If It Were the Last

Recorta Renova

“Recorta Renova” by Gui Silva is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

 

If It Were the Last

By Jane Tawel

March 26, 2020

About a year ago, before this “WHOLE THING”, you know, before the pandemic that shook the foundations of everyone’s world, I started giving myself little talks about how I should live if this “were the last”.  As an old-school grammarian, I find it best to use the combo of “IF- WERE”, as good grammar used to have it, because using the subjunctive form  ie the hypothetical philosophy of projecting things onto the future of my dreams, desires, or hypotheses suites my worldview best.  And I think especially this idea of using the plural form of a verb implies that this is just a hypothesis – IF – and not a done deal. There could be many things that happen in the future, IF. But I digress…

 

I belong to a particular group of worldview enthusiasts who have this idea that we should live each day as if it could be the last day.  Well, yes, and no.   This “as if it could be your last day on earth” doesn’t really mean you take unacceptable risks with your life or anyone else’s. It also doesn’t mean you waste all your money on a frivolous pursuit or go skydiving if you really hate the idea of falling from any height at all, especially with only an oversized handkerchief inflating above you – hopefully.  But there are many, many good attitudes one can adopt towards oneself and towards others, if we really live as if the end of the, or at least our world could come at any time. Living as if it could all be taken from us  “like a thief in the night”, as  the wise Teacher said, has many advantages.  And doesn’t it seem, really as if this latest thing, this corona virus, has snuck-up on us suddenly and caught us completely unaware with our moral, ecological pants down and our treasures stored away with Wall Street con artists rather than in things that really might last and stand the test of eternity?  Just like a thief in the night, this virus has robbed us of what we were literally banking on and figuratively secure in. Our treasure ended up being stored in plain sight and rather useless and flimsily secured against the thief. Indeed, it seems to make a bit more sense now to meditate on the truth that where our treasure it, there our heart is also.

What I have done over the past year, though is more in the  practical arena than the philosophical.  I have tried to live a more aware and caring life in relationship to the planet I love, and the home I inhabit and love, because long before the virus, I began to realize that I am responsible for how I live my life, my day.  And if I lived my day as if something could be the last of something, then maybe the naysayers are right, and while I wouldn’t exactly save the planet, — I could possibly save my soul. And who knows, maybe just one person or a few persons, doing the right things, doing the moral things, doing the things that need to be done, will save the whole world. After all, it’s been done before.

 

There are a few people in the world who are connecting this horrible pandemic to the ills we have long foisted on our Mother Nature and on the Earth, but it’s hard to hear them when you are afraid you personally are going to die.  But we are all going to die, aren’t we?  Or did we forget that?  But should we be allowed to keep ruining the planet for the people and animals and fruits and vegetables and flowers and insects who want to live after we are dead?  Should that be an option for any one, no matter their age, nation, income, religion, politics, or worldview?  If  nothing else, this whole thing about toilet paper, should surely make some kind of dim light-bulb go on in everyone’s faulty-wired, blinking chandelier. Shouldn’t it?

 

So, as I said, about a year or so ago, I started doing some things as if they were the last – not everything – mea culpa, pleaseforgiveme, really I feel truly sorry and I need to apologize to the future children of the world who hopefully will have a world to inhabit.  But I did start to do some things as if they were the last. And it sort of began, ironically with toilet paper.

 

I have a friend and long, long ago before either of us married or had kids, she told me about how her father would make her, my friend and her five siblings count the sheets of toilet paper they were allowed to take in to do their business in the bathroom.  If their business was the Number 1 kind, then they got two sheets of T.P.  If their business was the Number 2 kind, they got four sheets.  Now, this family was rich, but the dad I guess still believed that even if you are rich, there is no need to waste either money or toilet paper. He also really believed in that old adage of “waste not, want not”.  Might be how he got so rich even with that many kids.  He wasn’t an environmentalist or a religious person at all —  he simply thought that his family should do what he considered to be the right thing to do – for the family.

 

Now – aren’t you wondering if all those people out there hoarding toilet paper for some godforsaken reason or other, are at least, for God’s Sake (and I mean that, For Her Sake), making sure every one is using only enough TP to do their business? Are you a little bit wishing that everyone out there who bought up all the toilet paper will conserve it, use it wisely, not waste it – so that if there really is a shortage, they might be convinced it is in their best interests to share it with the rest of us? Aren’t you hoping that if we really have seen the last of the toilet paper, that people will conserve it and use it wisely?

 

The real question  that I started asking myself about a year ago, and that maybe we all need to ask ourselves as we take a closer look into our own hearts is this –

What am I hoarding or wasting?  And how do I stop doing it?

 

Isn’t is horribly strange that many of us live in nations and cultures who think nothing – NOTHING!—of hoarding or wasting?  We hoard money, we waste food. We hoard space, we waste time. We hoard stuff, we waste relationships.  What kind of insane, unbalanced Society? Community? Culture?  Worldview does those things?  Shouldn’t we have figured out a while back that any group of people who do that for long, won’t exist forever? That any species, any planet that does that for long won’t exist forever? Shouldn’t we have figured out that “like a thief in the night”, death eventually comes and all those things will one day be taken from us? And then what? Have we really become so amoral, so heartless, so short-sighted, that we really don’t care what happens to anyone else after we ourselves die?

