Off Message

21 December 2012 (Mayan Non-ocapylse)
MEMO TO: Pope Benedict, His Holiness, Vicar of Christ
FROM: Peter, apostle-disciple-companion of Jesus and doorkeeper Upstairs
RE: Off Message

Dear Vic—

Hey, crazy world these days isn’t it? Bet you’re relieved those Mayans didn’t cancel Christmas this year, huh? Anyway, caught your latest Christmas message and thought I’d send a friendly reminder. It’s a bit trite, but as they say, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Draggin’ gays through the crèche—not a great idea. Couple of points to consider:

(1) All that stuff about gay folk “denying their nature”? It’s gonna be Galileo all over again before long, and the Front Office would rather we not go there again, okay? Just between you and me, you’re makin’ the very mistake Paul warned about (Romans 1:23)—gettin’ mixed up about creature and Creator. You keep wantin’ to measure marriage by looking to creatures’ parts. But Upstairs we smile anytime we see a marriage marked by love—period, because it’s love that makes a marriage echo God. Note to papal self: It ain’t about the parts, Vic, it’s about the hearts

(2) You’re kinda stuck on “procreative” love needing to produce children. Did you got my earlier memo dated 31 October 2012? “7 Billion and Counting: Enough Already!” We blew by the “be fruitful and multiply” directive several popes past. Not such a big priority in the Front Office these days. Plus, as any celibate worth his weight in nocturnal emissions knows, love does not need to produce kids to be love. Kids are a blessing, to be sure. But sometimes being procreative—that is, pro-creation—is knowin’ when to push back from the table and say, “I’m good.” Point being: it’s a big (and crowded) creation out there. There’s plenty of opportunity for both straight and gay couples to be pro-creative in their love without makin’ more kids. Just sayin’.

(3) About the whole “vicar” thing. Inasmuch as you “stand in the place of” Christ today, you really gotta keep your eye on where the man stood back in the day. Now, he could upbraid with the best of ’em (ever read Matthew 23? Sure you have …). But he took aim at the self-righteous and powerful, not at the bullied and marginal. You’re not just gonna put the Organization on the wrong side of history, Vic, you’re putting us on the wrong side of Jesus. Not a big hit Up Here. Word to the wise: just zip it for a while. Silence is golden.

(4) Lastly, on a personal note, since it’s technically my seat you’re sittin’ in. It’s not always about flying; mostly it’s about “falling with style” (Gospel according to Buzz Lightyear), or as we say Upstairs, falling with grace. You know me: Ol’ “walk-on-water-Pete.” Mister, Jerusalem? No way, José. Deny the man? Never! And then the damn cock crowed. The thing about always being out in front of the pack, is your mess-ups are pretty much out in front, too. The gospel writers made sure I came out smelling like dead fish as often as I smelled like roses. Cause the message, Vic—especially at Christmas time—is not about judgment. It’s about grace. You’re off message, my friend. And the Front Office would appreciate it if you’d clean the egg off your face, and get back to the Grace thing.

Peace in the holidays!
Pete—a.k.a., the Rock


David Weiss is a theologian, writer, poet and hymnist, doing “public theology” around climate crisis, sexuality, justice, diversity, and peace. Reach him at Read more at where he blogs under the theme, “Full Frontal Faith: Erring on the Edge of Honest.” Support him in writing Community Supported Theology at

4 thoughts on “Off Message

  1. David, once again you have scored a direct hit, with unerring and graceful precision! Of course, you understand that “Vic” has to be institutionally concerned to keep the organization going – generally by whipping the margins into shape. It is too bad that with his entrance into the world of texting, he is unlikely to see your prophetic and amusing jibe – or more likely, totally uninterested in your message. So be assured that the Front Office is very pleased with your celestial memo; and will be unimpressed that it is likely to be disregarded. In any event, you have captured the true meaning of Christmas. Having said that, the Front Office wishes you and your family the Holiest of Christmases!

  2. Dear David; As usual great writing and great message. I hadn’t heard what the old guy said until I read this and looked it up. Being a happily married gay man, I think he’s just jealous. As Tiny Tim said “God Bless Us Everyone” Merry Christmas to All. Paul Fischer

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