From Pastor to Bastard: A Bucket of Spit for the Beloved
12 June 2012Written by Matt Debenedictis
It was one of those afternoons in the Highlands – the ones where the sun dresses up as marigold and homemaking yoga runners crowd the walk. No complaints, mind you, as those curvaceous asses are out for the adoring worship of corner-eyed gazes. As I walked the path, a body inched its way towards me, parting the glistening crowd with a disheveled anger.
The face and name of this sneering, sundering man failed me, though he had been a part of an audience I knew, a congregation I once preached to. One of his arms was clutching air, cradling it as if a ghostly bible was there complementing his purpose-filled stride. He drew close enough to touch, and before I could fully place his countenance or move my lips in greeting, he threw his head back and spat. I stood as his mouth’s excrement slowly traveled down my cheek, splitting in the humid air to rest on the concrete.
“You’re a fake. You’re a lair.” He said, picking up pace as he passed me.
When religion becomes one’s own defining culture, encapsulating our very being, escape becomes a trudging path – for many a road not even worth taking. No matter how much I’ve contemplated this moment and the many like it I’ve had, I can’t understand how walking away from the ethos of a god meant I was always a liar. As if everything I said, every caring time I spent with a person during their times of trouble was just a ploy for some kind of endeavor for my own good. If that were truly the case, then the blame would rest on the congregation, and the entire flock of Christianity would serve themselves by dousing countless buckets of their own spit on top of their heads, a daily act of contrition.
We are all flawed, bent towards a desire of destruction; to put an unwavering faith in someone is to forget that the scriptures and theology have declared it so: people are vile fuckers. Don’t forget it.
I used to loathe these disparaging moments of cuss-outs and accusations. Now I just laugh them off. For fuck’s sake, leaving Christianity is not that bad. Deep South Bible Belt or Midwestern Conservatism, a few harsh words and the rare possibility of some flung body fluids can always be forgotten, as well as forgiven over a shadowed late night talk.
The Amish, now there’s a religious group you really have to make an escape from. You’ve got to have plans, maybe a map and some kind of guide you hired for protection in the new world. This is prison break kind of shit.
Unlike modern Christianity with its ever-abounding subcultures, the Amish are their own culture, separated wholly from the world they curse at Biblically. Despite the rumors, leaving an Amish community is not some choice offered at a certain age; it comes at the cost of losing everything. No more family, no more friends. This shouldn’t be a surprise from a religion that fought the Supreme Court so they could deny their children an education beyond eighth grade.
Yet so many hide where they stand in Christianity. Many stay within while silently not believing, others stay to embrace, but in the end their religion is what is saving them from their own selves.
I know this guy, you know him too. If you read this 3,000 miles away from where I’m typing, you know this guy. Without that Sunday prayer, those speeches holding the Bible as a weapon, he’d have a strange girl’s panties down, his head buried in the tornado of juices and tender hair, a certain skin reddening and swelling, while his family at home is wondering why he’s been logging so much over-time.
I don’t believe the Bible as divine, just inspired storytelling with dares for power behind it – most movies have the same postscript. Religion can save in small cases, just don’t be a dick about it, and spit on me while I’m walking down the street. Nobody has or will die for that.
“In religion, as in war and everything else, comfort is the one thing you cannot get by looking for it. If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth – only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.”- C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity.
Originally posted on Atlanta is Burning February 7th, 2012.