Tag Archives: proselytizing

Cannon fodder: an ottava rima

Praise the Lord and birth more cannon fodder!
Perpetuate our species, one and all!
Salvation’s army needs our sons and daughters;
don’t fret, you may reclaim them when they fall.
Desist from that sad mewling! ‘Tis not slaughter!
They fight to keep the heathens from the wall.
As goes the battle, so will go the war –
until our children won’t march anymore.

04 APR 2013

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The Camp Meeting

“This town needs a revival,” I heard some sure person say
at the supermarket just the other night.
I thought about replying, but instead just walked away;
no point in telling people that they’re right.

There’s at least 50 churches in the just under two miles
between the store my driveway, I think.
It may be old time religion is now coming back in style,
but the water isn’t what we want to drink.

We know we’re headed straight for self destruction;
hell, any fool with half a mind knows that:
we’re dumbing down our children’s school instruction,
and becoming lazy, mean and fat.

“I put my faith in Jesus,” I heard an old-timer say
while co-signing a check down at the bank.
I thought about a comment, but instead just said, “good day;”
sarcasm would have likely drawn a blank.

This town is full of lawyers, and their practices are booked
from now until the final judgment comes
with people suing people, calling other people crooks;
attorney’s fees are quite a tidy sum.

We know we’re headed straight for immolation;
hell, any fool could see the flames by now:
we’re reveling in ignorance and mental masturbation
and evolving into our own sacred cow.

“This town needs a revival,” with a sad shake of the head,
the lady at the market firmly spoke.
I thought about replying, but kept my mouth shut instead;
you can’t fix something you can’t see is broke.

There’s at least 10 or 20 in each church’s parking lot
on Sundays between nine a.m. and noon;
by early afternoon the sermons all have been forgot:
but at least we’re all humming the same tune.

We know we’re headed straight for real damnation;
hell, only a blind fool would disagree:
and all that we can do is suffer through the situation
watching it play-by-play on the TV

We know we’re headed straight down to perdition;
hell, any fool could see the end is near.
It’s lucky that we’re not to blame for this sad world’s condition;
let’s praise the Lord and have another beer.

14 FEB 2007

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What’s the Point?

What’s the point? I want to ask
the Mormons on their bikes,
who leave their own nice neighborhoods
to share the view they like
that they are sure contains the answers
to what’s wrong with us,
and don’t mind spending hours
on the front porch. We discuss
the book they’re peddling, free of charge,
the origins of man,
how God moves in an unseen way,
while we do what we can.

Their exposition on their faith
leaves me, at length, unmoved;
while my opinion on the universe
remains unproved,
at least, to them, because my book
has either not been writ,
or none have yet to take a look,
or maybe, it’s bullshit.

My entire life has been like that:
I understand their plight;
despite my great attempts to speak out
where I think I’m right,
the bottom line is no one listens;
no one gives a damn;
the world wants nothing of the truth,
and who I think I am
to people out there, on the streets,
is of no great concern.
They’d neither light a fire to warm me,
nor piss so I’ll not burn.

So in the end, who gives a f**k
about some grand design,
about nirvana or great bliss,
my neighborhood’s, or mine?
F**k new ideas, f**k advance,
f**k thinking for yourself;
f**k listening to the cosmic dance,
f**k those books on your shelves.
F**k gurus, mantra, holy books,
f**k pilgrimmage and prayer,
f**k hours of meditation,
f**k all gods who aren’t there.

F**k cities, f**k the small towns, too;
f**k hypocrites and saints;
f**k those who swear there’s something else,
f**k those who say there ain’t.

F**k friends who never call,
and those who won’t leave you alone;
f**k every last iconoclast,
f**k every single clone,
f**k me, and then go f**k yourself
and when you’re finished there
f**k those too f**ked to give a damn
and f**k those left who care.

‘Cause what’s the point? You live,
you die — that’s it this time around?
A sack of meat that keeps a pulse?
That doesn’t seem profound
enough to build religions on,
or claim some higher cause;
why bother with psychiatry
to correct minor flaws
when the whole purpose seems to be
just feed and breed and die,
and in between kill off those
who don’t like your reason why.

