Tell me about Jesus
Last week I posted a story on my instagram asking people to tell me what they wanted me to write about. Fear not, I’m not going to turn into one of those bloggers who gears their writing style towards the opinions of others in order to grow their following. I never really intended to have a big following, I was just myself, and I refuse to change that. As I lived from thread to thread I had so many words welling up inside of me, and when I’d sit down to put them into sentences, my mind would go into a dark and scary place.
So I’d allow myself to write about things I was feeling for 30 minutes everyday, to release angst and process things, but when the timer would go off I’d need to switch to a new subject. Words are my jam. If you do words right, they’re feelings on paper (or screen I suppose), and having grown up in a Midwestern culture where we’re taught from our earliest recollections to mask feelings, I like this. It’s like coloring on the walls for grown ups.
So I asked you guys to fill in this blank:
“Kelsey, tell me about ________ .”
I got silly answers, serious answers, questions about relationships and an inquiry about my thoughts on the real estate value of Spongebob Squarepant’s pineapple under the sea. I think I’m going to save that question for an Instagram story where I do a real life, bathroom edition of “Will it float” to see how unique said pineapple is, but I’ll get to the others in the meantime.
Let’s bear in mind that I do not have the qualifications to actually give advice to anyone. I do not know what I am doing in my life 95% of the time. However, until this last stint I’ve managed to accomplish something most people in my stage of life haven’t yet: I’ve really enjoyed my life and I’ve managed to squeeze out everything I have inside of me to try to help others. I may not be the most credible source for sage advice, and I’ve made more mistakes and had more failures than successful endeavors at pretty much any area of life, but I’m a badass for trying, and always being able to laugh about it down the line.
For simplicity’s sake, let’s go with the first one that came into my inbox:
“Kelsey, tell me about Jesus.”
Fitting, because we just celebrated the day the Roman Catholic church decided to hijack and declare as His birthday so that it would fit into their formerly pagan calendar, despite history pointing to the world’s most famous carpenter being born more towards summer based on when the census was taken and laws from Herod were set into motion.
I look around at modern America and I see a world where people have hijacked a beautiful story about a Rabbi from the Middle East whose coming was prophesied about hundreds of times for thousands of years before his toes made a mark in the sands of Canaa. I see a lot of people pointing fingers and turning a historically documented figure who preformed miracles and forgave mistakes with no strings attached, and have turned it into self help books. They’ve taken a narrative about the biggest, undeserved love scandal that resulted in death for the hero and life for the little shits that put him in that position, and turned it into a political agenda that focuses on telling people what to do with their genitals and building walls to keep difference out.
They’ve forgotten that when leaders found grounds for punishment rooted in the Torah, the staple of their religion, He told them that whoever hadn’t made a mistake could punish her, bent down and played in the sand. This story of reckless, unconditional, “I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, or what you did” love that puts the Backstreet Boys to shame, has been used as a tool for evil and hate and I’m in pieces about it.
I often refer to myself as a reformed Christian asshole because I used to be in a “young conservatives” group in high school and found a lot of meaning and purpose in choosing abortion as a debate topic in 9th grade civics class, just so I could remind my classmates how awful they were because they thought “killing babies was okay” - direct quote, Asshole Kelsey, ages 14-19.
One of my guilty pleasures in life is posting statuses that are aggressive enough to spark all of my republican followers comments who blindly follow rules that make no sense with the messages that Jesus preached, using my wit and also insight into the other side of the political spectrum to craft some of the wittiest phrases I’ve ever penned. This is proof that I am still a work in progress and am no where near as kind as Jesus.
You didn’t ask me for my thoughts on American Christianity, but I felt I needed to call out some hypocrisy before I tell you what I think about the story of Jesus. There are a lot of preconceived notions that people have about Christianity and it wouldn’t be fair to say what I’m going to say without debunking those myths and telling the confused onlookers to Christianity “I’m with you, man.”
Now, the world is actually too complex to have just begun on it’s own, and any well educated theologian who’s not monetarily benefitting from a conservative political party will tell you that the opening chapter of Genesis is a poem. They’ll also tell you that stories about the MVPs like Jonah, Noah and Hosea were actually most likely metaphors in fable form. Science is real, and I believe points to the fact that there is a higher power, and the Bible takes a lot of creative license to illustrate concepts like love, tenacity, faith, forgiveness, trust, perseverance and helping others.
I’ve also experienced too many miracles to count on my fingers, which means more than eight. I was once hit by two semi trucks within ten seconds of each other going full speed on the highway, my airbags never went off, my car turned into an accordion. Real life bumper cars, and I walked away not just alive but without a scratch. I swore I was fine to the paramedics, but they insisted I go to the hospital because there was no way that I was fine, and I took selfies of myself strapped to a stretcher with an unnecessary neck brace and flirted with my hot doctor, because I was on a big time Grey’s Anatomy kick. I was v happy when I had to take my shirt off to get an ultrasound to ensure there was no internal bleeding and made finger guns at my abs, raised my eyebrows, looked him straight in the eyes and said “whuddup corepower.” My mom begged me to stop, telling me that they are going to think I have a head injury and not realizing I’m actually just like this. Miracles happen. Inexplicable, divine interventions that have no explanation besides the supernatural, and I believe it’s our job to turn them into the kind of stories that people want to hear.
