Posted by: watchman | November 15, 2011

I Hate My Mother

‘The Church is a whore, but she is still my mother.’

I don’t know who said that. The internet quotes such things without bothering
to cite. So, I don’t know.

I am pretty sure it is true, however.

My mom died when I was a kid. I was eight. Some guy was too drunk to drive and my mom happened to be in his way.

A few years before that, my parents got a divorce. It was quite ugly. I remember kind of floating around grasping for anything I could find. My parents were the bedrock of my life and they seemed to have both went nuts at the same time and, consequently, my bedrock was cracked and broken.

One of them went nuts the religious way. It just happened to be my Dad. He found such a safe harbor in faith and Christianity in the midst of his disintegrating family, that he was all-in. Like, crazy all-in.

One of my oldest memories is freaking out the first time my dad left me in Sunday School. He just friggin left me in this room with all these weird people with flannel graphs. As it turns out, these people were called ‘Baptists’ and they probably saved my dad’s life. No doubt, they eventually saved mine.

After the accident, my mom held on for a while. Eventually, however, my family had to make the obvious decision and they released her to God and whatever that entailed.

Suddenly, I was mother-less. I was stuck with Dad and the Baptists.

Not that this was a bad thing. The cool thing about a church is that there are plenty of great aunts and grandmas willing to be surrogate moms. The church surrounded my Dad, my brothers, and I with love and support.

It was easy to love her then.

She was so beautiful…
and kind.

After my mother died, the Church was my all-in-all.

So, everything was great and, like my father before me, it was easy to jump all-in. I whole-heartedly clung to what the church stood for and what the church did. I was at church whenever the doors opened (happily). I was at church when the doors were closed (sadly). I even carried my Bible to school (awkwardly).

The waters of immersion… I can still feel them on my skin. Few moments in life have I felt more pure joy than when I was baptized. I remember it so well.

After that, my trajectory seemed set. I preached my first sermon when I was in sixth grade. I was the kid chosen to play Joseph in the Christmas play. I loved worship, choir, Sunday school, and youth group. I loved it all.

I loved church and I loved THE Church.

After a few bumbling, adolescent missteps, I eventually ended up submitting to a call to the ministry. I studied, I preached, and I discipled with a joyous passion and naivete.

Hallelujah! Amen!

And now …

Deviant Art

Now look at me.

Now, I am 32.

Now, I’ve been doing the Preacher thing for a whole decade.

Now, I am now more lost than the Prodigals I speak to.

How? How could such a trajectory veer so far astray?

Something happens when you are granted the right security clearance, the keys to the Kingdom, the door to your mother’s bedchamber…

Kyrie Eleison
Christe Eleison

Oh, Jesus. My life preserver is sinking. Everything that I had hoped for is fading somewhere ‘neath the waves. And the beautiful mother that I had found so much hope in, has turned into a cackling toothless hag.

Mother, you were supposed to save me, not push me farther down.

I hate you so much.

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