For the Love of Christ
Jesus and I go way back.
You know that annoying Christian kid who runs around urging you to accept Jesus as your saviour, or you’ll go to hell? Yup, that was me. My neighbour’s mother once had to give me a talking to after I freaked the crap out of her daughter. Jesus is everywhere, I told her, all the time—always watching—and now she couldn’t sleep without imagining him hovering ominously over her bed.
Jesus does like to watch though. You may even say he’s a bit of a voyeur—a freak if you will. And he’s seen some stuff. I'll tell you more about that soon…
My relationship with Jesus has evolved a lot over the years. I went from diehard devotee to leaving him out in the cold. I was mostly blasé for a long time, until one day, we saw each other in a divine new light.
At the end of elementary school, as my faith started to slip in favour of the ‘temptations of the flesh’, my very Christian grandmother was staying with us. I arrived home from a date with a boy I had just kissed goodnight—sixth-grade style—and found her sitting in a chair in the living room. As always, her long wrinkled fingers were folded over a leather-bound Bible with a gold cross on the front. She was battling cancer at the time, and my first thought when I saw her was, “how can I grow up and be a teenager with her still alive? I know that I’ll sin.” But then, a different thought struck me: “If she dies, she’ll be watching it all from heaven — which is even worse.”
She longed for it though, and would say “I can’t wait to come home to Jesus.” I pictured the two of them, perched over a cloud, spying as I pretended to like beer and awkwardly explored my budding sexuality. I shrugged.
Her wish came through not long after. But despite my worries, her ghost, or rather the ghost of what she represented—the patriarchy disguised as faith—didn’t stop me from being a bad girl. I was just a bad girl in secret, deciding I’d deal with the billowing fires of hell when I got there.
Looking back, I was pretty tame then. Sure, I did some stuff, but it was child's play compared to what was to come. A few years ago, I left a toxic marriage, and, as if born again, I started exploring my fully-fledged sexuality and took a nosedive into the BSDM scene. I deemed it an alternative form of therapy.
That’s when the real bad shit started to happen. The best kind of bad shit.
Suddenly, the puritan Christian guilt lit a mean spark in my eyes: I pictured granny doing backflips in her grave, and Jesus, perving through misty clouds with gold monoculars as I slipped into fishnet stay ups and thigh-high leather boots. “Yeah, take that, Jesus! How do you like me now?” I winked back with a diabolical grin before heading to a kink party.
When I say I winked at Jesus, it’s not hyperbole. I happen to own an allegedly 200-year-old painting of him, brought to Berlin from a chapel in Italy. Jesus hangs on my living room wall, clutching a burning, bleeding heart and following me with that famous Mona-Lisa gaze.
So, I pulled up my shiny hotpants and winked.
“Wait, what was that J? Did you just wink at me?”
I could have sworn he did.
When I finally reconciled with Jesus we’d been estranged for so long his image carried little significance to me. It was more like a practical joke; a bit of kitschy decor. Plus, whenever my Dad visited, he was reassured I still kept a piece of my childhood faith. #ifheonlyknew
After the event, a few friends and I came home to Jesus. Not like that; we were more than alive, but for some reason, I had decided to host an afterparty at my place. Perhaps I wanted Jesus to get in on the action? And, Lord, did he get a show that night.
Blasphemy hit the next level as rival prophets flogged my friend and I. Bent over, hands in prayer position on the sideboard facing Our Lord and Savior, we cried out for mercy as our asses went from blush to berry, to blood.
“How do you like me now, huh?”
“Not bad, not bad… I’ve taken worse though,” he grinned back.
I must confess, It gave me a kick to perform for Jesus— showing him all the sides of me I’d carefully disguised my whole life.
He looked on, days after, as a hot trinity unfolded before him. My lover, my best friend and I took a full day off work to pull a large mattress into the living room, and give Mr. J a front-row seat to five hours of sweaty communion.
Since then there are few things, or parts of me, that Jesus has not seen. And after having been invisible for so long, I longed to be seen. It felt amazing—and liberating.
Ironically, this time of exposing myself to the son of God has simultaneously been one of releasing the shame and guilt imbued through childhood. So while he and I may have gotten closer, I’ve removed myself further from the faith.
Why? Because no one has misunderstood Christ as much as the so-called Christ-ians.
I watch those in my family, aim to live pure lives, abstaining from alcohol and secluding themselves with other devotees of the faith. They appoint themselves judges to condemn sinners, treating sex as shameful and condemning the deviant (aka, anyone not living in heterosexual marriages and striving to populate the earth).
If you peek into their holy book, on the other hand, Jesus’ first miracle was turning water to wine after they ran out of booze at a wedding. It tells of how he broke bread with sinners, healed the sick, and chilled with prostitutes.
Having gone to Sunday School, I know that the Bible says “do not judge, or you too will be judged (Matthew 7), yet, few people are more judgemental than the dedicated Christians I know. Those people are nothing like the guy they appointed as their mascot.
The United States, the big evangelical nation, must ignore that Jesus was a Middle Eastern brown man; a hippie in sandals, who now would be rejected at the border and sent back to ‘from whence he came’.
Looking into this, I found a study done by the Barna group to determine the level of hypocrisy in Christianity. They found that only “14% of today’s self-identified Christians — one out of every seven — seem to represent the actions and attitudes Barna researchers found to be consistent with those of Jesus.”
Further, there’s much controversy around what went on with Jesus and Mary Magdalen: theories of a sexual relationship have long been rejected by the church. I believe the two shared a sacred sexual union and that this is just one of many stories that have been cherry-picked, or burned, to fit with existing doctrines.
The church and the patriarchy recognize the power of the sexually liberated person— women especially. They know we're a force to be reckoned with, so they’ve done their best to keep us gagged and bound.
Reconnecting with my sexuality became my claim to salvation and personal power. I saw that sex was a blessing; a potentially sacred act, not a profane, sinful one. We might say we ‘get down and dirty’ but there’s nothing inherently dirty about sex. This is what the patriarchy wants us to think.
I’m not trying to indoctrinate here, I certainly don’t want to return to my annoying, preachy-kid self. But I do think Christ deserves better than to be associated with a crowd of hate-spewing hypocrites.
If Jesus were to visit today’s Berlin, I’m convinced he wouldn’t be hitting up church. Instead, I bet we’d find him chilling by the canal, dancing the night away at KitKat, or perhaps at an Erika Lust screening.
Now, excuse me, the friendly freak on my wall has requested a little show, and Lord knows I don’t like to disappoint…