bonar crump

bonar crump
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Monday, February 13, 2012

Christian PTSD and a bunch of other stuff

Warning: Stream of Consciousness Ahead—Slow down when approaching the curves.

·         There has to be a respectful way to argue that Christianity may be the greatest threat to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
·         There has to be a way to open up the discussion with spiritually honest folks about the burden of Christianity on the intent of Christ’s message to ALL of humanity.
·         There has to be a meaningful way to investigate the problems generated by Christianity without attacking individual Christians.
·         There has to be a way to criticize the belief system without tearing down the believers.
·         There has to be a way to look at Jesus, the red letters, and the Cross from a first person perspective instead of through the filters of Christianity.
·         There has to be a way to escape the zoo of Christianity and view Christ in the wild—no barriers—no separation—no vendors—no warnings—just people standing right in front of the Lion of The Tribe of Judah (Rev 5:5).

There has to be a way……...but I don’t know what it is.

I’m never so “on point” and cautious as I am when I attend a Christian church service. Most would think that it’s because I’m damaged goods or that I’ve been wounded by church folk in the past and just haven’t healed yet. Well, that might be part of it, but I’m nobody’s punk. I don’t whine about injustices and angrily stomp around fuming over defeat. I have a pretty short memory when it comes to confrontation and even rejection. What I don’t forget easily is disrespect or contempt—both personally and when observed from a third-party perspective.

I don’t carry a chip on my shoulder, but you won’t ever sneak up on me easily more than once.

Let me explain what it’s like participating in a church service (traditional or contemporary—mainstream or off-the-grid—clean-cut preacher or guy with an 8” goatee) when you have all your senses in hyper-active mode at the ready for any type of a flanking maneuver. It’s exhausting!

It’s like playing soccer on a field where there MIGHT be a couple landmines. You’re not sure if they’re there, but they MIGHT be so you’ll need to diligently scan the ground as you “play” the game. All the while the other players on the field joyfully play the game without worries or hesitation. In contrast to them, you play the game like Rain Man trying to get on an airplane.

I like to think of it as Christian PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Does that mean I consider myself a victim? Of course not! I was a volunteer. No one made me participate in the system dynamic which is Christianity.

Or did they?

No. What am I saying? No one forced Christianity on me; it was a choice I made on my own at the age of 9.

But………..… I don’t know. I mean what other alternatives did I have? At 9, the choice was quite clear—either accept the basis of Christianity as expressed through my particular church congregation or reject the message of Jesus Christ and what his life/death means to me for all eternity.

And THEN radically remodel those Christian ideologies at age 11 due to the different philosophies at our new church community. Then there was the refashioning of those beliefs at age 15 after my parents had given up religion all together and I had to start evaluating doctrine and theology on my own (which meant I would attend the church where most of my friends went).

That was a Christianity based on the sound ideology of: God wants our youth to have a full-functioning gymnasium and lounge areas with pool tables and old couches. That wasn’t a bad Christianity. It provided many of us a place to meet members of the opposite sex that appeared to be like-minded Christians and thereby “safe” for exploring the nuances of dating during our mid-teens. We really took advantage of that one!

Next month’s overnight lock-in—Hell, yeah, I’m gonna be there!

There were lots of other churches with just as many different flavors of Christianity. All of them had good points and bad points IMO. But there was always one thread of consistency that ran through all of them—Jesus. So it came to pass that when I finally got tired of readjusting my own sense of who Jesus WAS based on the plethora of versions I came into contact with (Jesus version 3.7 – Jesus version 20.8) I began to think about what all of the different flavors of Christianity must look like from Jesus’s perspective (confession: I usually type “Christ’s” instead of “Jesus’s” because I’m never quite comfortable with that spelling—too many ssssssses).

I still don’t have any idea what it all must look like from the Jesus perspective. I realized the dangers of that thought process early on. It required me to assume that I knew anything at all about how a creator evaluated his/her creation. However, I think that it was that time in my life that led me to pursue writing. I wanted to know what it was like creating something you were proud to present to others whether they appreciated it or not and then see what it would feel like witnessing what others would do with your creation. Sometimes they tear it apart. Sometimes they OVERLY embrace it. Sometimes they respectfully ponder it and give you a little chuck on the shoulder (those are probably the best).

