Author: Taylor Tate
Date: December 12, 2017
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“God” is Dead, and We Killed Him: Remembering that God is LOVE.

Author Taylor Tate

I’m a Christian, but it’s scary when I hear people I disagree with say that they are God’s servants. Why? Because I know what thousands of others before them have meant when they said it: that they would work to dominate any perspective out of line with theirs. I know it meant violence and destruction and oppression and suffering. I scare myself whenever I start thinking “I will be Christ’s salt and light of this world.” I fear I may become so proud as to think that I am the “right” sort of Christian— because I know what Christians have done in the name of “God.” Looking back at all the atrocities committed under the guise of Christianity, I can’t help but wonder if I my own view is similarly tainted, and if it might lead to more pain in the world.

I know that the many Christians of history probably felt the same way that I do. I know that they probably felt that they were following God. Yet, in many ways, I can’t help but feel that I serve a different God than their judgmental God. I wonder if there was an edge in their belief that comes from a state of internal war that got channeled outward. The more that I develop my relationship with Christ, the more I practice loving myself and being compassionate to other people. My God is an awesome God. My God is love. When I am quick to anger, I remember that my anger and resentment is directed at another child of God—regardless of who that person is, what they believe, or what they do to me.

Caring for other human beings is a human thing—it isn’t exclusive to Christians. Many people feel hurt and outrage when they see the plight of those going through things like anxiety, depression, lack of resources, or low-self esteem. For me, though, there is an element in addition to personal compassion— I am also confounded that we cause any of God’s children to endure such pain.

It makes me feel like the earth is tilted off its axis, and that I have an obligation to help right it.

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God’s children have been called to overflow with blessings, but throughout history, in all nations, people’s greed has starved the poor of the fullness of those blessings.
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To be clear, I don’t want to help because they are God’s children. I don’t want to help in order to make it into heaven. I feel called to serve the vulnerable because God taught me to love. God’s unconditional, personal, and transcendent grace for me has made me see life differently. It has made me see myself differently. It has made me see other people differently. I see people marginalized by class and races. I see what they endure, and I want it all back for them! I want everything that was taken from them! I want all them to be given their due!

God’s children have been called to overflow with blessings, but throughout history, in all nations, people’s greed has starved the poor of the fullness of those blessings.

My heart aches when I see homeless people, because I don’t just see a homeless person. I see God’s child lying on the floor, without shelter, cold and hungry. When I see hateful rhetoric spun against members of the trans community, I am at a loss because I know that the rhetoric fuels hate crimes. And I am at a loss because I know that NONE of God’s children deserve to feel like they are hated, like they are an abomination, like they are unlovable; after all, they are loved—by God. As a POC, it hurts. I am filled with a pain I can’t describe when I reflect on how we are taught to believe that we are “less than.” I think on how we are deterred from access, from attaining autonomy, from happiness, from love. Rage threatens to overtake me, but it doesn’t.

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I do challenge the Christians I most differ with to distinguish their God from the worship of power, but I pray that I can myself resist the fear and anger that can close any of our hearts.
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When I see people across the world being exploited, I feel hopeless. I feel like the system is bigger than us. But I know that my God is a transcendent God. I know that he works through people, so I pray that he works through people to relieve each other’s suffering. Eventually, I am always filled with hope or awe. One of the two, because as Crystal Valentine said, “Don’t you know us black folk make a habit out of resurrection? Don’t you know that we have a habit of coming back and collecting what is ours? Some people call it magic. I call it God.”

A poem by Warsan Shire goes like this:

“later that night
I held an atlas in my lap
ran my fingers across the whole world
and whispered
where does it hurt?

it answered
everywhere,
everywhere,
everywhere.

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I wonder: at what point would the meaning of the words “Christian” and “God” be so distorted by the actions of some Christians that I could no longer use the word to describe myself?
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I know that Christians have been some of the main beneficiaries of the grinding inequalities and exclusions that drown so many people in spirit and then in body. That is why Nietzsche said, “God is dead and we killed him”. Much like Søren Kierkegaard did, I take this to mean that we killed the idea of God. For him, the God Christians serve always remains in contradiction with the will to power, with this contradiction yielding hypocrisy or irresponsible cowardice. I do challenge the Christians I most differ with to distinguish their God from the worship of power, but I pray that I can myself resist the fear and anger that can close any of our hearts.

I am not ready to abandon the word “God” like Nietzsche, but I wonder: at what point would the meaning of the words “Christian” and “God” be so distorted by the actions of some “Christians” that I could no longer use the word to describe myself?

People reclaim words all the time. Can we reclaim the word “Christian” to have it’s rightful meaning? I know it’s not a simple feat, but as a Christian I believe that this task may work to revolutionize oppressive systems. Imagine if we let God to “manhandle us,” as the mystic Hafiz puts it. Imagine if God were to drag his people around the room, by their hair, ripping from their grip all those toys in the world, that distract them but bring them no real joy. Imagine what that would do. As a Christian, I believe it can be a foundation for universal human rights. But here I go again, like other people before me, wanting to spread my ideals because I believe I know what’s right for them. I can’t help but wonder though, is it possible for us inspire each other to change in a loving way? In a way that respects people’s freedom and their right to choose? In a Godly way?

We must seek again the will for change which can move mountains, and resurrect the spirit of the Living God in the hearts and minds and souls of those who call themselves “Christian.”

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Author Bio: Taylor Tate is “just a regula shmegula girl trying to dismantle our imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy in the godliest way possible.” Taylor is a founder of Kiss The Sky, a website that translates famous texts and supreme court decisions into AAE, various regional dialects, and memes to make texts more accessible to people.

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