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.
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.
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.