But sometimes they ignore it. Sometimes they disrespect you and carefully shoo you out of the room so that the “real” grown-ups can talk. Sometimes they label you and your creation too artless or ordinary to be the work of anyone worthy of their time. Sometimes the flaws in what you create are evaluated contemptuously overshadowing any beauty, honesty, or truth you may stumble upon in the process of being creative. Sometimes you’re considered a piece of shit no matter what you have created because it’s not what the “real” grown-ups want to hear or are looking to decorate the walls with.

Dude…did I just hear an “amen” in the distance?

There is a point to this weird post. Let me see if I can find it.

Oh, yes! What it feels like to attend any form of church service with Christian PTSD. It’s exhausting! I know I said that before, but I don’t know what more to say without coming off like some kind of raving lunatic hell-bent on throwing all Christian church-goers under the bus whether they have a “real” relationship with Jesus Christ or are just going through the motions in order to get an invite to the lock-in.

I don’t know where it starts or ends. Oh, wait! What about that Alpha and Omega thing? Isn’t Jesus the beginning and the end? Give me a second to Google that…

I knew it: Revelations!

You see, all those different forms, flavors, and versions of Christianity kept teaching me that Jesus was the “first and the last, the beginning and the end.” They kept telling me that, “Jesus is all you need, son.” They kept telling me that the spirit of Jesus lives inside me somehow as a guide or conscience or something like that. They all pretty much unilaterally agreed that I was safe as long as I was walking alongside Jesus following him to our next venue or just sitting atop a hillside watching a rain cloud come our way.

And then they turned the tables on me. They told me that I needed their approval. They told me that I was taking some of this Alpha-Omega talk a little too literally. They said that THEY were commissioned to be my shepherds and that I should get back to the flock. And do you want to know what I finally found in the midst of all of this conflict, chaos, and confusion that gave my soul a peace it had never felt before?

Jesus—Lion of the Tribe of Judah standing four foot in front of me on the savannah grasslands without a tree in sight—nowhere to run—nowhere to hide. I stared that Lion square-ball in the eye as long as I could anticipating some answers. I stared him square-ball in the eye—a bold man daring the Big Cat to attack. I grasped a knife in each hand and prepared to TAKE whatever answers I could get.

But in the end there were no answers. In the end, I dropped my knives, knelt reverently on my left knee, and began to weep.

I wept for all the people I had failed instead of all the folks that had failed me.

I wept for all the times I made others feel like shit because they didn’t know the right scripture or where a certain book was located in the Bible.

I wept for all the people I had forsaken because they were reluctant to buy into my version of Christianity.

I wept because I had planted some of those landmines on the soccer field hoping to expose those that didn’t believe the way that I did.

I wept for about 2 years.

And when the weeping was over I looked up to see the Jesus lion still standing there staring at me. He locked eyes with me for a moment as if to say, “you good now?” and then he turned around to leave. He walked a few steps away before turning to look at me over his shoulder. Then he said, “you coming?” (I know Lions can’t talk, but I swear on a stack of Bibles that this Lion said, “you coming?”)

I’ve been following Jesus ever since in a way that defies convention and tradition and ritual. It’s all so clear now. I didn’t need answers. I needed experiences. I needed time with Jesus. I needed to watch how Jesus loves.

Now I get to witness this same scenario playing itself out over and over between Jesus and other folks as I stand back about 50 feet and just watch the stare down until each individual, in their own time, bows to one knee and weeps however long that they need to. Then we all follow together as we move to the next venue or sit atop a hill watching rainclouds gather. It’s all very surreal and yet it seems so normal after a while.

This is all based on a totally real dream that I had once, BTW!

I’m still traveling along watching and learning as the Big Cat (that’s what I call Jesus sometimes) gathers folks from all cultures, creeds, colors, and walks of life. I still don’t know where we’re all going or exactly what’s on the horizon, but these people I hang with are radically different than any of the folks I grew up going to church with. I’m not trying to say that they are better or worse—just different.

I’d much rather attend a 1%er function than a church service any day – any week – any month – any year. I feel safer at an outlaw mc gathering or bar than at any Christian function. What I mean is that there’s definitive protocol in the biker world. There are expectations and consequences that don’t shift or change depending upon the situation. You can always feel secure around a bunch of 1%ers as long as you know the rules—and the rules are always the same. Show respect and you get respect—act an asshole and you are sure to be treated like an asshole.

