Saturday, August 06, 2005

Blog Infiltrators Revive Jesus: The Difference Between Christ and Christian

. Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the most misunderstood brown man in America.

It is an interesting time to be Larry Lyons. Recently, I've experienced an suspicious influx of responses to my satirically titled January 20th post, "Jesus Appears at Inaugural Ceremony". In it, I call attention to the wonderfully creative and subversive organizing of 10000jesuses.org, a group that intervenes in America's public discourse by challenging the "hijacking of Christian terminology and thought by institutions on the far right of the political spectrum". Essentially, the group draws attention to the blasphemy and hypocrisy that inhere the invocations of Jesus' name as a means to support fundamentalist agendas, highlighting the very poignant distinction between the example of Christ and Christianity itself.

Why did I blog about it? The November 2004 elections reminded me just how prominently faith figures into the American political system. Surely, the injudicious dichotomy of republican=religious, democrat=irreverent hedonist played a considerable part in the outcome of the election. It appears that nothing invigorates voters like talk of fire, brimstone and the cautionary tale about the dangers of moral slippage that echoes throughout every single election campaign. Too frequently, the "return to the trusty moral standards upon which this mighty nation was built" equates to a return to a mythical edenic state where the hegemony of Christianity is sovereign and uncontested. How's that for the land of the free?

The work of groups like 10,000 Jesuses is essential in that, true to its name, it democratizes Jesus. Jesus is not the exclusive possession of the religious right. In fact, if Jesus' message meshes with the platform any partisan group at all, it is with those of us who rally for a greater distribution of wealth, more peaceable means of addressing conflict and compassionate treatment of the less fortunate. Now, that's the Jesus I know and love.

Which brings me back to this recent influx of responses. I don't know how these conspicuously anonymous folks have found their way to my blog (particularly to a blog entry that is now SEVEN months old). What I do know is that, true to form, they've missed the point of the entry altogether and used my comment section for their grammatically-challenged prayers, confessions, judgments and damnations.

For example, one anonymous poster writes: "God loves us all more deeply than we can imagine, but it doesn't mean that we can believe anything we want and still be correct, nor can we behave any way we want and still be physically, spiritually and emotionally healthy."

I don't disagree with you, kindred. We can not behave any way we want and expect to maintain our health. We can not bomb poverty-stricken developing countries and amass our wealth through self-interested profiteering. We can not ensure tax cuts for the upper class while cutting healthcare and educational programs for the poor. And this is precisely what the folks at 10,000 Jesuses are saying, verbatim.

But perhaps you were talking about me in particular. Perhaps the gender of the person I share my life with is of greater importance than all of this. Perhaps the exploitation of entire nations pales in comparison to the gender of the person that Larry Lyons loves. If this is the case, then it's clear that you do not believe that God is Love. If you did, you would understand that any manifestation of Love is a manifestation of the Divine, and that anyone that desires to police, invalidate and vilify such manifestations of love are contradicting the fundamental essence of the God of Love.

If this be the case, all I can offer is an old quote of mine:
"You create your own reality - the conditions of your own suffering and the means for your own liberation. Consequently, you are subject to the God that you cognize - the God that you create. Show me a god who hates his own children - who sanctions bloodshed, endorses war and requites his displeasure with wrath, and I'll show you the man-made God of a defective and terroristic theology."

In short, you and I do not serve the same God. Your God has been made in the image of man: jealous, wrathful, hierarchal and gendered. This God looks entirely too much like man to serve as my supreme being and central pillar of my faith. For me, yours has been a terroristic theology and it has failed to affirm the beauty, complexity and precariousness of the universe as I have experienced it.

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But hey, that's just me. I won't knock your hustle. I won't come to your blog and post anonymously about seven-month-old topics, overlooking the value of the affirmingly transgressive work that's being done in order to articulate a threadbare and antiquated theology. And do you know why? Because I know where you're coming from. I served several years in Christianity and I know that you're just acting on what you've been taught. Some well-intentioned man has used some well-intentioned scripture to convince you that it is your moral obligation to save wayward and resistant sheep like myself. And, sweet sweet you - you are trying to oblige. Earn your wings. Get your halo. Do your job. Fulfill your Christian duties by witnessing here in cyberspace about His goodness and His mercy. O, how your cup runneth over! Sweet sweet you. I understand your role because I spent about fourteen years of my life memorizing the lines. So, let me save you the frustration that is sure to ensue and give you the raw uncut right now: if salvation is laying prostrate before a jealous, wrathful, hierarchial, gendered god - I'll have none of it. None. However, if you play nice, I'll share with you how I managed to cultivate a heterodox brand of salvation that makes Christ himself proud.
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Of course, I realize and affirm the fact that everyone has a right to believe and practice as they please. I use this blog to share my beliefs and practices with those who desire to hear them. Should you find yourself in disagreement with these beliefs and practices, by all means - engage me in dialogue about them. I caution you, however, that the lord of hosts will punish you with plagues, locusts and loathesome boils if you use my comment area as your personal soapbox for judgment and painfully flawed, invariably futile conversion attempts. It ain't gonna happ'n cap'n. Not on my watch. This is a safespace for the heterodox: those of us who believe differently. This is a space for dialogue and critical thought. There is absolutely no room and no tolerance for judgment and damnation.

