I Died Eight Years Ago

I died on October the Tenth, 2004.
It was the day I went to church.

I went because I was sick
because that’s what you’re supposed to do;
but it’s discouraging to see a hospital
with dead bodies the ground.

I saw walls stained with blood
and the dry bones of pastors past;
blanketed in a film of dust
to compensate for their lack of love

Patients wailing in this hospital.
Crying, muttering and screaming—
screams to wake the daemons from their pits;
screams to make the devil laugh with glee.

I was grasped with dirt-stained hands;
cakes of blood in the nails
veins that protruded from gaunt arms like bloated rivers
polluted with lies and bile from the Beast Himself

They led me through dark pastures
dragged me under tumultuous waters
My soul was beaten and battered and the Valley of Death became my home
The macabre my mother.
Evil was ever-present and I was tortured
with rods and spikes.
My tears were enough to fill ten thousand cups
and they ranneth over like streams down my legs
‘Till I stood in a pool of distress and decay.

So here I am, in a casket
made from the hopes and dreams of many
Encased in burnt earth
with the scales of snakes making prints on my skin.

I’m dead in the ground
but I like it here. We all like being dead, don’t we?
If not, why are Christians so reluctant to change?

Sometimes, though, I ask myself:
“Who is there to revive me?”

Who will revive my diseased and desperate soul?

(The theme of the day will be ‘Revive’, so I was asked to write a poem about revival. A bit macabre, though!)

(EDIT: So I performed the poem at church this evening and it went down better than I expected. As I was reading, I started to feel really worried because I hadn’t actually realised how dark it sounded haha. But people thought it was a deep message which was nice. I got some constructive criticism: read slower. I have a habit of reading things really quickly; my tongue has a mind of its own, sometimes! But yeah, feeling happy after tonight). 

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Sincerely Yours, Satan xXx

Walk with destruction in my wake
and a shroud of darkness for cover,
spreading death and disease
and unease and decay.
It snakes along the arms
of enemies and cracks like
ancient spiderwebs so that the rot
sinks into flesh and pollutes clean blood
until black and death push through,
oozing form their pores like
the ink of a broken quill.

Women are raped in Iraq
and Afghan girls with leashes ’round their necks
dance for old men in dusty dens
and legions of children wield guns for battle
in the Congo. They’re trained to shoot and to kill.
I’ve got women being killed by their men.
Two per week. And kids getting beaten
by their mothers, until their eyes swell like plums,
lips black like leeches and only melted chocolate can hide their pain.

Earthquakes in Haiti
Tsunamis in Asia
Hurricanes to tear towns apart
and leave inhabitants destitute and dirty—
Tornadoes spin confusion in a neighbourhood and
Kills many. ‘Till no one can recognise a thing
‘Till bodies of children are encased in rubble
and graves are overturned.

The clergy rapes its children. Pastors beat their women.
Elders wanna kill all the gays.

Your God is sick
and evil
‘Cause he runs this world of ruin.
You blame him, every day
for your lives of disarray—
and give me glory all the same.

The best thing I ever did
Was convince the world
I don’t exist.

Sometimes…

I didn’t make it in time.
My name wasn’t in the Book
so I had to wait outside
for judgment
whilst you ran your hands
across the words
that told the story of my sin
and my failure
to repent and feel guilty
for what I’d done.

Sometimes
It’s like you’re all far away
sitting by the Pearly Gates
and not thinking
Not thinking
about
my absence.

Something Slightly Annoying…

Feminism. I’ve been struggling with this for quite a while. When I say to Christians that I’m a Feminist, they seem to have a problem with it. I’ve always wondered, is it un-Christian to believe that the sex you were born into should NEVER determine how much freedom and respect you’re allowed to have? I understand that there’s a lot of ignorance surrounding the subject: before I did my Sociology A Level I assumed that Feminists were just angry man-haters. Then I discovered just how unfair this world is to women—through unequal pay and glass ceilings to more extreme cases: Female Genital Mutilation; prostitution, female trafficking and the atrocious hold the Taliban have over women in the Middle East. I saw a documentary a few years ago where the women in Afghanistan were so distressed by their mistreatment and abuse that they were killing themselves by self-immolation.

