More Sugar Please

Buzzing flies 

Brown 

Soft steamy shit

It will taste better if I add some sugar

I’ve heard about polishing terds….

But would I eat it?

 

Why don’t I consider a healthy alternative?

Is there real safety in being conservative?

Why do I swallow what shouldn’t be et?

Anything other considered a threat!

 

It was good enough for Grandpa its good enough for Me!

From the inside it is difficult to see 

From the outside it looks absurd

Really?

Are you swallowing a terd?

 

A few things have inspired these “dark” verses. I call them dark because I am conscious of how my words are received – “Why are you so negative Tapman!” The thing is, for me , this poem is a positive – a bit like working in the garden doing the weeding – a job that I wouldn’t particularly enjoy, but worth doing in the end. In my mind I had Christianity as a religion in my mind as I wrote this poem – the overriding question being, why do we continue to swallow stuff that is unwholesome and in the long run, as unhealthy as a diet of faecal matter?

The last verse gives us a clue – from the inside it is difficult to tell. It also comes to a point where it is almost impossible to fess up – a bit like the Emperor with the invisible clothes, the embarrassment of being fooled for so long so great that it is much easier to pretend all is well – except for that annoying child that pipes up and tells the Emperor he is naked.

Perhaps that is why I am seen as being negative – I see myself with the task of pointing out our nakedness…which is a postive, is it not?

Slavery is an example of where I am coming from – slavery is not only condoned by biblical writers but it is enshrined in law – Not only in the Old Testament, but in the New it is listed as a created order together with Husbands and Wives, Children and parents……masters and slaves. Although there is still slavery in existance in our world, it is generally accepted that slavery is a sin….it is wrong. How do we deal with that? My poem exposes the method by which we do this –  we add sugar to it. “Slavery in the Old Testament was different to what it is today” “It provided for needy families” “It provided for their eventual release” etc etc

By doing this we avoid the Elephant in the room and we continue to interpret the Bible in ways that do harm and damage to people. We fail to see that scripture, has to be read with a sense of responsibility and cultural attrocities not attributed to God. These same mistakes we continue for Gay people, for women, for people of other faiths and probably other things that I can not think of right now. But these are not the things I was thinking about when I wrote this poem – I was thinking about something far more to the heart of what we believe as Christians.

The other day I read a blog post that explained Old Testament sacrifice in a favourable light, while at the same time comparing it to the attrocities of an ancient Inca religion which also made sacrifices to God. I wondered – why is it that we need to sugar coat the religious system of sacrifice – and also importantly, what is the consequence of us doing this?

I can understand why we do this – this is our Faith – it is important to us. God is a God of love, and had a salvation plan for us in Jesus. The Old Testament pointed to Jesus as a fulfillment of these sacrifices as a once and for sacrifice for our sins. So I can understand why we feel the need to sugar coat the horrible nature of Old Testament sacrifice. What might be the consequence if we face head on the attrocities before us, not sugar coating them and not swallowing them as they are? I think this is the path that we all need to follow.

Jesus reveals to us what God is like – not the other way round. We tend to think that God and Jesus are one and the same thing – the Old Testament notions of God are the same as Jesus – what if Jesus reveals to us what God is like?  I think this is a key to facing this and other issues.

The sacrifice and shedding of innocent blood is terrible practice – abhorrent. What other adjectives can I think of, disgusting, putrid, cowardly – God is not into such practices. The practice of sacrifice by the Israelite community was the same abhorrent practices as with other cultures through out history – following the same scapegoating principles as each other. Disgusting and childish religion. Jesus identified with the “Lamb” that was slain, he became the innocent victim.

We see this easy enough and we stop here – a sacrifice made so that we can be saved. But we can not stop there, we need to see the disgusting, abhorrent, putrid shit like principles in play that placed Jesus on that cross. If we don’t see this we will continue in the same pattern of scapegoating, the same patterns that sacrifice innocent lives……………… and Jesus death/murder will not teach us much. The Kingdom that was an integral part of Jesus teaching will remain in the distant future and not “near” as it should be.

The Gospel is reduced to “Jesus being sacrificed to appease a God who will throw us into hell unless his wrath is appeased” which really is no different to any other religion – only the sacrifice is supposedly better and more able to appease the oncoming wrath. The smell and odour disguised by the sugar of bad theology.

A guy called James Alison made a comment about the word sacrifice that impacted me – When Solomon was asked to make a decision about which woman was to get the infant which two mothers claimed to be their own. The woman that gave up her child made a “sacrifice” so that the child could live – the other woman was willing to “sacrifice” the child so that the other woman wouldn’t get it. The word sacrifice can be used to explain both actions……………..can  you see what I am getting at?

By our sugar coating of Jesus sacrifice we make an incorrect use of  the term sacrifice, as in the example provided by Alison above. We implicate that God is trapped by his own need for vengeance and justice that he needs to act in violence towards himself. Jesus is indeed a “sacrifice” but the word needs to be understood in a new way – the way of God’s new Kingdom – God exposes the human need to scapegoat and sacrifice as a “terd”…mankind wants to sugar coat it and make it a religious ritual to appease a God of Wrath. Jesus is indeed a sacrifice and Jesus did die for our sins – but Jesus also shows us what God is like – while violent men, corrupt political and religious systems humiliate, torture and murder him…He forgives. God is not, and never has been a God of wrath and violence – it is not God’s wrath we are saved from but ours -which has huge implications for the world right now! Not just in in the world to come. Imagine a world redeemed in which we don’t scapegoat other people, a world in which love, forgiveness and peace are promoted over violence and hate. This is the Kingdom that Jesus preached about, the Kingdom that we are to grow in this world, the one we pray for in the Lord’s prayer….may your Kingdom come.

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Comments
2 Responses to “More Sugar Please”
  1. Tracy Adams says:

    Food for thought Tapio – not the terd burger variety, but some very meaningful insightful reflections.

    • Tapman says:

      Cheers Tracy – this is where my thoughts are at the moment – I think the Gospel and its implications are far wider and..better than imagined.

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