I do believe it is important to do the BIG MATH IF’s.  Those are the “If this were my last moment with this person, what would I want them to know?”  or “If this were my last day at work, how would I want my coworkers to remember me?”  or “If tomorrow is Judgement Day, what should I change about myself today?”  Those are good ways to live, indeed, and we should all take more time to live by them, and waste less time on the things that get in the way of the BIG MATH IF’s.  We need to.  BUT – we also need to realize that the LITTLE MATH IF’s  are actually just the yin  of the yang, the flip side of the coin, the reverse view in the mirror of all those BIG IF’S.  What I do with my time  and money– and my metaphoric and literal toilet paper– may some days seem small potatoes to me, but it’s really at the heart of all my Big Worldview Answers to Life’s Big Questions.

 

When I am more aware and mindful of what I do in relationship to the small things around me, things that on a daily basis might seem small in comparison to the Big Things, then I am in fact, doing what humans are truly meant to do as beings with souls and spiritual essence. When I think about how much toilet paper I really need to go Number 1, then I am actually practicing a spiritual discipline in order to form a habit  in order to create a self-sustaining worldview about how important I think a single human being is to the planet, to other people, and possibly even to Whatever, Whoever is Out There in The Universe.

Imagine?! What I do with the small things has endless significance and importance to the Big Things. This is the Butterfly Effect Theory, the small pebble in the shoe of the king or the fork in the road, the drip of water that starts a flood, or the stone that kills a giant. Or maybe the virus cell that changes the heart of the world.

This reminds me of a book I read long ago, and whose title I will riff and satirize here – Imagine – “The Unbearable Lightness of Toilet Paper”.

 

So now for the nitty-gritty.  Here is the way I have tried to change my way of seeing my life, my things, my belief system:  By asking What – If questions about The Last Days. It works for me, a strange nerdy, geeky  lover of Literature and Writing and as a believer in an ancient and ever-evolving worldview that There is Something / Someone Important – more important than I, but also that makes me more important – “Out There”.  Whatever you call that “More Important” thing – please find it – Whether it is your God, your loved ones, your future, your planet, your people – please find that which motivates you to be better than you were yesterday and less better than you hope to live to be tomorrow. I find asking myself these If-Then Questions helps me. I hope they do you, too.

 

  1. If this were my last roll of toilet paper, how much would I use right now to go pee?
  2. If this were my last loaf of bread, how much would I snarf down now and how much would I save for tomorrow or for someone else, and how much would I enjoy each bite while I eat it?
  3. If this were my last light-bulb, would I turn the light off when I didn’t need it? Do I need it on right now?
  4. If I were only allowed a few gallons of water per day to use, how long would this shower be? How would I wash my dishes? How much do my clothes really need to be cleaned? How long would I let the water run to get hot? Or cold?

    How much would I enjoy drinking this glass of water, this cup of tea? How sure would I be to drink it to the dregs and not waste one drop?

  5. If I were only allowed to be on the computer, online, on my cell phone for one hour per day, what would I do with that time? Or if my computer or cell phone was on a timer and if it were left on for ten minutes when no one was in front of it using it, it would self-destruct, would I remember to turn it off when I walked away?
  6. If I had the choice to walk to the store and get all the benefits of being outside moving, to slow down and enjoy the journey, and reduce my carbon footprint just a little bit – would I do it? Don’t I often have that choice, if I’m honest? Shouldn’t I make that choice whenever and wherever I can? What if this were the last time I could use my legs, my eyes, my body to walk somewhere?
  7. What questions can you add? And how can you let those questions inform your choices in order to create habits in order to create character in order to live a more meaningful life?

 

How can we help each other, see the world differently, even after this whole pandemic has, I hope, receded into the past? I am hoping that we do remember, that though this time may pass, and this danger may recede, there is never an end to the real Human Condition. But alas,  there is also  never an end to the dangers to our health and our souls and the dangers to the health and the soul of our planet. Can we ensure, can we plan, can we be practical, can we be in this together, and can we try to also make sure that there is never an end to what we of faith, hope and love, and some good old practical uses and conservation of our stuff and our time — are willing to do to make all things better. Just better. Not perfect, no, but surely, truly, oh please yes — better. Here is to a renewed joy in the journey in this present age and present danger. Here is to many people grasping the “IF I’s” so that the “Then We’s” will thrive for a better brighter and healthier future for everyone – now and for our children’s children’s children.

 

I have long pondered the questions that Cat Stevens raised in his iconic song,  “Moonshadow”.  I am quite partial to my sight and being able to see the world around me and to read books with words and watch my loved one’s faces.  But I confess, I often take my sight for granted for most of the day. I am wrong and wronging, sinful and sinning, and guilty and judged of taking so many, many things for granted. Let’s start with owning up, with confession to each other, and then let’s humbly help each other do better.

