Saturday, June 24, 2017

June 24: Don't Like Christians, Arthur Rimbaud, "People in Church"

I have a confession:  sometimes, I don't like Christians very much.

There are people who walk around, claim to be devout Christians, go to church every Sunday, and make a great show of praying.  That's not enough.  Those things aren't the test of a real Christian.  A real Christian does things that make the world a better place.  If a person is hurting, a real Christian stops and listens to that person, hugs her, offers something more than prayer (although prayer is important--don't get me wrong).

Don't tell me you're a Christian if you haven't done something nice for another human being this week.  Don't tell me you're a Christian if you saw somebody begging on a street corner and walked right by, eyes down.  Don't tell me you're a Christian if you're in favor of people not having decent healthcare.  You're not a Christian then.  I think Jesus called people like that a "brood of vipers."

If this post makes you angry, maybe you need to go and volunteer at a homeless shelter.

Saint Marty isn't a perfect Christian, but at least he tries, dammit.

People in Church

by:  Arthur Rimbaud

Penned between oaken pews,
in corners of the church which their breath stinkingly warms,
all their eyes on the chancel dripping with gold,
and the choir with its twenty pairs of jaws bawling pious hymns;

Sniffing the odour of wax if it were the odour of bread,
happy, ad humbled like beaten dogs,
the Poor offer up to God, the Lord and Master,
their ridiculous stubborn oremuses.

For the women it is very pleasant to wear the benches smooth;
after the six black days on which God has made them suffer.
They nurse, swaddled in strange-looking shawls,
creatures like children who weep as if they would die.

Their unwashed breasts hanging out, these eaters of soup,
with a prayer in their eyes, but never praying,
watch a group of hoydens wickedly
showing off with hats all out of shape.

Outside is the cold, and hunger - and a man on the booze.
All right. There's another hour to go; afterwards, nameless ills! -
Meanwhile all around an assortment of old
dewlapped women whimpers, snuffles, and whispers:

These are distracted persons and the epileptics from whom,
yesterday, you turned away at street crossings;
there too are the blind who are led by a dog into courtyards,
poring their noses into old-fashioned missals. -

And all of them, dribbling a stupid groveling faith,
recite their unending complaint to Jesus who is dreaming up there,
yellow from the livid stained glass window,
far above thin rascals and wicked potbellies,
far from the smell of meat and mouldy fabric,
and the exhausted somber farce of repulsive gestures -
and as the prayer flowers in choice expressions,
and the mysteries take on more emphatic tones, from the aisles,
where the sun is dying, trite folds of silk and green smiles,
the ladies of the better quarters of the town - oh Jesus! -
the sufferers from complaints of the liver,
make their long yellow fingers kiss the holy water in the stoups.

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