Wednesday, May 4, 2011

hell, i don't know

must there be a hell
for salvation to matter?

a man on the roadside
plaquard affixed to his chest
beckons at passers by
'repent or fry'

in his fifties
dressed distinguished
i fight swerving
afraid i won't miss
ignorance more piss
than bliss

did jesus ever feel the need
to threaten people into
his kingdom &
how is that any different?

must we have something
to save people from,
flame's tangible tongues
to feed our selfish sense
of justice,

maybe we should all
just dance in the street

or is there something
greater to be saved to,
that lasts longer than
fears theatrics?

sometimes we seem
lost in all the wrong statements
battling arguments that make
no difference
and wonder does
God just laugh
til sHe gets a
stitched side
or are the twinkling stars
tears in HEr eyes?

written for Imperfect Prose

87 comments:

Meeko Fabulous said...

Love it! I feel that way about religion sometimes. It shouldn't be used as a scare tactic. Love the way you referred to Him as 'sHe' and 'HEr'. Makes you think. :)

Pat Hatt said...

Again making me think
Pretty sure you'll have me hit the brink
But yes there seems to be a need for some kind of bad
In order for people to be glad
And to spout their hocus pocus
As the road you try to focus
Piss and hell
Really the foul words you tell..LOL
Was I first
With this burst
Or did I take to long to compose
This with me toes

Pat Hatt said...

damn so close I was to being first
But second will have to quench my thirst

Bonnie said...

Love this Brian - especially the suggestion that it would be better to be saved TO something, rather than saved FROM something.

"...or are the twinkling stars tears in HEr eyes?" Beautiful.

RNSANE said...

I've always hated the fire and brimstone so often associated with religion. It just doesn't seem the way a benevolent god or goddess would do things.

Little Ms Blogger said...

Unfortunately, many religions scare you into believing in their faith to avoid hell.

Betsy said...

Not just a fire escape but oh so much more.

TechnoBabe said...

Repent? Fry? Hell? Threats.

Sounds like a big scheme, doesn't it.

Daniel said...

hmmm, good one to noodle on today. But I don't think God is amused when we threaten or brow beat or think we know more than anyone else in the world around us.

Joanne said...

"must there be a hell
for salvation to matter?"
Ah, the seminal question, Brian, and well said. The answer is no, for me, because there's no need to be saved from anything in the first place. Great questions all the way through.
sHe's laughing, by the way. ;)

Pauline said...

god save me from all religions!

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello Brian,

This post is very thought provoking.

Jesus as portrayed in the New Testament is always a loving God.He forgives even the worst of all worst sinners. HE even said that the good shepherd will leave his flock of good sheep which faithfully follow HIM to go looking for a sheep that has gone astray.

Threatening people with dire consequences like frying in hell is not going to work. The only thing that will work is LOVE and FORGIVENESS, HELP AND UNDERSTANDING. All threats will go to waste.

Any reasonable man or woman should know that our life on this earth is only temporary and for a short period.We have come from God and we have to go back to God. If we have received the blessings of God by doing good things on this earth we will be rewarded with eternal happiness in heaven. If we have not received God's approval by dong things which are pleasing to God we will surely be punished just as Adam and Eve were punished.

I was thrilled to see how you have removed the gender from God by using sHE. This is a very original idea. God surely has no gender like she or he.

Have a nice day Brian,
Joseph

Titanium said...

"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind", and yet so many stand at the ready, prepared to wound and maim and kill in the name of one god or another.

Perfect prose for this week, Brian.

Sue said...

I don't like threats, either.

And, for me at least, anyone making them has little connection (in that moment at least) to God.

=)

Tara Miller said...

I certainly don't think we need to scare anyone into salvation. Our Heavenly Father knows everything about us including how to best communicate with us and draw us to Him. It is however our choice that He freely gives us whether to accept or reject Him. By accepting Him we can have joy in knowing that we will spend eternity in His presence and if we reject Him then we will forever be separated from Him. I choose to live my life as an example to others that I hope see His Light and Love shining through me.