F**k war. F**k peace.
F**k those who think
that either one can fix
a world where children are shot down
by raving lunatics.
F**k newscasts, f**k those on-the-scene
reports that never say
each one of us played some small part
in how we got this way.
F**k schools, if all they try to teach
is how to get along,
the best fraternity to join,
or how to load a bong.
F**k infancy, f**k youth,
and you can f**k the middle aged,
who somehow act as if they’ve turned
to some important page
of life, and yet prize youth and beauty;
as if they’re still there,
despite the fat around their waists
and gray now in their hair.
F**k getting old and being old,
used up and of no use
except to buy up scooter chairs
and suck down carrot juice.

F**k Democrats, Republicans
and anyone who spouts
it’s not their fault the world is f**ked
or they’ve got a way out.

‘Cause what’s the point, I ask
because I’d really like to know;
I’d like to teach the world to sing
and tell it what I know
Not because “it’s my duty,
for the Bible tells me so,”
but because it seems so pointless
to just live, and go,
without affecting anyone,
or causing them to think
about the reasons that we’re here,
and why in this small blink
that is human existence,
why we bother to believe,
and when no one will listen
why the thinking man must grieve.

08 OCT 2006

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The Camel in the Room

Tonight, I answered questions
from a survey-taking girl
who wished to know where I weighed in
on God’s place in the world.
The purpose for the questions
seemed to me a bit unclear;
more fodder for pro-Christian ranting
or control, I fear,
but I took part, and did my best,
although the answers seemed
to only fit such a small range
of my spiritual scene.
She asked after my parents,
and the job I thought they did;
if moral guidance and the Bible
formed me as a kid.
I told her it was by example
that my parents taught;
they did not spell out right and wrong,
and certainly did not
expect that I would blindly follow
their belief or creed,
but rather taught integrity
and finding what you need.
It’s odd – responsibility
seemed not to be a part
of the survey; I guess
that would put horse after the cart.
Instead, did I attend a church,
or pray, or fellowship,
believe that Jesus Christ had sinned?
At that, my kindness slipped,
and I said, how would I know that?
I never met the man;
he lived two thousand years ago.
And if you think you can
believe what’s printed up in books
and sold like blessed snake oil,
there’s not much hope for anyone
escaping evil’s coil.
I strongly disagree that evil
is personified
beyond the selfish, clutching hands
who prey on those outside
the mainstream, where the status quo
dictates that blame be found
in others first, before yourself.
You seek God? Look around
and make the world a better place
by caring for more than
your own private and shallow soul.
Try that on, if you can.

Whose God? Whose Bible?
Whose church service
would you have me grace,
when everyone I meet has
good and evil in their face?

Truth is a pathless land;
it wanders beyond black and white.
To posit otherwise is like
a blind man, in the night
giving directions to a man
who cannot hear a word.
One’s map is forged, the others’ blank;
both seem a bit absurd.

12 JUL 2005

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In my inbox this morning

(edited slightly for content and privacy)
Hey:

I like you train of thought. I was in church this christmas eve to see my little girl in a play. I heard the preacher talk about Jesus (you know the one from Nazereth), being the “Prince of peace”. I thought you know this just dosen’t seem right. I mean all throughout history people, mainly governments have used his name to cause suffering, misery and conflicts all over the world. I wonder what he would think about that?

Any way, I thought of creating an orgainization called x For the purpose of promoting peace worldwide. Not a religious organization. God is Good Religion is Evil pretty much sums up my religious beliefs.

I have some really good ideas on how to make the organization grow exponentially and really making a differance. Would you be interested in working with me in this endeavor?

x

(and here’s my response, again slightly edited)

Dear x:

While I am flattered that you think my participation in any organization devoted to the purpose of world peace might be useful, I am sorry I must decline. At this point in my life, I feel that organizations really make little difference if the individuals who comprise them have not “made their peace” with themselves and their immediate surroundings first. After all, of what good is a hypocrite who attends peace rallies and then goes home and grumbles about how loud his neighbor’s stereo is, or yells at his dog? I think you get the point. All the organizations in the world will not do what is required, which is to change each single mind, one at a time? What that requires is that each individual who is interested in peace act peacefully — and from that small ripple in the pond, echoes emanate endlessly to all shores. That is the exponential growth that is needed, I think. To start with an organization, no matter how noble its intentions, that does not have as its core that basic belief — that individuals, not organizations, make the difference, is to pursue the wrong means, at least for me. And the means must justify the ends — after all, they define it if, as in my life, the journey, not the destination, is the whole point of existence.

