The Antithesis of Fire and Brimstone

I did not grow up going to church, temple, or any other religious place to practice or visit, mainly because my mother felt judged and inadequate. I can certainly understand why, although I have come to believe that judgmental people are everywhere, including sitting here at the computer typing this ditty.
However, as I have grown into an adult, it has become a passion of mine to visit churches and temples all around the world to feel God’s presence. Sometimes the temple is a sandy beach where I listen to waves and feel the sun, other times it’s a shady forest where I visit with squirrels and watch my baby’s eyes brighten as she sees a new animal for the first time. Other times it is dropping to my knees inside a Buddhist temple, singing with my soul inside a Church or admiring the architecture inside a Mosque. The world pulls me this way and that, but I keep coming back to God to keep me centered.
This became especially important after going to Iraq as an American Soldier and being involved with dehumanizing hundreds of innocent people in the name of “peace.” Guilt kills, and only through faith have I found forgiveness. Not to mention, after losing my mother and father, and having a very small family, I needed to feel that somebody has my back no matter what. And I truly believe that God does. After my visit to India in 2009, I started to call myself a Buddhist because of the ethics, afterlife, rituals, meditations and deities. They really clicked with me! Not to mention the incense, chanting, acceptance, and colors! But there was always something lurking within that kept me from diving into Buddhism wholeheartedly, and that was a belief in a God who created everything.
So today, I am not a Buddhist, Hindu, Jew, Muslim or Christian; I am not Bahai’i, Pantheist, Wiccan or Sikh; I am a human being who believes in an all powerful God who created the Cosmos, many lesser Gods who I choose not to worship, and an old saying that says: “What goes around comes around.” I try to be a decent person, often times I slip, and I believe that the Good will come back around… Heck, it already has!
As to what happens after death…
Well, I certainly don’t believe that this life is the end…

I wrote this poem after going to a sermon where the Pastor used the word “War” at least fifty times while yelling at the congregation.

How I feel in regards to understanding God and the Cosmos

After Church

Don’t preach to me of enemies
I don’t want to be at war
It’s too early to be yelled at
I’ve been yelled at enough before

I won’t duke it out with the devil
I like red, fire, and bones
My God loves gays and transgenders
Drug addicts, and those without homes

Eruptions of words stir emotion
Blood is not red, white, and blue
Acceptance of difference is potion
Don’t tell me you know what is true
It may be only true to you

Don’t yell at me on Sunday morning
I’m not first string quarterback
My God is peaceful and loving
A friend to help when I slack
Brown, yellow, red, 
White and black.

Published by secretgardenalaska

Best friends raising two daughters off-grid in a remote area of Alaska. We grow food, write stories, make jewelry, and live a sober life.

5 thoughts on “The Antithesis of Fire and Brimstone

  1. Very well said and I admire you. I, once wanted to be a writer long ago. I was also taught that your church is in your heart and I love how you love God and appreciate Him. I was very touched by your page.. GOD ALWAYS BLESSES US, SENDING LOVE & PEACE YOUR WAY, Love you guys, Aunt Kim

  2. Hi Bob,

    I am really enjoying your poems and you sharing your story. You’re very talented. I am currently reading this book called The Tibetan Book of the Dead: Liberation Through Understanding in the Between. Do you know of Alan Watts? I just got one of his books called Become What You Are, will read that next. Man I bet India was a great experience, I would love to go and experience the culture and visit some beautiful places there.

    Beautiful pics with the fam.

    God bless,

    1. Andres,
      I certainly know Alan Watts and very much admire him. I really enjoy the book Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche. I’ve read that twice and always get more and more out of it.
      Thanks for the kind words, I hope to meet in person one day.

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