Scare tactics are wrong....

drybottomgirl said...

Or do we have to save us from ourselves? Excellent and filled with so much thought...

AmyLK said...

So true! Forcing/scaring people to believe is just WRONG. You put it elloquently as usual!

G-Man said...

Is God a God of Fear?
Or a God of Love?
I guess we'll all find out soon enough.

Who Is Afraid of Alfred Hitchcock? said...

"a man on the roadside
placard affixed to his chest
beckons at passers by 'repent or fry'
Without getting to deep into religion...I wonder how do they know that we will "fry" if we don't "repent"...Of course, it's written in the Bible, but still? I guess the answer is we want know until we die.

Hi! Brian...
Once again, words that comes to my mind: Powerful poetry, Though-Provoking, Well-Written Poem, and To
Question?
Thanks, for sharing!

[Postscript:I also like your wording here:"God just laugh
til sHe gets a...or are the twinkling stars
tears in HEr eyes?..." to indicate that The Creator, gender is unknown?!? (Or it can indicate that you, think that The Creator, is many beings?!?)

Personally, I feel that The Creator is like some Chameleon(s) able to become who "SHe" "HEr" wants to become and in truth is any and everything in this Universe.]

DeeDee :-/

David Allen Waters said...

I grew up with "scare tactics" it isnt a good way to help people learn of God....well done friend.

hedgewitch said...

True words my friend. I distrust the emotional blackmail card, no matter who plays it. However, as a pagan-y sort of atheist, I have to say the Hell part of the Christian ethos does attract me--I like to think of all those who so richly deserve it,and who for one reason or another escape our earthly justice, sizzling away down there. But the carrot-stick method to me lacks true belief in what you're preaching being right--why do you have to bribe OR threaten if it's all so good?

Maggie May said...

We won't know what the bigger picture is..... in this world.
Love that poem and all its frustrations.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Christine said...

I haven't read a near death experience yet, that talks about feeling the searing pain of heat and almost walking into the fire. It's always about the light and feeling the love. Your first few lines really hooked me into this poem. Nice.

Cindy said...

well, honestly, my husband and I still talk about "points" when we see someone acting foolish along the side of the road...(in our youthful bliss/ignorance we totally enjoyed "death race" movies - do you think God was laughing with us? They were such a metaphor for stupidity!) Anyway...totally loved it again...it is so good to come here and be delivered from taking myself so seriously!

Blessings!

Barbara Shallue said...

Wonderful questions and thoughts. I squirm when I think about all of this, too - why use fear? Why not Love?

Lisa notes... said...

"or is there something
greater to be saved to,
that lasts longer than
fears theatrics?"

Yes! Beautiful.

happygirl said...

Nice words. Nice. Yep, there is something greater to be saved to. I thank God for this.

Baino said...

Heh, fear is a a great leveller

Vicki Lane said...

Good one -- it's also rather insulting to be told that one can't be a moral person unless one is religious. Religion has a lot of evil to answer for -- along with some good.

Ed Pilolla said...

i'm for dancing in the streets. seriously, don't some of the ancient poets tell us that there is no more evolved state than being happy? worthy questions, for sure.

R. Burnett Baker said...

Hell, I don't think so. I absolutely love this, Brian. I often think and say, when it comes up, that no, we won't go to hell, we're already there. We just have to keep trying to get it right in order to stop the repeated cycles.

Guess that's the Wheel or Transmigration thing creeping into my thinking.

Great post!

Rick

blueviolet said...

I'm not about the fire and brimstone, but some people get all excited and motivated that way.

The Retired One said...

I love that you called God a woman..who knows?
I went to a funeral of a friend today..and instead of concentrating all of the service on HIM and his wonderful life, out came the fire and brimstone: "you gotta be saved" bible banging speech. It was so sad that my friend's funeral couldn't be spared that out of respect to him. Some religions just don't get it...that by pushing their agenda on others, they turn people AWAY instead of TO......

Lolamouse said...

