There was a version of god that got shoved down my throat. He was a he. A very big he. Strong, muscular, like one of those super heroes that can wreak havoc with one gust of his breath. He carried those pitch-fork like three-pronged spears on the end of a long stick. He could point down from heaven and strike lightning with just the flex of his finger. His eyes were dark black pools of nothingness that reflected a roaring fire within. He wore a crown of thorns on his head. He was half robed, like a Greek or Roman emperor; the robe stopping above the knee, revealing the might and power of his thighs and calves. He wore sandals, strapped onto feet that created earthquakes when he walked.
He spoke, we trembled.
He took a step, we froze.
He breathed, we disintegrated into nothingness.
This god you did not mess with. Not even a little bit.
You bowed, you submitted, you emptied your pockets. Your keys, your cell phone, your money, even the tiny balls of lint. You came clean because if he found out and you hadn’t told him first, all hell broke loose.
You handed everything over. Your emotions, your body, your thoughts, especially your ability to think for yourself. You gave it all away, because he supposedly owned it anyway.
You begged. You crawled on your hands and knees, clawing at the dust, pulling out your hair, wailing with remorse for all the ways you fucked it up. Crying out for forgiveness, mercy, a pardon, to let you off the hook just this one more time.
You held your hands high above your head, wrists overlapping, your chin dropping to your chest, gaze lowered, the quintessential posture of guilt and shame. Pre-empting the verdict that you are nothing. You screwed it up. You failed. You backslid. You looked in the wrong direction. Thought an unclean thought. Smiled at the devil.
Your crime? Being you. The verdict? Eternal condemnation to hell.
There was nothing you could do to change this.
Except one thing.
Believe the unbelievable.
It didn’t matter if it made sense or not. Don’t forget, faith is believing in that which can’t be seen.
It’s called blind faith on purpose.
Just say Yes, without really knowing what you’re saying Yes to.
Say No to drugs and Yes to Jesus.
It was really that simple.
Drink the kool-aid and ye shall be saved.
Swallow the pill whole, and thou shalt be whole.
It was as if my head was held back, my hair tied in a tight gasp around the wrists of the deacons and pastors. My body frozen by the onlooking gaze of the women wearing ankle length skirts, covering their slips, covering their white cotton undergarments, protecting their purity.
They thought I was the witch, yet their condescending trance-like stares kept me firmly in place.
As I was fed.
Poured and shoved down my throat.
Like medicine. It was supposed to be good for me, but tasted so god-damn awful.
Because that’s what you do. Because, ‘maybe it’s me that’s the crazy one here’. Because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to breathe.
My dutiful act of accepting Jesus into my heart complete, I am released. Free to carry on waving the flag, convert the masses, pretend that this is all OK.
This version of god dissolves into my bloodstream. Like a fluorescent dye, a marker so I will be known in the kingdom. And so the night patrol can find me and reign me back in if I try to escape after curfew.
It runs through my veins, and then settles in in my core, pooling in my gut, hardening into a lump of lead.
Like a sucker punch. Except I’ve been hit from the inside out.
And that’s when I want to vomit. Get this thing out of me. It is not of me. It is not me. And yet it lives inside me.
This poison that I have been forced to swallow, consuming my being.
Help! How do I cleanse myself now? What do I do when the very thing that is supposed to wash me white as snow has colored me black.
How do I go back? How do I return to a place of choice? How do I remember how to use my voice?
They tried to control me with the brute force of god. Guess what? I can control even harder.
I can swallow this god, just as you like, and then throw him back up.
You thought you had me wrapped around your little finger. And yet there I was, a rebel disguised as you. A wolf clothed in sheep’s clothing. I needed you to accept me, let me break bread with you. I needed you to guarantee I had a ticket to heaven, until I could get there on my own.
If you really knew me, saw me as I am, you would run, scared, frightened. But you knew that. So you frightened me instead.
I drunk what you offered, and became drunk.
I can see clearly now.
You don’t own God. You can’t force god on me. I’m not swallowing what doesn’t taste good anymore.