Dear White Jesus

I cannot sit
at your clean white feet
waiting for the blue skies of eternity
while there is white-induced hell on earth.

I cannot pray
to your sweet white face
or repeat your white savior fairytales
that twist hope with capitalism and manifest destiny.

I cannot preach
of your anemic white justice
that absolves its own habits of white racism
and calls for #alllivesmatter whenever the lamb meets the lion.

Take your wonderbread cubes
and your styrofoam wafers; burn them
on the vineyards still bleeding from native populations.
Call it a picnic and see if white folks come with their children.

Take every last one of your white disciples
whose tongues are glib with love and grace
but slow to utter #BlackLivesMatter for fear of
committing their lives to a payment long past due.

Take your white salvation
that acquits white sin as fast as a white jury
and dances in self-absolution as if it’s the emperor’s clothes.
The world knows you are naked, white Jesus. Don’t blame Eve.

You are dying, white Jesus,
and still you cry, “I know not what I’ve done!”
while your prophets cajole, “You did nothing wrong, you
are white as snow.” But see: your blood drowns the world.

Someone come quickly
and comfort, comfort the white Jesus
who is lonely in stained glass and lifeless in praise bands
because the task of rendering racism sinless is his only purpose.

This time there is no resurrection.
It is finished, and your hallowed red letters
have returned to their dust, along with your integrity
as a cult god. Make friends with Baal and the golden calf.

Advent: Goodbye

Still I wait.
Still I listen.
Still there is only
disappointment.
We have waited.
We have hoped.
Perhaps now
at long last
God will answer
the generations
who have cried.
Perhaps.
But here —
here is a
shoulder
for comfort
until God
comes. Unless
God doesn’t come.
Unless the desert
never blooms.
Unless the streams
never bubble in song.
What if…?
What if never?
Cry, creation, cry
and say farewell.
Salvation isn’t
coming for you.

on Isaiah 35:1-7

What Will Destroy Us?

Ahab will come
armed with scripture
and swords and prophets
to say ‘you are wrong’
to say ‘your life
is anathema to mine’
to say ‘it is my
god-given task
to make your life hell’
and he’s right — not that he must
make your life hell but that he can, that he
can choose to destroy
without guilt or consequence.

The mountain too may threaten,
perhaps not with the same conscious intent but
with power and indiscretion
nevertheless:
roaring as a wind
that shouts to be heard
and does not stop
to listen;
breaking as an earthquake
that defies permanence
without regard for
safety;
consuming as a fire
that idolizes its own quick tongue
as the authority on all life
without noticing
the ashes drifting
in its wake.
All these too
will destroy without care.

But as we run from Ahab
as we tremble in the mountains
may hope be found, snatched,
held,
claimed and
proclaimed: that only One
will not destroy
only One will plant broom trees
for shade, only
One
will send angels
whispering “Get up again,”
only One will well up fresh water in
a toxic wilderness,
only One
will bind our hearts
for the long journey, only
One
will love our lives
when
kings and queens
and earthquakes and fires
otherwise rage to destroy life utterly.

What will destroy us? Too many things
but not
the Holy One.
Let mercy find & convict us
where we have lied to one another
in this regard. And may the One
forgive us when we
destroy.

on 1 Kings 19:1-13

Disbelief

It does not matter,
not now or in the end,
whether God means us well or ill,

For what wrath could God rain
that we have not already
poured on one another?

And what good could God wrest
from the clutches of the few
to bless the many?

Let the Savior spare Himself from the trouble
of coaxing and convincing — we are
already so long gone in the handbasket.

Let Wisdom save Her breath for that day
when the sun’s fires must be blown into a roar
to consume all that remains.

Why should we cling to hopes of a harvest
when the earth is yielding poison and
the springs overflow with toxins?

Is this your heart bleeding or is it mine,
and if we bleed out today or tomorrow —
why should God mind?

Take love for the bandaid that it is,
pretend that it makes things better,
and wait for God’s punishment.

on Zephaniah 1:12

The Collapse of Eden

I will not cry out to God today
who is otherwise occupied
in the corner
nursing his shame.
God knows he has failed
and I will not assuage his guilt
with prayers, although we might
eavesdrop on the Holy One
muttering to his triune self:
“We didn’t anticipate this,
we didn’t know,
we weren’t prepared
for the violence of Adam
upon discovering his nakedness
upon being told the truth that
Eden is not his own.”
Coax God with your lament
if it eases your soul, but
of what use are prayers to a God
who didn’t forecast
Adam’s fabrication of a
self-image…and then his rage
at the revelation that his invention of
whiteness is only and ultimately
nakedness, is only and ultimately
an ensemble of the emperor’s new clothes
not armor or godliness or prerogative?
Of what use
are prayers to a God
who didn’t see that coming,
who isn’t able to protect his people
from the violence of Adam’s vulnerability?
Tell God to keep his head
hidden in his hands
but for once
let us not do the same;
finally let us take Adam to task
as God has neglected to do
…but let us be clear:
we are Adam, Adam is us,
o my white brothers & sisters,
no matter our intentions, no matter
our liberal do-good-ness, our down-ness,
our degrees of self-righteous separation from
organized white supremacy,
because this garden
in which we live
*is*
white supremacy;
Eden’s very atmosphere
is inherently organized to sustain us.
So before we point fingers
at Adam as if
he is someone else,
we should be absolutely clear
that at stake in naming our white nakedness
is our necessary eviction from this lie called paradise,
a garden that we must desert and then burn
to prevent ourselves from returning;
at stake is our willingness to live
humbly as refugees with only
the hospitality of others
to cloak us;
at stake
is God’s abandonment
of the corner where he is brooding
where we have sent him
so he might not see
our desperate attempts
to prevent
the collapse
of Eden.