and his message was to spread that truth as widely as possible, and following him or believing in him or asking him for help has nothing to do with institutional religion.

So let’s talk about faith and worthiness.

First, do you have faith?

Second, do you believe yourself to be worthy?

Some people assign scaling systems to these kinds of questions, and if I was a statistician, or something, I would ask you to rate yourself on a scale of 1 – 10 regarding these questions, or some bullshit like that. But I am not a statistician and neither is God.

Because there are no scales and rating systems for being a human being, and that’s the whole point of SexyJesus’s message. The church has done this really mind-warped thing that tries to convince people they are bad and broken and awful, and not deserving of anything, and they pretend God is some sort of abusive parent standing over a vulnerable child screaming, You suck! You ruined everything by being born! I hate you. God is love and all and blah blah blah, but I hate you! So get on your knees and be grateful for the breadcrumbs you have and don’t ask for anything else, you broken piece of shit!

Right? I mean, I’m totally right.

But when you start investigating yourself, you see that SexyJesus, the True Leader, never said anyone wasn’t worthy. He just never said it. People may have said that to him. People came up to him feeling humbled in his presence and feeling stupid and sucky, and they asked him for help and he healed them, but he never said, Yeah, you’re not really worthy, so no. (Except this one time, with a Canaanite woman, and that is a whole other post because that situation got me really confused but I think I understand it now.) Instead, he’s like, Ping, you’re healed. Ping, your faith has healed you. Boom Pow, you too, brother.

And so faith is your humility before God, it is your vulnerability, it is your surrender. Faith is surrender. It is saying, Look, I can’t do this. Can you take over? Because I’m just getting in the way and fucking things up. And then you’re handing the situation over to the One who knows better and can put better opportunities into play. That does not mean you get what you want overnight. It just means you become open to receiving what’s already in front of you, what’s already operating, and you know messages or light or understandings will develop.

You do not have to be rich to have faith, or pretty, or have a good, solid job. You do not have to be physically fit or healthy. You do not have to have a certain color skin. You just have to ask God for something, and surrender to God. Note: this does not mean, Ask in one moment, and then scramble to fix everything in the next because you really don’t believe God is listening or cares or will give it to you. It is more like, I am feeling broken and beaten-down, and recognizing how little I know, or that the things I am doing are not helping me. I am at my wit’s end, and I don’t know where to turn. So God, can you take this burden from me? Can you fix this situation? Can you give me the tools I need that will help me live better in the world? Because I am screwing up left and right. 

And then you empty all that confusion and heartache out on the floor, sometimes with tears (which, I think, is prayer at its best), and you’re cleansed and baptized and more open to receiving the glory that is right in front of you which you weren’t seeing because you were trying to do it all on your own. Probably, there’s a person already in your life or who just walked in who delivers the answer, and maybe she’s short and quirky and has pink hair or something, but she tells you the thing you need to hear to set you right, and now you’re finally open enough to receive the message. Or you go back home and realize the thing you were looking for and wanting so bad was kind of stupid, because look at all you already have, at how fortunate you are, and that thing doesn’t even matter anymore. (And then it comes when it comes.) Or you recognize you’ve been operating with your head up your ass and you need to make some changes and have some patience before you could even possibly be ready for the thing you want so much in the world.

The Catholic church has this line in their liturgy when calling upon Jesus before Eucharist, the part where everybody stands in line to eat the wafer/bread thingie: “We are not worthy to receive you.”

And honey, that is just bullshit, I’m going to tell you. Did I offend you? I’m sorry, but I’m only telling you because this statement offends God. God did not make you and say, There, I made you! You suck! Now worship me because I am an egomaniacal bitch and I just like watching you scramble and stuff, and I want to see you suffer and toil because being human is about suffering and toiling. 

