November 17, 2005
Expletive Undeleted 3: The F-Bomb Poet Responds
The Poet who used the F-word in a church service, Mary Kate Makkai, responded in an earlier thread to some of the comments about her poem and her pastor's decision to have her share the poem, expletive undeleted. In case you missed it, here is Mary Kate's take on the situation and a few of the "stones" hurled here.
And FYI-- Pastor Sares will be posting on this topic again soon.
A little tid-bit about the context and history of this poem: First of all, the poem was introduced with a "parental advisory" so that anyone with small children in attendance could plug the appropriate ears, or choose to step out for a moment. Secondly, the original poem was indeed peppered with profanity, just like the mouths and minds of the kids I used to work with. After much deliberation and discussion, the poem was hacked down to a bare suggestion of what was initally said. And while I didn't have my introduction memorized, I remember saying truthfully that a crowd of smelly, teenaged, delinquent boys taught me more about the loving heart of God than the church I was raised in ever could. Furthermore...
it seemed appropriate that this was the case, seeing as how 2000 years ago God was found the last place one expected to see him: in a filthy stable and cradled in a feed box.
Now let me tell you a little about myself:
I have been a Christian since the time I was 4 years old. As much as a four year old can ever be a Christian... I say that because I believed in Jesus because my parents told me to- I never really had a choice in the matter. You're fooling yourself if you think this isn't a common malady in Christianity today. My father was an abusive and distant man, my mother was the adopted child of two alcoholics... and something was bound to give. As much as we prestented the perfect little faith-based home to those around us... we were in shambles, I was in shambles and nothing but the fear of my father kept me in line until I graduated high-school. At which point, all hell broke loose... literally. I was tired of living the lie. I was tired of pretending to be the righteous little Christian girl when everything inside of me was SCREAMING to say something... ANYTHING about how alone, frustrated, scared and condemmed I felt. I wanted to be heard, to be validated, to be loved for everything I was and everything I felt... regardless of how ugly it was. Oh, but REAL Christians aren't ugly, are they? All my life I had been told to act like everything was fine... we would go to church and I was convinced that everyone would have been horrifed if they knew how messed up we really were.
Anyone else ever feel that way?
Eventually I didn't want to be acceptable or palateable, I wanted to be honest. And the predictable cycle of self-destruction ensued. But not before I met this pastor named Mike Sares, and for reasons completely beyond my human understanding... Mike and I became friends. And through innumerable bad-relationships, countless trips to Planned Parenthood, a truly depraved circle of friends and one drug overdose... Mike still kept in touch with me, he indeed went the extra mile when most pastors (and several of you who slammed his characted above) would have lost their stomach for my antics. He never approved of my actions, and never pulled any punches when he told me how terribly I was behaving... but in the same breath, he was asking me if I was okay... asking me if I wanted to come over for dinner. And when I was tired out, ashamed and too humiliated to go to any of your fine white-washed intstitutions for help... I knew that Mike still cared, I could still turn to him, and he helped me see that his compassion for me was merely a fraction of what God had for me, what God HAS for me. Mike was a mighty conduit for my reintroduction to a faith that I had discarded for being "fake". And when I started working with the delinquents, "my boys"... I gained an even deeper understanding of how fiercely you can love something that is so tainted, so broken, so hopeless, and yes, so obscene.
Those kids ARE US in my opinion, since none of us can stand blameless before God. We are ALL locked into our sins, our failings, our appetites... we are ALL obscene before God. Even you who so smugly stand in judgement on a man who has been more of a pastor/leader/shepherd/father than anyone else I've known. That poem wasn't an attempt to be disgusting or edgy. That poem was an acknowledgement of how wretched things can really get, how horrible someone can really feel and yet still be cherished in the kingdom of heaven.
Right now the world is full of people- and YOUR CHURCH is full of people who want to scream, who are sick of being presentable. The church is full of alcoholics, drug addicts, porn addicts, liars... and if you think your church isnt, then you aren't doing your job. If the lost and broken don't feel as though they can be honest about who they are and how awful they feel, then you aren't doing your job.
Say what you want about me, I promise you I have heard much worse from people far more personally significant. But I challenge you to look at yourselves. The things you have been saying about my pastor and close friend -the things you have been saying about my church where the unpresentable masses feel as though God might just give a flip about them too- are malicious, cruel, uninformed and far more obscene than one little politically-incorrect word. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
-Mary Kate Makkai
Posted by UrL on November 17, 2005
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