I had this great plan for these missives in April.
They were going to correspond nicely with what we’re doing over in The Queen Sweep, offering more tips, stories, and examples to help you make your life beautiful.
My mantra for The Queen Sweep is “before you can make magic, you have to scour the cauldron.” But sometimes while you’re cleaning the cauldron, it ignites.
This week, I got a text from a friend.
I’m at this party and people are talking about how being gay is a sin but you have to love the sinner
Really? People still say shit like this?
They do, apparently.
First, some background: I grew up Christian.
Not like go-to-church-at-Easter Christian. Like move-your-family-to-another-country-to-convert-the-heathen Christian.
(Though my parents would never use that word. The unreached, I think they would say. We moved to Japan to reach them when I was five.)
Now I’m a heathen mystic.
That’s a nice euphemism for NOT A CHRISTIAN THANK ALL THAT IS HOLY.
This is a tad awkward, because I really really adore my parents. You would too, if you met them. They are walking beacons of love. They break every awful stereotype you have about religious people, just like Anne Lamott and Glennon Doyle over at Momastery.
But still. I’m feminist. I’m pro-choice. I’m bi. I think the best parts of the Bible were probably shredded and torched by a bunch of bigoted guys with beards and sandals long before it was bound into pretty burgundy covers.
So I’m not exactly loved by the Christian establishment. Nor do I love it. No, not even a little.
I’m working on a memoir right now about my childhood, and I wrote a few weeks ago about how writing about my background massively brings up my shit.
That’s partly because some tough things happened when I was a kid, but mostly it’s because it’s so hard to reconcile how people from that world (many of whom I still deeply adore) can propagate– or align themselves with people who propagate– such hateful beliefs.
That homosexuality is a sin.
That women don’t have the right to preach.
That a husband should have authority over his wife.
That some people deserve hellfire, crusades, and pogroms.
That religious leaders decide what is right, not an individual’s conscience.
That God loves some people but not others.
There are scores of wonderful people of faith who don’t believe any of that; their faith itself makes them crusaders for love and justice and kindness. I want to be very clear that I’m not talking about them. I’m talking about people who use their religion as an excuse to hate.
I can hear some of those devout people right now saying “No no, we don’t hate– we LOVE those sinners who sin so much, it’s just that we don’t love them while they sin!!!”
So here’s what I want to say.
I don’t hate you either, dear religious bigots. I love you very much.
It’s just that I hate your bigotry.
Sidebar: You see the problem I have here, right?
I HATE THOSE HATERS HOW DARE THEY BE SO FULL OF HATE JEEZ I HATE THEM SO MUCH
I have no moral high ground here.
It’s so fucking hard to be open-minded toward closed-minded people.
I’m sure they feel the same way about me.
We talk a lot around here about being very very gentle, and very very fierce. How it takes some ruthlessness to create a life of beauty.
We do beauty here, but we do it like epic fucking badasses.
You have to pull out the weeds or they will choke your joy. You have to let light into all the twisted secret places or they will fester. You have to say no to all the tribal beliefs, cultural pressures, and decaying systems that tell you that you have no right to choose what is right and wrong for yourself.
Those systems are decaying for a reason, loves.
The ironic thing is that more than a decade after I left my last church, I am the most ecstatic of mystics. I am like a hippie Jesus freak, only without the Jesus and never no not ever the Birkenstocks, no matter how on trend they are.
I am intimately connected with the world of spirit now, like I never was in Bible study or church. I literally feel love coming in up from the ground, humming in tree trunks, and bursting out orgasmically in flowers.
I now believe that there is so much love in this world that everything we see is just a faint illusion compared to its incredible reality.
But the Bible-thumpers? Who think God doesn’t like gay people– or women– or Catholics or Jehovah’s Witness or Muslims or shamans or new agers?
Yeah…. that’s not love.
I mean– you could be TOO LOVING for Love??? You could break Love’s rules about love??? How absurd!!!! How hilarious!!!!!
So if your god disapproves of me and my gay friends, I beg you– please unsubscribe from my list. Please unfriend me on Facebook. Please unfollow me on Instagram and Twitter.
Because I no longer tolerate ugliness in my space.
I would never let anyone come near my daughter who called women “dumb bitches” or used the N word or offered her meth.
Nor will I let the little girl in me believe even ONE MORE TIME that hateful people get the final say on what is love.
Here’s what I believe more than anything: we get the God we believe in.
Maybe we even deserve the God we believe in.
Maybe you don’t believe in God. That’s fine; maybe you believe in science, or reason, or love, or kindness, or REI. Whatever you believe in, please do it from the biggest, brightest, most loving part of yourself.
Dearhearts– let’s not tolerate ugliness any more. Sweep it out and make room for a deep breath of something better. I’ll let you in on a secret about all my programs– even though we use vastly differently language, we’re always tackling the same things whether it’s The Queen Sweep or Practical Magic or anything else.
How to take the raw material of our lives and turn it into something beautiful. How to let our hearts break for the beauty and the hurt of the world and keep healing them up stronger and better. How to be tender and fierce. How to grow flowers out of dirt. It’s all the same work, just from different angles. So throw away those awful lamps, purge the stacks of old papers and fears, and clear out old limited tribal beliefs.
Make room for beauty to ignite.
much love from your godless heathen mystic,