Sasquatch hates church. Thinks it is unholy for a large group of people to gather in one place, in one building, to worship God. He says that in the Bible Christians met in houses with ten or eleven people to talk about God and commune with the Lord.
He fights in church, listening to the message and calling the preacher on the words spoken if he doesn’t believe they are God’s words. He beat this drum so many times in the beginning year of our friendship that I began to believe it, too.
One day not so long ago, when nearly five years had gone by of talking about this, I got an idea. Maybe he was wrong. Maybe my knowledge of the word could challenge him.
Let me give you one more look at one more thing, then we will come back to this. Then we will hit the Shit Covered Bastards and you will see the rage Adam feels when he thinks about God. Maybe then you will see the true scope of the damage done by this man.
Adam got the idea that all the hate and all the issues Christians have with the world outside their church could be solved if they only listened to Jesus.
We all know the kind of company Christ kept. Well that is presumptuous, so I will get into it.
Jesus hung with Peter. Peter was a violent man prone to outbursts and confrontation. He pulled a sword when the soldiers came for Jesus in an effort to defend him, when Christ had told him they would come, and that He had chosen to go with the soldiers.
Jesus hung with Mary Magdalene. She was a prostitute. She was about to get her ass kicked when Jesus picked her off the street, told everyone to fuck off, and took her with Him. She stayed with Him until the day He was killed.
Jesus called a man out of a tree and offered to go to his home and eat with him. This man was a tax collector for the Roman empire and as such was known to be crooked. He collected as much money as he wanted from the people and kept a lot of it for himself.
Jesus hung out with criminals and thugs. He was often seen with the dregs of society and touched the lepers and the mad.
However, and I can’t get this right, because I am not going to look up the verses, but Paul had a different message altogether. He was an early Christian, and I won’t get into his background because it doesn’t really matter. Some say it does. I don’t care why he was preaching God’s words. The thing Adam has issue with is the man’s message.
He went around the area starting churches and converting believers, and then moved on. He left that church to itself and went to start another. Eventually he would make his way back to a church he had created, and they always had fucked up.
The churches he came back to were filled with problems.
Imagine you start a church. God’s work is being done there. The believers are straight. You find a good leader and off you go. When you get back, feces has been splashed on the walls. Worshipers are fucking on the pews. The leader is taking everyone’s money. It is a God damned disaster.
Well this happened quite a bit with Paul’s churches. He didn’t stick around to make sure everyone was doing as they were told. He went off to do it all again somewhere else. So when he came back, with no solid leader in his place, while he was gone the whole place had gone to shit.
So Paul wrote letters. These letters were designed to get the church back on track. And often these letters conflicted with Jesus’s message.
“Do not allow yourself to hang out with sinners because they might tempt you.”
Blatant attack on what Jesus was all about.
Hate witches. Hate queers. Hate those who eat pork. Hate all these people Paul didn’t like, and all of this flies directly in the face of everything Jesus said.
Christ never weighed in on homosexuality, that was Paul. Christ never said anything about casting out criminals and never talking with them because they might tempt you, that was Paul. The writings of Paul fucked Jesus’s message in so many ways, and what I see in Christianity is a bunch of people who have embraced Paul over Jesus’s simple command to love everyone.
Well Adam was hit with the idea that maybe everything ought to be cast out of the Bible that directly flew in the face of Jesus’s teachings. In his mind, maybe just the Gospels and Revelations could be kept.
Maybe shut Paul up.
He hit Sasquatch with this idea, and Sasquatch said this was not a Friday night conversation. He wanted a real sit down. Wanted to get in deep in this issue. So we set up a time when we could meet at a restaurant in town to talk about it. He was going to defend Paul, defend the writings of a person who was not Jesus, and I was wanting to learn.
When Adam got there, Sasquatch sat in front of two Bibles, two different translations, and made his case. Adam had come to learn, so he didn’t argue. He just took it. He listened, and by the end of that conversation was more confused than convinced. But he knew he was not going to get any traction with Sasquatch. There was no changing that man’s mind. No matter the case he made, Sasquatch was holding onto the blatant conflicting teachings the Bible showed.
Now the house church thing. Adam remembered the fact that the Jewish people had wandered the desert for 40 years. Now, we won’t get into that. I think that was an over correct on God’s point, but that was not what we were talking about. So Sasquatch and I met at the same restaurant to talk over the church thing, but this was a month after the Shit Covered Bastards thing, and Sasquatch was not hearing anything I had to say on this matter, or anything else about the Bible or God, Jesus or sin.
He had in mind that Christians should be meeting in small groups, and churches moved against the design of God, and he was not going to listen to anything Adam said.
Because Adam was starting to make sense, and Sasquatch didn’t like how he was doing it.
