Heart on my Shirt

While living in Pakistan, I noticed that many of the old-school tribal dudes wore awesome undershirts with intricate embroidery on them.  I snatched a couple for myself before heading back to Canada.

I was wearing one under my shirt this past weekend at my family’s holiday gathering thingy.  As the night wore on and the games grew intense and the wine flowed more freely, one of my relatives noticed the embroidery at my collar and wanted to see the shirt.  I took my overshirt off.

Then they all started to laugh at me.

The embroidery was in the shape of a heart.  They were laughing at the heart.

Because hearts are for girls, of course.  Men don’t wear hearts.  Men don’t do that love stuff.

I was surprised.  Not upset, not sad, just seriously shocked.  It’s not masculine to wear hearts?  Not manly to express love?  I guess I always knew that.  I guess that horrid idea had been already hammered into my head since I was a child.

Is it any wonder things are fucked up when we mock men for wearing hearts and cheer when they come home with a new SUV or hunting weapon?  Is it any wonder things are fucked up when the section for boy’s toys is filled, aisle after aisle, with fake weapons and scenes of battle and death?

No, it’s no wonder at all.

We won’t get anywhere while it’s unmanly to love.  We won’t get anywhere while asshat pastors like Mark Driscoll shit on men who they don’t think are manly enough.

We won’t get anywhere while it’s more manly to kill than it is to love.

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What I Didn’t Get From Christianity

There’s lots of reasons I left Christianity.  Maybe I’ll eventually talk about all of them.

I was a part of the very sexy sort of Evangelicalism that followed pastors like John Piper and Mark Driscoll.  Fundamentalist to the core, but wearing blue jeans and listening to iPods.

One of the things they always say is that the joy of God is the best thing there is.  That being united with Jesus brings lasting, perfect joy–a stream of living waters flowing from inside the soul.  They believe that.  It’s in the Bible and everything.

I wanted it.  I wanted it so bad it hurt.  So I ran after it.

I read the Bible more than anyone I knew.  I got up early to be alone for an hour every morning to seek after God.  I handed out evangelistic tracts to strangers.  I preached gospel messages in the open air.  I moved to Asia to convert Muslims to Christianity.  All for the Joy of Jesus.

I didn’t do it legalistically.  I sought after the Spirit through the redeeming and atoning blood of Jesus, my representative and saviour.  I wanted it for real, not as a religion.  Not as a code.

I never got it.

Sure, once in a while I would feel uplifted through prayer.  Sometimes my missionary work was exciting.  But mostly I was dead inside.  I would cry myself to sleep, trying to be quiet so as not to wake my roommate who was studying at Bible College with me.  Nothing.

I gave everything to this system.  I worked harder than everyone else and with a purer motive.  I sweat and cried and nearly killed myself for the sake of the Gospel.  I poured my blood out into the sea.  So much that there was nothing left of me.

And God never spoke to me.

I did not experience his joy.  This fountain of living waters.  It wasn’t there.  It just wasn’t there.

Have you felt that?  Well I’ve got good news for you:

As soon as I started to free myself and my spirit from that oppressive religion, the joy started flooding in.  After struggling with debilitating depression all my life, I am now happy all the time.  All the time.

I worship Love now.  Jesus is still my homeboy, but now he’s been freed from the religion that has continually crucified his ideas.

Here’s some great advice:  If you’re in a system that isn’t making you happier and more loving, get the fuck out.

I Used to Be a Christian

And that’s one of the reasons I started My Comfy Uterus.  I needed a safe, anonymous place to express myself for realsies.  All my social circles are religious and everyone thinks I’m still a Christian.  I’m a former missionary.  I preach nearly every month.  It gets kinda awkward sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong.  Jesus is, of course, awesome.  It’s hard to read the first three gospels and think any other way.  Do as you’d be done by.  Turn the other cheek.  Love your enemies.  Awesome, awesome.

But the church turned Jesus into a religion and turned the gospels into Scripture.  And now we have an evil, imperial system that sometimes seems dedicated to fighting against everything Jesus loved.

Most of my friends believe that God is all-loving.  Unless you haven’t read the bible or believe in Jesus.  Then he’s gonna fuck you up for eternity.  But, yeah, he loves you somehow.  Oh, and if you go to hell it’s your own fault for rejecting Jesus.  Didn’t you get the memo?

Most of my friends believe that this all-loving and all-powerful God interacts with the world to make things better.  My friends pray for good weather on the church picnic and it turns out to be a sunny day.  Glory to God!  I guess no one was praying at Sandy Hook Elementary on December 14.

I mean, how idiotic can we be?  We actually believe that there is a being–a person–who looks down on all of us with infinite wisdom and power and love.  Sometimes he helps us find parking spots when we pray and yet he lets 10,000 kids die of hunger every day and he lets crazies shoot up schools.

“No!  It’s part of his special plan!”

Sorry, but his plan sucks ass.

So let’s stop asking dumb questions like “Where was God in all this?”  He wasn’t there.  He had no part in it at all because if there is a God it’s nothing like anything written down in a book.

The Kingdom of God–the never-ending reign of peace–will come when he stop looking for a cosmic daddy to bring it to us.  Like Jesus said, it’s in our grasp.  It’s right there, waiting for us.

Worship and Sex

I had sex the other day. And I’d like to tell you about it.

I was a fish living in a cold and dark lake. Most of my time was spent swimming around, nibbling on whatever cold and dark things fish nibble on. I wasn’t sad, but my joys were small.

The keel of a white canoe glided across the waters above me. I looked up for the first time in as long as I could remember. I swam up toward the surface to see.

There was a woman in the boat, shining in the bright light of the sun. She reached her hand down into the water and touched me. For half a minute I was enraptured in the first true worship I’ve ever felt.

I was raised religious. I made it my duty to chase after mystic connections with God. But I never came as close as I did when that shining woman touched my face. My entire body exploded with vibrant, shimmering sensation. Everything in my world flashed with a light so bright you could taste it. I opened my mouth and cries of worship to the Woman fell out of me. I had found my true God. I wept with her tears as she drew me close and kissed my cold lips.

The heat entered and changed me. I was alive for the first time. I worshiped her and I wrestled with her. We were one for a moment. For a beautiful moment, not only did I worship God, I became God.

Then she had to go. Gently she pushed away, trailing a hand in the water behind her as she went. I swam after her, in the ripples her hand made, drinking in the scattered light she left behind.