As for the Prince of Peace … I have often wondered why such a prince would require such an extensive army. That seems to defeat the purpose. After all, peace-keeping is NOT peace-making. It is only punishing hatred with the threat of reciprocal, impassionate violence. And THAT surely is not Peace.

Thank you again for your kind words. I wish you well in your endeavors.

Happy Holidays.

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Fun with Bicycling Evangelists

Ah, I must admit that I admire their dedication. I wonder, however, that their missionary zeal carries them out into wild, uncharted areas at the edge of their map before they have taken their message to their direct neighbors. I speak, of course, of the dedicated young men in the bicycle messenger trade of the Church of the Latter Day Saints.

You may find it amusing that these gentlemen in cheap suits and humidity-limp shirts would wander to my doorstep in their proselytizing. They are different from the old African-American women peddling Jehovah as his Witnesses. To these, who hand out Watchtowers on such subjects as fraud, I can offer short comments like, “Hmmm … don’t you think it is ironic that you speak to me of fraud, who are taken in by the biggest fraud of them all … that somehow, a lily-white Jesus and his Aryan-seeming friends and apostles/associates would convince you, a child of former slaves who has grown up in the shadow of racism, sexism and poverty, that it is not necessary to seek any kind of heaven here on earth (for that would require wresting it from the hands of rich, white men, I’m afraid), but that your reward shall come in a future paradise, while others reap theirs now … that seems like a pretty clear case of fraud to me, my dear grandmother.” And they pause, and shake their heads, and offer to pray for me, of course, but after I part company with them I am sure they are difficult for their pastors to handle.

Nay, the Mormon lads are of sterner stuff. And still, as I explain to them that mankind is gone astray from (G)od because they refuse to spit out the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, to place their lives, like the sparrow, lion, lamb and lilies of the field in the hands of God, and insist that they have the knowledge of who must die (all who would oppose them) and who must live (man, glorious man, who must have a purpose greater than the jellyfish or hyena). To explain that we are the culture of Cain, the mighty agriculturalist, whose story the Hebrews adopted but did not themselves write, whose meaning they have never quite understood — the Caucasian farmers, who would kill off the hunter gathers and pastoralists, and for each white man slain would return death to the darker races sevenfold. I wonder, as they thank me for my well-thought out and logical explanation, on the spirit that fills their hearts — that glory of righteousness that insists that mankind has a greater purpose than any other species,
and would prove it by claiming some character flaw. ‘Tis not a character flaw, I tell them, but amnesia. That’s why we need prophets and seers. To remind us that we don’t know what we’re doing. And still they seek after the “one true path” that is suitable for all persons, in all times, in all geographic locations. A hyena does not seek to live like a lion; nor does a lion seek to live like a hyena. I tell them this. And I quote them the gospels. And I mention that I admire their bucket of sea water; but it is not the whole ocean, nor does its galvanized rim surround the whole of any truth — only a fragment.

Sadly, they may not visit me again. But they will send others. Those who refuse to live in the hands of the gods, but insist their own hands are divine, always do.

I pray for them. And for the proving ground that is this earth, the mere waystation on the way to greatness that will be consumed by their blundering and self-righteous dominion. I wonder how we managed to last this long, in free fall, thinking in defiance of the laws of gravity and aerodynamics that we have been flying under our own power.

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Hearsay

If they should tell you all the world is full
of evil, and there’s nothing without sin,
that life’s bitter extent is but a test
to grind away transgression from the heart,

the better to prepare your way elsewhere,
or that salvation is beyond our grasp,
enmeshed in esoteric rites and laws
requiring a third party to reveal,

know this: they haven’t listened to the word
that fills the universe with life and breath,
but learned about the sacred second-hand.
And should they tell you that they speak to “God”,

or know “His” plan for you, just smile and nod,
and seek the source if you would know the truth.

13 MAR 2004

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