 

I had a high school friend who was born without one arm due to her mother’s taking thalidomide before anyone knew it was dangerous. Her poor mom didn’t know, she is guilty of nothing but bad luck. My own mother had an old-school doctor who didn’t believe in giving drugs for natural things like pregnant nausea so that is the reason I and my siblings lucked out. This friend learned to do many amazing things with one arm, and she could actually snap her toes really loudly – a “feat of feet” we all thought pretty cool. She had a great life, married with kids, but I won’t ever let myself think that if she had had a choice, she wouldn’t have chosen to have been born with two arms and hands. So if her mother had known about the dangers of thalidomide, there is no doubt in my mind she would never, ever, ever have taken it for what ailed her.

 

People, we know about the dangers of thinking that we can take whatever we want for what “ails us”. We can not plead ignorance that what we are continuing to do to the planet and to other humans is not dangerous and just as life-changing as if we lopped off all our limbs. We must stop. Change. Turn Around. Make Better Choices. We must ask ourselves the Big Questions and make all the Big People hear us when we ask them to do the Big Things. And we must ask ourselves the small questions and we small people must do all the small things, daily, “never growing weary in doing good”. And then maybe, just maybe, the children of the future will be born with all the advantages for living on this planet that children have always deserved. We must suffer the pains of first-semester nausea, now, while we give up dangerous habits and practices, and we must know that even though child-birth is painful, at the end there is the joy of healthy  birth and thriving life for someone that we suddenly realize — hopefully not too late — someone — our child –that we love more than anything. Someone we would do anything for. Maybe even stop hoarding and wasting toilet paper for?

 

While you are stuck sheltering and maybe feeling irritable or scared today, think about all the things you have right now – at your fingertips, in your sight lines – and yes, these are real physical blessings most of us have as well as metaphors for how we should be more mindful and aware of all our gifts, joys, abilities, etc. We must ask ourselves what it would mean to have them taken from us and what it means about our responsibilities to them, and to each other.

Enjoy and Seize the Importance in what you have today, and if you are willing, enjoy your stuff as if it might all be gone tomorrow. Enjoy and Seize the Importance in the world around you today, and if you are willing, enjoy it as if you were put on the earth to take care of it wisely. Enjoy and Seize the Importance in your time today, and if you are willing, use each moment as if it could be your last. Enjoy and Seize the Importance in your people today and everyone in it, and if you are willing, treat them importantly enough, as if tomorrow you might wake up to find them gone, or they find you are gone. Enjoy and Seize the Importance in your very own life today, and if you are willing, understand solemnly, as true (and if anything is true, this is), as if someday your life will be robbed from you like a thief in the night — so ask yourself — Where shall I store my Treasure? What if this were the last day on earth?

 

If you like, listen to Cat Stevens while you love your life, and I hope, while you begin to use less toilet paper.

 

And back to good grammar, which I guess isn’t a digression after all — If It Were — the Last…… then subjunctively, hypothetically, with all the options still on the table — How Shall We Live Today? Because this is not (yet) a done deal, people. There is hope and a dream for tomorrow — IF?

Image result for image for IF

Oh, I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow, moon shadow, moonshadow
Leapin and hoppin’ on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow

And if I ever lose my hands, lose my plough, lose my land
Oh if I ever lose my hands, Oh if I won’t have to work no more

And if I ever lose my eyes, if my colours all run dry
Yes if I ever lose my eyes, Oh if I won’t have to cry no more

Oh, I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow, moon shadow, moonshadow
Leapin and hoppin’ on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow

And if I ever lose my legs, I won’t moan, and I won’t beg
Yes if I ever lose my legs, Oh if I won’t have to walk no more

And if I ever lose my mouth, all my teeth, north and south
Yes if I ever lose my mouth, Oh if I won’t have to talk

 

 

 

Eat Me — a long poem — by Jane Tawel

A “Warning” I guess:  The following long poem uses an extended metaphor of God eating those who desire to be truly consumed by something other than the current fast food philosophies and religions of our time. As poetry  often attempts, I am attempting to come at Truth from a plethora of various angles and side streets. In this way, some may relate  to readers and “catch” and some may not. Some may now, some may later. In addition, the length of this poem reflects the fact that eating, drinking, thirsting, and food are not only  important, perhaps the most important elements in any culture or human life but are  also used frequently and strongly as metaphor. Various Biblical writers and The Christ himself, use these metaphors, symbols, and even actually use food, wine, water, fasting and feasting as spiritual and religious disciplines and ways of living a truly and completely “Good” human life. God Himself uses food and drink in His own love offerings to us and as symbol and metaphor for our souls.  However, this poem is mostly about the facts that we have forgotten; that God also demands actual food and drink to others less fortunate, and the metaphoric subsistence of our souls in our required sacrifices to Him.

 

Eaten

By Jane Tawel

February 1 – March 15, 2019

 

The incremental decay of our belief

Festering by now

Bacteria-laden and rotten

At the bottom of the maggoty worship mount;

With all the slaves that Abraham left behind below;

While Abe and Isaac took the food and water with them;

Becoming themselves, holy Food

To be eaten by God.

 

As we offer the unholy, unwholesome sacrifices

Of our unearned bucks and gamey games, poached and rotting

On the idol-strewn pews, while we,

Rancid, perfumed meat praying next to our hunting guns,

gorge on pilfered blessings.

And while we bless our own bought bounty in the

 bistros of our imagined coziness with God —

–Judah and Ishmael wander in the wilderness,

Famished for meaning and manna.

