Sep 15 2011

Cheating at Cards With Jesus

I follow a bunch of local writers on Twitter. (Minneapolis is infested with us.) I don’t usually expect their feeds to start looking like those of my atheist friends, but a couple of mornings ago…

It took no time at all for that number to grow.

I suggested that she put them in touch with each other and recommend a Last Supper-themed party. I also read the poem.

For fuck’s sake, people, it’s a poem about Christ’s forgiveness! It is, quite literally, a poem about how it is impossible to lose to Jesus. It’s so theologically sound I was half-surprised to see a later follow-up tweet.

The surprise comes from the fact that it’s hard to write good fiction set in a mythology from within the mythology. That I’m only half surprised comes from Kelly generally getting rave reviews for her writing.

But no, all any of these people (who haven’t the guts to comment on her blog) can see are the booze and marked cards and swearing, none of which would need much in the way of retconning. Forget that she describes the Jesus of the gospels. Forget that she has taken the “sacred” and made it her own. Just notice that she describes a Jesus you don’t like. Then damn her for it. Yay, religion.

If I didn’t already have a migraine, I’d say that people make my head hurt. Luckily, there’s a cure for that. Kelly’s writing poetry on a daily basis, which means that “The Fox” went up just a couple days later. It’s also worth a read. And no worries that the religion might be something you don’t like. I think even the sort of Christians who send nasty emails to strangers can figure out that this one is fiction.

Though they’ll probably still find something to hate.


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  1. 1

    These people fly off the handle at what they think they read or heard. Back in the eighties, Irv Homer, a Philly talk show host made this statement: Ronald Regan is a Homo Sapien and his first wife was a thespian.

    Not hard to figure out what they thought they heard. The calls came pouring in and kept coming and coming. It was so funny how irate and out for blood these people were.

  2. 2
    Stephanie Zvan

    Yeah, it’s like they’re just waiting for something…anything, no matter how silly or unrelated: http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2011/09/14/christian-bookstore-boycots-action-comics-because-superman-said-gd/

    A big thanks to the readers who went over to Kelly’s blog and made a friend today: https://twitter.com/#!/kellybarnhill/status/114455562200162304

  3. 3

    Anyone who writes poetry on a daily basis has to have something wrong with them.

    Just sayin’.

  4. 4
    Stephanie Zvan

    Then there’s writing a sonnet every day, while your spouse undergoes radiation treatment for cancer: http://www.amazon.com/Radiation-Sonnets-Love-Sickness-Health/dp/1565124022

  5. 5

    There’s nothing wrong with poetry as long as you do it in private and wash your hands afterward. (Robert Heinlein)

  6. 6
    The Lorax

    I read the poem. It’s very nice, very Jesusy, and quite clever.

    There, an atheist enjoying Christian poetry. Is the universe imploding yet?

  1. 7
    Saturday Storytime: The Taxidermist’s Other Wife | Almost Diamonds

    [...] She’s the Catholic writer whose Jesus poem went over much better with atheists than with some of the religious people who read it. Like that poem, this story is a departure from most of her published work, which is for children. [...]

  2. 8
    Atheists Love Stories, Too | En Tequila Es Verdad

    [...] not sure I can finish this post before I rupture something vital. But I shall try. There’s something right here that rather destroys the argument that atheists don’t understand stories. In fact, it suggests we understand them better than some Christians. There’s this poem, [...]

  3. 9
    Spotlight: Kelly Barnhill « slantrhyme

    [...] came across the following poem via Sceptic Money, who commented on it after picking up the story on Almost Diamonds. Stephanie Zvan at Almost Diamonds does a great job of summing up the puzzling situation, but [...]

  4. 10
    That’s What Jolly Meant » Almost Diamonds

    [...] retweeted someone sharing this* yesterday, and Kelly Barnhill (you remember Kelly) responded to let us know that this image was produced by friends of hers. Spunk Design Machine [...]

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