There are several Christs I’ve known in 22 years. Men and gods who’ve been beaten by soil and eaten that tangled mess into their marrow; men and gods who have both cried out in foreign bedrooms for pure ecstasy and who have tearfully suckled at the breast of mothers who worried that they were not good mothers. There are several Christs I’ve known and all of them have both failed me utterly and shaped me fundamentally.
I’ve known several people who prophesy to no one. A god would not go to hell and back. Spirits less than Holy can never cross yearning lips. The fires are hot and they will consume, they will consume, they wait for you, they heave for you. Be in the world, but not of it, you have to wait until this life is o’er, then you, yes you, will fly away. We promise.
"You need to see a little hell now and then, that and great joy."
Barry Hannah wrote that and I believe it.
I don’t want anything that is not essentially of this world. Nothing that does not know the hunger of Appalachia, the silencing of the New Jim Crow - that prison-industrial complex - or the terror America rains from on high, equally the fury of drones and capital.
I demand a Christ that lives our pain and not just muses on it, watches over it, gives it streets of gold as a well-won arcade game prize for seventy-five years of suffering. I demand a Christ that feels it, that lives it every day, that answers to those cries for Justice and says not “I am,” but “I know, friend, I know, and I labor just as you do and I weep just as you do and my belly is not filled just as yours sits empty and cries for the daily bread you are by your very breath owed.”
There are millions who live hell every morning and every night in coal mining towns, unemployed, on city blocks, forgotten, across the world, innocent. They share love and tears and flesh and dreams in an often harsh and dreadful thing called existence, but they are those who yet smile at the sun and sing for the rain and reside in joy for life.
We must demand a Christ willingly accountable to all of our pain. We must demand a God of Life. And in that life, that fragmented, momentary experience, we must seek freedom, we must embody love, we must demand liberation.
We must demand that liberation and agency still have worth, less we lose everything, or never really had anything at all.
There are several Christs I’ve known.