As our corpses engorge themselves on the

More-ness of our filched American Idols,

The “ingodwetrust” religion of corporation-run focus groups

Feels angry and afraid that those hungry for righteousness

Stand outside our alarm-strewn kitchen windows looking in;

Making the bile of our chosen status rise up at the

Less-ness of their browned and stewing children.

When all we really ingodwetrust in, is the unbiblical belief

That pagans should not abort.

It is so easy to digest the unborn,

Never having to see their open maw-ed mouths,

Hungry for the least little lint lining our pockets.

The unborn are untested and untasting of

the confections of our capitalistic constitutions.

But we, pampered and as eyeless as new taters, deliver

 far too many chemically modified tots.

 

 

Our humanistic individually wrapped soul-food

worships the laden self-shelfs packed full and breaking under the burden of

too many, too much, too useless – our – us—

–Healthy-wealthy leftovers.

We have no other cause than

Refusing the aborted ones to follow

The Pie-ed Piper to Nirvana,

While the planet sags

Like a bag of rotting bananas

No-longer fit for consumption by even us devolving apes.

 

We now seek exile from a world we fumigated

One indulgence at a time,

While we stood by and witnessed to our own weight gain.

So empty are the containers of our hearts, that

 truly hungry exiled nations have to bomb us to get our attention;

Or be served up as appetizers teasing us in our slobbering anticipation

of an imagined heavenly meal, they aren’t invited to share.

Oh, the finger foods of Jesus’ hors d’oeuvres are now

Outside the work of our idle idolized own tastes.

 

And The World says daily, “Bite me”.

And so, we do;

Taking bites from the rotten core of that same apple.

It is so easy to deny the 6 million and more and more, and more

Of That Good Man’s Relatives;

Killed by a Church that claims a Jew’s death paid it all.

He didn’t. He couldn’t.

Your check is still outstanding.

And you don’t get to keep the Server’s tips

Without serving it up as the Server did.

 

As I ratchet up my worldly consumer debts,

How can I claim that somehow, Someone paid for my final funeral feast

before I actually die?

That kind of fast food will kill you, one heart attacked at a time.

You can’t pay for the funerals of people who just won’t die.

 

God has to kill you before He can consume you. Ask Isaac.

God won’t eat meat with blood still in it,

Ask Moses and the Levites.

I must spill my blood, as The Son did;

Before I can be eaten;

Making myself a tender, “well-done, good and faithful” meat

worthy to meet my Maker.

 

Like Elisha’s widow, uncircumcised, unknown,

I ask with understandable fear of the fire, nonetheless, I ask:

 “Can You? Will You?

Test me? Taste me?

Multiply the oil that simmers me?

Ah!  My God and my Chef–Use the meager ingredients of my soul

And add Your anointed oil,

So that You might eat me.”

 

Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray the Lord, my soul to eat

If I should wake before I die

I pray to be God’s apple pie.

 

God, forgive my poor table manners,

Thinking that I don’t even need to bother to take Isaac up the hill

Since Jesus #lovesmethisIknow.

I won’t clean my unholy mouth with the serviettes of serving the Savior,

Oh no!

Oh, no we have stopped wolfing down The Word;

Stopped marinating our souls in righteousness; we have long stopped longing; and

Stopped killing the fatted lambs of our lives;

Ever since we started starving ourselves to death

With our bulimic anorexic Faith

that throws up the good with the bad,

we have stopped partaking in Your daily gluten heavy bread.

We have made the world so hungry,

Ever since we started convincing the masses that

 one Lamb-chop is enough

For a ravenous, consuming God!

 

 

What holy feasts are these?

 When Santa grows fatter and Uncle Sam is obese

 while God looks anorexic!

And the disciples don’t even bother passing out

The fish and loaves to the multitudes;

Instead the apostles are in spin class,

flying first class with their Disneyland pass.

Instead the wannabes sit as food critics, hiding behind the apron strings of Jesus,

Watching chefs on TV rather than buying the street food of the homeless;

Trusting that there will be enough of just one Peace of Piece of Christ to go around.

We mini-me-messiahs gnaw on the edges of Gnosticism

Ignoring the need to nosh on Tanakh;

Ignoring the requirement to fatten up ourselves enough for

God to see and consume us.

We keep skipping ahead to the dessert

Created on a dare by the Nouveau Roman Cuisine Cook  Saint Paul.

Hey all you diners,

Those final additions to the Menu

are meant to be the whipped cream on top, folks,

Not the entree.

The Inheritor of the Real Cookbook, the Son of Chef,

Offers up the A La King special:

“Fatted Calf of Covenant Served with a sliced side of

Hot Crossed Messianic Passover Lamb.”

But our mouths are full of bargain bought plasticized oleo

And the precious oil bestowed

On the bridesmaids,

Is considered oh-so-yesterday’s testament to good fuel.

 

We honor the ones who make money selling Christ’s cross,

 claiming the titles but remaining nice fat babies

sucking on the teats of Mother Church,

never working at the hard task of fishing like grown men

never throwing out the heavy nets of faith

never growing the incisor-ed teeth of Truth

but sitting on altered perches

raking in the dough

with no desire to feed the hungry with real bread, real perch.