21 Comments:

Blogger anthony davis said...

Kudos, Larry, Kudos. Your response in this blog is so on point and one thing that really hit home is when you referred to your quote that mentioned that " consequently we are subject to the God that we cognize-the God that we create." That ends it right there, because need you say any more. Kudos again to you because this was so on point.

3:07 PM  
Blogger Quaheem said...

Amen!...

I couldn't have said it better myself..

I am convinced that some folks out here in this blogosphere (and in turn in SOCIETY) turn to ill-informed JUDGEMENTS of other people's lives because in fact their OWN reality is less than pleasant...For the life of me I cannot understand why we cannot discuss/debate in the spirit of "understanding" and not "judgement"...

Crazy world and times we are living in...But thanks for sharing your groundedness and sanity with the rest of us..:-)

4:52 PM  
Blogger Hollambeeee said...

and the church said....

amen...

11:37 PM  
Blogger chad said...

You express yourself very well. I can't say I agree whole-heartedly with everything you say, but most. I recently posted my take on this very subject. Thought you might like to read the opinion of a liberal evangelical Christian African-American heterosexual "homophile" who is trying to find common ground with every body.
Your brethren in the love of truth,
chad

"Religion without humanity is very poor human stuff."
~Sojourner Truth

12:54 AM  
Blogger Donald said...

But Larry, it is soooo much easier to believe that someone who resembles someone who may have persecuted you will one day, miraculously, come to 'save' you (from?) while riding by in a big stretch limousine of clouds. All you have to do is 'trust and obey' - not think, not create and certainly not desire outside of The Predetermined (by who? and when? and why?) Boundaries. Soooo much easier than believing in each of our infinite possibilities, because if you have to be God, then that means it is all on you. Who wants all that responsibility? I mean, reallly - just imagine that to-do list!

8:42 AM  
Blogger DizYaBoy said...

As always, if you want someone to articulate a point, and drive it home ... call on Larry D. Lyons.

I see that our Scrabble games ... of yesterday ... is payin off. Your vocabulary is improvin, my friend. :-)

No, all jokes aside, I enjoyed readin' ur new postin, and lookin' at new pictures. It's been awhile since we've seen each other face-2-face.

Let's connect.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Valentino said...

You are fantastic for this...You speak for those of us who think, but don't know the words to express it...thank you

8:10 PM  
Blogger pomedome said...

If we have to engage ourselves in this essentially gifted, some say chosen, life then choices become very personal. To prey upon vulnerable people who express a sincere need for spiritual union has become "noble". Even evangelical...
To search honestly in stride with like minded people, to join each other gently, is a most rewarding and precarious practice. It is very difficult to cult "no harm"
I love reading your Godstuff.
Inspired and inspiring...JM

12:39 AM  
Blogger ShawnQt said...

your my hero

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely. This is sweet stuff. Being able to quote scripture is a whole lot easier than living life, which isn't as sturdy and solid as we'd all like to think. Actually, it can be pretty fucking messy, smelly and all out confusing. You: building bridges, that's great. You: sharing information and love and compassion and fogiveness and laughter: priceless. They who call themselves God's chosen: dropping unsigned God bombs on blogsites: fodder for excellent posts, like yours, so all's forgiven. I enjoy watching you sharpen your oyster knife. Love feels like your words.

Love, Steven

5:12 PM  
Blogger solitaire said...

Hey bro!
I'm here waiting for your answer on what we talked about... but this was just as good.
Something to think about.

10:50 PM  
Blogger The Divo said...

What a way to handle em' Larry.

I would never want to cross you wrong. You take the language that God gave man for communication and communicate the truth of many nations while speaking in one dialect.

Work...


As always in Parting,

I came in Peace and in Peace I leave.

1:34 AM  
Anonymous Don A said...

