Wednesday, November 21, 2007

don't you heathens pray anywhere near our property, or, christians miss the point again.

THE STORY:
the baptists won't let muslims pray on their property.
austin area interreligious ministries, a group we at journey really believe in and support, brings together leaders from every faith tradition in order to build relationships that make austin better. they feed the hungry, repair poor people's houses, host events where people from different religions can talk and learn to appreciate each other.
they also hold an annual thanksgiving service, usually the week before thanksgiving, for everybody to come and pray, and give thanks, and celebrate. this year they rented a gymnasium for the event (a lot of people come) at the Quarries. the Quarries' gym and land happen to be owned by hyde park baptist church. the Quarries is a big piece of property where christians can come and play sports together.
aaim made it clear to the Quarries' management way back when what aaim is about.
i guess somebody noticed, probably a member of the church, and said to a minister, "What's this about these islamic and buddhist and jewish people coming and praying to their gods on our property?" ... i don't know that that's what happened, but it sounds possible. and the hyde park people said, "Wait a minute - is THAT who's rented that gym on our property? we can't have that! sorry, aaim - i know you rented it a long time ago, but we've decided, here at the last minute, to make the whole event move. we don't care where. hundreds of people in dozens of churches and organizations have to move? make other plans. you'll have to communicate the changed plans to hundreds of people and hope the message gets out? tough. we can't have muslims on our property."
and so hyde park baptist church decided it could not host the aaim thanksgiving service on its property.
a jewish synagogue took the thanksgiving in, gave the stranger welcome, as the torah commands. and jews and muslims gathered together, for prayer and healing.

ME:
okay. at some level, i actually could understand if the baptists didn't want muslim religious services performed in the baptist sanctuary. there are things that are holy, and places that are sacred, and it's understandable to want to ...

alright, that's enough. enough thinking about their position on the issue, and their fear, and caring about what may have honestly motivated that decision. that's a healthy thing for me to do. but that's enough.


JESUS! What is WRONG with these imperial-domination-system-territorial-controlling-insular-divisive-sick-fearful people who say they are following you??? this is such fucking bullshit! i am so embarrassed for christians! and sick of them!

Okay, that's out of my system now too.

Here's my real question, and it's a prayer.

Jesus, is something is wrong with me? if so, tell me. i want to know. i want to follow you.
am i - and i'm honestly asking this question - reading your followers' stories about your life and words incorrectly? am i missing it? because you came and rejected the overly controlling, restricting bullshit religious systems of your time. they absolutely pissed you off. you wept. you threw furniture. you went to your death to show people that god is not contained in those machines and systems and boxes.
and here are some territorial, fearful people who say they are following you, but they are following doctrines and regulations and prejudices that christians invented over hundreds of years - which you and your first generations of followers would NEVER have agreed to.
am i not getting it? i just cannot for a MOMENT even IMAGINE that you, jesus - you oppressed little poor man, wandering mystic, troublemaker, insurrectionist, criminal - would ever own a gigantic building, or dress up to enter it, or deny anyone access to it, or own property so that you and your friends - and only you and your friends - could play sports together. i cannot imagine that this decision by hyde park baptist church is what you want, not in a million years.
a jewish congregation chose to create healing - as you did, jesus. all your people were invited to pray and thank god for our many blessings from you. they looked into each other's eyes and saw themselves as brothers and sisters.
i'm tired of understanding and making excuses for christians' small-mindedness and pharisaism.
enough. i feel your zeal and anger burning in my bones.

and so i say,
in the name of the lord, hyde park baptist church,
you have sinned before god and all creation.

15 comments:

nonprofitprophet said...

It is a bit odd than a synagogue extended an olive branch too a mosque after centuries of bitterness and conflict, when a relatively new age protestant christian denomination wouldn't.
In this area, you may recall, leaders from the synagogue and the mosque got together and built a habitat-for-humanity house together. they caught hell from their some in their own camps about this, but as you say, the healing has to start somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Their gym god obviously has very weak mojo; it is required of the hyde park followers to protect him. They have built the wooden floors and erected the sacred hoops and sealed the crypt; their ceremonies are all mourning and lamentations, "Oh god, how can we be saved?"
Their Judgment is that of their gym god, not from us, not from Jesus and not from the living God, the Creator. Let us follow Him and beckon them with love, joy and compassion, from their self-constructed gym god and gym grave, into the Light and Spirit of God's Love.

Anonymous said...

Rick,

I've read your blog over the past few months and find your views refreshing especially as I grew up as the son of a conservative Lutheran minister. The actions of HPBC makes me mad, too. However, I think that Jesus would have turned his focus and energy to celebrating the love and acceptance of the Jewish synagogue. Thank God there are people and some churches that can take a bad situation and make something better out of it. Keep on posting, I love your blog.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Bill

journeyingrick said...

yeah ... and i'm glad that somebody got it. as st paul says we christians are just the wild shoot growing off of the stump of the chosen people. we ought to shut up and listen to our elders once in a while.
the healing has to start somewhere.

journeyingrick said...

bill
thanks brother for the comment.
yes, you're right - jesus is in the place of celebration, and i'm ALL about that. that's what journeyifc is all about.
i just got into - and let myself sit in, and feel - the prophetic space, the "what do you want to say to this injustice, god?" space. that's not usually my approach; i'm usually in the celebrate-look-for-hope space. but in this case, i just needed to say it.
and it felt good ... :-)

journeyingrick said...

anonymous - absolutely. the gym god is being served. let the gym god work it out.
one of the things that the prophets would ask the israelites, when the israelites were worshipping other gods, was What can this other god do for you?
and so there it is.

yes. love, the living god, the creator, jesus, healing, reconciliation, all truth is one.