Well, you’ve eaten in the halls of the gourmands

but one day that Son of man

will demand to see the recipes we all made in secret.

“Lord, when did we see you hungry?

Lord, when did we hear you thirst?”

God cries: “I Thirst!”

Christ shakes His blood-marinated head,

“Oh, I have food in those unsung, unknown, starved morsels of men,

those wee women, and crumbs of children

that you well -known hoarders and self-serve busy-busies

know nothing of.”

And God cries, “Feed Me!”

 

 

 

And so the feast of fools, once

Stomped into wine by the nail-scarred feet of Christ;

Topped off with the risen bread-body of Christ;

Goes untasted, untested, undrunk by us,

While the sugary cheap-grace bread-pudding and

watered- down wine

Fail to keep us alive.

 

And while the calorie-free dessert is served up in the pews,

Promising it will taste almost heavenly;

 the hellish desert of arid wasted-ness within and without grows larger and hotter.

Spiritual food creating thirst not living water.

And the mirages of our salvation

Keep leading us ahead to a false heaven

While the Earth boils and toils.

And God dines elsewhere.

We have stopped maintaining our weightiness

On the required kosher-ed ketogenics of

The Lamb as Protein  IAM Diet.

We prefer to let us eat cake

Instead of swallowing whole

 the Ezekiel Scroll-based smorgasbord.

We think we are safer eating from

our FDA-approved, second amendment earned trophy-letters of that

latter day Saint Paul

no red letter signage to create hunger

but the dulcet tones of brown and green, rot and mold concealed.

We are encouraged to sit on our fat rears

keeping a food journal  about our own decaying feelings and worries,

Instead of following The Jew’s Recipe for True Life.

Out there serving it up as He did

On the food lines of Heaven on earth.

 

You know,

The one about following The One

And dying to our own self-inflicted wounds;

The one about giving it all away;

The one about no other gods and no personal effects

Except the effects of Love?

You know that one? That is no joke, no fortune cookie faith.

 

True Love proposed to me

 and like an engagement ring in a champagne glass,

Surprised me with His offer, to marry my starved heart to His.

But only if I offer the burnt sacrifice of self,

So that I might Rise like a sweet scent —

Like a cinnamon yeast roll baking in the

Furnace of my serving platelets

Rising to fill forever, the nostrils of Abraham’s God.

 

Oh, ever since we got on that kick about that Diet of Worms that

Martin Luther customized and almost died from;

We have forgotten about our sure future treat of being the snack of worms.

We prefer the cheap-date Jesus with his cheap-grace Savor-y fastfoodmeal ticket and

A home without any chores  or clean up on our part.

Oh those fun Yuletide eggnogs, buried to be found later,

Hatched in an easy-bake Easter ham and oh so ready to bless the food cuz

Jesus will cook it, serve it, wash up after

While we celebrate winning the lottery ticket to eternity.

And we can take our doggie bags of faith to our new home in the sky,

Like all those good Gentile but not gentle dogs who begged at

Jesus’ table.

 

Our theology, reduced to “to-go” sack lunches

While I-saac munches

Next to Rehab, Gomer, and Zipporah.

We zip-lock bag up our plastic menorahs

and reduce our beliefs to the guile of Jacob

and the greed of Esau

with a little salt of Lot’s’wife thrown in for flavor.

Are we too far comfortable in hell

To live homeless in Bethel?

Will we ever fast

For that which lasts?

And not for the 30 -day diet

Where-by it

Starves the body

But feeds not the soul?

 

Bread cannot rise without the sacred yeast of death

And grapes will not ferment without being crushed.

Justice will not flow if we don’t give a dam,

About unclean water for a thirsty dirty world.

And Christos is outside the wall trying to knock it down

To immigrate and dine with us.

And Religion marches on and on and on and on

While the Sheep run out of pasture and the grain rots and the grapes dry up

And The Water that heals all thirst

Is plasticized on Sunday

And on Monday the oil will not mix with it

As it sticks to the wings of the sea-sparrows

Instead of lighting the empty lamps we carry.

And Eden has nothing good left in her to be eaten.

 

So we keep eating Saccharine -sweet blood and fiber-less bread on Sunday

And our Soul-food is Weak, tepid, spice-less stuff,

That would never make any one think we were drunk on God.

We pay up big time to the sermonizing sous-chefs who preach about

what’s good on the menu like making laws against  people not like us

And what to avoid like the Beatitudes;

Cutting and pasting a nutrition free diet plan from

The Bible’s hard to swallow manna, in order

 to fit into the American dream-siccles we buy from

The nice-cream trucks imprisoned by their lack of faith.

 

And while highly paid motivational coaches of calorie free theology

 still expect to get a King’s ransomed big tip someday

we are overcharged on our credit lines with He who holds the Scales.

And still the Church’s 9 x 13 inch casseroles of catechism

are bought with bitter bonds.

 A long while back I got that party invitation

 From A Jesus that just wants to Party with us in the pews and Dance like David,

While wine gushes, flooding from the baptismal fount

And fresh baked baguettes and caviar fill the offering plates.

I accepted the invitation at the time

But since then, I have struggled to fit into new clothes like

old wine in new wineskins,

While Continuing to gorge my soul on His Feast of Famine.

