Bob Marley once said
“The people who are trying to make this world worse aren’t taking a day off. Why should I?”
I have taken too many days off.
Too many days of not loving people.
Too many days of being selfish.
Too many days of being silent.
Too many days of inflicting pain.
Too many days off.
I saw a broken church and a dying faith.
I, chief among sinners, decided I could do nothing for it.
So I took a day off.
The day has become a year.
I thought, how could I change the problems I see? I have no fame or money. I have no stage, and no audience. I have no way of changing the world. Beyond even that, I am a broken man. I make mistakes. Sometimes I choose to do the wrong thing. Sometimes I make choices that I know will hurt people. Sometimes I am the opposite of what I want to be.
Paul who was an early follower of the Jesus tradition said
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do.
That is what I thought.
So I took a day off.
I am a writer. I know that is what I am supposed to do with my time on this earth. I am a steward of words. My role is to mold them the best I can, and then set them free.
My role does not change when I fail.
My role does not change when I hate what I do.
My role does not change when I am wandering.
That is where I have been on this year off.
Anatole France said
Wandering reestablishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.
Over the past year I have written dozens of things. They have helped me process my journey, but I kept them to myself.
That is where I was wrong.
I still hadn’t grasped that the divine isn’t about finding all of the answers to life’s mysteries. So as my ideas and writings became more about questions than answers, I decided that it wouldn’t help people. That once I had some answers I could publish again. That only then would my writing would have merit.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I have found that life is best lived in a perpetual state of wandering. I can now see that destinations are overvalued, and that the winding road to conclusion is itself the satisfaction that we all yearn for.
When we cease resting on answers, and start dancing with the doubts, wrestling with the questions, and challenging the standards we find something that is quite unordinary. Something that is truly not of the norm.
When we do this, we see that theology was always a trap and that doctrine was always a destructive force. No longer are we held back by the conclusions of other humans, we are free to live with the divine. To start a journey that will change everything.
This next part is written loosely in a rhymed prose style. I am no poet, this is my first attempt at doing something like this, but I like it and I hope you are as moved by it as I am.
Religious elites rest on laurels of academia, they horde degrees and barricade themselves away from humanity.
Either in the hallways of churches or in the offices of universities.
They claim to have such a important understanding of the divine that they should be paid to educate the common man on the principles of superior morality.
Meanwhile humanity groans and shudders under the weight of their suffering.
As these powerful men and women of conviction are paid to teach conclusions from the stages of churches and from the fronts of classrooms at campuses around the nation the least of these are marched to their death.
The sound of a Sunday morning sermon can hardly be heard over the cry of an orphan.
The simplest of man can serve another, Love knows no dissertation.
The church spend millions on music shows, and the Christian colleges build stained glass cathedrals. People walk into those places hoping to find God. Little do they know they passed him working the corner or clutching a brown paper bag.
They’ve been saying gods not dead, but I see him dying everyday.
In the cry of the refugee.
In the tears of the broken.
In the sigh of the least of these.
In the fear of the hungry.
If you think the ones working these churches have the answers of gods then we would be better off atheists.
Jesus said nothing about Sunday morning attendance. He mocked the religious elites who left the people no promise.
Those men of his day? The ones praying big prayers, studying the passages, wearing fancy robes of golden?
They took his body and broke it.
The men of our day? The ones praying from stages, studying the passages, flexing their outfits?
They took his body and broke it.
Twenty thousand die each day from preventable causes and I’m heretic cause I pray with my eyes open?
I like to read that with a little beat under it, while doing my best Kendrick Lamar impersonation.
My point is simple, the American church is broken. We cannot trust the voices of educators that have so blatantly turned their backs on the least of these, and is doing so abonded the gospel.
Bob Marley once said,
“The people who are trying to make this world worse aren’t taking a day off, why should I?”
A few days before he said these words he was shot in a failed assassination attempt. These words were a response to someone asking him why he was going to get back on stage and play.
This world is reeling. The church has no answer. It’s up to you and me, to climb back on stage and keep playing.