Not cut out for religion


I love advent in the rythym of the life of our church. Last sunday we listened to this poem by Jude Simpson from the rejesus site. There are 5 poems at that link by Jude that are superb.

It struck me again at the shallowness of consumerism, and how Jesus doesn't fit into the consumer religion so many of us would prefer especially in the run up to Christmas. You can listen to an audio version of the poem here.


Not cut out for religion

I ask you, what’s the answer, and you just ask me questions, and I’m like, “hello, I thought you were God?” Can’t I just download you, pay-as-I-go to decode you - a quick fix listen on my i-pod?

I ask you, what’s the answer, and you say, “where does the wind blow?” Well, if Dylan couldn’t find it, then I won’t get too far. What’s with all this mystery? How can you say, “follow me” when I don’t even know where you are?

Your religion needs a makeover, you’ve got to de-clutter. Make it softer, gooier and spreadable like butter. I need a faith I can talk about and not sound like a nutter. You ought to be easy to follow.

Like, a hop-on-and-off open-top bus ride, a manual with A to Z tabs down the side, I want a sat-nav path to heaven, not a Lonely Planet guide. I wish you were easy to follow.

I want a Roman road map to instant glory a happy-ending-ever-after chick lit story and you just tell me another foggy allegory featuring corn and sheep and wine and clay pots. What are you like? Do you want followers or not? Far be it from me to tell you what’s what, but if you did make it easier I’m sure you’d get a lot more believers, Jesus.

Give me bite-sized thoughts in a faith shape sorter, No more spilt blood or living water, just a pint-sized god who’s a straight talker. Make it easy to follow.

I want fruit-flavoured shots of the Holy Spirit, bite-sized, trite truths in Boyband lyrics “love” and “above” – yeah, that should fill it. Make it easy to follow.

I want facts on a plate - don’t want to have to question any, artificial roses every 14th of February. I want simple faith – blind if necessary. Why aren’t you easy to follow?

You say, “you are not my servant, now you are my friend”. You say, “I will be with you until the bitter end”. And I’m like, “why bitter? – I wanted happiness on prescription. Isn’t that the whole point of getting religion? And besides, friendship’s harder – can’t I just buy the subscription?” Can’t you be easy to follow?

Give me a clear-cut structure, not a friendship’s fragilities, favourable rights with few responsibilities. I could follow that plan – yeah – religiously. That would be easy to follow.

I want three steps to beauty from a teenage advice mag; Ben and Jerry’s Triple chocolate straight of the ice bag; ethically traded but with a Primark price-tag - I could say Amen to those.

I want box-up beliefs wrapped in tissue-paper presented by Fearne Cotton, and voiced by Tom Baker, with a hands-free contract to contact the Maker available from Tesco’s.

I want Quicktime cut-price broadband access. Simple principles, easily practiced. Directly transactional prayers - the fact is, my time is precious, so why should I work? Why should treasure always require a search?

I want a message that’s acceptable without having to plead it, that’ll make people instantly realise they need it. Yeah, thanks for the Bible – but have you tried to read it? You need to be easy to follow.

I want all the answers set out in a paperback of less than fifty pages, in the buy-now-read-it-later rack I’ll skim it on the train down to visit Auntie Kate and back - nice and easy to follow.

Everyone will warm to its convenient slimness. It’ll be easily digestible and provoke a certain tingliness, and every answer will be one sentence long, universally applicable, and in English. That would be easy to follow.

You see, I think you need to focus and refine your vision, if you want to market the brand they call “Christian”. I say, “give me clarity”, you say, “will you marry me?” With all due respect, Jesus, I don’t think you were cut out for religion.