I’ve never viewed God as a scary being, but I’ve also always respected the fact that there is a much higher power than I am that I’ll never be able to wrap my mind around. It makes sense to me when people say they don’t understand God, because who would want to believe in a higher power that the human mind can fully wrap itself around. It makes zero sense, however, when people decide to stop trying to figure out where their spiritual beliefs rest because of this fact. Our morals, goals, and character are all cemented in the foundation of our spiritual beliefs - like little my handprints in our patio on one of the many houses I grew up in. Without that foundation, we’d have had furniture in the grass and whenever the slightest storm came, shit would get so messy and lose all function for a bit. Millennials especially really like not figuring out what they believe, because they realize it’ll require some changes that might not serve them or their ego that well.
Three years ago I got a phone call from someone I’d never met and he left me a voice message telling me a mutual friend had asked him to pray for me, and that he got the most vivid image that he wanted to share with me.
He got a visual depiction of me riding on Jesus' back like a child or maybe a best friend, and we're both laughing our asses off - like the kind of laughter where you have to stop the car on a road trip at the nearest gas station because you'll probably pee your pants, and then you also grab snacks that you don't like to admit to anyone you secretly enjoy. He said we were going over hills and in valleys and there were daisies and we just kept laughing and that all he could tell was that my relationship with Jesus was rare. He said that the secret power in my relationship was that it was incredibly intimate, and that I knew that God loved me.
I sobbed when I heard this and still have the message saved. Primarily for moments like this, when I feel like I’ve maybe fallen off his back and and He didn't notice, so I feel like flipping him the middle finger or removing him as a friend on Facebook. Like any relationship, I don’t always like Him or understand what the fuck He is doing and sometimes He doesn’t always like my behavior. I’m sure He has some strong opinions on some of the colorful texts I’ve sent ex boyfriends and we’re not exactly on the best terms because of the fact that I’m pretty angry about injustice in literally every sphere of life - aside from being a white middle class American male. I don’t understand why TF He doesn’t just wipe out the human race in a clean swoop and have us kick it in the streets paved with gold. I’ve got some super sweet gold Adidas that will look fly as hell out there.
Jesus was born a refugee, and His parents had to flee so he wouldn’t be murdered until He was 33. His best friend died, His squad all turned their backs on Him, He never got laid, He went for weeks without food or shelter. He was subject to the ultimate torture so excruciating it was outlawed not long after he endured it simply for “living His truth.” He worked a low key shitty job as a carpenter and didn’t step into his calling until he was 30, and then spent the next three years being a nomad story teller whose sole message was to really love each other. Not love like we say about our favorite foods or music artists - the kind of love that looks at each other and says, "I see you, imperfections and all, and I'm going nowhere." Provide for the helpless, feed the hungry, visit the prisoner and stick by each other through thick and thin. He was the OG hippie, he probably did yoga, and I bet He’d like my classes.
So my thoughts on Jesus? Man, He’s the best. I don’t understand why He doesn’t intervene supernaturally like in my car accident on some bigger issues. I don’t get why He makes us live in such a broken, horrible Earth. But I do believe there’s too much history and too much divinity in the world to deny that He’s God.
And if He’s God, it’s literally the only thing in the Universe that makes life worth living. Because people will fail you, you’ll lose your job, no matter how fit and fabulous you are one day you’ll be 85 with flabby triceps that giggle when you wave. You might lose your child and you’ll definitely lose your parents and everything that the culture we’re raised in glorifies will all disappear. His life gives us hope that despite everything being a shit hole sometimes, we’re not alone. We’re so not alone, in fact, that the Creator who oversaw evolution and gave us the gift of creativity made himself a human being and went through the shits so that we’d know this fact. That’s it. He’s not a promise that you’re going to have a perfect job, or that your dreams are all going to come true or that your comfort in this life matters at all. He’s just a steady reminder that while life is never perfect and is always messy, our job is just to love others and be there with them.
And if He's God, and we get that revelation past our ears, thick heads, into our hearts and steeped in our soul it can't help but change you. All of a sudden you're hyper aware of your own imperfections because you know the difference in your soul when you pay attention to the fact that you're loved, and when you forget. When you fuck up you don't feel the need to sit in your mistakes. When others do shit like bail on your birthday or forget to call you back or break up with you in front of a host of people you can look at the situation through a lens of grace and realize that everyone makes mistakes, and Jesus still loves them. All of a sudden you don't have to change because of people's expectations, you want to change because of this love so passionate it makes my Chipotle obsession look tame.
And I think that piggy back visual is such a great illustration of that. When you know that despite your failures, temper, past and selfishness you are unconditionally loved it makes laughing through both the good and the bad possible.
You’re not alone, you’re loved, go live differently and tell others. That’s what He says, and I have seen firsthand that living with a life focused on this statement is the only kind worth chasing.