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Jesus Juice

Jake and I went to the Vancouver Poetry Slam on Commercial Drive last night and despite the use of the words “fuck” and “cum“, I noticed a huge correlation between the people in that place and the people in a church space, and between the guy on stage and the various pastors I have watched and listened to over the years. And years. And yeeeeears.

There was so much passion. Maybe a little more weed, but probably a lot less prescription drug abuse.

This is probably the worst picture to date of Jake and I. But the only other option was to take a screen shot of the accidental video I took of the bathroom floor.

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I feel like I’m in this awkward position between Christianity and oh, I don’t know what to call it. Syncretism? Yeah, I guess so. Because most people who grow up saturated in Jesus and then who take a sharp left at the corner of “Holy Road” and “Holy Shit Where the Fuck Am I” leave their faith entirely behind in the same way that most people can’t touch tequila after doing 8 body shots off of some orange-hued bartender donning no-name underwear and a faux face mole. Andrew is scarred for life. Jk. They probably just both need Jesus.

But I still like tequila, and I still like Jesus. The Bible is not only a brilliant piece of writing but it’s history, and I can tolerate history if it’s a captivating read.

So where does this put me? In the confessional.

Christians feel free to tell me their darkest truths because they know I not only won’t judge them but that I won’t desert them in that space. I’ll stand there like a fucking idiot myself, right beside them, and breathe in and breathe out.

I feel honoured to know that people trust me with their sacred spaces, their darknesses. I have Christian friends that have told me things that will get their pastor husbands fired in a hot second. If I could never again touch tequila, they wouldn’t have trusted me with this. But they know that my heart is soft, my mind is open, and my spirit is loving. Because that’s how Jesus would be? No. But He would be anyway.

Have you ever been to a poetry reading?

Did you grow up in a religious family? School? What kind? Did you get to wear a sexy kilt and knee highs?

What is church, to you?

I wrote on a napkin last night, “This is church” and pushed the napkin over to Jake’s side of the table so he could read it. He nodded. So it was.

 

{ 23 comments… add one }
  • Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets March 9, 2016, 3:24 am

    I don’t know the name for it either, but the non-judgmental religion, the one where we treat each other well, that’s the one I support. I believe in God, I pray, but I also believe in Buddha, Mohammed and love. For me, it’s all about the love, the forgiveness, the tolerance, the kindness…. you get the idea.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com March 9, 2016, 7:52 am

      Yeah! I totally get the idea!

  • SuzLyfe (@suzlyfe) March 9, 2016, 4:00 am

    I used to be a lot more connected to a God, and prayed and all of that, but for me, my church was on horseback. Now I’m pretty much non-religious, but I find my church as it were when I am running, or feeling active.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com March 9, 2016, 7:51 am

      Makes sense to me!

  • Allison March 9, 2016, 5:08 am

    Religion is a weird subject to me and this may very well turn into a novel. I feel like I had a good balance of religion and life growing up. We went to church on Sundays and occasionally hit up confession, but if we had to miss either for something it wasn’t a huge deal. We were taught to be kind to others and do your best to be a good person and say some prayers, which I think is a great way to teach your kids some values and faith without shoving it down their throats. I never felt like I HAD to be a Catholic (how I was raised) for my family to keep loving me. I have great parents. I didn’t think so growing up, but now that I’m older I can appreciate a lot of these things.

    On the flip side, my husband’s family is super, super Catholic. He is one of ten brothers and sisters – no twins, all the same mom and dad. The kids were homeschooled for fear that they might learn about sex and evolution and all things that we aren’t supposed to talk about or support as Catholics. They never EVER missed mass growing up, always went to confession (like weekly). They did things like First Fridays (I still have no clue what that is) and prayed the rosary as a family. They marched in anti-abortion rallies and picketed. My mother in law calls her children the night before presidential elections and reminds them that when they go to vote, that God doesn’t protect a nation of baby killers. I am not kidding you.

