Finally -- Sunday School Comes in Handy!

OK, I have a confession to make: Not only was I raised as a Christian, which meant that I was forced to attend church every Sunday until I was confirmed at age 13, at which point it became my choice whether to attend church (which I did -- Missouri Synod Lutheran -- I even became the church organist for a time), then I became a "born-again" Christian at age 19 (at the urging of my first lesbian lover -- yeah, that's weird, but it gets weirder), and to this day, I actually have a soft spot in my head for the teachings of Jesus -- you know, the real teachings, like "Love one another", "the meek shall inherit the earth", "suffer the little children to come unto me", etc. -- THAT Jesus? Remember him?

Later in life, I explored some of my less-known religious heritage -- like the fact that my father's fore bearers (who had converted to Bible Baptist a long, long time ago) were actually practicing Jews at one point . I studied Hebrew because I wanted to know what the Old Testament really said, and because I was curious to know what my genetic ancestors had been reading (and so that I could converse in some halting way with a friend in Tel Aviv). Throughout all these wild and woolly forays, I was a dyke-dyke-dykey dyke, since I knew from 12 years of age that I was a big old queer.

So, I know the Bible (Old T and New T) pretty well. It was drummed into my head at "Vacation Bible School" while I sprinkled glitter onto my tongue-depressor crosses at age 5, it was railed at me from the ornate pulpit of my midwestern church throughout my "formative" years, it was crooned to me by my lesbo-lover after a vigorous session of muff-diving, and three bibles still inhabit my book-shelf to this very day:

  1. My confirmation King James Version
  2. An NIV gifted to me by my sister when maybe she thought I might actually repent and be saved --the fly-leaf inscribed "The covers of this bible are red -- it's hoped that what lies between them will be" (Isn't that cute?) -- AND
  3. A gigantic interlinear Hebrew/Greek/Aramaic version (the only one I open now). It is large enough to qualify as a deadly weapon.
Suffice it to say that I knows me sum bible.

Until today, though, I hadn't really understood the Cosmic Plan for all this biblical absorption. Now, I have seen the Light, and Grokked the Purpose --

It was all part of the Creator's Divine Intention to Make Me Ready! . . .

. . . to deal with internet trolls.

On a couple of blogs that I read regularly, there have recently been recurrent appearances of comment trolls who spout things like: "You would all be fine and learn to love our glorious president if you just let the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christs into your hearts and minds! . . . . . . Until you do, you suck."

It took me about two weeks to put it all together, but finally, G-d's Grace broke through to me -- I realized that I had been selected -- little old me -- to carry the Good Book into troll territory -- to recall all that I had studied and pondered over, and to hurl it with wild abandon under bridges everywhere -- yes, I have found My Way . . . My Path . . . My Dao.

So today, I began responding to my favorite "Holly Bibel" Troll simply by thanking it for reminding me to turn to the one source of real answers -- The BIBLE, and then citing an appropriate Bible verse for the situation at hand with the troll.

Luckily, the Bible has all the answers that you need -- no matter what position you are seeking to attack or defend.

Need to protest a war? Just try: Matthew 26:52 "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword."

Need to defend a war? Well, just a couple of chapters back, we have: Matthew 24:6
"You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come."

See -- how cool is that?

It's like there's just one book that you can answer ANYTHING with -- Are you excited yet?

But wait, there's MORE!

The Bible is like the Popeil Pocket Fisherman! You can justify or denigrate nearly everything with this single volume! Self-righteousness and cosmic one-upsmanship has never been so easy!

You may be saying: "Hey Portly! I wasn't as privileged as you -- I didn't get a thorough, brain-numbing education in Bible studies from the time I could walk! I don't really understand the Bible -- it all seems so long and complex! How can I quote scripture if I'm taking it out of context and not really sure what it means?"

Don't worry -- the biblicul trolls you might deal with don't seem to understand it either -- they use the Bible this way all the time -- and if they can take a single passage, separate it from its entire surrounding text, and use it to browbeat another human being -- so can you!!
In all seriousness, I do think that the real Jesus rocks. He was a social activist (he advocated and intervened for the poor, down-trodden, and even whores) -- a rebel (which is probably why they killed him, unfortunately) -- anti-establishment (f*ck you, Pharisees! Rich people who care for no one else -- you're not gettin' into my heaven!) -- the real Jesus was a fucking radical.

