I Am Tired of Praying for This World

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons - Rubens Praying Hands
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons – Rubens Praying Hands

I am tired of praying for this world.
I no longer believe in god.

I believe in the ability of men to hate.
I believe in the greed and corruption of government.
I believe in the goodness of a child’s heart
and the subtle selfish change we give its beat.

I no longer believe in god.

We’ve been using him as an excuse for murder for so long
I doubt he’d listen to our prayers anyway.
I doubt he’d want to hear from us at all.

God has become to excuse for hate –
the reason we can look at small, blow-up boats
full of women and children,
desperate men hanging on to each frozen, crested wave
like hope was a beacon set in the middle of the sea…
and we can sit there in that lighthouse,
and stare at that man,
and see something to be afraid of.

Where the color of someone’s skin dictates just how much air time they get
and whether it’s a graduation photo shown
or a mugshot.

Where our commercials pray on weak minded men to make them believe
they need this gun to be more manly,
this gun to be confident,
to be important.
While the NRA makes women believe the next wave of feminism
has come packaged in tiny metal bullets,
is delivered at the range and carried
concealed in their purses.

This world, where we can only find the strength to reach out to our brothers and sisters
when our brothers and sisters look like us,
have skin like us,
worship like us,
believe like us,
vote like us,
think like us.

We have poured so much hate into this earth,
even she is trying to get rid of us.

I am tired of praying for this world.

I no longer believe in god.

I will pray for my children instead.

I will pray that somewhere in the mire and muck we are leaving behind for them,
they find love.

© Laura A. Lord, 2015

Sacrifice

Stock Image: Dreamstime
Stock Image: Dreamstime

I do not think I like this legacy of mine.
Half my life we’ve been at war
and slaughter has become the adulthood I know.
I gave up my generation to fight this war
and we’re leaving behind new gods in our wake.
We’re all hailing at the Church of Trump
and we mistook the burning bush
for George W.
Because the deacons of our NRA society
have told me I need this gun to stay safe,
have shown me that worship
comes in small metal packages,
shot straight into the heart of the issue
of this up and coming,
numb generation.
Where we have exchanged
love thy neighbor
for love thy white neighbor,
thy Christian neighbor,
thy middle-aged, gun toting,
conservative neighbor.
This is a land where we can preach
all life is sacred
and then quote the second amendment
all in the same breath.

I do not think I like this new god.
If I have to have one,
served at every meal,
shoved down my throat
at every impasse of my morals
with a side of the cherry-picked lines
from that book…
I think I like your angry god.
I think I like his old testament self –
where he turned a woman to salt
for her uncontrollable urge to look back
at the city that screamed like babes.
I want his desperate need for
constant sacrifice,
because we’re already doing it.
We’re good at it.
Eventually he might even be appeased.
I want that angry god to step in
say enough, is enough
and put his finger right on the heart of the issue
of every Obama is Coming for Your Guns Commercial
that says we need more guns, more guns, more guns…
More guns to stay safe from school shooters
who blow away my children’s generation.
More guns to protect ourselves from black people,
yellow people,
brown people,
who want our jobs,
to sell us drugs,
to steal our things,
to hurt us.
More guns to safeguard our god
from their god.
Because killing in the name of ours is moral
and killing in the name of theirs
is terrorism.
Because at the end of the day
that god is a loving god
with an affinity for combat grade
automatic weapons
and a righteous cause…
I pray for your angry god.
In Jesus name,
Amen.

© Laura A. Lord, 2015

Your Bullet

pen-and-ink-drawing-the-gun-creativity-carnival-shafaliI suppose He tore another page from The Book today. . .
let is slide between sweaty fingers,
slice the tip,
right there under the nail,
so the pain would ebb and flow,
waves of electricity with each
thump-thump –
a heartbeat set to leap into
break-neck pace,
as the blood dripped like heavy sealing wax.
Gifts unwrapped and
His will is a shiny, sparkling,
death trap.
It’s fully loaded and
set to go
right through the forehead
with the little blonde curl.
It’s His will,
His gift. . .
but your bullet.


You can join in this prompt at the Creativity Carnival, here.


Reverent

I am a conspiring she-devil,
the physical embodiment of pious fear.

Make the arch of my back
the alter you worship at.
I am worthy of reverence
and the soft spoken words of generous desire.

I am pillow talk
and fingertips
and lacy edges of a baby blue negligee.

I am a thunderstorm in your belly.

I’m in power
on my knees.

I’m bringing down an entire dynasty.

All encompassing.
Swallowing.

I am worthy of reverence.

Take of my body
and find immortality in this moment.

© Laura A. Lord 2015

I Have a Voice

The world was poised to paralyze me almost the very second I was born. It was the last year of the ‘80s on a night with -90 degree windchill. And then I appeared. Proof that the world can be chilled and aching to freeze my bones, but I’ll still be here.

I grew up in a family that consistently went to church. The first church I remember is at 4 years old, when we moved to Montana and began to attend a house church. The house church felt cult-ish. Many of the women wore handkerchiefs to cover their hair. I can’t point to anything distinct about their beliefs, but I remember the feeling of being condescended to.