That first taste of Christ whetted my appetite

And now friends and family point out that my mouth is dirty

Smeared with bits of Christ’s blood.

But I point out that my hands are still far too clean.

The professionals all agree though:

“Come instead for a quick Sunday tasteless, wineless Brunch at our food-free service.

Let’s quickly eat some gluten-free consumer friendly atom-sized wafers of Jesus

 So we can all head home for the real Communion

of booze and nachos and wings to watch the real-fun and buff gods in the Big Game–

Go Team, Our Idols!”

 

While the world starves for a God who ain’t playing around with His Food.

 

We just need to keep adding on gods to the menu, I guess.

The number is up to at least Four now: Trinity of Three plus their Mom.

Gobble, gobble, gobble, since we’ve added a turkey and bald eagle as well.

And even those are not ever enough to convince us we truly crave the pollution-freed and

The Tree to Table Meal

Of Yahweh’s Kingdom Come.

 

Ah, Creator-Chef,

Take me from Eden

To Eaten.

 

I am Hagar-ed by my flight

From Your Truth.

While the flights of wine keep flowing

Keeping us high,

My flight to you is grounded.

The proverbial wine of violence

Is headier than the Baptizer’s head

Lopped and served up on a garnished garish platter;

While Your water turned to outrageously expensive wine was

Offered me.

 

Messiah took his time making a cross-hatch next to the names

Of those with

reservations at the 12-Star Kingdom Wedding Feast.

But we are all too busy to come and dine

 except for a short time.

 Peter the maître d’

stands at the gate wondering

Why so many don’t bother to show up on time for

Their reserved Eternity-pool Jewish-mikveh-ized seats,

The whole Kingdom Hall, bought out at great price

By The Bridegroom.

 

That old joke about Jewish food being bland

Wasn’t a joke for the Jew from Nazareth

As He served up God.

Fish and bread for the multitudes were just the Costco-sized samples

Enticing us to pay the price for sharing in the meal-Life of

The spitted Lamb, marinated in tears and blood,

Swallowed whole by the Sin-a -men he bore,

Brought out of the stone-fired oven,

Smelling of sweet sacrifice,

Ascending to become Sous-chef

Forever at the right hand of The Chef,

Creating masterpieces

In the serving staff.

Ah, Abraham and Sarah –

If you can still bear to look down on us, your children, now,

Please help me crawl back onto the wilderness altar, a sacrificial daughter,

Subsisting only on Your Substance,

My substance only for Your Children’s subsistence.

Make me willing, as Your Son Isaac was,

To die thirsty,

To cry as your Son and God’s Son did,

“I Thirst!”

I fast!

For Love

Of The Lord.

Create in me a new heart, Oh,Yahweh, a heart that

Wants You to eat it completely,

A heart inhaled by Your Spirit,

A private sacrifice attended by Only You.

God, eat me.

 

Ah, Father Abraham and Mother Sarah,

My limbs have become so weak with ego

I can barely lift The Cup of Christ to my lips.

My psyche is

Fueled by the Saul-isms of The Chosen Ones Part Two.

I need Holy Fire to consume me,

Instead of the lie of a one-time for all sacrifice by that other Son of Ruth,

She the one who lived because she gleamed the kernels of God’s truth.

Yes, That Son did what Isaac did not have to do

Then.

But later, oh later, Isaac, Ruth and

All sons and daughters must be eaten up

By The Fiery Mouth of God.

Consummation is the only Communion with You.

Your  Holy Maw is the only orifice into

Your Eternal Promised Land of Feasting.

 

Just as You ate Your Son,

God, eat me.

 

May I starve myself

To gain the fasted weightiness of Your Son.

Let me char the

The choicest morsels of my life,

Sacrificed, shaken and stirred in terrified worship of You.

 

Cannibalize me, Oh God,

As You did your only Son.

That by Your devouring me

I may devour Your Son’s own body and blood – His True Life-force;

Cannibalized into Your Bounty now, this moment,

As it will be forever.

 

The Psalmist’ hymn: “Oh, Elohim! “You alone are my portion”.

I add to and cry, “Adonai!  Make of me Your portion.

.

Oh, Great Creative Genius,  IAM

Today I am sending you back the ram

caught in the thicket of my sinful days on earth.

Thank you so much

But I need You to imbibe me such

 that I may truly gobble up

Messiah’s bread and cup.

 

As I ingest You, today

I pray;

Eat me,

Completely,

Oh, God.

61ac1-abraham

 

 

Do We Really?

Do We Really?

By Jane Tawel

February 3, 2019

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All the assumptions we make.  And we just take it all for granted that because we call ourselves something, label ourselves something, that these things are true.  And we like them to be true because that is what gives us personal meaning and usually a paycheck or two.  One of my favorite sayings of the current younger generation is when someone says something, and they sing-song with a bit of Socratic sass: “But is it? Is it really?”  “Was he?  Was he really?”  “But did you?  Did you really?”  With the emphasis on really, this seemingly silly question has all the power of Pilate’s “What is truth?”  I imagine if Pilate and Jesus were talking today, as they did in John 18, their conversation would go something more like this.

 

Jesus :“I have come into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth, hears my voice.”

Pilate: “But do they?  Do they really?”

