Posted by: aediculaantinoi | March 20, 2014

Unexpected Arrival

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Fred Phelps’ eyes opened onto what looked like Grand Central Station. He’d been there, and hated it, on a few occasions before.

But, wait–wasn’t he just on his death-bed, dying?

Yes, yes, he had been…so where was his heavenly reward?

Matthew Shepard approached him. He recognized his face immediately.

“Oh my God, I’m in hell!”

“Why would you say that?”

“Because you’re a faggot and you’ve been in hell for 5,634 days…”

“Did you count leap years, Fred?”

“Well, now..” He wasn’t sure if he had or not…the number wasn’t clear in his head, and everything was muddled.

Another young man approached Matthew Shepard and Phelps.

“And who are you? Another faggot?”

“If I am, then you must wonder what you’re doing with us here, in ‘Hell’.”

The former pastor just looked, dumbfounded. He had no signs to hold up and yell about.

“My name is Antinous of Bithynia. You’ve never heard of me, but I’ve heard of you. I’ve seen you and all of the things you’ve done upon the earth because of the hatred in your heart. You can’t do any harm there any longer, and there are many who are glad to know that you’re dead, and even now are cursing your name. Some are even making plans, if they have not started already, to have ‘gay sex’ on your grave.”

“Those damned faggots!”

“Yes, if you like, Fred. You have reaped what you’ve sown.”

“What about you, you faggot? What are you here to do?”

“I’ve been tasked with instructing you on what comes next.”

“Why did they send a faggot to do that?”

“You keep using this word…but your god never used it, and would look poorly upon you using it.”

“It’s a good biblical word, ‘faggot.’ It gets used in the Old Testament…”

“No, it doesn’t, not once. You’re done talking now, Phelps.”

He tried to raise his voice, but he couldn’t–not a word would come out.

“Go ahead: try and say ‘faggot’ one more time. The breath will be taken out of you, and you will be able to say nothing at all.”

“Fine, then! I’ll find another word, you–” But the words stopped again.

“‘Fudge-packer,’ was it? Or ‘fairy’? Or ‘flamer’? Or ‘fruit’? Or ‘god-damned queer’? Try it; try any of them, and you will have the same results.”

“This is not fair, and I’ll sue your ass off for it!”

“Sue? SUE?!?” Antinous and Matthew Shepard laughed at him. “I have more judicial authority here than you can even imagine, Phelps, and our laws are not those you used to manipulate people toward your own ends so easily and so unjustly.”

Fred Phelps kicked the ground a few times after a pause. “So, what now, then?”

“It’s time for you to depart to your heavenly reward.”

A smug smirk like he’d not had in decades crept over Fred Phelps’ face.

“But, first you must make a choice.”

The smrik departed as quickly as it had arrived. “Choice?”

“Yes, a choice.”

“Well, if it’s between God and The Devil, then there is no choice: God for me!”

“Oh, Phelps–there are so many gods, and most of them hate you. But no, that isn’t the choice. This is.”

In walked a beautiful man, bearded, dark-haired, about average height, dressed in a linen robe. He didn’t seem American, perhaps Middle Eastern, but that was okay, Phelps thought. The man held a book in his hand. Phelps had made his choice already–this must have been Jesus and His Word.

“Phelps, this is Judas.”

“Judas? What?!?”

“Yes, Judas, the disciple of Jesus. You have been preaching his gospel for many years now. This is one of the two options in the choice you must make. Here is the other.”

In walked another beautiful man, bearded and dark-haired like the first, about as tall, but much thinner. He was not wearing a robe; in fact, he wasn’t wearing anything at all, not even a loincloth, and the only thing covering him was blood, bruises, and the gashes from a whip.

“This is Jesus.”

Fred Phelps stared in disbelief at the sight.

After a moment’s thought, he said, “Well, then, I choose Jesus.”

“It’s not that simple, Phelps.”

“What do you mean?”