You were given this life as a tremendous gift, a tremendous awakening and opening and opportunity for growth and awe and splendor and depth and beauty. It’s just hard to understand all that when you’re operating according to the rules of the man-made world. And this world we live in? It is very man-made. And so it takes some work and some practice and a lot of open-mindedness and willingness to grow so you can learn how best to live in your body and know your soul. And when you do that and get there, you help everybody else. You experience the kingdom because you’ve found it inside you, and you know what is what, and you know beauty and love and what a tremendous gift it is to be alive even though being alive requires so much letting go, and then you share that with other people and anyone who listens becomes part of it, and you’re all dancing and sharing under the moon in a glorious garden. That’s the kingdom of heaven. It is not some place you to go when you die.

So what I’m telling you is that yeah, maybe you did some stupid stuff, or maybe you feel like shit a lot of the time, and maybe you don’t feel worthy. Maybe you feel like you’re not good enough. (And if you have been an asshole, you do need to atone and speak up and fix things.) God does not believe all that bad stuff about you, or you wouldn’t be here, sweetcheeks. All God wants is your faith. And when you have faith, and surrender, and you start asking for help in that attitude of surrender, of offering up, of asking God to carry it because you are confused, and you’re genuinely willing to grow, and you’re genuinely open to whatever experience unfolds before you, and you’re humble and recognizing all you can’t do and aware of all you can do, or are, God will just gobble you up and give to you and show you how it really is, which is to heal you in whatever way you need to be healed.

So recognize you don’t have to prepare in order to receive God. You don’t have to do everything right to get an amazing opportunity. God does not run a meritocratic country, baby. God is just, like, oozing with goodness and love and plentifulness and gorgeousness. It is your mind, your own limited worldview, your old damaging patterns, that prevent you from seeing it and knowing it and living into it.

So crack yourself wide open. Get cracked. It’s an amazing fucking thing.

 

Photo by Marco Secchi on Unsplash

FirstDay Sermon: Walking on Water

Early one morning, after a night of praying on the mountaintop, like Supreme Yogi Masters do, SexyJesus descended the rock to meet his disciples, whose boat was far from land. He walked on the water toward them.

“Dude, that shit’s a ghost!” Levi said. 

Thomas cowered his head under his robe. “No, it can’t be the Lord.” 

The others cried out.

Mary Magdalene and Samantha stayed sleeping in each other’s arms because when they spooned like sisters they had really good dreams, and even the cries of men didn’t wake them. 

“Be brave!” SexyJesus shouted to the men from a distance. “It’s me. Don’t be afraid.”

Peter, Mr. Wild Child, got courageous and stood up and put his hands on his hips. “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to walk on water to meet you.” He smirked. This was going to prove that it was all an apparition, some kind of dream, and SexyJesus was a fraud, and finally abandoned them, as Peter always suspected he would do.

SexyJesus smiled and paused. Now they were getting somewhere. Peter was such a pain in the ass, such a little momma’s boy, but SexyJesus still loved him. “Come,” he said.

Peter had had a rough night, tossing and turning while he slept in the boat. His chest was sweating, he was so full of doubt and fear. His wife at home was angry with him for all this Jesus stuff, and he had, like, only two cents to his name. He was horny and there was no one to have sex with, and there might not be for a long time. And he had put everything on the line to follow this Jesus guy, so now he was like, “Fuck it, if I fucking drown, good, because what the hell is the difference.” Some weird powerful energy was moving inside him, propelling him forward. So he wasn’t even thinking. His head was clear. He just stepped his feet outside the boat and started walking on the water toward Jesus, fast. 

SexyJesus smiled.

But then a bird cawed in the distance, and the wind rustled the waves, and that cool blast hit him in the cheek, and he looked down and saw that his feet were on fucking water, and he was like, “No, wait, shit, what?” And he immediately started to sink.

Down into the water he went. 

“Shit! Help! Jesus! Save me!”

SexyJesus floated over and pulled Peter up. “I got you, I got you,” Jesus said. And Peter felt Jesus’s strong grip around him, and knew the Teacher had him all along, and the Teacher was never going to let him fall. This was all just a fun game, a little test to see how strong he was, to see how strong he could be in faith.