    My in laws are also extremely judgmental individuals. Yes, they are kind and do nice things for the people in their lives. But I sometimes feel like it comes from the wrong place – especially when it comes to my husbands sisters – like it comes from that place of Catholic guilt. Like God won’t love them if they say fuck (it’s my favorite word) or be friends with the gay couple down the street (some of my favorite people in my life are gay), or have a friend who cheated on his/her wife/husband (not my place to judge what goes on behind closed doors – marriage is fucking hard), or have a friend that had an abortion (I have many, including one of my dearest friends). Luckily, my husband doesn’t have that judgmental element or it would have been a deal breaker. He also has never said the word fuck (even though I try really hard to make him say it), and that was almost a deal breaker.

    If I sit here and judge the way that they live their lives, I am no better than them. So I’m not going to say my way is right or wrong. To me, I love being Catholic because I love tradition. I love my church and my priest, and I am lucky to be part of a wonderful community. I really love our new pope (my mother in law was horrified when I told her that). I don’t think it matters what religion you prefer as long as you try to be a good person, don’t judge others (my favorite quote – Don’t judge someone because they sin differently than you), and try your best to do the right thing – whatever the right thing. And realize that we all fuck up. We all make mistakes. WE are not perfect – that’s God. Or Jesus. Or whatever you believe in.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com March 9, 2016, 7:51 am

      I LOOOOOOVE what you wrote. I am SO glad you took the time to type that all out. I want to re-read it a zillion times. Thank you. That quote especially, about sinning differently than you, is the best. And to be honest, I kinda feel bad for you that you’ve got such….intense…inlaws. Yikes. I’m glad your sister in laws have you in their lives!

  • Gretchen | Gretchruns March 9, 2016, 6:04 am

    I also grew up in a pretty religious family. I just went to a public school, but we went to church every sunday, Sunday school afterwards, youth club during the week and church camp during the summer. I still go to church occasionally now but not as often. To me, church is living your best life- so for me that’s doing my long runs on Sundays and enjoying the beautiful earth and my healthy body, or spending quality time with Dan and Selma. To me, that is more spiritual and meaningful than sitting in a pew on Sundays.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com March 9, 2016, 7:44 am

      Whoa, you went to a lot of church when you were a kid! I totally relate.

  • Laura @ This Runner's Recipes March 9, 2016, 7:35 am

    Like Alison I could write a novel on this. I was raised Lutheran but educated Catholic (with the plaid skirts and all), and eventually became Catholic right around the time of the new pope. I love him because what he says is religion to me: love your neighbor and yourself, don’t judge others, and be a kind and giving person.
    Christianity to me is the thing that catches me when I want to be selfish and mean and sets me gently back. I don’t think only Christians go to heaven, because (a) God is loving and merciful and (b) church teaching and reason say so. I don’t judge or condemn gays, I believe in evolution (the Big Bang was first suggested by a priest, after all), and I swear quite a bit; Catholicism isn’t about those, it’s about being who you are and being that well. I’m in a physical church every Sunday and find it so peaceful (although it takes a long time to find the right church), but then I’m in the church of God’s natural world every other day of the week.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com March 9, 2016, 7:43 am

      You put it all quite well. I do miss actual physical church, to be honest. I really loved the one we went to in Fort Langley. I’d sit in the back with my head full of dreads, tattoos on my arm and sipped their fair-trade coffee beside my kids. It was good. They even had an art camp during the summer, which I thought was so cool.

      But nevertheless, church/God is everywhere; it’s up to me to open my eyes and heart to it. I can find Jesus in a Starbucks line if I’m open to it, and I can close myself up in a church service. So, yeah. It all depends.

  • Ange // Cowgirl Runs March 9, 2016, 9:25 am

    I grew up nothing, then around 17 or 18 started going to church and I really enjoyed it. I loved learning and the feeling I got from that space. Then I moved away from it because I just can’t deal with the hypocritical bullshit that happens in those spaces. While it’s been years since I’ve set foot in a church, I do my best to go back to the roots. Would Jesus love this person? Then I shall do my best not to judge (even though some times I really really really want to).