My parents eventually left the house church and became involved in different charismatic churches, mixing this up with some Word of Faith beliefs. For those of you unfamiliar – charismatic churches are the ones where you raise your hands when you worship, and if things get a little crazy you might “fall down” under the spirit of God. Word of Faith is a set of people who preach that if you ask God for something and you believe to receive it, it’s yours.

There was a lot of fear and legalism. If you didn’t believe hard enough, you weren’t going to get it. And “spiritual authority” was a big deal. Men were the authority. Leaders were the authority. The line to God went “children-women-men-leaders-God”. You didn’t cross anyone above you, ever. And if you did, you would die. After all, the Bible said, “honor thy father and thy mother, that you may live long in the land the Lord thy God has given thee.”

It was around this time that my dad picked up the habit of reciting that verse to us when we disobeyed. He picked up the habit of yelling that he was the head of our house and deserved respect. He picked up the habit of using these phrases abusively to keep us in line with his delusion that God was going to magically grant us 1.7 billion dollars.

My family was so cowed by my dad that I remember all of us hushing when he walked into the room. He created this atmosphere in our house.

backAt church, it was reinforced that I needed to obey my dad, and God, or ELSE. I was afraid of my dad. I was afraid of God. If I didn’t do just what God wanted, I’d lose out. I’d die.

Then came my teen years, and a lovely thing that we now call purity culture. Even at the time, I remember being frustrated that people were talking about sex so much. Couldn’t we talk about something else? But hearing that over and over spread it through my bones like marrow, and it got stuck inside. It didn’t help that my family held a purity ring ceremony for me and my twin at age 13. I wore a ring from Tiffany, set with a blood red ruby. In part of the ring ceremony, there was the signing of a contract promising ourselves to our dad’s spiritual authority. If we stepped out from under his “covering,” it was disrespectful… and we would surely die. This was my subconscious belief.

My dad became a huge proponent of Joshua Harris and we all read I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Boy Meets Girl, the follow up. This further impressed in my mind that keeping my distance from men was much safer. My dad expressed the idea that we would all have courtships – me and my 3 sisters. The young man would come to him as the spiritual authority over us and ask my dad if he could possibly date one of us.
I didn’t realize what the insidious affect of this was until recently. This view made it clear that men were only interested in sex or subjugation. You had to be on your guard around them all the time. If you didn’t have a pure heart, even if you were just holding hands, it was suspect. Furthermore, if I crossed the line and didn’t guard my motives, I didn’t only disappoint God, I disappointed my dad. I’m not sure who was more terrifying.

Guard your heart was the moratorium. Search yourself for any wrong motive. And let me tell you, I was really great at following moratoriums. I was used to following rules out of fear by now. I was amazing at scrutinizing myself to keep myself safe. It was perfectionism run rampant. I think these beliefs, compounded by my dad’s behavior, came together to give me a huge fear of men. They were bigger and stronger and “authority.” If I crossed them, I would die.

Underneath this fear of men was a huge fear of myself. I had been told that men, and leaders, obviously were closer to God then I was. This means they obviously knew more than me. I learned early to keep my mouth shut and become extremely adept at following the rules.

To this day, I am looking over my shoulder ready to run when (not if) a man hurts me. I am hyper alert for betrayal. Hyper alert for men who only want sex. Quickly putting men in boxes so that I feel safe, instead of seeing them as people. Extraordinarily quick at just trying to follow the “rules” to good relationships. Objectifying physically AND emotionally, to maintain distance.

If I don’t, I will die. Nowadays, if it’s not God striking me down, it’s people I’ve highly respected, or people I put in parent positions. For that matter, it’s the culture that continues to insist that women are less capable than men of having a strong voice. Everything around me, everything, screams that I must follow the rules or I will die.

I am just now coming to the point where I am learning to follow my own internal voice, not the voices of others and especially not the voice of fear. A song I recently heard encapsulates this idea really well:

“I was born to love, I’m gonna learn to love without fear.” – Born, by Over the Rhine

I was born this way, but along the way I lost myself. I was caught in a tangled web of how things for women were supposed to be. I bought into the lie that others were smarter than me and the only way to stay alive was to follow the rules of the oppressive culture. But I’m waking up now. I refuse to allow oppression to silence me.

Perhaps the story of Esther, in the Bible, was always so appealing to me as a child because I realized that she did not let the rules keep her locked in silence. Though my view on spirituality has changed, she still represents to me what spirituality should be about – taking risks for the good of the community, and having a voice when others try to silence you.

And as she said, “If I perish, I perish.”

I will speak on.

