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Monday, February 8, 2021

Our Task

I can't accept that we are a determined lot,
that truth is whatever we say it is,
that it and morality are ultimately negotiable.

That, if you sum up our electrons and protons and neutrons,
that is all we are.
That consciousness is an illusion,
that mind is too,
so too self.

I was raised to believe in an angry God,
a Judge constant and ever-true,
a Commander, a Parent,
a Captain, a lordly Landlord.
I was raised to believe
that I was fallen,
that I was made of sin,
that my destination was Hell
should I not give every last ounce of being
to this greatest of beings.

I was raised to believe he came to Earth
and was called Jesus,
that he gave us the good word
of forgiveness and compassion,
that he pointed the way for us.
That upon our murder of him
he rose bodily to Heaven.

I was raised to kneel,
to bow my head,
to quiver,
to shake,
to cry and wail,
to keep my nose to the grindstone
and my heart heavy with guilt.
For Jesus loved me,
I was told again and again,
and I needed to love him back,
and that I was ever-failing.

Failing meant jerking off
or cursing;
it meant looking at a beautiful woman
and feeling desire or lust;
it meant supporting her right to choose
for herself what happens to her own body.
It meant not being a herd animal,
not conforming,
not chasing status and wealth,
not hanging around with "the right people,"
not dressing like "a white man."

Failing meant feeling like life was unfair
or not rejoicing that it was;
it meant getting angry at God
for the many and varied injustices heaped upon me;
it meant refusing to accept them without question,
or fighting back against them, or raging at him
for not intervening or helping.

It meant refusing to acquiesce my days and decay meekly
like everybody else,
to notice sunsets well before the winter
of my life;
to dance and sing and think as freely
as I pleased,
to judge others as I saw fit,
to live exactly as I wanted.

Nearly sixty years old,
I can no longer accept that I'm
in any way a failure.
I reject it all,
including that fucked-up rubric.

After decades of abuse and abandonment,
of betrayal and getting stabbed in the back,
of abject poverty,
of crushing loneliness and despair,
of seeing the good ignored or destroyed time and again
while evil is propped up, glorified, and enriched
(most often by those who crow on and on about Jesus
and the Gospels),
of my endless prayers going utterly unanswered,
I have had enough.

If there is a God,
such a being has no ultimate authority
over you or me.
Such a being is profoundly weak,
and is not omnipotent, omniscient, or omnipresent.

Jesus was a man. He lived; he died.
That is all.
If there is a Son of God,
then you are one, and so am I.
Anything less is bullshit.

Being is all.
Conscience is all.
Consciousness--Mind--undergirds all reality.
Our finiteness makes our worth infinite.

Our task:
to build the bridge to the next life,
should there be one,
and from there
build to the ones after that.

Our task:
to get off of our fucking knees
and grow a backbone.

Our task:
to treat others,
not just as we would like to be treated,
but as they would like to be treated too.

Our task:
to recognize that decency is rarer even than kindness,
and to be vessels by which both can be found in abundance.
To have and manifest the enormous courage to do that,
to live it every day, in every way.

Our task:
to recognize friendship as the highest
and holiest form of relationship.

Our task (to sum up):
to grow the fuck up.

Time is running out for us to do so.
God or the Force or the Tao,
or whatever you want to call it,
won't be riding down on a cloud
to save our asses.

That's up to us.