And let’s not forget that 400, 000 women are raped a year in the Congo. Ah, and in our wonderful, forward-thinking country, the conviction rate for rape cases is 6%. Result!

When I think about these things, I get so angry and I just can’t understand why everyone isn’t a Feminist. Christians should be getting involved with it, letting the world know that these things just aren’t on.

But what do you do when you’re part of one of the world’s oldest misogynistic institutions?

God is for women, obviously. God loves women. But in the Dark Ages and other times when Christianity was the main religion in this country, you would have thought the opposite. It was well known back then that women were sinful by nature; seductive little creatures whose only purpose in life was to lead men astray. You can even look for examples in the Bible where women were abused due to the religious nature of the time: the woman who was caught in adultery and thrown in front of Jesus to be stoned couldn’t have committed adultery by herself, yet there she was, surrounded and humiliated by men who should have known better. This is the problem with religion: it’s a man-made concept, so you get people who’ll twist God’s word to their own ends. Sadly, women have always had the short end of the stick because of it.

What I don’t like is when people in church outwardly deny that these things happen. It’s almost stupidity.

One of my biggest gripes in church these days is the whole ‘women you can’t wear this because the men can’t handle  it’ thing. I’m not being unreasonable–I understand that men are wired differently; that they’re Visual Creatures™ and get more easily aroused than women, but it’s really frustrating that when I’m picking out an outfit I have to think about all the men that might be aroused by it. Surely the onus is on the man to control himself? Some guys just get lazy, they don’t take responsibility for themselves and blame the woman for every lustful thought that goes on their heads. I thought men were supposed to be the Leaders, the Heads of the family? What kind of leader blames the woman for all his wrongdoings? It’s especially annoying when you’re curvy and certain clothes would just automatically look more sensual, even if you don’t mean it to. Yes I know there are some women who dress for male attention—actually, I think we all do, at least sometimes. It’s nice to get male attention (and I mean from a gentleman. Most of time some intimidating man just comes up to me and starts pestering me for a number, and once I was followed halfway home before he left me alone. But when a gentleman does it, it’s nice: a guy just held my hand once and told me I was beautiful. It was sweet…)

I’m gonna be completely honest and say that I like things that show a little bit of cleavage—if I’ve got the boobs for it, why not?

I had a long chat yesterday about this topic. I suppose my problem is that I keep refusing to see it from the Man’s Perspective. My friend said that if I really thought about God in all these gender politics, then I would automatically think about the guys I might make things difficult for and I wouldn’t mind if I had to cover up a bit. I honestly hadn’t thought about it in this way before. It’s just that, when I hear people say “you’re going to cause your church brother to sin”, all that goes through my head are those misogynists who believe that the woman is to blame if she gets raped. Surely if she just wore a long skirt then the poor man wouldn’t be forced to do that to her? ‘Cause men are different from women, aren’t they? And, like, you know—women in burqas have NEVER been raped, right??

*Sigh* I’m rambling. Mutual understanding, Baker, mutual understanding. I would never want to make a guy feel uncomfortable–honestly I wouldn’t. I’m just tired of women always bearing extra burdens. And I’m becoming a bit of a broken record nowadays. I’ve discussed this with people time and time again and it’s always me against five or so others and I end up feeling inadequate. It’s got to the stage where someone might say something slightly inflammatory about dress, or women, and people just stare at me, waiting for an entertaining rant. I don’t want to become a predictable joke, so I’ll just leave it for now. I was worse before, believe me. In fact I think at one point I was guilty of misandry (although I still don’t see what’s so bad about wanting men and women to be equal and I don’t think my thoughts are extreme).