“You can’t just say ‘I choose so-and-so’ and expect it to be a valid choice. That’s called a thought, not a choice, not an action.”

“I am justified by my faith alone!”

“No, you are not! Your faith is not faith, but fear, and your words have been actions on their own, but not actions that do anything other than increase the fear and hatred in the world, not only for you, but for me as well.” It was Jesus speaking these words.

“So, Phelps: choose,” Antinous resumed.

“Well, then, I choose Jesus.”

“No: you must embrace him. Take off all of your clothes, be as wretched as he is, and then embrace him. Feel his blood on your skin, taste his blood in your mouth when you kiss him. Let his divine blood fill your every space–“

“WHAT?!?”

“Yes, even that space, Phelps.”

“I will not!”

“Then choose Judas, as he was the choice you made every day for the last several decades.”

“Fine, then, I choose Judas!”

“Not that simple, Fred,” Matther Shepard said.

“What do you mean?”

“Judas’ way is not nearly as bloody as that of Jesus, true. But, he’s just as beautiful, and far more seductive. You know you want him, you know you want this, and have always wanted this…”

Fred Phelps felt a stirring he’d not felt for a very long time in his loins.

“You make your choice for Judas by doing what you’ve always wanted to do.”

“By fucking him?”

“No–why would you say such a thing? Unless that’s what you’ve always wanted to do. No, by pouring your every desire into the Gospel that he holds. Unfortunately, here we’re rather literal about some things, and you can’t simply say that you choose someone, and by ‘pouring desire’ we mean of course that you’ll be ejaculating onto that book he’s holding.”

Phelps was aroused, but now he was entirely confused, and the blood wasn’t sufficiently supplied to his brain to engage his critical faculties.

“But which is heaven and which is hell?”

“Neither one is heaven or hell, Phelps. It’s simply the dilemma you’ve set yourself as a result of your way of life: truly accept what it is you’ve claimed to accept in the person of Jesus, or truly accept what you’ve also preached so vehemently and violently in the Gospel of Judas. Make your choice, and be happy with it for the rest of your life–or, rather, for eternity, because there will be no rebirth or further reward nor punishment for you, only what you’ve already sown.”

“Now, if you will excuse these faggots,” Matthew Shepard said after Antinous finished his explication, “but we have much more enjoyable things to be doing at present.”

Fred Phelps didn’t know which one to choose.


Responses

  1. I love this.

    • Thank you–glad you like it!

      On the one hand, I don’t think people should say he’s in hell; on the other, he was not a saint, and not all is (or should be, in my opinion) forgiven now that he’s dead. There has to be some responsibility, and he has made his choices as far as his life was concerned; why wouldn’t it be the case for after it, too?

      (I’m reminded of the Tibetan Book of the Dead, actually: the BIG and ATTRACTIVE light that feels good that you want to pick but know is bad for you, or the lesser light that doesn’t seem as appealing…)

  2. Here’s what I’m thinking about Mr. Phelps today:

    May his descendants never honor him with offerings.

    May his ancestors turn their faces from him in shame.

    For all those whose sacred burial rites he disturbed, may his soul never know peace.

    May his name and deeds be forgotten forever.

    • Part of me agrees with you, and all of me understands you.

      But, one of the things I pray regularly with Antinous is “May my mercy and compassion and forgiveness extend to all, and may the love of the Beautiful and the Just pour out over me in my difficulties,” which makes me see that no matter how hateful he was (and how hateful his family continues to be), he must have been in some deep and abiding pain to be like that. And that’s sad to know that such a person exists, who has cut off ties from members of his own family because of that hate. Whatever hell he may be in is one of his own creation, and that’s even more sad.

      • I used to be much more forgiving and compassionate, back in my pacifistic, vegetarian days, but since I took up with a somewhat war-like deity I’ve definitely noticed that I’ve become much more hard-hearted ;)

        Perhaps there already has been some justice in that he was reportedly excommunicated from his own church last year, and apparently he will have no funeral service himself–I personally find the idea of having no funeral rites performed for me to be unthinkable.