Peter took a deep breath, his clothes soaked, and he looked in his Teacher’s eyes and saw the kindness, the goodness there, the infinity. Even though he knew that was all there, and had seen his Master’s power over and over again, it remained hard to believe. Something this forceful, and also this kind and generous and forgiving? How could it be?

“Why do you doubt me?” SexyJesus said, shaking his head. “Over and over I show you, and you still keep doubting.” He sighed and pulled Peter into the boat.

Everyone stared quietly at the two, speechless, not even able to form one question about how their teacher did what he did. SexyJesus started rifling around in a satchel, looking for food. Mary Magdalene woke and smiled at her lover, blew him a kiss.

The men were breathless, and kept staring at the Teacher as he ate some fish. “You are who you say you are,” they kept whispering.  

SexyJesus rolled his eyes. “Yeah.” He took off his sandals and got comfortable on the floor. “Alright, let’s move. We gotta go heal some people today.” 

*

It struck me in the shower one day that faith is like walking on water. It is an act so contrary to the rational world, with its rules and systems and management, with its back-up plans and its strategies and its attempt to create order.

I am not criticizing the rational world. We clearly need it. We need structures if we are going to function, yet we have to recognize that the structures that have been created are not God, and were not made by God, and God is God, and the order men have created is not the Higher Order of spirituality.

Whether Peter actually walked on water is no matter. Whether Jesus stood on the water and waited for him is not the point of this whole beautiful story. Because time is not linear anyway, it is concentric, and so all of these stories and events that we think happened a long time ago are happening currently, every single day. And when we heal in one realm, this one, we enact a force and a power that sends that energy to all the other lives we’ve lived, the beings we’re part of, in many other realms, and that’s how you heal the world, and that’s how you create what’s known as the kingdom. But that part is complicated, so let me just get to the juice: miracles happen every day through faith, and this story is simply meant to illustrate that if you are called to something by the Divine Healer, if he asks you to come, or if he asks something from you, and you trust and you go toward him, or toward that thing he’s directing you to do, just keep the faith. Because looking down, and thinking about the rationality of all of it, and worrying about how this doesn’t make sense, is just going to make you lose your way. And he’ll help you out with that part, too, because if he wants something for you, he’s going to help you get there, eventually. But you can limit your suffering, you can limit your fear, you can limit the difficulty of the process if you just keep your head up and keep walking toward, knowing that the Divine Healer meets you on the way, guides you, helps.

So let me keep stressing this part: If you are called to something, and it makes no sense, and you’re picking it apart in your mind because you know what other people would think, or your worried about the practical application of it, or you worry whether you’re strong enough to actually do it, what the Divine Healer says is, simply, Have faith. And what the Divine Healer simply says is, Come. 

Stop justifying, stop analyzing, stop storytelling, stop ego-tripping. Just come. Just walk. The Divine will meet you on that path, on the path you didn’t think was possible to walk on, on a path that has not been created before, and which leaves no clear mark or way. The Water rises to meet your feet when you turn to God, when you commit to God. And your path, the role God has for you, the thing God wants you to do, may look quite different and vaster than what God is asking of anyone else. No matter. This is not about everyone else. This is about you. This is about your relationship with God. This is about your purpose in this lifetime. And the blessing is, not only will he make this happen for you, by testing your own perseverance, by helping you grow stronger in faith, by showing you again and again how he shows up, measures up, holds you, lifts you up from sinking, but he sends all these little angels in human form along the way, to laugh with you, to hold your hand, to help you see, again and again, he has you nice and secure in his hands.

 

Photo by Samuel Scrimshaw on Unsplash

So Jesus Is a Feminist

I’ve walked around Paris this morning kind of angry, because dammit, maps just don’t work for me. I try to follow them, but then I’m facing in the opposite direction, or turned around, or something, and then the walk to get to the place I’m going is a lot longer than it’s supposed to be, and maybe I’m frickin’ hungry and I have too many options.