Church isn’t like that. Christians aren’t like that. The varying forms, expectations, and beliefs of different versions of Christianity can switch up on you so quick you have no idea what you’re supposed to do or who you might offend in the process. You might even be the BIGGEST asshole in the group and be honored because of it. It just doesn’t make any sense and it is NOT the least bit consistent.

Jesus makes sense. Jesus is consistent. He loves. He leads. He rescues. He bleeds. He roars. He finds YOU. He doesn’t care what you look like or what you THINK you know about anything. He wants you to watch HIM work. Pay close attention. He leads.

He leads because not only is he love, truth, honor, and majestic Lion but also because he is RESPECT.

He is respect to others. He is respect to our planet. He is respect to all of HIS creation. He places value in his creation whether we do or not and expects us to respect it (all of it) as well. This protocol does not waver. This protocol is a constant.

The lion demands you to respect yourself. If you cannot respect yourself due to the ongoing pressure of whatever group you belong to then you need a new group. You’re welcome to join me hanging with bikers, but you’re gonna need to know the rule of respect first.

I’ve found more personal discipleship at the hands of patch holders in the mc world than I ever did in 25 years of bible studies, retreats, or church services. What’s that supposed to mean to someone like me? I’m still trying to find out. I will tell you that learning the very specific means of conveying respect whether in the mc world, military, or any other organization which highly regulates and values honor, respect, and loyalty can elevate you spiritually to a place that looks down on Christianity. Yeah, I said it!

Give me the respectful cadence of a biker rally any day over a Christian function. At least with the bikers I know what’s expected of me. With Christians, you never know what they’re gonna spring on you. Hence, you have to always be on your guard with your speech, actions, and even body language.

That kind of hyper-active sense of uncertainty doesn’t bode well for the Christian PTSD victim and neither does participating in a game of “watch your ass” played on a minefield of expectations.

You get my drift……… 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

When words fail the Heart can still hear

I don’t trust Christians.

Wait; it gets more offensive.

Christian functions make my skin crawl.

I’d rather listen to 24 hours of shrieking hurricane force winds than listen to Christian music.

I can’t stand Christian “worship”.

If I had my way society would cease all forms of sanctioned Christian activity, henceforth.

I trust Jesus with all my heart, soul, and spirit.

Wait; don’t roll your eyes yet.

Good music, good drink, and meaningful discussion are healing to me.

The silent private moments of sensing Jesus somehow revealing things to me heals my spirit.

Good days and bad days—my life is my form of worship.

My idea of heaven is being around a group of real people with real problems talking about what works and what doesn’t.

If you’re turned off by where I’m coming from with any of this then I guess we have to agree to disagree. Simply put, I reject the notion that corporate worship, sanctioned lists of dos/don’ts, and Biblical teaching provide direct pathways to the soul-heart-spirit. In a world of abject poverty, moral depravity, and social injustice I think we need to focus on direct pathways to the soul-heart-spirit. This is why I don’t trust Christians.

For one thing, Christians have traditionally been identified by their knowledge of Scripture, participation at Christian gatherings, and adherence to Christian mores. This results in a reasonable conclusion that an exceptional (more righteous) Christian will usually be one that has an exceptional knowledge of Scripture, an exceptional record of participation at Christian gatherings, and an exceptional adherence to Christian mores.

Herein lies the rub—no matter how beneficial those activities or compliances may be, they will never directly impact the soul-heart-spirit. These things can never ever replace the simple private reassurance deep in your heart (way down deep where the real stuff lies about like a cave full of treasure) that Jesus really likes you just as you are right here—right now.

The expectations of other Christians don’t mean shit. Listen TO your heart.

The rules and regulations don’t mean shit. Listen WITH your heart.

The behaviors of the people you associate with don’t mean shit. Listen to THEIR hearts.

Christianity (i.e. the belief system) will always be about molding and shaping people into what Christians think they should look like. What about what Jesus wants us to look like? What’s supposed to happen when we listen to our hearts and what we hear contradicts what Christians want us to believe? What happens when Christians convince you to stop trusting what your heart is hearing? What are we supposed to think of a Jesus that conveys messages to our heart that challenge us to ignore traditional Christian values? Who’s the real Jesus? And after a lot of these kinds of frustrating questions: who really gives a shit, anymore?

Ephesians 6:12—for our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

The rulers are those that set the rules. The authorities are those that enforce the rules. The powers of this dark world are those that treat humanity with disdain and contempt.

