I know I don’t talk to this incarnation of you all that often. It is simultaneously your believers’ actions that push me away and their words that are making me write.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
The Beatitudes. Those are yours, right? Or as close to yours as fallible men could get back in the day? I don’t know what poor in spirit is meant to mean. Depressed? Fallen away from you? I need some clarification, here. The part about mourners is true for the most part. I’m working on helping the meek inherit the earth, here, and I’m pretty sure for some definition of “righteous”, yes, I hunger and I thirst. Am I persecuted because of it? Eh, it’s not easy being a mellow middle-grounder, but I don’t reckon I’m persecuted. That’s the meek.
Peacemaker. Yes, I think so. I certainly don’t want to wage war. I don’t want to sow discord. And I am working on mercy. When is it mercy and when is it letting people get away with things they really ought to fix?
I think I’m reading you with a twist, because when you say “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against me”, God, all I can think of are people who claim to be acting in your name.
Pure in heart.
That’s the trouble with holy books. They don’t come with definitions. Because me, I’m pure in heart by my definition. I have morals and honor and I hold them both dear. I behave. I’m here in the trenches, on my belly, in the mud. I’m dirty according to a lot of Christians. And I’m not sorry, because my priorities do not involve my personal salvation. I keep more gods than you. I could keep more lovers than Eleven if I could find them and we were right together (it can’t be less than both of those). (And I am struggling a little with this crush I have on someone I think is married but can’t tell and don’t want to ask. I admire his mind so much. He’s big and cuddly and wears it so beautifully. Is it lust if you wish you could be with someone, but you couldn’t impugn his honor by trying? Or is that how you made us?)
According to a vast amount of Scripture, I’m going to hell in a handbasket. But God, for the sake of this bright world full of wonder just waiting to be loved, I won’t change. You want your children to cleave to you and that’s a father’s prerogative. I am a daughter grown into a call to “marry myself to the whole wide world and never make her cry.” I will burn. I don’t object. I’ll go to my pyre having upheld my honor.
Other points to consider:
♥ You’re God. Why would you micromanage sexuality if people are being good to each other? Obviously sex in ways that are damaging is on my “big no” list.
♥ that the meek really are the ones you meant to inherit the earth, and with it the strength to make it theirs. Self-determination as a religious calling: probably not what NASW had in mind. Maybe Mother Teresa did? And the Jesuits, who were only human after all, I’m sure they had a healthy mix of good ideas and dodgy.
♥ that it’s righteousness, not self-righteousness. Which, yeah, I come off that way sometimes. Being the resourceful daughter of resourceful daughters, I believe I can turn it around to be useful. Okay, and being the girl who thinks MSF’s log teams are the cool kids.
♥ that it’s kinda egotistical to cry persecution unless and until you are well and truly persecuted. And that one we can define.
♥ that there’s room to correct people who have some seriously messed-up worldviews, but sometimes you have to figure out how to live and let live. Hard. Very hard. I want to teach what I am learning about the nature of love in the world, but there are folks who will take it very badly, so maybe they’re not ready? Maybe they’re meant to get there on their own.
♥ No, seriously. If you’re not micromanaging, the part about fulfilling the law and the Pharisees and how they’re actually great role models is a bit of a misstep. Also, a lot of people are confused about this part.
♥ this is more of a sub-point: the thing about me is that if a law doesn’t make sense to me, and disobedience carries no earthly consequence, I’m going to wear poly-cotton blends. You with me? You can’t say “Hahahaaaa, the righteous are only going to win this game if they follow the rules and the rules are so, so many that it’s all but impossible.” Well, you can, but you’re going to be well disappointed on Judgment Day if you mean it.
♥ Taxes are okay now. They help a lot of those meek you seem to love. Please don’t hate on the IRS.
♥ The punchline to Matthew 5 is apparently “be perfect”, but we were made imperfect. So what’s perfect? As you are? But we have no way of knowing what that is, and given the inconsistencies in this chapter, frankly I’m thinking the bar is pretty low.
I’m a little hungry, miracle of miracles, so I have to find something to nosh because calories are important. If you’re reading this, my family could use a bit of help, but don’t knock yourself out trying if there’s something that takes priority. A lot of people’s families are in much more dire straits.
Thanks for noticin’.