Brian,
Nicely done. Organized religion feels too much like a club or clique to me. The whole "We're the good ones" attitude, and if you're not one of us, you're wrong is really off putting. The idea of something to aspire TO and inclusion rather than saving FROM and exclusion sits much better with me!

tracy said...

I love the him/her references. Having you been reading Rob Bell? This is a big plate of food for thought. Maybe I should come back for seconds.

ayala said...

Brian, I love it :)

Unknown Mami said...

I believe there can be good without bad.

♥ Braja said...

You got it, buddy: we should all dance in the streets. Hare Krishna !!! :)))

Well, hell, they seem so HAPPY.

!!!

xoxo

turtlememoir said...

Love the questions, Brian. Fear sells best, it seems, even when it's purportedly love on the auction block. How pathetic is that! Some laughter, I think, in god's eyes, but mostly just tears and wondering... did sHE really make humans as dense as all that?

DJan said...

I can't help but think of the recent events and people dancing in the streets over a death... to feed our selfish sense of justice, as you say.

Yes I do sometimes think we are making some bad choices in what we are thinking and how we are acting. But what do I know? I am just one person...

HopeUnbroken said...

i haven't read you long, but you always seem to go somewhere i'm not expecting. . . .

Scott said...

I don't think I'm ready to start dancing in the street, but I have been singing loudly in my car...alone...more often. "fears theatrics" nicely said.

lucychili said...

groups of in or out
are a problem in themsleves imho

thinking of ourselves as a woven network of interdependent parts, an ecology seems more useful to me

Joanna Jenkins said...

Very thought provoking, Brian. I'm often left scratching my head with the things people do in the name of god....

I'm catching up on my reading. Great poem for Tera and I love the picture too. You two are a terrific team.

Hope all's well with you. I'll be back again soon. jj

CM said...

Well said. I think people like that forget that we are supposed to model Jesus' example, love others, and we are all sinners saved by grace.

This reminded me of some of the televangelists and the scare tactics they use. I just don't get it.

CM said...

Oh, BTW, congrats on the 800 followers! You rock dude.

haikulovesongs said...

well hell, i don't know either. {smile}

Melinda Owens said...

So true, so true. I think sHe must laugh at us, and cry, too. I could go and on and on about how religion (I'm a preacher's daughter) distorted my view of who sHe is to me...but I digress. Love is the only thing that makes sense or why bother? Why would anyone be drawn to a God that represents the opposite? I was wondering, have you read Rob Bell's new book? Turns the Christian heaven/hell idea upside down...and I like it. Anyway, nice thought provoking piece here. Very nice. It rings of truth.

Joybird said...

I don't know Brian. Jesus talked about hell more often than heaven. He seemed pretty concerned with rescuing us from something as well as into something. I do agree that He never seemed to used fear tactics unless He was being shockingly honest about the price of following Him.

Cloudia said...

God wants us to laugh and dance in the street and to be kind.

just ask Her!



Warm Aloha from Waikiki


Comfort Spiral

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She Writes said...

Hmmm. God became too small, too petty, too out of touch. Tears. I vote tears.

Zuzana said...

Beautiful and poignant. So much wrong has been done in the name of religion, while so little is really required to be religious.
Love the play on the divine gender.;))
Have a great day dear friend,
xoxo

Teri said...

Brain--So glad to be back and able to respond so much faster than ever before with this incredible high-speed. I agree with Meeko...great play on the spelling of those two words and how just by spelling them as you did you make them "one". After all...that is the point, isn't it? We are all one...there is only one god, that by which we call many names, be it He or She, or Buddha, or Mohammed, or Me, or You.

trisha said...

well we should be glad that god doesnot acts like her representatives, terrorizing people into her world :) :)

i think she leaves the choice entirely on us.

Alan Burnett said...

Never quite understood the "repent or die" thing as the advertised benefits of repentance only become applicable on death. But I suppose "repent and die" does not make such an attractive slogan

ladyfi said...

Wonderful writing! Love the questions you raise...

Network Solution said...

Likes it.........