With a fully open mind and a fully open heart I cannot ignore the shocking similarities between the rulers, authorities, and powers that we struggle against and the prevalent mainstream belief system we call Christianity. I just cannot ignore the potency of Christianity to poison and hate and corrupt. I want to ignore it. I’ve been trained to make excuses for the disparity between what Jesus teaches our heart-soul-spirit and what Christianity teaches our minds. I’ve spent days at a time fasting and praying that all of this Christian learning would miraculously jive with what I sense is Jesus speaking to my heat-soul-spirit.

I’ve discovered that you cannot serve two masters without unwittingly discovering that you’ve grown to love one of them and hate the other (Mathew 6:24). It’s basic human nature. One cannot focus their supreme affection or devotion on Jesus AND the “riches” of this world. Be careful not to take the lazy approach to the word “riches”. Riches don’t always mean money. Toxic riches of the world are more often power, prestige, acceptance, notoriety, accolades, deference, etc.

Part of the problem with Christianity is that it is easily converted to a system which promotes power, prestige, acceptance, notoriety, accolades, deference, etc. That’s why I don’t trust Christians, enjoy Christian music, or attend Christian activities. It’s because you never know which one you’re dealing with—either it’s a Christianity contemptuous of humanity or it’s a Christianity filled with the flamboyantly prestigious. Rarely is it a Christianity that connects directly to the heart-soul-spirit.

I don’t trust Christians because the righteous ones look just like the toxic ones. I don’t trust Christians because they lie to themselves so much that it makes it easier for them to lie to everyone else. I don’t trust Christians because they don’t know they’ve been deceived. I don’t trust Christians because they never love me; they only love their version of me that they picture in their heads. I don’t trust Christians because you cannot trust someone that doesn’t believe in themselves more than in the system. I don’t trust Christians because I know how good the Kool-Aid tastes: it is very addictive.

I trust Jesus because he died for me and everyone else I’ve ever known or will ever know. We (the scumbags, scallywags, rebels, and misfits) are worthy based on the simple fact that we’ll listen to someone that we can trust. We’ll listen to someone that gives a shit and isn’t trying to sell something in the process. We’ll listen when we don’t have to sacrifice our dignity. We’ll listen because if you’re willing to die for me then my honor moves me to die for you if the time ever comes.We'll listen if we believe that you like us.

I am not willing to die for Christianity. Christianity did not die for me on a cross.

I am willing to die for Christ—even if my death is a result of fighting against the toxic effects of Christianity.

Listen to your heart. What’s in there? What’s happening inside there when the pastor speaks? What’s happening in there when people treat each other with contempt because of differing social/political/religious views? What’s going on in there when you witness a community of Christians affected by all of the same moral depravity as the rest of the world that they reject?

Listen to your heart. Then you can start learning how to listen to other people’s hearts. Then you learn that being willing to die for Christ means being willing to die for those around you whose hearts need someone to trust. If you’re gonna spend your time learning something: do yourself a favor and learn these things. Then you get to see what making a difference really means.

Don’t wait—do it now!

This is a very small part of what the religious rulers, authorities, and power brokers of his day did to Jesus.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

From Zoo to the Wild - Spiritual Madagascar

The reason I write stuff like this is more often than not to work out some of the noise in my head. The noise that says: why can’t you just play nice—why don’t you go with the flow—aren’t you worried about risking your family’s spiritual growth because of your baggage—when are you gonna accept that you’re a lunatic?

Self-analysis is my means of weeding out static from the Morse code sometimes embedded within that static which is what I understand to be God’s voice.

It kind of pisses me off sometimes. How do I (and many others like me) profess this omniscient omnipresent Creator of the universe and, yet, God evidently chooses not to communicate with us via our ears. Seriously, that makes me mad at times.

If you want me to get to steppin’ on something, God, then talk to me for crying out loud. Don’t make me have to guess about it or seek someone else’s counsel about it. Just tell me with spoken words! How is that so hard?

Maybe my 6 year old daughter is right. One time she told me that God’s words are too loud to be heard by your ears—you have to hear them with your heart. Maybe…I don’t know. Maybe God doesn’t know how to whisper and a simple “how you doin’” would blow out the windows in the truck while I was driving and cause a massive wreck on the highway. Whatever…

So the whole point of Lady and the Tramp meets Shawshank was to lay the foundation for what I think might be a universal model that explains why much of what we do, see, hear, and struggle with via religion seems so useless, irrelevant, and downright abusive.