Philomath said...

A-freaking-men brother,

I believe that Jesus teaches us many things about tolerance and how to deal with people who have different opinions on all sorts of matters. I try to remember this when it comes to dealing with more conservative folks. However, one thing he seems to pretty clear on is that we should call out those who treat their neighbors poorly. It sounds to me like the people at Hyde Park suddenly turned on their PR filter and realized that their brethren in the "only way to heaven is through the gates of our biblical theme park" crowd would look down at them if they found out.

I know and respect a lot of conservative Christians and I try to focus on the things that most of them do right. I think a lot of us Journeyers come from pretty conservative backgrounds and remember a lot of good things about the people in those places as well as a few not-so-good ones. I sometimes feel like we go too far to "understand" some of the things done in the name of Christ. Thanks for reminding me that Jesus loved and made fellowship with the sinners and broken people and he condemned the hypocritical religious elite.

-tz

Anonymous said...

It's not so much who this collective group of Baptists kept out of the House (Gym) of the Lord but whom have WE ourselves kept out because of our own comfort, predjudices or what time the clock on the wall said...Creative Christianity needs to stop the criticisms and start celebrating the new paths...

Our mission as leaders of the New Christian movement must include open doors and open eyes to our ever opening minds and hearts...we struggle with and castigate the folks who don't "get" it...We criticize them only to neglect the blessings of where the Holy Spirit is truly working in these days.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I got a good laugh out of this...because finally the Jewish and Muslim Community could actually agree on a common enemy...the Baptists! God can be verrryyyy funnny sometimes...

Maybe the Baptists were afraid the Muslims would want to dance later after the meal....

bobstolehiscar said...

mr, diamond. what up homie?! it's your boy b. hill. thought i'd say hey. i just created a blog for like the 5th time. maybe i'll actually keep up with it. love you man. peace.

Karen said...

Just posting to say that I love this post and I love your Nov. 25 afterthought.

(really, the astronomer likes the one where you mention stars and galaxies and planets?? who'da thunk?)

(my brain is too thesis fried to write anything more coherent right now)

Twisted Christian said...

I'm on vacation and had to check my RSS feeds. This post is so awesome for so many reasons! I can't wait to get back and talk some more, but net access is expensive over here.

- T.C.

A quiet CP Journeyer said...

Hey Man. I can see you blowing a momentary fuse with this reaction by Hyde Park. You know there are alot of people like this. I would not dare say everyone at Hyde Park shares this decision; big churches probably have well defined power structures. Not like Journey where every piss-ant like me can have an opinion and a voice.

You discussed in the bible study that Christ co-opted the Jewish party, the feast to embrace God, to teach, to heal, and share God's love with people. You also discussed that Jesus typically did this with the sick, unclean, outsiders, so on. Its too bad HP passed up on this opportunity. This often included the temple elite, who we discussed were sick in their belief to keep God from people by adhering to the Temple system.

Take the leap, help them, confront them directly, love them. You will be hated, it will hurt, and you probably won't be able to change a thing. But if you are going to follow Jesus, here is a Tsunami size opportunity. Just follow CHrist's direction

1. Love God
2. Love Neighbor
2a Atheist
2b Agnostic
2c jew
2d muslim
2e Hindi
2f all others
2g christians

We are all f-'d up and we need your help.

Otherwise, let's bum rush the gym and turn over the tables and whip the shit out of them with knotted cords.

Love ya Teacher-man

Anonymous said...

You know, it's all rather raw and frustrating, but we're looking at the "Parable of the Good Pharisee" here. It's now the "baptists" who are all jaded and rules driven. The modern Jews derive their philosophy originally from Pharisaism. They're as close as we have to the real Pharisees. But they figured it out. So here we have the "good Pharisees" doing the Christian turn that the "christians" wouldn't do. I think maybe we ought to get in touch with all those ecumenical folks who got shafted, and the "pharisees" who helped them out.

Gregg

Wandering servant said...

ok I haven't been on in a while...

what gets me is this quote, "i actually could understand if the baptists didn't want muslim religious services performed in the baptist sanctuary".... ok ok... I could easily float on that raft with you.

But...

If we believe that God is in fact... God, then why would it hurt to have a Muslim pray in ANY Christian sanctuary? This goes back to yesterday's bible study lesson. The Earth was flooded... but God was still God. Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jews were dragged to Babylon... but God was still God. Someone prays a Muslim prayer in a sactuary built by MAN for the Christian God.. and God will STILL remain to be God. We are hard wired to be offended by this ever since we can remember. We have been taught that by allowing someone with different beliefs to say a prayer that it is some how sacreligeous and we should not allow it.

What if the prayer said by a differing believer was simply "God/Allah/Jehovah/Kharma/E.T./Alcohol/Women/Money/Titles/Possessions/Whatever.... please help us to love other people?"