 

Here are some assumptions I hear people making, and being the stickler for the needed role of an antagonist in any good story, I will present how one might wonder about the “truth”  of things people base their lives, livelihood, and even salvation on.  This of course is a partial list of just my own particular meditations today.   We can add on to these and ponder them for eternity; or rather until God’s Kingdom comes. Then the fat angel sings and it’s game over.

People say a lot of stuff about what “Christians” believe.  Here is some of my personal “Socratic” dialect about some ideas that I have been struggling with lately. As is my bent, I will open my stream-of-conscious rather bent and banged up thinking here.  I will use the second person “you” as a more colloquial version of the more proper third person “one”, meaning of course this is at heart, a first person reflection in the final analysis.

  1. We should lead like Jesus. Jesus was a good leader. But Jesus proclaims himself not a leader at all but a servant and follower. In fact, Jesus flees the leadership role that could make Him a king of nations.  Jesus flatly states that he can do nothing in His own power but only what His Father, Jehovah, does through him.  To put the final “nail in this coffin”, It is very clear that when we are judged, if we have been a leader, we will have gotten our reward while on earth.  Only those who serve as and with the least of the least will be chosen to lead with The Christ. We may all be created as equal, but we do not go through life as equals which brings us to false idea #2.
  2. All human life is sacred. There is, I am afraid, nothing at all in the Bible that implies this. The metaphor found in Psalm 139 is merely that, a personal poetic reflection on the part of the servant of God and chosen Jewish king, David. This current Western idea that each human life is special and sacred is purely a religion born out of Humanism and wealth and the warping of “Christian” thought. This humanistic, individualistic religion that we erroneously call worship of God is nothing more than worship of self, and is not a Judeo-Christian worldview at all. I could go on and on with proofs from God’s Word about this but read it for yourself from beginning to end and you will wonder how we got to believe that each human is sacred.   To give you only one indication, read the story of God and Sodom and Gomorrah and of Abraham’s plea for God to save just ten people worth saving. This idea that a human life is sacred is blasphemy in fact. There is none sacred but God, the Bible says.  We can choose covenant with God and be chosen in that way and only in that way to have a life that is more than dust.  But it is by our keeping covenant with God and living as The Son of God lived, that we become holy, sacred, eternal soul. I am afraid it is an incredibly important thing to think through in this day and age of the rather (sometimes literally) “Micky Mouse” -Americanized- Christianity-ese. It is  critically important because people use this idea of all life as sacred to be “pro-life” about the abortion of unborn fetuses, but not “pro-life” about the born lives of illegal immigrants or not pro-life about people who do not vote or worship as they do.  People support this idea of each human as sacred, in the ridiculous worldview that you can “ask Jesus to be your  Savior” and then he is because “God loves you no matter what”.  There are so many “Christian” songs that flat out say this over and over and it makes me tremble because if you read the actual tome that we call God’s Inspired Word”.  You will realize that:
  3. God does not love you no matter what you do. There is absolutely no indication in God’s Word that this is true.  Let me just give you one example: Moses. Yeah, that star among God-followers.  God was going to kill Moses and then – well, read the story for yourself of  Moses’ wife, that wonderful pagan woman called Zipporah.  Which brings me to this.
  4. God is not my friend. God is not that friend Who comes whenever I call Him to help my team win the game.  God is God.  Again, read God’s Word.  Actually read it; don’t show up to have the experts tell you on Sunday how much they love you because Jesus  loves you and died for you.  He didn’t. Jesus, a Jew, died for a Holy God, his Father, Adonai.  Jesus completed the whole cycle of being human in perfect covenant with a Holy God. Jesus died to show us that we could be reborn through our own deaths (both literal and figurative, as He did)  if we lived in covenant with Yahweh, as Jesus did.  Jesus is very, very clear that He did not come to throw out the Bible, what we blithely call to our peril, the “Old” Testament, but to fulfill and live it as it was meant. Not as the religious leaders had interpreted it but as The Christ lived it. We are meant to live it too. But it is not this wide road that is easy to stroll down because your own particular life is so sacred. Nope.  It is a narrow road that you choose, but as Robert Frost said, that choice will “make all the difference”.  I should be different because God loves me enough to make me different enough to be with Him. Which bring us to #5.
  5. God loves me. Well, yes and no.  God loves me but not because I’m me.  The Bible tells us that God loves “the World”. God made the world perfect and He made humans perfect. And then we messed  ourselves up and messed up the world and continue to do both of those things.  Read the bits in the Bible about how God “chastises and disciplines those He loves” and then decide if you want A Holy God to love you.  Because frankly most of us live like animals.  This is where those who don’t believe in God have it partially right.  We are like animals and we can choose to live like animals if we want; “eating, drinking, and being merry” for tomorrow we die. And that’s it.  Scripture implies that if we live long enough, we get three choices in this world: 1. To live for self and get as much as I can for me and my family, just like the doggie families, and ape families do. When my days are over enjoying this wonderful life, I will either lay down with gratitude or regrets or a mix of both, and then return to dust and cease to exist. The place of buried animal bodies, or the ground from which no man returns, is what the Bible calls Gehenna.  