A Traumatized Philistine in the crowds of Love Oxford

I stand in front of a blocked up Broad street,

Turned into a high-decibel, 30,000 Pound stage for music and prayer.

I feel a slow smile spread across my face, I never get to do this. They never do it this big back home.

Below the grin, something just doesn’t sit right.

I feel a tap on my shoulder, a find friend I didn’t expect.

“Are you a believer too?” They ask, hopefully. Their tone falters with tangible uncertainty.

I freeze up. This question shouldn’t be hard.

The crosses and metals pressing against my chest tell me yes.

I’ve plugged in, surrendered myself to miracles around me that I’ll never unbelieve.

“Love and blessings” has become my telltale phrase, and I follow peace like a shadow.

But even thinking the word God aloud sends a shiver down my spine
Like what I associate with “God” and this Church construct is a false idol in itself.

Because a yes identifies with thousands of years of corruption, spilled blood and self-placed superiority ringing in my ears. Believer and fanatic are only a couple of clicks apart in my head because of this. I can’t see what the Father looks like, so I agree on faith.

“Yes,” I say.  “But I’m terrified of organized religion.”

We continue to talk, my back’s stiff as a board while my eyes deconstruct the scene like a hungry cheetah. I can’t loosen up.

The coming speakers want to take in refugees and end poverty, because “it seems like we’re all tired of it.” I greatly admire the motion, but do you talk with exhaustion about poverty, or dealing with poor people?

I can’t tell, my head’s stuck as a critic.

I want to identify with you and without the oppression, whatever lies deeper in me that fears this so I ask to leave.

I sing some of the songs and respond to “Hallelujah!” with a smile.

I tap in deep, and I feel the colors mixing from the massive collective of energy. I can sense it clear as day, and she’s contributing with upturned hands, just like I learned. I can feel love, and this is real love.

When they started talking donations, I found my reason and big my return to the college.

Step after step, a chant-like sentence kept echoing through my mind.

“Amen I say, how different am I from you?”

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