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com March 9, 2016, 12:18 pm

      Well Ange, you said it when you said “roots.” We could go on and on about how we could probably find more people like Jesus in a bar than at church on Sunday morning, but that’s not the point, unless we’re going to church to meet people, not God (aka the “roots.”). People are fallible and we’re all going to look like a giant bag of dicks no matter where we sit our pretty asses down. But I must say, hot wings and beer make hard wooden benches a lot more comfortable. 🙂

  • Heather@hungryforbalance March 9, 2016, 10:02 am

    I grew up in a family with Christian intentions, but not a Christian reality. We would go to church several times a month for a while, then we wouldn’t go at all. My Dad was an atheist at home, but at church he would be an usher and a bible thumper. It was confusing and just led me to believe that all Christians were that way.
    I’m fairly agnostic now, and not entirely sure how I want to raise Matilda.
    I love your relationship with Jake. I hope to have one like it with Matilda some day.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com March 9, 2016, 12:16 pm

      Ohhhh interesting! Christian intentions, not a reality. I always wonder why people act the way they do. There’s always a reason, and I find it fascinating. I’m curious about your dad, why he’d play two parts like that, and how it affected him. That would be emotionally exhausting.

  • Hellyontherun March 9, 2016, 11:07 am

    I grew up somewhat religious. My grandma made us go 3 times a week, twice on Sundays. Each service 2 plus hours.

    But as an adult I just don’t feel a connection. I def feel more connected to words and the bible but the institution of church, not so much. We don’t go to church and sometimes I wonder if we should, for our kids, for questions about God and heaven, stuff is want them to know. But then I recall so much hypocrisy in the people I went to church with that I just can’t. I believe in kindness and being good people. And I question the need for church to be that. I don’t know if that makes any sense.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com March 9, 2016, 12:14 pm

      It makes more sense than most church services! Ha ha! No but seriously, I know what you mean. I could talk for hours about this, and about hypocrisy but the main thing I like to keep in mind is that church is supposed to be for the humans to gather and anyone trying to be anything other than human will be doing the whole…service…a disservice.

  • Megan @ Meg Go Run March 9, 2016, 1:53 pm

    I have never been to a poetry reading but I feel like I really would have liked it if I were in high school!

    I did not grow up in a religious family at all. Both of my parents are atheists even though they did grow up going to church. I’m an atheist too, but I don’t really like that term because there are bad connotations toward atheists. Some people think we’re crazy and want to take down all the Christmas trees from the town squares. I AM crazy, but not because I don’t believe in a god or gods! 😉

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com March 9, 2016, 4:42 pm

      That’s true about the bad connotations regarding atheists. Like you’re supposed to wear all black and you eat cake decorated with Satan symbols. Don’t you? 😉

  • Kate March 9, 2016, 6:43 pm

    I am glad I came across this post because I found it very enlightening. Especially the comments.
    I love Jesus and I believe I’ve had real encounters with Him. I used to get frustrated about the hypocrisy in the church, and still do sometimes, but I’ve learned that church is for the sick. People who go to church are messed up too. Hopefully the difference is that they know they need Jesus. Realizing this has helped me to love others more so.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com March 9, 2016, 7:22 pm

      Hi Kate! I’m so glad you commented, and I love what you have to say. That takes courage seeing all the anti-church comments that were made. I respect you for that, and I respect your faith. And shockingly, despite my crass obsession with poo, and my teenage-level maturity involving body parts, I align my faith mostly with the Jesus-followers, which, I know, would piss all the Christians right off, I have no doubt because I was one once, but I can only tell the truth. And the truth is, I love Christianity. I love the writing, I love the message, I love the paradox of love and letting go. I struggle with the details but my faith in the existence and story of Jesus will hopefully fill in the cracks.

  • Nikki @ will run for pizza March 11, 2016, 9:32 am

    Well, you already know I was raised a LOT like you! I didn’t necessarily turn away from Christianity, but of course, like the majority of humans, I’ve been hot, cold, lukewarm, etc…and back again lol. I feel like, at this point in time, I could do better at actually having a relationship with Jesus, but I’ve also learned a LOT about “religion” vs “relationship”! And a lot of my views and thinking has changed. I just really hate “religion” and I hate that its basically been christians that have made a bad name for themselves. Do I make sense?! That’s what I do TRY to be real with people and just let it out. MOST of it lol.

    • suzy.suzyheather@gmail.com March 11, 2016, 10:33 am

      Totally! Christians are idiots! But so is everyone else! Nobody should choose a religion based on the followers, otherwise it’s going to be one hell of a disappointing life.

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