Lorraine said...

I've learned that a conscience finds its home in heaven to the level of sconscience it had on earth, so I imagine there must be hellish level, as there are a lot of people with hidden consciences, we will be all at our own level

If you are what you write, and you feel what you feel I can see you in a lovely level :)

slommler said...

Yes it seems selling is the name of the game. And coercion and fear tactics. Very sad really! What about joy and bliss and relationship? What about those stars??
Hugs
SueAnn

Rob said...

Very well written.

Heather said...

We should be free to believe whatever we choose...not be threatened into something. Very thought provoking. I'll be dancing in the streets!

Claudia said...

i think we should all just dance in the streets until those who watch can't help but want to join in..i like how your mind works..

the walking man said...

*Detroit Attitude*

Jodi said...

I do know this - we have an enemy, and it isn't God. And absence from God would be hell. Good stuff, Brian. Thank you.

TK said...

rather a clever piece.....gets the brain thinking...I like your play on words, TK xx

annell said...

Love this!

Myrna R. said...

I'm so with you on this one. No one could express it as well as you.

Celestial Dreamz said...

wonderful questions that time and again rock my mind ... wisdom reflected.

Cathy said...

I love the sense of reaching toward the light rather than fleeing the dark...

Melinda said...

I feel the same way about pushiness in religion. It is a real turn off and seems counterproductive.

Rachel said...

Good thoughts, I have heard reformed theologians say that to accept Jesus because of a fear of hell is not really accepting him in relationship, so they question someones salvation based on the fear of hell and then those same theologians are the ones arguing the point about hell??? I do believe in hell and am not a universalist I am one of those "Sudo Christians" I guess that believe Christ will show himself and it is our choice to follow him, and that some will even choose not to after being with him face to face, it is a gift to not be forced to love, but to be able to choose.

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

Oh man Brian is this a DEEP, DEEP, DEEP one! I live in a community that lives the repent or fry mentality and oh, it is tiresome...this one speaks VOLUMES to me...can't wait to share it with my hubby.
EXCELLENT!

Petite Nakomertje said...

Hi Brian, I'm your new fan and I love your poems. Definitely love this post. Cheers! :)

Bristol said...

Honestly. Your writing is delightful. It's such a perfect mix of provocative, funny, heart-felt, inspiring.
I'm especially loving this line: "maybe we should all just dance in the street."
Today you have reminded me to let my joy in Christ shine through more fully and brightly. Thanks, Brian!!

Mama Zen said...

Love this, Brian!

tera said...

I vote for dancing in the street. Either way, we're good with that one! :)

Okie said...

profoundly thoughtful. I really like this and totally agree....far too often we're caught up in the nuances and details that really don't matter and lose sight of the big picture.


Great poem

Fireblossom said...

I'm gonna be a Lolamouse dittohead on this one!

emily wierenga said...

they are tears, brother. i have them too, right now, after reading you and loving the Jesus i see in you...

Elaine said...

Don't know how I missed this one Brian. Thought provoking indeed. Thank God for salvation, is all I can say!

Kati patrianoceu said...

"sometimes we seem
lost in all the wrong statements
battling arguments that make
no difference"

Wow! SO SO TRUE!

Magpie said...

This one prompted a lot of long comments. People seem to feel very deeply about this one. I agree. I've never understood how those could be the choices...heaven or hell.

Rachel Hoyt said...

Awesome thoughts! I wonder about that too. Love that you used sHe and HEr. :)

secret agent woman said...

I often wonder what would happen to organized religion if the concept of hell were dropped.

Goofball said...

I can only belief in a religion that teaches me to do the right things and have my heart at the right place for the sake the communities I'm part off.....not for a personal gain/loss in a sort of "heaven" or "hell" when I die

Stafford Ray said...

The day of the myth maker seems to be closing as thinking reveals the flaws. Expressed with charm and wit.

lori said...

sometimes it seems we have it so wrong it will never be right. it's frustrating that this is what it's become, a game of manipulation and fear. it makes my heart heavy and sad :(