How is it that the pendulum can swing so far right thanks to the bluster coming out of the mouths of those who are so sure that they are God's spokespeople? Unless you've been fully distracted by the Casey Anthony debacle (and it seems seems much of the country was), you may not know that Texas Governor Rick Perry is organizing a Christian-only prayer rally for Aug. 6 at a Houston sports stadium. Forget about questioning the fact that this is commingling religion with government, it is extremely disturbing that he is having some of the most homophobic, hate-filled speakers as part of his gathering.
What I find fascinating in all of this is that those who wouldn't be invited to this rally because they are considered "part of Satan" since they are gay, according to Michele Bachmann, still yearn to be a part of the Christian world. This is very clear in "Raw: A Poetic Journey" published by NuWine Press, edited by Aimée Maude Sims with a foreword by musical artist Jennifer Knapp. "Raw" is a collection of writing by people from a variety of backgrounds, races, denominations and (gasp!) sexual orientations. Poet Tricia Lea Douglas writes, "I have finally accepted that I can be both a Christian and a lesbian."
Well, sadly, that isn't the case with many of the fundamentalists who believe that they are the true interpreters of the Bible. Yet, while reading the poems of this collection, in which one poet writes about thinking of God as mother, I couldn't help but consider how we often create a Supreme Being in our minds, hearts and souls in order to justify what we want to believe. We often cling to the Bible verses that validate our beliefs and try to explain away the rest. The reason being is that we cannot make sense of many of these verses or cannot rationalize how they contradict each other, so we pick and choose and base our faith on what we want to believe, whether one is liberal or fundamentalist.
(Full disclosure: Aimée, the editor, approached me for help in promoting her book and then asked if I'd write a blurb for the back cover. I don't know if she'd read any of my other posts here, such as "My God Can Beat Up Your God" or "Being Skeptical," but I was cool with writing something for this book. Even though I don't claim any particular faith any longer, and even consider myself an agnostic, I take issue with those who make themselves judge and jury in the name of their God. Therefore, it was my desire to support this book's message. It's a message I'd rather share than the message of those spouting ignorance and hatred.)
Aimée writes, "Raw calls the Christian church back to its purpose as a place of healing, not wounding. It sends a message that faith trumps bigotry -- and in the process helps each of us own our identity and live with purpose."
Purpose. That's an interesting word. I suppose when it comes right down to it, we'd all like to have a purpose, a reason for being here. Yet, when some are told that they aren't what God intended, the pain is, well, raw, their purpose ostensibly less so. The poems in this book express this thought beautifully.
In the last sentence in the blurb that I gave "Raw," I write, "If these individuals can find the strength to believe -- then perhaps we all can." Perhaps, yes, but certainly not in the God that Rick Perry and his ilk believe. Yet, it does seem that no matter whom we are and what we believe -- moderate or extreme -- we tend to create a version of God to support those beliefs.