Is everybody absolutely stupid or is it that all this Larry Lyons horseshit is like the methodone for the masses??? I am now able to safely conclude that nearly everyone of your "proselytizer" brother Larry Lyons is using all of you to merely boost his own self-centered race to utter mediocrity. Does any fucking person out there who takes the time out of thier day have a god-damned brain in their head?? If so, let's use it people! Form your own fucking convictions about how YOU view these issues about God and the heavens and all that "stuff" and quit all this bullshitting me with "Oh Larry, you're such a fucking genius, I want to be programmed to believe everything you believe." Guys, what the fuck, over...Who's in control here, really?? Is it the pied piper Larry D. Lyons who's got all your heads spinning with all this mumbo jumbo "Princeton" bullshit? Someone, anyone who responds to this lame ass blog, STAND THE FUCK UP AND GIVE YOURSELF A SHOUT OUT AND SPEAK YOUR MIND... stop reiterating everything that LARRY says and let's hear how everyone realy feels about these subjects...Larry, I love you ole dude, but I just got to speak how I feel..I don't mean no great disrespect, but I feel that the people here are being honest about how "they" feel about these truly important topics..peace out

6:02 AM  
Anonymous Erik Nethken said...

The book of Revelation says that many false teachers will rise. Larry D. Lyons II - you are one of those false teachers. Larry, you and your mindless followers who have created your "own god" to your own liking is the most ridiculous, blasphemous idea I've ever heard. Even I expected more from you Larry. Larry, you are truly lost in your own pompous rebellion. Larry, I'm sure you won't have the courage to actually post this comment because deep down inside you know I'm right. Larry please do not call Jesus your Lord and Savior because he is not - you created your "own god" - remember? Why associate your "creation" with the ONLY TRUE GOD JESUS CHRIST. Please don't do this Larry.

11:10 PM  
Anonymous Moses Jose Guerrero III said...

Yo - I new up in here I no but Mr. Netken has a point holmes. Larry, no disrepect but my Granpa is a Baptist minster of 25 years and he flipped at your nonsense view of God. He says you need to read your Bible kid. He says he would school a little fella like you - much love foo...

2:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big L, I feel your words were harsh and not on the real to real. I do think yu look like a true playa' pimp even though yu is a true hater on the fly. Yuz still my cutie pie, I give yu a wink with my eye, a tip of my big tall hat, and a pat on the back, if yu down wit a Big Samoan brother who will rock wit ya. Big L - '0'0MI me - Big L.

Love your Big Samoan, Ronny D.

2:42 AM  
Blogger Larry D. Lyons II said...

"Don A": While you offer plenty of protest to my pied piper-like ability to woo the masses with my "mumbo jumbo", you fail to address any of the points made in the post.
No one's going to respond to your prodding to rise up in opposition. After all, the entry to which you are posting is over a month old: the only folks who return to this post are the 2-3 fanatics who either
a. want to save my soul (or at least, show me how sinful i am)
or
b. get their jollies by dreaming up new anonymous identities and flooding the comment space with disjointed non sequiturs and comically mis-applied urbanisms.
I welcome you to use this space to address me directly regarding the arguments made in post in question. Everything else is a waste of both of our time.

Erik: I do not have any followers whatsoever. Some readers who value my thinking, perhaps - but not a single follower to date.
1. Creating my "own God" was a metaphor for my spiritual growth. I have not literally constructed a new God based upon my preferences. I have, however, refused to acknowledge (much less "serve") a god that capitalizes on fear and exclusivity to satiate his wrathful whims. If that's blasphemous or pompous, my brother, then so be it.
2. For the record, I have never on this blog called Jesus my Lord and Savior. Do I recognize and revere many of his teachings? Yes. In fact, I might say that I adhere to them more thoroughly than many self-proclaimed Christians. But that's another story altogether.

"Moses": If gramps want to bring his knowledge to the table, a "little fella" like me would be glad to hear what he has to say. A word to the wise, though... he'll have to come with something better than "read your Bible kid".

2:01 AM  
Blogger Larry D. Lyons II said...

PS: the verse here sounds so familiar. like the words of a writer i used to know. "people see me/ I'm a challenge/to your balance/ I'm over your heads/ how I confound you/and astound you".
the similarities are striking.

PPS: yall talk about blasphemy like it's supposed to scare me. i know good and well that my views are at odds with orthodox ways of being. *duh!* that my thoughts are considered dangerous or nonsensical by the doctrinal drones could not be of less consequence to me.

aiight kiddies. holla back

2:12 AM  
Anonymous Don A said...

Larry - you sound like a drone.

11:47 AM  
Anonymous Erik Nethken said...

Larry, "Fear is the begining of wisdom". You say you have no fear and I believe you.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Larry D. Lyons II said...

i repeat:
I welcome you to use this space to address me directly regarding the arguments made in post in question. Everything else is a waste of both of our time.

1:09 PM  

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