Entry Sixty: Save Me, Black Jesus

[A story in many parts: Part Eleven of Thirteen]

He told me about his childhood, being raised by his grandmother and having to attend church every time the doors were opened. He told me how he hated going, how he thought it was the stupidest waste of time and he couldn’t wait until he was old enough to do his own thing. Then he would never have to go to church ever again. I laughed at that because I would have been the same way. I kept thinking the whole time he was talking, “Thank Zeus my parents didn’t do that to me.” And then he started telling me about leaving home, joining the military and how great it was to be independent for the first time, although I couldn’t figure out how independent he was in the Army. He just traded a grandmother for a sergeant as far as I could tell. I guess the biggest difference was the sergeant didn’t make him go to church. Eric told me he did a lot of things, went to a lot of places, while he was in the Army but the one thing he didn’t do was think about God. He said it was easy, which I don’t doubt, and he figured he was done with all of the religious stuff forever. I couldn’t figure out where he was going with his story but there was no way to stop him so, short of going to sleep, I figured I’d hear him out.

He went into some long rant about finding a job, getting married, having kids—normal stuff, no different than most. Then he got around to the religious part of the story, which, I’m guessing, was his whole point of talking to me. It was stuff I’d heard before from all the other people in my past that wanted to “save my soul.” There have been a lot of those people and every story starts the same: the detection of an empty feeling, can’t fill the void with money and stuff, get religion, now they’re happy and not going to hell when they die. I knew that was coming. It always ends up with escaping hell. “If you were to die today do you know where you will spend eternity?” That is so creepy and it’s nothing but a scare tactic to get a notch on people’s Christian belt. I got bored when he started in on that stuff and I started tuning him out. I’m not sure how much longer he talked but I remember him saying something about asking Jesus to “come into my heart” and if I asked, Jesus would do it and I’d be saved. From what, I’m not exactly sure. Maybe Eric went over that when I was ignoring him. Doesn’t matter. It’s all a bunch of hooey anyway. But thanks for sharing.

All words and images ©2005/J. Colle

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