“Have You Found Jesus?”

As a joke, someone asked me if I’d found Jesus.

The question was a joke, but here’s an answer that isn’t.

I tried very hard. I was zealously Christian. I prayed so hard and so fervently that I literally had rug burn on my forehead from grinding my face into the carpet while I knelt crying and squirming, my heart pounding, begging God to give me the Holy Spirit, begging to feel the touch of Christ the way the preachers on TV said I would.

It never happened, and I gave it a VERY genuine try. I got rid of all my music, my books, I deleted all my poetry and the stories I’d written, I sacrificed everything to God, so that he could remold me. I spent a year reading nothing but the Bible and watching nothing but Christian television, I learned to play hymns on piano. I prayed dozens of times a day.

Absolutely nothing happened. I gave up so much and received nothing. Yet still Christians bark at me that I would know Christ if only I gave up my sinful ways, not knowing that I’m a better Christian now than they are. I know more, I did more, and I tried harder, but in the end, it was all just plain bullshit.

I found Jesus in the only place he ever lived: the communal imagination. And my imagination is too beautiful a place to fill with so stagnant a figure as Jesus.

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