Ah, and one more thing:

WOMEN LIKE SEX TOO. Remember that it’s always been seen as un-ladylike for a woman to talk about sex, to be openly sexual. Men have always had sexual freedom–why do you think when a guy sleeps with ten women he’s a hero and a woman is a slut if she does the same? Look at it Biblically as well: how many women did Solomon have at his yard again? Hundeds, right? Don’t let tradition turn into quasi-scientific facts. Men, just because you’re allowed to be open about sex, doesn’t mean us women don’t think about it or that we don’t get turned on; doesn’t mean women aren’t visual creatures either.

So next time it’s SEC Sports Day, and y’all start strutting around the park, six pack and all, think about how many of your church sisters you’re causing to sin.

Mutual Understanding, yeah?

A Confession.

I haven’t updated this blog for a few days. This is mainly due to university assignments and my personal writing. I’ve been meaning to start sending off stories I’ve written to magazines and publishers, but I was always scared to do it. A couple friends of mine from my old Creative Writing class really got me motivated to do it: they’ve been sending off poems and things; getting rejections and great acceptances as well.

I was also trying to prepare for the Sabbath School class I was due to teach last Sabbath: The Teens. The less said about that the better.

But what I really want to do is confess something. Here it is:

I’m not a good  person.

I mean, I’m not the worst person and I wouldn’t like to think of myself as horrible to others, but as I get closer to God I’m beginning to notice things about myself that I’ve never noticed before. Very often I hear the Holy Spirit reproaching me; my conscience is pricked. I don’t feel guilty, necessarily, but I feel as though I need to change it. My main problem is gossip. I’m not a huge gossip by nature–in fact, I hate gossiping, but sometimes, when I’m with the right (or wrong, however you want to look  at it) person, my mouth just runs on its own. Especially if it’s someone I’ve known for a long time and there’s so much to catch up on, somehow we’ll always get into a discussion about who’s pregnant, who’s broken up with who, who’s done this and that. And I feel bad every time I do it.

And sometimes I say cruel things. After Sabbath, I and a few other people were consolling a guy at my church who’s been going through a tough time. My friend was simultaneously making a list of the youth at church that would be availble to take up a post for next year. After the guy was gone, we all said we’d be praying for him. Consequently two youths came and chatted to us for a bit, turned down the posts that were offered to them as they didn’t want to work with old people or children, and left. After they were gone, my friend asked if she should add them to–

Now I thought she was going to say a prayer list, so I said very flippantly: “oh yeah, we need to pray for them too”. She laughed, and added them to the list of posts for next year anyway.

Now that comment might not seem that bad, but in hindsight I can see why that would come across as a bit High and Mighty. Ironically, it showed that I need prayers more than them. I’d hate to turn into those Christians who always see the bad in everyone else before seeing the things that need to change in themselves.

These things I need to pray for. Jesus wouldn’t act like I do. At all.

Pray for me; and I’ll pray for you.

xXx

I’ve Never Sinned in My Life

I just wanted you to know
that she was a harlot
was, is and will forever be
because I wasn’t her only one.

Yep, I ‘ve heard a lot about her antics,
how she wears tight skirts in church
and blush on her cheeks
and eyeliner, perfect
like an Egyptian
so that she stands out
like a star amongst the pews

So it wasn’t my fault that I took her
because she had forced my hands
to touch her in that way
with her base, blatant seduction
a modern day Delilah
transforming Church into Sodom and Gomorrah

Just remember this:
It was her sin. Not mine.
Pray that she begs God for forgiveness
and understand her place as a woman:
silent, subjective, humble
and pure. Let her stay in the back
whilst the men discuss her habits
in business meeting.

So next time you see me on the pulpit
giving my sermon,
feel sorry for me
because I was tricked into playing her game.
Remember that I am an upstanding man
and that I give double my tithes
and I help clean the church
and I wear the best suit in the house.

When you see me take my seat
next to my wife and my children,
remember
that I’ve never sinned in my life.

Text for the Day

From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did.

That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day.

Don’t even run little errands that reconnect with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time–remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!–into God’s way of doing things.

Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God. What Is True Freedom?

Romans 6:11-14, The Message.