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Jesus Disguised For Halloween

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Jesus Disguised For Halloween

She hadn’t been young for years. Given her history, she hadn’t been young most of her life.  Wrapped in a robe of cigarette smoke, she sat with a Styrofoam coffee cup stuck to her hand, waiting for an appointment with me she didn’t know was on her schedule. I had come to this meeting needing forgiveness, hope, anything but what I had, and told God I would only stay if she was there, and there she was – the one person I could talk to. Jesus in disguise.
Sometimes we need a religious atheist to take us to God, someone who knows a caring relationship is holier than even the best traditions. I can’t share with a  Sunday idol selling fire insurance from a pulpit. Rituals don’t care about me, and for the most part, I don’t care about them. But when the last candle’s sputtered out, and my heart’s gone dark with shame, Jesus can seem as helpful as a tiny silver guy pinned to a piece of jewelry. I need real when I’m irrational.  I need Jesus to literally touch me when I feel untouchable. I need him, so he sent her.
Salvation is often found in a Starbucks sanctuary, on the radio, or hidden in unpretentious eyes of a person who dares enough to care enough to do something unexpected. That’s a treat without tricks. That’s what it takes when life has taken all hope away for someone to survive – a friend fearless enough to fight a dragon not their own to rescue a heart from hell.

Here’s a poem from my  book, Uncensored Prayer: The Spiritual Practice Of Wrestling With God.

Friends With Flashlights

Religion fucked me up,

sucked me into no-win land

where God doesn’t live.

It wasn’t my fault I was raised that way –

a belief system true for my parents,

and I honor that for them,

but religion didn’t honor me.

It took me hostage to rules and reg’s

I thought were required by God

to enter into the Holy Land

one scary unknown day.

In the mean time, I was the unredeemed,

un-chosen for what I did,

but mainly for who I was –

the un-elect who couldn’t do the deal.

 

How did that make me feel?

A loser lost to ever pleasing God –

someone I wanted to love me,

but he wouldn’t hear my prayers

due to my regarded, heartful sins.

So I was screwed,

condemned to futile attempts

to get saved just right,

say the magic prayer on faith I didn’t feel.

I was co-dependent as hell,

trying to please an unpleasable God

who shrugged his shoulders and said,

 

I’m sorry, but goats don’t go to heaven.

 

Hell came before heaven

‘cause you had to die to enter eternal bliss,

but my heart already lived in the House From Hell

and Jesus had no key.

 

But other someones – people in flesh –

came to save my soul

from the bottomless blackened hole

with flashlights between their teeth,

since words were a liability.

Disregarding danger, they came for me

and hauled me off to a place

that wasn’t safe or sane or sanitary,

so I fit right in.

They simply let me be as me –

no agenda for change, but absolutely no abuse,

for they were religious atheists,

escapees from tradition and Bible Drills

and better than/worse thans,

no pledge allegiance to faiths,

but faithful to God alone.

 

They were secret spies for Jesus

following forgotten failures loved by God

for whom trust was a four-letter word,

whose only chance to meet the God of grace

was through other goats like them

led by a goatherd who didn’t act like God,

but was kind and gentle, protective and safe

for the stupid to follow home.

 

He was Jesus disguised for Halloween,

minus tricks with treats.

He made me laugh, unfaced himself,

then laughed with me, not at me –

what a shock!

He said,

 

Dump in the trash what you know about me

and meet me now for real.

 

He’s not as advertised –

not hateful, but hope-filled,

happy to save us from lies

which are sins against the many,

most-likely dupes to be deceived.

 

But God’s #1 priority

is to ransom the rascal in all of us,

crack a gap the universe wide

between religion and reality

so those riddled by righteousness

have the chance to fall into grace –

a place of acceptance, forgiveness,

with re-birthed lives

and flashlights flossed between teeth.

 

5


About the Author:

I never have found a box that fits me, so I follow Jesus into the wild. My husband, Bud, and I are two life-long hippies, parents of four grown children, and live in Bartlett, TN, with six cats, two dogs, and no TV. We are voracious readers and have loaded bookshelves in every room in the house except the kitchen and bathrooms. As a wordsmith, I write in long-hand everyday and use a computer by necessity. I am part of an eclectic group of Jesus-followers called Outlaw Preachers and have a passion for prison ministry. I am also an advocate for middle-aged and senior women, and anyone who suffers from depression. My musical tastes include Stevie Ray Vaughn, Joni Mitchell, old scratchy-record blues, and the great classical sacred choral works. One other thing: dark chocolate and garlic are major food groups, but not together.

Discussion

  1. Kerry Miller-Whalen  October 16, 2011

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, for this poem and these words. Makes me cry for the gap between religion and real love… and it lifts my heart in hope, to see those learning to cross it, and embrace love. Sometimes I feel like such a maverick, and wonder if I’ve truly lost the path – you remind me where it really is! xxx Kerry

    (reply)
    • Joy  October 16, 2011

      Jesus was a maverick, too. Only the mavericks listened and followed him, because they DIDN’T have all the answers, and religion without relationship wasn’t enough for them. Just like you and me, Kerry. Jesus came to let us know God loves us unconditionally and accepts us just like we are, because we weren’t finding that out on our own. Today we’re the only Jesus with skin on. I wouldn’t be alive today, written my book and this blog if people hadn’t offered me love and acceptance just like I am, and introduced me to a God like that, only perfectly like that. That’s why I write and speak today — if someone else connects with Jesus because of me, I’ve passed on what rescued me.-

      (reply)
  2. Linda B.  October 31, 2011

    Every day I am so thankful that he meets us where we are. Thank you.

    (reply)
  3. Joy  October 31, 2011

    Me, too, Linda.

    (reply)
  4. Multiplication Chart  December 18, 2011

    i like it

    (reply)

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