Wednesday, June 16, 2010
YAMBAR HAS THOUGHTS ON MINISTRY
When people ask me about my life in the ministry, I always question their motives.
If they are just being a gossip-encrusted nibby-nose, then I tell them that their wife looks hot and that I'm drunk. This usually shakes them off and gives them something to talk about behind my back. I've never had the benefit of any extended outreach of compassion from these types. Gossips are lower than murderers. They get off on killing people as many times as possible and watching others suffer. This turns them on. They are perverts and sadists.
If they are referring to my vocational association to some denominationally sanctioned community gathering, I tell them that I am way too busy being a bad example to join the roster.
I don't want to be the one to rock the canoe when I stand up to pee off the side. I have a difficult time doing a wee wee in an officially labeled plastic milk jug shared by others. There are no decent rest stops along the rapids. I have a big problem with dramatic leadership that constantly wants to instruct others in the boat on how to crash it into the only boulder sticking out of the water in front of them. I have the gift of sight. Every time I use it, it costs me big-time.
Let's get a few things out of the way before I go any further: I've been a Christian (by intelligent choice) since 1978. I was raised Roman Catholic and have seriously explored Buddhist philosophy, Taoism, and Jewish and Islamic religions. I've studied mystery sects, natural science cults, and books on the occult. I've read Playboy and The New Yorker. While there are elements of truth in all of the above, none shows the way clearer and offers big-picture concrete answers like the straight-up, undiluted teachings of Jesus Christ. If this offends you then... GOOD. I'm not about to apologize for investing decades of my life in the search for absolute truth and meaning while living in this shit-for-brains society of primal savagery we call the human race.
When we allow ourselves the opportunity to look beyond our stupid species and at the world itself, it is nearly impossible to not see that there is too much order and design on every level. Where there is order and design, there is thought and imagination. Where there is thought and imagination, there is personality and purpose. Where there is personality and purpose, there are answers...and meaning. Absolutes and identity.
I've spent my entire life looking for an excuse to leave the Christian life. I put my belief and research to the test constantly, looking for refinement and better clarification. I remain a Christian, a follower of Christ. Sadly, the best reasons I've found for leaving are Christians themselves. I understand that nobody is perfect and that being a part of ANY group entitles you to no higher intelligence than those who don't. Everyone is flawed and everyone is learning. I always grade on a curve and try to look at things from another perspective beyond myself. But honestly, some of these people are god damn idiots! Embarrassments to every living and dead thing around them. Some of them, certainly not all of them, are the worst representatives of ultimate truth in the universe. There are more acts of mindless, self-serving crime being committed in the name of Christ now than ever before.
The Jesus of the West is sure not the one from the East where He actually walked upon the earth. When I read the passage where Jesus was praying in the garden to His heavenly Father prior to being tortured as the sacrifice for mankind, I am always moved by His willingness to go through it in spite of me. He knew the horror and pain He would suffer as a mortal man. I sometimes wonder if His real pain was caused by some glimpse of those in the future who would turn His gift into an excuse to hoard, lie, cheat, and hate in His name. Those who would screw their own children and beat their wife at home and act as a Deacon on Sunday morning.
I've been called "hurt and bitter." I've been called "judgmental and arrogant." I've been called "dangerous." Well, they got the dangerous part right. An honest man is a dangerous one. When I was in the traditional "suit and tie" sector of Western Christianity, I tried to play by the rules of the gang and stay in favor with the powers that be. I spent endless hours listening to people's problems, most of which could be solved if they'd just stopped doing what they were doing. I got scolded for being too frank with the youth and too modern with the elderly. If I did community outreach work to raise adult awareness about HIV and drum up some funds for local AIDS Hospice, then somehow it got twisted into my passing out condoms to school-age children. REALLY HAPPENED! My writing for the Simpsons comics and being an artist who wouldn't do free utilitarian work for the amazingly shitty Christmas play made me an anarchist responsible for the fall of America. Stating that the events of 9-11 were not the end of all time and space and simply meant that the U.S. had just entered the global community where terrorism is a constant way of life... you get the picture. The list goes on forever. The leadership always caused the most trouble. They never could shut up and get a functional education. There were days in traditional church ministry where my single greatest joy was letting out the loudest fart possible as I pooped in the metal echo-chamber bathroom next to the front office. Man, was that location amazingly loud!
I witnessed great acts of human compassion, too. There were plenty of folks willing to move out of their comfort zones and do what was most important in God's eyes: feeding the poor, clothing the naked, and taking care of the orphan, widow, and homeless. Stuff that actually mattered and earned you the right to share the faith. Silent evangelism with moving hands that physically fed in the here-and-now while making the human heart hungry for a taste of something even sweeter in the future. Actions that do not get you on the evening news or on the cover of Rolling Stone.
I live in the desert these days. Outside of the church-city. I work on whatever I put my hands to do with happiness and inner satisfaction, knowing that there is no separation between the sacred and the secular. I speak in a manner that is vulgar and funny. I always have special prizes inside of everything I do and am usually unconscious as I add what comes perfectly naturally. My "box" has no walls and, therefore, no ceiling. All I have is a solid foundation where I can run and explore with confidence in any direction that pleases me. I make great coffee. And I have just enough "proper anger" to stand my ground in any season, knowing that someday someone else will be leaving the city and coming out into the wilderness to seek something deeper than the printed page and the scowl given for asking. I await to assist. The post-modern desert shifts all the time and is ever-changing. I remain steadfast and eager to show the thirsty where the water winds beneath the sand in the secret places.
Don't understand what I'm talking about? Great. Let's go talk about it (and anything else) over some pie and coffee. Maybe some BBQ. Your dime. That's my ministry field. Friendship and relationships.
P.S.: Feel free to file my denominational association under "OTHER." I'm a "deconstructionist" by trade.
"All I've got is three chords, a red guitar, and the truth." - Bono