I'm Dirty...Are you?Monday, January 14, 2013
Growing up in church, I learned everything that I was never to do, or say, or think. Not only that, but I learned all about what hell would be like should I ever do those things...or say...think them. Once in Sunday school, we even read a book about what hell was like by a man who supposedly went there. It was cold and filled with spiders...terribly dark and void of people (REALLY?!).
Even then, I couldn't believe this is what we were learning in a child's Sunday school class. But it gets a little bit better. The same man who visited hell also visited heaven and gave us a glimpse of that as well. He had a transparent body that passed through everything. He couldn't pick the flowers because his hands went right through them. Not only was his body transparent, but it was also rather shapeless--not male or female. In heaven, you knew everyone, but not really, because there was no memory what-so-ever of who they were on earth...
And to my child's imagination, I was terrified. I knew I didn't want to go to hell, but the ridiculous picture of heaven wasn't much better. I recall arguing with the teacher telling her that this was all rather silly and I didn't understand why we had to read this book, as it had nothing to do with what Jesus had said in scripture. Needless to say, I caused a great deal of trouble in Sunday school. I remember the teacher lecturing me about my argumentative nature and desire to disrupt and disagree rather than to sit quietly and listen.
Here I am at thirty and I still have that same argumentative nature that refuses to be sold a pretty, or in the previous case, a horrific bill of goods. I don't care what you want to tell me about heaven or hell, or about what I should or should not be doing to end up in either of those places. Mostly, I reject all of that because it does no one any good (not reject their existence, but rather fear tactics in getting people to believe). It certainly didn't sell me on the idea of following Jesus so I could get to heaven. I didn't want rainbows and unicorns and butterfly wings. I wanted adventure--rocky cliffs to climb and beautiful green forests to explore.
Because here's the thing: My Jesus, the man I would risk my life for to proclaim is real and alive, IS NOT A FRUIT CAKE!!!! He doesn't get jiggy (in the words of Pastor John Freed--who really needs to find a new word) with flowers that can not be picked, or fly across a rainbow tinted land on the wing of a giant butterfly. If you ask me, that screams of a bad acid trip. My Jesus was dirty, and a bit rough, with skinned knees when he was a boy and a busted lip as an adult. My Jesus probably climbed a rock or two, or hunted with a bow and arrow to bring his family back a meal. My Jesus stunk of body odor because he was A REAL MAN with filthy feet and dirt in his teeth. If He was born into our modern world, He might have grown up to drag race once or twice, all in the name of loving on the dudes down at the track. He would have tossed a football or baseball. I'm pretty sure He would have rode a bull and flown a Cessna just for the joy of it and nothing more.
And if my Jesus WAS like that (and still is like that) then the home He has carefully built for me isn't going to be a house for a pansy. Nope. Not me, or you. It's going to be a REAL home with adventure and real beauty...and not the kind of beauty that comes from sipping absinth.
ALL THAT IS TO SAY...
I'm not going to be a clean Christian. I'm filthy and I'm going to remain filthy (but not my heart--which is clean). I'm going to hang out in the filthy, smoky strip clubs. One day, I might get a group of friends and check out a gay bar and love on the people in there. I want to feed homeless people, play kick ball with the bullies (though I would lose) and give a fist bump to the biggest biker dude out there. I want to be real, like Jesus and like heaven. I don't want to be so clean and 'good' that I can't find a single living soul to sell my rainbow painted bill of goods to. I want to be dirty and stay that way.
And that's that.
Oh...and just a bit of warning...
If you're ubber clean, don't get near me because I will tackle you, muss your hair, tickle your ribs until you nearly pee your pants giggling, and COVER you in my beautiful, awesome, amazing filth.
Just a warning.