So, maybe I'm a true Christian after all.

Posted byPortlyDyke at 11:54 PM  


Emily said... August 8, 2007 at 6:15 AM  

That's a lot of Bible knowledge...thank you for taking it into the trenches of the blogosphere. I also grew up in the Lutheran church (the ELCA one, not the MO synod one), and I learned the Bible in church, at home (my dad was a pastor), and in my Lutheran affiliated college.

I get tired of self-righteous conservative Christians suggesting that because I am a liberal, I cannot have knowledge of the Bible. Or possibly understand Jesus - who you aptly describe as a fucking radical.

Again, that's a lot of Bible-learning, and I am humbled by it. It makes mine look down-right trivial.

PortlyDyke said... August 8, 2007 at 6:34 AM  

"that's a lot of Bible-learning,",

Yeah, and to think -- I'm still going to hell because I love my wife. ;)

I was actually baptized Augustana (which later joined ELCA), but we went to a MO Synod church because it was the only Lutheran church in our town. My pastor resembled Barnabas Collins from Dark Shadows -- physically and in other respects.

Phydeaux Speaks said... August 8, 2007 at 7:30 AM  

What is truly jaw-dropping for me is the fact that most of the Christianists ignore the New Testament. And that fact that practically all of it was written generations after the fact - the TWO things that are truly jaw-dropping are... and that 400 years into the experiment, books were removed because they didn't fit the "agenda" - the THREE things that are....

Wait, I'll come in again.

Amongst the things that are jaw-dropping for me are etc., etc., etc....

I was only able to survive my churchin' years by joining the choir (former 1st tenor, now sliding into baritone).

Phydeaux Speaks said... August 8, 2007 at 7:43 AM  

I guess what I was trying to say in the previous comment is:

NObody expects the Christianist Inquisition (to make any sense)!

[word verification: kwyrm - that's almost a word!]

Jennifer said... August 8, 2007 at 8:26 AM  

So, maybe I'm a true Christian after all.

Sounds about right to me.

Batocchio said... August 8, 2007 at 11:28 AM  

Haha. I was raised Lutheran, Missouri Synod, too. Sunday School or church every Sunday for years. Please keep us posted on any future skirmishes!

Phydeaux Speaks makes a good point that one of my most devoutly religious friends makes as well: Jesus and the New Testament specifically cite and modify some passages in the Old Testament.

I don't think the problems in the world have ever been due to Jesus, or his teachings. It's the folks that purport to speak for him and do awful things in his (or any god's) name that are the problem.

NameChanged said... August 8, 2007 at 12:35 PM  

Well said Portly. You carry your "crusade" against the trolls, for it will be a long and hearty battle. I will tell your tale. (Who knows, maybe you'll get your own book?)

TheCunningRunt said... August 8, 2007 at 10:04 PM  

As a Recovering Catholic, I loves me sum Jesus, too! ...and despises me some whole lotta Catholic Church. Killed a LOT of good people, they did.

Excellent post, Gurrrl, and thanks for takin' it Into The Dark. We won't win this argument by "preaching" to each other!

JC (yes, those are my real initials) said... August 12, 2007 at 12:04 PM  

I don't know that you'll get a chance to read this as I'm obviously 4 days late but I just discovered your blog (via Crooks & Liars, BTW) and wanted to comment.

My theory (and I've got hundreds of them) is this. Jesus brought a New Testament of Hope to the world. Not an extension of the Old but a replacement for it.

And as for you going to hell, well, we're all going to hell because no matter what we say, do, or who we suck up to, we are all sinners, every single one of us. But Jesus has an out that is summed up in one sentence: Whoever believes in Him will find eternal life (John 5:24, John 6:40, John 6:47, 11:25-26).

It is by faith that we are forgiven and our faith and belief is between us and God and no one else, dispite what anyone else may say. Others may say we are not saved or not Christian but that determination is not up to them, but only up to us and God.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I enjoy your writing and your point of view and look forward to reading your blog on a daily basis.

Theriomorph said... October 16, 2008 at 5:16 PM  

Love it. And as a lifelong queer and activist who stopped short of divinity school only by virtue of an existential crisis on the cusp of admission, and who on bad days used to invite the Jehovah's Witnesses IN for 'discussion' of Leviticus - kindred spirit. : )

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