*****

unnamedLaurie Works writes over at her blog, Resilient Audacity. At 25 years old, she’s courageously forging a life lived by her own rules. She writes about growing up with a mentally ill father, witnessing her sisters’ deaths in a mass shooting, her marriage and divorce, and how she continues to thrive in spite of what she has experienced. She invites you to accompany her on her journey!
Twitter: @laurieworks (twitter.com/laurieworks)

Anne Boleyn – The One Who Changed a Religion

Picture this: You are a beautiful woman. Born into a very rich, prominent family in  England. You are their prized possession. You are gorgeous, smart, witty, fashionable, and well liked by all that you meet. You are sent abroad to learn and charm, as your family makes their way up in the English Court you are brought home and think you have your whole life ahead of you….but, do you?

Anne Boleyn

Meet Anne Boleyn:

Born: Sometime around 1501-Death: 19 May 1536

Anne was a young woman sent abroad at a young age. Having served in the Netherlands at court, then moved on to serve her (unknowingly at the time) future husband’s younger sister at French Court. This young lady knew English and French, could read, and could debate even with the finest of men, which at the time was a pretty badass thing to be able to do..heck to even have the gall to do!

For the 16th Century, Anne was considered quite beautiful. According to many biographies she was quite captivating and flirtatious. She had big brown eyes, dark long hair, long elegant fingers, and a long intriguing neck.

Anne was sent to English Court around 1522, she was sent to serve Catharine of Aragon along side her sister, Mary. Mary was the king’s mistress for several years, when Henry VIII noticed Anne she knew she didn’t want to be a cast off like her sister. So, at the encouragement of her family Anne played a dangerous game with Henry VIII, since Catharine was so well loved by all of England. However, because of her romantic notions she played it well and with several bats of those beautiful eyelashes of hers she managed to convince Henry VIII that God disapproved of his marriage to Catharine which is why they were never blessed with a proper heir. During the time Henry VIII was asking the Vatican for an annulment, Anne was getting impatient. So, she took her amazing debating skillz and began to fill Henry’s head with interesting tales of religious reform. Henry VIII, who I believe was way too easily swayed about anything….takes off running with this “reform”.

Next thing we know, Anne watches as Catharine and Mary are sent to exile.  Meanwhile, it was said that she was already pregnant; some historical fiction tales allude to the idea that Henry VIII became so impatient with Anne while waiting on his divorce from Catharine he actually forced himself upon her thus finding her pregnant before their marriage. They were eventually wed in secret in 1533, once this happened to announce their marriage and force the people of England to accept Anne they held a grand coronation. However, the people did not see it that way, but Anne-ever selfish, as she had to be-kept her head high and continued on.

After giving birth to a girl-how dare she-it took more and more for Anne to stay in her husband’s good graces. She knew Henry was beginning to favor one of her ladies in waiting after she had not one but two miscarriages. The last one having reported to be a boy, with some rumor that this particular miscarriage the child was born with a flayed back. This was when Henry’s advisers began working against their Queen, while Anne realized simultaneously that not being as loved as Henry’s first wife her life was indeed in danger.

Henry, being a man of little backbone and common sense, I believe, took little convincing that the Queen basically had a “spell” on him. Many speculated she was a witch due to the beginnings of a sixth finger (that she often cleverly covered with her wardrobe). So, her father & uncle were part of a secret commission to gather evidence against her. Who participates in such a thing against their own daughter/niece and actually finds evidence to go against her?!

Anyway, Anne was arrested in May 1536. She held trial, but it didn’t really matter, the executioner had already been called in from France. She kept her dignity in tact during the trial. When she wasn’t in front of the public though she was said to have manic episodes trying to save herself-who wouldn’t?!-and other episodes where she would actually practice getting dressed for her execution to be sure nothing would be in the way of the sword. It is also said she would practice putting her head on the block so she could do it with dignity when the time came.

On May 19th, 1536 all her practicing became a reality. She became the first English Queen to have ever had a public execution. Instead of having a manic moment at the end of her short life, she was about my age-sometime between 30-35-when she faced the block she gave this speech:

‘Good Christian people, I am come hither to die, for according to the law, and by the law I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it.  I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak anything of that, whereof I am accused and condemned to die, but I pray God save the king and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler nor a more merciful prince was there never: and to me he was ever a good, a gentle and sovereign lord.  And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best.  And thus I take my leave of the world and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me.  O Lord have mercy on me, to God I commend my soul.’ (source)

Boy, these Queens: Anne and Catharine really knew how to stick to Henry VIII, eh?!

Personal Bonus

I just got back from a nice visit in London where I got to visit the Tower of London. It has always been a dream of mine to visit the area, especially after reading about Anne over the last few years. Elizabeth II was so horrified when she learned of the crimes of past kings and the awful crimes committed against people who once lived in her great land at the Tower Green she had a memorial constructed:

tower green memorial 1

Tower Green Memorial 2

Check out this badass link for more info on Anne. Here’s another if you’d like to read even more!

About me photoKate, founder of The Diary of an Urban Housewife, nomadic blogger who enjoys time with her husband (when he’s not too busy producing video games) and daughter (when she’s not off cheerleading), coffee, crafts, fitness and reading. Former humanities teacher (English/History) at the middle graves level, now living the expat life in BC and traveling as much as possible.

Find Kate here on social media: