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My sister says I am too confrontational.

I mentioned that to a friend.

He said, “You? You’re the least confrontational person I know. You are a truth teller.”

In the winter of 1970 I was living in Hollywood just up the street from where film star Mae West lived.

I was there at the invitation of a hippie friend Brian whom we called Spock.

Spock had that particular kind of hotness which robs men and women of reason.

When he invited I went.

He went back to Toronto the day I arrived. Though I knew no one there I decided to stay.

One morning I got early to take a copy of Wilhelm/Baynes edition of THE I CHING back to a man who thought I had stolen it. I had gotten up way too early to go to his place. I walked around.

The night before I had had a dream of a field of mushrooms (which I love) not magic mushrooms, ordinary eating mushrooms.

As I walked past a church on Rossmore I saw that the sermon to be preached was on the brotherhood of man. As I had no money for coffee and/or doughnuts I figured I could harmlessly pass time for an hour or so and maybe get coffee and doughnuts. I went in. I was 24. I sat in the very back row. I prefer the back row.

The minister got up. He spoke about how the love of the flower children (remember them?) was like the love of Jesus.

I was living in flower child central. Most of those boys and girls were drug addicts who made their money for drugs selling their bodies to the powerful and rich. I know that because I met many powerful and rich men while I stayed with them. All had one thing in common. They were boring.

I knew that his statement that their love was like that of Jesus was not true.

Jesus never demanded payment either before or after giving his love. These folk were strictly cash on the barrel.  I gave him an “e” for effort and a zero for knowledge.

When he stepped down the church deacon spoke of how he’d been in another city and of how hard it had been for him to find a Christian Church. He said he had looked all over the city. He’d finally found one in a small room in an office building.

I reflected that in THE GOSPELS (which I had read five times through on the bus out to Hollywood for the first time and then again in Hollywood Cemetery at the grave of silent film star Douglas Fairbanks–there because it was idyllic–in conjunction with the Wilhelm/Baynes edition of THE I CHING which I had been studying since 1968) I reflected that in the Gospels whenever Jesus was asked, “Where do you want you church built?” he had replied, “The Heavens are the throne. The earth is the footstool. How can you build a house big enough for God. Let where two or more of you are gathered in my name be the church.”

For we who truly follow Jesus any place where two or more are gathered in his name IS the church, be that place Roman Catholic, Southern Baptist or a casual encounter in a bar over beer (Jesus turned not wine into water but rather water into wine).

In that instant I had a vision of Jesus looming out of eternity naked on the cross with his body an open wound from which upon the heads of those below in silence his blood fell.

You know the truth here. Stand and speak,” he said.

I replied, “It’s not my place.”

A second time he said, “You know the truth here. Stand and speak.” I said, “It’s not my place. I could get arrested. I could get hurt.”

I was blind and deaf to the cowardice in those words.

Then from those tormented, tortured lips came the words, “Listen Hartt if you have not the courage to stand here and now and speak the truth you will never have the balls to do it.

Those used to only the bowdlerized translation of the common street Greek of the Gospels found in all translations will and have said, “Our LORD would never use vulgarity.”

Those who know the Greek know that when Jesus said, “Nothing going into a man will harm him for what goes into a man passes through him and comes out in the privy” know that the word in the Greek is not “privy” but “shitter.”

Most translators lack the fire of the authors they translate.

Jesus could and did use the common, vulgar language of the people.

As it was it was the use of the single word “balls” galvanized me like an electric shock.

I rose from the back, walked to the front and spoke.

My life in that instant was forever changed for the better.

There was a riot. I walked out shaking off the hands of the men who had tried to hold me. I walked into the light.

Been in the light ever since.

As a boy I believed atheists, non-Catholics, homosexuals, Buddhists Hindus, Jews, Moslems and all the rest were bound for Hell.

Protestants I met in school told me that as a Roman Catholic unless I joined their church I would burn in Hell.

Until I posted them online I regularly got anonymous phone calls warning me I am bound for Hell for eternity unless I repent:  .

I now know, as Jesus himself would say it, “That’s a crock of shit.

If the church you’re part of teaches anything different don’t leave it. Stay there.

Make it one with the dirt poor carpenter from buttfuck Galilee who dropped his aitches when he spoke.

We are each of us carpenters building a house for God.

Aditya Shankar, The Face Of Gay Youth, India, asked if he could live with me. That was a wonderful year. Adi was head of SAATHI. He fought religious bigotry towards homosexuals in India from The Cineforum.

–Reg Hartt 2019–08–28.



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