A month earlier, Sasquatch was talking about his time in seminary and spoke about the school time he had, and the job he worked, and then he and a friend had gone to a store, bought a pizza each and a can of mushrooms. Gone back to their apartment, eaten that pizza and talked about the Bible for eight hours before going to bed and doing it all again in the morning.
Adam’s bitterness was so strong and so powerful that he wanted to attack the Bible. He wanted to fight this overuse of the scriptures, so he spoke up quick.
“That is ridiculous.” Adam would never say this sort of thing to any other Christian. Let them look into the Bible all they wanted. Let them find as much wisdom as God could give them. But Adam could not listen to this man talk about his Bible study. “No one needs to study the Bible that much.”
“God forgive him his blasphemy,” Sasquatch said. This was his favorite thing to say when Adam spoke about God in any kind of wild way.
But Adam wasn’t shutting up this time. “I can sum up the Bible in less than two minutes. Can tell you everything you need to know about the Bible, and if you only took my story and told a nonbeliever, and they heard it and God worked on them, they could go to Heaven. This account of the Bible is all you need to save a soul.”
“This ought to be good. Hit me. Let’s hear it,” he said.
“So God has this huge beautiful house, right? It has white walls. White furniture. White floors. White beds. Everything. And he wants to share this magnificent mansion with his children. So he goes to his front porch to call in the children he loves so much, and when he looks out the door, he sees that these children he adores so much have been rolling around in shit. They are filthy. Just covered in it. Shit in their hair. Shit on their chest. Shit everywhere. Between toes, on faces.
“He wants to bring them in the house but he can’t have all of that shit everywhere. This is his clean house. So he yells to his son, ‘Yo, Christ. Come over her and look at this.’ He points out the Shit Covered Bastards. ‘I can’t have that in here.’
“‘No, man. I don’t want that in this house,’ Jesus says. ‘Dad, what are we going to do?’
“‘I’ll tell you what we are going to do. You get out there. Stand in the driveway with the hose and call out to them. Invite them in to this awesome house I got here and tell them that all they have to do to get in is let you hose them all down first.’
“‘If they let you hose them down then they can come in, but if they want to roll around in shit, then just let them do their thing. It’s their choice.’
“So if you want to get into God’s badass mansion, then you gotta get hosed off by Jesus first. Then you can walk right in.”
Sasquatch looked at me like he had just been forced to eat a turd.
“Take away the rest of the Bible, tell them that story, and if they agree to be hosed off then you don’t need the rest of the Bible at all.”
Sasquatch could not meet my gaze.
“Tell me I am wrong.”
And though it hurt every fiber of his being, and though he wished he had not come over that night and been stained with my interpretation of the Word of God, he had to nod. “Yeah, that is it in a nutshell. But there is more to learn.”
So when I call him to that restaurant after telling him that story, he doesn’t want to hear what I have to say. He doesn’t want to have to learn from his student. He has been sent to save me from Hell, not the other way around, and he will not listen to anything I have to say that conflicts with his “little church” thing.
When I get there, I see no Bibles. Two were needed to talk me out of my Paul thing but he doesn’t bring anything to reference at all when I show up for this meeting.
He did bring a comic book anthology. He was looking at it when I came in. He talked for an hour about how great it was. He ate. He looked at his watch and was about to say something when Adam cut in.
“Want to hear what I was going to say about Church?”
“Sure,” he said noncommittally.
“So in the desert God made the Jews wander for forty years, but he still had them stop every sabbath, get out the gear, and the night before, build his tabernacle. It was a huge tent, had a section that only the priests could go into where the Ark of the Covenant sat, and everyone would go into the tabernacle to worship.”
“Yeah,” Sasquatch said.
“Well I was thinking that when the Christians had their tiny churches in believers’ homes and in little shops and shit, they were still being hunted. They were being persecuted, and anyone found following Jesus’s teachings was tortured and killed.
“They could not have a temple or church or the whole thing would be put to fire. So they had to be sneaky about it. But the moment they were not fucked with anymore, they began building sacred places to worship. Places where everyone knew Jesus lived and the wayward wanderer could come if they were looking for Christ.
“You no longer needed to find a believer and beg to go to their home. Now you knew where to go, even if you didn’t know a Christian. Everyone, no matter who they were, knew where to go for guidance and aid,” I said. “What do you think?”
“I still think that little churches are the way to go. Look, I gotta get out of here, but good talk,” he said without making eye contact. “See you Friday.”
And that was how Adam realized that no matter what he said, or how he was led to talk, he would never be able to minister to his guide. Never would his words be taken seriously. And never would he in any way affect his teacher. This was not two men talking about God. This was one man forcing his beliefs on another.
Adam rejected his teacher. He grew bitter, and now he does not know how to get home.
This chapter is from Reality of the Unreal Mind, Vol. 3: The Keep.