·         Tame—an animal which accepts the control of humans.
·         Feral—animals that live in the wild after having been domestically reared.
·         Wild—the natural, free state of an undomesticated animal.


If you were born into a Christian home and have been nurtured by Godly parents, you are spiritually tame. That’s a good thing. That’s a fantastic thing. I, too, am raising my daughter in a home where we pray together and discuss God on a nearly daily basis. There’s nothing to be ashamed of if you are spiritually tame.

Spiritually tame folks get along well because they are more dependable. They are more likely to be peacemakers. They have hope for things like joy, peace, and love. They are a part of things. They guard our traditions and remind us of our heritage. These folks teach the Gospel well because they’ve been around it since they were weaned from the teat. These are good people that we should never ignore, dismiss, or reject.


From a purely Christian perspective, if you were born into a non-Christian, agnostic, or atheistic home then you are spiritually wild. Same wholesome values sometimes, but without the Christian deity involved. Spiritually wild folks challenge us. They keep us on our toes. They keep us honest with ourselves. Christians might think of spiritually wild folks as criminals or perverts, but that’s not the case. That’s getting into behaviorally wild people and that isn’t what we’re looking at. Besides, there are plenty of Christian criminals and perverts sitting in our pews and preaching from our pulpits so be very careful if your knee-jerk is to label folks by their actions or appearance.

Spiritually wild folks such as atheists are intellectually lean because they are able to engage the world without the confusing effects of mysticism. Not that they don’t acknowledge the mysterious nuances of the human spirit as expressed through love, art, music, literature and such. No, these people are appreciative of the mysteries in life and the world, but they don’t tend to attribute those mysteries to an unseen deity who comprises the ability to create and destroy at his/her discretion.

Just imagine how much simpler it would be as a Christian to explain your worldview without having to refer to an ancient text written only by men thousands of years ago. That’s what I mean by being intellectually lean—you save all that bandwidth by eliminating the need of carrying around all your mystic beliefs.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Spiritually wild folks that do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and savior to mankind but do embrace some form of religious mysticism are some good folks, too. They might not share the core beliefs of the Christian, but they will usually line up very well with the Christian when discussing matters of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (fruit of the Spirit).


If you were spiritually tame at one point and are now wild then you are spiritually feral.

The spiritually wild person fears the spiritually feral one because if the feral crossbreeds beliefs with the wild it might disrupt the fragile ecosystem and adversely affect the harmony of the wilds’ balance with their natural habitat. This is why a feral person must hide their residual churchy-church vocabulary and worldviews when amongst the wild ones or else they will be perceived as weak-minded and rejected. In nature, the reason that a pack of wolves may turn on a sick or injured member of the pack and kill it is because of the natural instinct that one weak member makes the entire pack weaker as a group. This perception is quite valid. Christian views hard-wired into the brain of a once spiritually tame individual WILL dilute the integrity of a group’s non-Christian viewpoint.

Likewise, the spiritually tame person fears the feral one because feral beliefs crossbred with tame beliefs disrupt the fragile Christian ecosystem and adversely affect the harmony of the natural habitat (church). This is why feral people must hide their worldly vocabulary and competing worldviews when amongst the tame groups or else they risk rejection. Same scenario applies—the worldly views and mannerisms of the feral person must be killed as soon as possible lest they weaken the entire group via a dilution of the integrity of the Christian belief system.

All of this makes it hardly worthwhile to jump the fence of organized religion and disappear into the surrounding forest. The very real risk one faces is a rejection of the wild and of the tame folks. Perpetual spiritual purgatory is never really a favorable selling point. The feral Christian risks everything if they wish to experience anything outside the fence.

The domesticated person (spiritually tame) has many advantages. They are fed well and often. They are safe behind the fence of religious expectations. They rest peacefully without worrying about what stealthy hunter might silently kill them in the darkness of the night. They can trust in the safety of their numbers. They are comfortable, happy, and content folks who are excited by wild ones that wish to convert via accepting the confines of the fence in exchange for regular meals and security.

