I read Accidental Saints, by every Lutheran’s favorite holy hipster, Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber. By the end, I was singing “Damned For All Time” in my head, because I agree with her.
Accidental Saints is all about Bolz-Weber’s encounters with God in the people around her – flawed, fragile, fuct up human beings who somehow manage to embody or reveal the grace of God, either by acting it out or by needing to have it acted out. Pastor Nadia presents herself as a somewhat damaged person, with plenty of issues, who is broken by the Holy Spirit, over and over, and forced to recognize the lovingkindness of God, whose entire being is lovingkindness. She has her heart torn open and enlarged repeatedly and she speaks about it in a way that is both powerful and vulnerable and that’s fine for her because she’s a chick.
I’m fine with women getting all weepy and shit. That’s what women do. It is totally acceptable for chicks to have emotions when somebody has cancer or drives drunk and kills somebody and ain’t nothin’ wrong with a woman pastor writing a book about how her small heart grew three sizes that day or whatever. I’m a feminist and all that, but there are differences between males and females and one of them is that males have to put up with females yammering about their feelings. I’m also deliberately single, which means I get to enjoy having female friends, but I am relatively insulated from their emotional displays, which are usually wet and icky.
A couple days ago, this broad at work sent a group text saying she couldn’t come to a meeting because one of her cats was having a medical crisis. I sent a text – just to her, not the group – saying “Thoughts’n’prayers”, which seemed like an appropriate token thing to say and this bitch replies, “I hate both of those things”, which Nadia Bolz-Weber might’ve interpreted as some sorta expression of feeliness, like “I’m afraid because my cat is sick and I’m covering my fear with crankiness because I have a uterus and I’m vulnerable, please offer me unconditional love even though I’m acting like a jerk” and she would’ve sent a text expressing her heartfelt emotional whatever and the two of ’em woulda got together and cried and hugged and had tea or some shit and that would be completely okay because Bolz-Weber also has a uterus and she loves cats, too.
Me – I got nothin’ against cats. And I ain’t got a uterus, so I felt perfectly okay going “Aight, ya wanna be a bitch about it…” and I let it drop. She texted me back later apologizing for being rude, but I’d moved on by then. Tell it to your husband – he has to listen to you.
Bolz-Weber presents herself as a big, bold bitch, with a buncha tattoos and a badass backstory, who resists being vulnerable, but who is repeatedly amazed by the grace of God breaking her open and causing her to feel the grace and lovingkindness of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, pouring in and through her. It’s a good message and I’m totally cool with it happening to her, because even with the tattoos and all, she’s female. And she’s way out there in Colorado, which isn’t the west coast, but they got legal weed and it’s close enough to the west coast to be far away from me. I could easily find several more reasons why it’s fine for her, but the real reason is that she ain’t me.
I wanna be a Pastor. I wanna tell people their sins are forgiven. I’m not particularly lookin’ forward to the public speaking thing, but I can do it. I like reading Martin Luther’s stuff – he’s got good ideas and he doesn’t mind callin’ the Pope names, which is fun. I always dig big revelations – those direct messages from the Almighty which frequently require me to do something that I hadn’t planned on doing, but that I benefit from enormously after I quit resisting and do the thing. But I am a man and that means, to quote a coupla namby-pamby hippies, I am a rock. I do not hug people, remember their birthdays or go out of my way to attend to their snotty displays of emotion. And I certainly have no intention of letting anybody into my space, which the good Pastrix seems to think is what the Holy Spirit likes to do and at some point, I started trying to remember the words to “Damned For All Time”. And then I got to the chapter about how the grace of God extends even to Judas and how if he hadn’t killed himself, Jesus prob’ly woulda appeared to him, like He did to Peter, who denied Him three times, and they woulda hugged and had tea or some shit. And maybe they woulda, but Judas did kill himself – (Bolz-Weber goes with the version where he burst open and his guts fell out, but I’m going with the one where he hangs himself because in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Tuco says, “When Judas hanged himself, there was a storm” and that’s a manly movie.)(It’s also a morality play which I could write about at length – not goin’ into all that here, but the central theme is compassion.) – and because he killed himself, Judas was able to avoid a buncha undignified, emotional shit. Good on him.
God does miracles and shit. That’s what God does and I get that. I understand that I have accepted and embraced a course of action that may involve doing things I don’t wanna do. This one dame I know says that when I become a preacher I’ll have to actually touch people, hold their hands and pray with them. She thinks it’s kinda funny that I might not be able to avoid actual contact with other humans. I said I planned on staying in the pulpit, as far away from the parishioners as possible. But I recognize the possibility that I might have to change and I accept that God might change me whether I like it or not, which I don’t.
Ya know, I was doing alright. I was staying sober, going to work, paying my bills. It woulda been okay with me if God had just let me keep on like I was. I really don’t want to be changed much – unless the changes involve me being better than I am, which’d be okay. This whole idea that God invades people’s hearts and forces them to have genuine human connections with other people reminds me of the last few minutes of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, ya know – the really cheesy shit. I prefer to ignore that bit and pretend that the Grinch dumped the sled off the cliff and didn’t havta put up with the Hoos’ bullshit anymore. I’d rather just stay in my cave with my dog. I don’t have a dog. If it has to be done – if the Holy Spirit is bound and determined to pry my heart open, I guess there ain’t much I can do to prevent it, but no thanks to Pastor Nadia for making me think about it.
That broad’s cat turned out to be okay, by the way. It was having an asthma attack.
The guitar on this is pretty sick –