And underneath that is this anger about God, not AT God, but about God, because I think the Christian church has fucked a lot of things up, and I’m trying to figure out my place in fixing it, and that’s a tall order.

Unfortunately, I am crazy ambitious. But you can’t accomplish anything if you’re super inventive and creative and full of ideas, and the path forward of discernment for an entire movement of remaking Christianity is done in isolation. But people are all so busy, see, or wedded to their rules and their dogmas, and if you are not the owner of a company like Amazon or Facebook or Google, people don’t want to listen to you. So I’m trying to find my way.

My main point in writing to you today is to reveal to you that Jesus was and is a feminist, and I’m finding ways to share that BEST NEWS EVER with the world.

This funny thing happens to me, when I start to talk about women’s issues publicly, in the shared company of men. Women say things like, “Are you a feminist?” Because I guess this feminist thing seems over to people, and I guess I’m not always hanging out in crowds where it’s familiar or cool. To college-age people, this “f” word is a bygone term, something we just don’t need anymore. And hey, I’m not really into labels. People are people, and I can be as annoyed with a loud-mouth angry woman who calls herself a feminist as I can with a loud-mouth angry man who has different opinions. Ego is ego, and I’m not into it. The key is intent behind all things, and I can usually tell if someone is patronizing me and putting me down, or underestimating me because I’m a woman, or assuming he knows what I’m thinking because he assumes he has some superiority over me, and that’s what pisses me off, not the political label. Talk is so, so cheap. I’ve been witness to this on dating apps, and in faith-based organizations, mostly. What impresses me, what shows me who someone is, is action.

Oh man, I am rambling a lot, it must be my womanly nature, so let me get to the point.

A lot of people who say they follow Jesus are really worshiping the leaders of the church, or the apostle Paul, and not always following Jesus at all. People want to fit in, see, and yet Jesus was a rebel who didn’t fit in, but for many people, “following Jesus,” is like wearing some fancy sweater from the hottest new store in the mall. I’ve been thinking of some people I know who lost their faith, and yet they’re good, kind people, and it was not Jesus who let them down, it was the church who told them things that were wrong and untrue. And so they got wise and realized the church was abusive (or choose another word), and said all kinds of things that went against what they knew intuitively to be right and true. And so they turned against my Sweetie, the Divine Healer, instead of simply recognizing the church for what it was, which was a lying sack of shit. (Okay, okay, maybe not all churches, but you get me.)

SexyJesus never held up the church, people. He never said, This church is the divine, and therefore listen to what priests and church leaders say. Honey, honey, honey. Read the Bible yourself and stop listening to angry white men. SexyJesus spoke adamantly against priests and leaders and those in charge. Because he saw them for what they were—egotistical maniacs, people who thought they knew everything. The temple, he insisted, was his body, and not some building. And he was real pissed about what these assholes were doing in churches/temples/what-have-you, which is why the only act of aggression he ever committed was in a church, where he flipped some tables and called bullshit pretty loud. So it is not the church and its leaders that should be considered holy, it is Christ himself. (And I rarely use that word Christ, forgive me.) You can be a practicing Muslim, honey, and still listen to Jesus and pray to him, and he will help you, because he knows no color, no gender, no religion or denomination. He is just Jesus, man. Who came to save. And will do it, too.

I am going to wrangle all these disparate pieces of this blog post together, don’t  you worry, trust in me.