However, it is imperative that wild ones willing to convert must follow the rules that maintain order within the compound. These are expectations that have proven for many years to sustain the order and safety of the tame lifestyle. To live within the yard, it is very important to respect the sanctity and righteousness of the fence. The fence is there to protect. The fence is there to defend. The fence is there to offer peace of mind.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The spiritually wild lifestyle has many advantages as well. They eat food sources that thrive naturally and without cultivation. They stay alert even when at rest which sharpens their analysis of reality. They, too, trust in the safety of their numbers as they readily form packs. They are comfortable, happy, and content people but in a different and equally as valid way as the tame folks.

They aren’t as excited about converts that have been raised behind the religious fence. The thought is that formerly tame people cannot ever fully put aside their preconceptions and worldviews. Simply put, wild folks remain skeptical of newly escaped tame folks because the tame ones are always trying to trick wild people into coming into the yard. It’s like the tame people want everyone to be like them—to the wild mindset that is completely egocentric and maniacal.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

In all of this analysis we see two different groups separated by fences, rules, opportunities, worldviews, beliefs, traditions, etc. What the tame have to embrace as the core of their mission is Matt. 28:19.
·         But does this mean that the tame are being called to entice all of those that are wild and feral into voluntarily setting aside their lifestyles and beliefs in exchange for life inside the fence?
·         Is life inside the fence the goal of discipleship?
·         Has the fence been built by God or by man?
·         What is it that is so harmful and scary about living in the wild?
·         Does God have authority over the wild areas as well as within the fence?
·         What kind of psychological and physical stresses are placed upon a wild beast that is brought into captivity?
·         Is this enough bullet points?

I’m still working on the answers to these questions. To tell you the truth, I don’t even believe that there is a fence at all [1].  I think both tame and wild have blindly accepted the reality of the fence for so long that they haven’t stopped to verify its existence in a very long time.

Because of this suspicion, I’ve developed a working hypothesis that the spiritually feral person seems to be the only one that can truthfully evaluate what is real and what is not. One that is capable and willing to function within either group brings a useful perspective to the table. They are able to discern the positive value of domesticated lifestyle as well as its negative implications on the soul. Likewise, they are able to evaluate the harmony inherent within the wild lifestyle as it conforms and adheres to the environment as well as understand the kinds of stresses and difficulty these things impart on the soul. The feral person is in a position to embrace the values of both and potentially bridge the gap between tame and wild. The feral person jumps whatever barriers exist at will.

If this is true then I boldly assert that the contemporary Christian generations of post baby-boomers who seem to be abandoning the ideas of domesticated lifestyle and jumping the fence are not moving away from spirituality or the church. Instead, they are moving toward the great commission of Matt. 28:19 but in a new and uniquely different way than anyone has ever devised before [2]. We’re not talking about a once-in-a-lifetime scenario—we’re staring at a once-in-a-civilization event.

They are becoming spiritually feral (sometimes at great societal risk to themselves and their relationships with older generations). But is this a bad thing?

As a lone feral animal roaming about the deep forest with no pack to protect you and uncertain about food sources or the location of water—yes, you can be in great danger potentially preyed upon by all varieties of creatures more likely to consume you than share their resources. However, as packs of feral animals begin to form providing legitimacy and knowledge of resources we begin to envision a scenario ripe with possibilities. We begin to see the abandonment of fences, divisive ideologies, and behavioral signposts.

What eventually emerges from the proliferation of a spiritually feral population is a new kind of revival—a renewed sense of loving one’s brother as we love ourselves (Mark 12:30-31)—a removal of the barriers we’ve long been devoted to as the source of our protection and safety. The reality is clear that these religious fences have failed to keep evil away or believers in check. The reality is clear that barriers and beliefs and rules of behavior do not create disciples or save lives or teach love, loyalty, or respect.

Robert Frost’s Mending Wall is oftentimes remembered most for the saying that, "Good fences make good neighbors." But what Frost is actually writing about is that traditional values are all that keep us mending these gaps in the wall. He hints that the barrier between he and his neighbor doesn’t make sense—that the futile upkeep of their divide serves no real purpose that he can discern. I like Frost’s questioning of tradition versus reality.

I think Frost would rather have a glass of bourbon with his neighbor while laughing at all the effort they’ve wasted over the years maintaining something that was completely irrelevant. I think Frost would rather blur the boundaries between he and his neighbor and so would I.

I think Frost would agree with Jesus’ teachings of inclusiveness and embracing the leper as an antidote to fences and their upkeep.

Something there is that doesn't love a wall, 
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.

I think God is that something.

In order to raise people’s expectations you have to challenge their preconceptions.