By Joel Hess –
Alas, we have parted ways. So goodbye, though I will never stop loving you and wanting you to be with me. I will pray for you. I may even die for you some day.
It has been centuries now that Christians have lived in the West among non-Christians. Our view of the world did not seem much different than yours. We hung out together, sometimes not noticing we were going different places and we had come from different towns. I thought we agreed on the validity of observation, nature, and natural law. These shared beliefs kept us walking on the same path, even holding hands when things got rough. All the while, though, I hadn’t noticed; you clung to the world, but I clung to eternity. You were content to turning to dust or at least not thinking about it. I dreamed of resurrection and think of death often. You think I’m morbid. Meanwhile we drank beer together, watched the sunset, and went to each other’s family birthday parties.
But now we must part. I didn’t understand it some time ago. When Jesus said, “you must hate your life to find it” or “if you want to follow me you must carry your cross”. But now I see. I look like someone who hates his life: life in this world. You might say I hate myself. I’m not actually living for the moment. I don’t desperately cling to the moment, though I enjoy those moments. I think of the future. I have a future, an eternal future. I don’t need to experience everything now. I don’t need to explore my sexuality now, or my greed, or my curiosity. I don’t need to desperately get every experience in now before I am gone forever. I don’t need to just be “me”.
You do. It is all you have. You think you don’t have much time, do you? You look at me like a dog squatted in the yard, stuck doing what he must do, while I’m running around free.
The path you are following is taking you farther away from me. Ha, and I look crazy to you. I get it.
We are all just accidents, you say. Maybe even mistakes. We are just animals. I know, I know. You have been telling me that. I just pretended not to hear you. After all, we agreed on right and wrong and the wonderful taste of an Oberon in the Spring as we sat on my deck enjoying the breeze that promised summer. I so looked forward to the summer together.
But now we must part. You think I’m insane. I know you are lost, spinning in space. We have become strangers to one another. It is so sad. Our disagreements are no longer fun. You think that if you pass a law calling an otter a geranium, then it is. Or if you just have your plastic surgeons attach an apple to an ass, then it is an apple tree.
Your laws and technology don’t actually change anything. I tried to argue my point like we used to do. But I just realized something; you don’t care. I get it! There is nothing to argue about because it doesn’t matter, does it? YOLO. We are all worm meat, aren’t we? That’s what you think, you poor soul. If your friend feels suicidal, why stop him? If that’s what he wants to do, you say. Be yourself. That is the pinnacle of your empire. And you call me heartless.
You think I’m crazy. You think that I hate life. You think, maybe, I’m even obsessed with death. You protest, “Why do you care what people do if they don’t hurt you? How can you tell someone they are wrong? Why do you care?” Like an infant throwing a tantrum you shout, “Try it. Explore it. At best, there are only 50 years left for you on this planet.” You ask me, “Do you hate your body and this life to such a degree that you refuse to explore possible pleasures?” You no longer think I’m funny, do you? I make you feel guilty, and you’ve come to hate it.
You are tired of listening to me. I’m speaking nonsense, aren’t I? It’s not about different views on sex, money, babies, or politics. It’s much deeper than that. We can’t even talk about it anymore. It truly makes me sad. Because I love you. I enjoy your company. I want you to have life, peace, and all that.
So, I must say goodbye. Goodbye democracy. Goodbye Mr. Hume and Smith. Goodbye America.
We were good together. Jesus and Jefferson. But it’s hard to live with you anymore. We have begun to hate one another, though we should have seen this coming. This is how it began, after all. In those coliseums with those lions. Blaming Christians for the fall of the Roman Empire. And now we are being blamed again. We are “in your way” you say. You and your progress.
It’s funny, but the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence literally doesn’t make sense to either of us anymore. It began on a faulty premise that neither of us really believed.
Goodbye America. It was fun, but the experiment is now done. And there is no time for mourning.