So I just got my first hate mail. And it was for writing a poem about the bible. Go figure. I was trying to explore the character of Job's wife whose only recorded words are "Bless God and die" (mistranslated later as "curse God and die"). Those are the words of a devastated broken-hearted woman. And what woman wouldn't be who had lost all ten of her children at once?
I was also writing the poem from my own experience as a woman who had lost two babies through miscarriage, both due to toxins in the water supply. After the first baby died, I had a D & C in the hospital under anesthesia. When they woke me I began weeping uncontrollably. They sent a nun in to me who held my hand and told me not to cry because Jesus had wanted my baby. I said angrily (only because I was still woozy from the drugs. Normally I would have just thought it.) "He didn't want it as much as I did!" So let's talk about God and Jesus and all those things I normally avoid because belief is such a deeply personal thing.
I believe in God. I believe that God is, first and foremost, love - my love for my family and friends, their love for me, and also my love of the stunning beauty of the world around me. These things are God's grace in my life, helping me get through the things that would seem otherwise unbearable. What I don't believe is that God put toxins in the Williamsburg, VA water supply to kill my babies as a test or because Jesus wanted them. God made the water and the air, but man poisoned it.
Now lets talk about Jesus. I was raised going to church in that habitual not-deeply-felt Presbyterian way. I was baptised, I wore a gold cross through my teens, my mother read me the bible sometimes (and I cried my head off when Joseph's very mean brothers threw him in the pit). It was simply a part of my life. But then people started to tell me that unless I believed that I was born in sin and that Jesus Christ died on the cross for that sin (of being normally procreated and born to a woman) and if I didn't accept Him as my personal savior, I was going to burn in Hell. Scary stuff, so I tried. I went to church and prayed hard to God and Jesus to show me the way. They never did. So I remain what the right-wing Christians would call a "Universalist." And I've stopped going to church because it no longer seems that church wants me.
But here's what I do know and believe about Jesus. He was a beautiful man who preached love and the loving particularly of one's enemies. In the parables, he taught us about the Good Samaritan (Samaritans and Jews despised each other) who took in the beaten Jew when the priest and the Levite left him to die on the side of the road. If Jesus were walking down a road today and saw, let's say, a beaten gay man (Matthew Shepherd or any of the other poor boys who died recently), he would have stopped and taken him tenderly into his care, put balm on his wounds, and tended him back to health with love.
If there is a Devil, it is hatred. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." I will try to follow his example; to not hate, even those who are hateful, and to walk this Earth in the grace of kindness and love, which I believe is the hand of God in our lives.