So the thing that is simply ridiculous, is the way we have allowed dickheads to overtake our understanding of the Holy Man, the Winsome Lover (I have so many names for him), and tell us what is true, rather than doing that investigative work ourselves. Because SexyJesus is the Light, and the Light’s intention is to reveal so you can be made new (and you will be, again and again, perhaps), and he may just reveal to you that the people who you were listening to and who were using his name were maybe shitheads you shouldn’t be listening to. (It doesn’t mean you can’t love them or forgive them, but put them in the box where they belong, too, and don’t give them more power than the Healer.) And what a lot of those church leaders have been saying for centuries upon centuries upon centuries is that women are inferior in some way, and that women have no place in church leadership, and that a woman is this and that and the other thing, and they’ve been teaching a lot of shame surrounding women’s bodies, suggesting women ought to be owned, suggesting women are these tempting vixens who are going to destroy you, and blah, and blah, and blah, and again, and again, and again. Man, are you as tired of this shit as I am? Are you, like me, smart enough to start reading between the lines, to recognize there was some sort of didactic movement in place to remove women from all the church founding, and to spread a propagandistic message that has persisted for centuries, the kind of propaganda it is now up to us to overturn?

Thank you, I knew you were in my corner. Phew.

Because I have been a spiritual person, and a faithful and loving person, for many years. And the last thing I wanted to do was investigate Jesus, because he was held hostage by all those bald men, or men with white hair and pot-bellies, yelling on podiums. I wanted nothing to do with that bullshit. But I wanted to do good, and I wanted to help people, and I wanted to lift up women in some way simply because I knew intimately the experience of being a woman. And so I had a hard wall up when it came to the church, and I know a lot of women I love have felt this way, too.

Until I started reading, and started recognizing that shit, Jesus fucking loved women. Like, over and over and over again, he is sticking up for them and elevating them and commenting on their beauty. (Okay, that last part was removed from scripture, but I’m just guessing.) In one story, he’s telling a bunch of assholes to back away from a woman who has had sex, and his mere presence in the crowd makes them all disappear while she stands strong and the men cower in corners. Then, in another story, he is getting his feet kissed by adoring women who know the kind of powerful healer he is, and he doesn’t care who is watching, he lets women kiss his feet and adore him and wash his hair in myrrh. (Men, as you notice, and as he points out, aren’t giving him this kind of adoration. They’re mostly denying and betraying him, see. But they’re the ones who have all the big famous churches named after them. Hmm, interesting.) And then, elsewhere, Jesus is telling women to stop doing the dishes for once and just come rest and hang out with him and be by his side so he can smell their hair, or something, I don’t know, he just likes hanging out with women cause he knows we’re special.

Sexy. As. Fuck.

One of Jesus’s main actions (see how I’m tying all this together?) was to elevate women. Again and again and again. So this is why SexyJesus is my hero, a definitive feminist, the kind of man I want other men to be.

And any Christian who doesn’t agree can suck my balls.

Photo by Miguel Bruna on Unsplash

King of Pleasure

The unfortunate thing about TiredChristianity is that it has failed to acknowledge one of the most riveting, interesting things about SexyJesus—his acceptance and celebration of pleasure.

If we look closely, we see that SexyJesus was a man every woman wanted. The women who were drawn to him and who followed him did it because he was a leader and a model for others. He was gentle and kind, but also strong. (We don’t often realize these things can go together.) He kept to his word. He spoke truth, and he wasn’t worried about status quo, or pleasing people in power. And most of all, he stuck up for women. He supported them, over and over again, when they were being criticized or condemned by narrow-minded men. That’s why women were so devoted to him.

And I mean, there is some intense PDAs happening here in the SexyJesus world. That’s why it’s so strange that 2000 years later, we think that being a follower means we need to button ourselves up and repress all our emotions and desires, cut our hair short and wear turtlenecks and all that stuff.

A lot of people don’t know how to experience pleasure. We think it’s dirty and wrong. We’ve been taught through repressed sexuality that feeling good is kind of a bad thing, and then it’s only through feeling bad that we can get turned on.

(This is so effed up.)

But SexyJesus is like, Nah, it’s fine, bring it on, I’m worthy. You can watch.

Such a badass.

When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 

(Reclined, people. Reclined!)

A woman in that town who had lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. 

