not really looking forward to Christmas this year. It's a day away, but
I'm over it all: overweight, overworked, overdrawn and overwhelmed.
Eight months ago we were forced to move to a smaller place, so despite
the Christmas tree, the apartment looks as if it's going to explode,
spewing boxes of nick-knacks and old bank statements over the rest of
the apartment complex. If it does, "Christmas" will be somewhere in the
rubble, but don't look to me to find it. Instead, I'll be dealing with
other things, like the fact that there's no money for the usual
presents, that I look like hell because I haven't been able to keep up
my exercise regimen and that my former partner (for whom I'm a
caregiver), has just been told that his liver cancer is inoperable and
he will live only nine months.
But, you know, I can handle all of that. I've been through worse (I think). The real reason I'm not looking forward to Christmas is because this will be my first Christmas as a minister (I just received my ordination papers -along with a supply catalogue!) AND my first Christmas in a war with God. Oh, up until now, I've had a very good relationship with Him, but my being a minister changes that relationship. Notice that I said a "war with God," not a "war against God." I have to deal with Him as a comrade-in-arms. It's now me and Him against His nemesis. Satan? No.
You may think it an easy war, seeing that Pat has become so senile that even his proteges distance themselves from him whenever a natural disaster occurs, but war under any circumstance, as they say, is hell. Of course, Robertson's old partners-in-crime have gone: Jerry Falwell, Jesse Helms and the old "Cadaver of Congress", Strom Thurmond; Oral Roberts, his University and his memory are fading away; the Crystal Cathedral will soon be a mass of glass shards and few people remember that alarmingly insipid little man, Rev. Lou Sheldon. But like weeds that Robertson so judiciously sewed into the nation's ground, new, vigorous, (and deadlier) strains of self-righteousness and hypocrisy have already taken their place: Tony Perkins, Bryan Fischer, Bill Donohue, Lou Engle, Cindy Jacobs to name but a few.
So I have to prepare for war - and on Christmas! I have to shine up my old verbal zingers and invent new ones. I have to research and catalog as many self-righteous hypocrites as possible (a daunting task seeing that there were so many this last year ala "Bishop" Eddie Long) while their hypocrisies keep pummeling us like giant hailstones. I have to build a barracade of educational references to use against falsehoods. I have to assure everyone (and God as well) that we will prevail. And I have to build alliances, maybe even with the Devil ("the enemy of my enemy is my friend"). See, I can rationalize anything just as well as they can.
Oh, there will be some wicked fun in store for me: the latest dimiwitted, hysterical rant is that gays "stole" the rainbow symbol from Christianity and now good Christians want it back! Coming up with barbs about that one will be delicious. Cream pie, anyone?
In the past, however, I've been able to juggle life's personal exigencies with the demands of an activist: this year, however, I will need to have more drive and stamina suited to a minister. This year, Christmas comes with a powerful caveat: the beautiful love and hope may only intensify the hypocrisies. Will I have the stamina to write/fight against not only Pat Robertson, but all the other televangelists, the lobbyists, politicians and frauds? I honestly don't know. My ministry goals are simple: help people survive by getting them back on the track of charity, compassion and social justice - those things that Glenn Beck is telling us to avoid at all costs. But the simplest of goals can require enormous effort, and placing a "Rev." in front of my name will put me in hostile, uncharted territory.
Christmas. Oh joy.