I hail from the land called Denver. Two amazingly beautiful towns sit about an hour south and a half hour northwest of Colorado’s capital city. One is Colorado Springs. The other is Boulder.
Colorado Springs has been called “America’s Christian Mecca,” or the “Evangelical Vatican.” Some of the largest, most well-known evangelical ministries are headquartered there. It’s also a hotbed for far right-wing Christian political action.
If your passions are whirled into an uproar just thinking about being on the front lines of cultural-political battlefields, then get yourself to the Springs, where the Christian political juggernaut is a force to be reckoned with! Fight abortion. Fight gay marriage. Fight liberalism. Fight anything and everything that threatens your values. Do it for America. Do it for Freedom. Do it for Jesus!
An hour and a half to the north sits Boulder. Boulder is considered one of the most liberal, anti-religious cities in America. It could possibly be America’s “New Age Mecca.” Worship Earth. Worship Sky. Worship Trek. Worship whatever your cannabis-infused desires lead you to. But if you’re not pro-Choice, pro-Equality, pro-Subaru, or pro-Obama, go worship elsewhere.
Liberalism is the official religion. Doobie-smokin, micro-brew drinkin,Teva-wearing, environmentalist Jesus is welcome. All others are fraudulent Antichrists. They’re Palin-christs. Sent to take away your happiness, individuality, and freedom.
If Jesus was from Colorado, his hometown would’ve been Greeley – a stinky town north of Denver (apologies to my friends from Greeley, but you know it’s true). He would’ve hung out in Boulder. And, at the end of his life, he would’ve hopped in a Subaru for a ride to the Springs to be crucified.
Boulder would’ve been the perfect place to find Jesus, and not because he was a liberal Jew. He was a friend of drunkards and gluttons. Sinners. He enjoyed the very people the religious right stood against. “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!”
Seriously, people. Do you think Jesus would have spent his time in the Springs building the mecca-church – fighting against all that threatens our cherished Christian values? If your answer is yes, then we must be reading radically different accounts of his life. If your answer is no, then…
Why is the mecca-church increasingly proliferating and pontificating in this country? Why are so many Christians hunkering down in fortified war-command centers like the Springs or in Taj Mahal-style buildings? Why does Christianity in America look more like a political movement than a Jesus movement?
Why aren’t more of us looking like gluttons and drunks?
Man! What a high honor it would be to have a rooty-tooty religious snob label me a drunkard, or a “carnal” Christian, because I was spending so much time hanging with the riffraff on Pearl Street, or The Hill, or wherever those wicked sinners hang out in your town.
Religious institutions and systems fight for a set of values, while alienating those who have opposing values. And this, I believe, is why the church in America should be pointing its collective finger directly in the mirror for the moral and spiritual ills we face. We’re guilty of spiritual masturbation as we crusade for the elusive Christian utopia. We look like Pharisees, not drunks!
A Drunk for Jesus
On the day of my funeral, may it not be said of me that I was an upstanding, moral Christian citizen. Shoot. That won’t be said anyway. I’m too much of a f*ckin’ mess for anyone to say that. (“Gasp! Can’t you write without using THAT word?! You’re such a carnal Christian!”)
May this be said instead: “He was such a drunk! Such a friend of sinners! A sinner who loved Jesus. A Colorado drunk.”
So how about it? Anyone else out there tired and worn out by religion? Anyone else tired of following the mecca-institutional political Jesus? Anyone else want to be labeled a drunkard – a friend of the very people the hyper-religious Christian right fight against?
Then let’s go grab a beer.