The Pharisee is one of those uptight guys whose butt is always clenched. He probably drinks his tea with his pinky sticking out. So he starts to judge SexyJesus and the woman, because thinks the woman is dirty, because that level of devotion and adoration is gross, not something to be done in public. This is a guy whose sex life is likely very miserable.

SexyJesus reads his mind and starts a conversation about love and money and forgiveness and all that good stuff. But the point is really to show the Pharisee that he’s a withholding son of a bitch. SexyJesus says:

Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss….

But this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.

All the people at the dinner party are like, What. is. going. on? What. is. happening? They’re drinking their wine with their eyeballs popping out.

Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

Wink, wink. Hint: Maybe I’ll see you later.

I mean, we don’t know all the specifics, and so much of reading these Scripture passages is conjecture, but SexyJesus, over and over again, seems to be totally into physical affection and public displays of love. This guy eats and drinks and shoots the shit with anyone who will listen. He sticks up for those less fortunate. He lets women kiss him and anoint him and pour expensive perfume all over his head. He lets women pay for his spiritual movement, because the women are so grateful for the reiki healing he’s done for them that they want to pay it forward:

The Twelve were with him,, and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons had come out; Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod’s household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means. 

SexyJesus didn’t have a sugar daddy to help him spread his message, he had wealthy, independent women.

Mm-hmm.

So how, from all of this, do we get a Christian church that teaches people to repress sex, that your body is wrong, that the only way to know you’re “good” is if you carry shame? Oh my God, puh-lease, let’s finally move on from this bullshit and get in touch with reality.

There is nothing wrong with pleasure if you don’t become addicted to it. That’s the kicker. SexyJesus knew this. He could engage in wild nights because he didn’t need them. He wasn’t aimlessly searching in the dark, grasping for something to fill his holes, using people for his own ends. He knew truth and light and love, and the way he taught was to sit at tables and talk to people, so he necessarily drank the same wine they drank and ate the same food they ate. And we don’t know what his sex life was like, but you can be sure that if he had one (which he must have, at some point, in some manner!), his use of physical expression was a deep and abiding love people knew and felt and were filled with in his presence. Not many people can offer this kind of love, and not many people know how to receive it, either. Because the way most people operate when it comes to sex is as though it’s a materialistic transaction—I get this, you get that. We’re even. Or it’s domination, one person asserting his or her power over another so he or she can experience ego-fulfillment, or a story to tell friends. (This is why I can’t even watch Sex and the City; all of those sexual interactions are empty and superficial and usually mean.) Or it’s fast and quiet, something to get done, like going to the bathroom, and we don’t talk about it later.

And of course, pleasure is not limited to sex. Pleasure is walking in bare feet. It’s drinking your coffee and watching the birds. It’s rubbing a loved one’s back, or playing with your daughter’s hair. It’s opening a bottle and smelling lavender shampoo, or rubbing your arms with shea butter soap and letting the steam of the shower rise around you. It’s sitting in the peace and quiet of meditation. It’s dancing to one of your favorite songs.

This world is beautiful, and engaging with it, being present in it, often lends itself to the erotic, to the experience of pleasure. But because we’re so lost in egoic minds, because we don’t know how to be present, and because we’ve been taught that our bodies are shameful and wrong, we think that a good life is one where we’re suffering and planning ahead and getting all our ducks in a row. We think a good life is knowing what’s to come, having clear expectations, making plans and having things to look forward to (even though we may not live long enough to experience the thing we’re looking forward to). And so we end up with lifestyles where we mostly feel numb, and the only way out of that numbness is to look for a jolt of pleasurable satisfaction, an addictive behavior, some activity (like porn) we can control rather than knowing how to envelop ourselves in the pleasure of the moment,  in seeing what’s actually here.

In walks MotherJana, the prophet in cowgirl boots and a red scarf.

I have a lot of thoughts. I have a lot of plans. I have a lot of divinely inspired leadings in this regard.

Stay tuned.

 

“Dinner table set for dinner party” by Toby Simkin is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0