2. If on the other hand, you lead your life and choose to be cruel, wicked, to abuse God’s name, to abuse power, to abuse others, to enjoy evil in word and deed,  and perhaps even if you just commit those things we call the sins of omission, ie not doing the things you were meant to do for Good; then God is pretty clear you will be punished even after you think you escape judgement through death.  Those people will go to hell, complete with the demonic gods they have enjoyed while alive on earth.  3. You can spend your life living on the planet as best you can in relationship to a God we can no longer see. We can no longer see God as Adam and Eve could, because we have chosen sin instead. But God provides a way “back to The Garden” so to speak; and that is by following the rules, worshiping only Jehovah, and loving others as we love our own selves. This is the option we have to live in a covenant with  The One True God, Yahweh.  These people live to glorify the name of Jehovah, live for the least of the least in this world, study Truth, learn how to love and trust and hope again after The Fall, and resist the temptations that The Christ did: those temptations of power, greed, and self-worship.  These people will rise from death to a new earth and to even something  new and unknown – a “Heaven”, the place where at last we can be in the same space as God is and not die. These people will see God and live.
  6. Everyone wants to go to heaven. No, they don’t. You  may have been taught that you will go to hell if you don’t listen to Christians. Well, ironically the only people Jesus, the founder of the little Christs sect, says will go to hell, are the leaders of the religion he practiced.  Matthew 23:15:  “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are.” This is sobering to say the least for any of us who have taught any thing about Jesus.  And while, I have always loved the practices and people of today’s churches,  the incremental off -course steering that The Church has done for the past centuries, has us so far off course as to frighten me. Which brings us to something we might call semantics in #7, but semantics are crucial to explore when you are thinking about Jesus who is called The Word.
  7. Jesus loves his church. He doesn’t.  He couldn’t because he never used the word and there was no such idea as we now know “the church” in any of Christ’s teachings. In fact, in what we call the “New” Testament, another scary thing we’ve come to believe, there is not a single time the word “church” is used.  Church is a misinterpretation of several Greek words.  Again, you can read and google this for yourself.  There is, of course, much proof that to follow God, we must live in communities, caring for each other and worshiping together.  There is much proof that we are to live as followers of Christ with others who want to follow Him, like his disciples did. But the point is, we have turned the religion of Christ (and by extension of His early followers, including the people who wrote the Gospels and Paul) into something they would neither recognize nor I would venture to boldly say, would they approve of.  So let’s just say this for now.  Jesus was a Jew. Jesus believed that He was the Messiah of The Chosen People who were the Jews, the Hebrews.  Jesus believed that it was through the Jewish Scriptures  and lives of the Hebrew covenant keepers that God, The Father is best revealed.  He also believed though that the Jews had abused their status and that “there would come a day when God will be worshiped neither on the Jewish Mount nor in the chosen confined temples of any other peoples, but by all peoples in “spirit and in truth”.  Then He claimed that the day had  in fact arrived with His way – The Way – of worship of God. Jesus did not come at all to form a new “organized religion” and we have programmed and capitalized on Jesus’ beliefs out of all recognition and wisdom. The main word that Jesus used that should make all the difference in our understanding of who He was / is was not “church”, congregation or synagogue.  The word Jesus used was “Kingdom”.  And He did not preach His own earthly kingdom, but The Kingdom of Yahweh.  Which brings us back to the “really”, “is it really” of #1, in #8.
  8. The Gospel / Good News is that Jesus is the only way to heaven. No, He isn’t.  Jesus is the only way to The Father.  And Jesus came to bring The Kingdom of The Father back to our understanding and to make available the germination in us  of how The Father’s Kingdom can be restored to our world / planet/ Eden. What Jesus taught is that: “I am The Way (to God), The Truth (about God), and the Life (with God). No one comes to Jehovah except by means of my way.”  In fact, this is why early followers of Jesus who were Jews or converted Jews would never have called their religion “Christianity” because it wasn’t.  It was Judaism.  They called what they believed what Jesus called what He believed: The Way.  If you don’t want to truly know a Holy God and become holy, you won’t go to “hell” (necessarily).  You will merely have enjoyed a good or an awful life depending on your status, personality, and circumstances and you will return to the dust of this planet like all animals and plants will.  Nothing wrong with that choice.  If however, you think that you want to live forever in the presence of God as we were intended to do in Eden when humans were created in the image of Divinity, then it is best to try to figure out how we are really meant to live now.

Because claiming to be something, doesn’t make it so.  I would love to claim that I am a gorgeous twenty-three -year -old with a million dollars in the bank and five houses in various parts of the world and a private plane and that every one who meets me loves me and that  I could rule the country, maybe even the world in the way it should be run, and  that I get do-overs on every minute I’ve messed up and that God loves me no matter what.  And you would have to ask me with all the Socratic sass you could muster, “ But–Are you? Are you really?”

If you think Jesus did all the work for you, or that because you were born into some cultural religion or other, or that just because you are alive, that those facts– which the Bible says, fall randomly like rain, on the good and the evil — that those facts make you something you want to be; and that God loves you no matter what; well then, you may want to look around at what we are doing to God’s world, to God’s other children, to  our own bodies and souls, to God’s planet, and what we do in blasphemy of God’s Holy Name, and you may want to humble yourself; and ask yourself when you think you have it all figured out:

Do you? Do you really?