      • It’s true–he’s done enough to “endear” himself in the hearts of so many already.

        I do understand the war-deity matter, though. Antinous the Liberator is a tough customer, and doesn’t stand for or tolerate injustice; but, Antinous the Lover (one of his other sides) is very much about compassion and forgiveness…and that’s the part I find difficult in some moments, including this one.

      • I’ve always had problems with that part of the Prayer Against Persecution, as I very much don’t agree with the sentiment. Seems Christian (or perhaps Buddhist) to me.

      • It’s a statement of an ideal, not a directive; we should strive for it whenever possible, but we do so knowing we’re going to fail…and, failing is all right, and sometimes even necessary in terms of that particular ideal. Antinous the Lover and Antinous the Liberator’s aims and methods don’t always line up, and that’s why we need Antinous the Navigator, to let us know when each is appropriate.

        And, when we say that our mercy, compassion, and forgiveness should extend to all, one of the ones most easily left out of such formulations is oneself, and so that’s worth remembering, too. In being merciful, compassionate, and forgiving toward ourselves despite our failures (including our failures of mercy, compassion, and forgiveness), that is often harder than forgiving others. And, just because we are merciful, compassionate, and forgiving of others doesn’t mean we don’t hold them responsible for their actions, or lose all sense of justice either.

        It’s not an easy road, by any means…

      • Also: it amazes me how much of a problem many Mystai have with different parts of that prayer, and it surprises me sometimes with which parts they have problems. (E.g., one Mystes consistently heard the beginning of the prayer entirely wrong, and thought it said “I bow down in supplication to you, Antinous,” which it doesn’t, but because he objects to bowing to anyone/anything, including the gods, he heard it that way. Hmm!)

  3. My one point of critique (minor, given the context) is that I’m pretty sure this doesn’t make sense for what’s in the actual Gospel of Judas, which unsurprisingly turns out to be a Gnostic Christian scripture.

    But given what mainstream Christians understand of Judas, and especially how He’s treated in Medieval Christianity, this is just perfect. *Beautifully* put, and thank you!

    -E-

    • Actually, it is the only known ancient writing that attributes anything homophobic directly to Jesus–thus, any and every homophobic Christian is preaching the Gospel of Judas, even though they don’t know it.

      • Really? I’ll have to go back and read it again. I’ve found a lot of things in the Gnostic materials can be construed as sexist or homophobic, but I don’t remember which ones attribute it directly to Jesus, and it’s generally not interpreted literally.

        But I had thought you were looking at it more from the seductive betrayer of Jesus angle, which, for someone like Phelps who probably never bothered to read the non-Canonical gospels, would strike much closer to heart.

        –Ember–

    • Oh, and: it is apparent that there was more than one version of the Gospel of Judas, as the one mentioned by Irenaeus, Epiphanios, and others is clearly not the one that was discovered and released in 2006.

      • Oh goodness yes, but there’s more than one variation on most of them and we only have the one historical copy for Judas. The modern ones are something else entirely.

        People have apparently always manufactured various gospels that were attributed to Judas, Mary, etc. as well, from various perspectives. I find the whole thing really fascinating, but it didn’t seem relevant here.

        –Ember–

      • I’m not talking about the modern ones, I’m talking about the ones referred to by Irenaeus (late 2nd c. CE), Epiphanios (3rd c. CE), etc., which are roughly contemporary with the released-in-2006 text. The ones that the church fathers refer to are clearly different than the 2006 one…

        And the 2006 one has Jesus excoriating “those who have sex with men,” mostly for being sinful in other ways, but he uses that phrase in a self-evidently pejorative fashion as well. The passages just before and after that are (entirely by chance) too fragmentary to make out, but it’s interesting that this one gospel which so many modern Christians are the least likely to accept as in any way valid or useful for their religion or theological outlook likewise has the only statement in the mouth of Jesus that directly and unambiguously discusses homoeroticism, and condemns it.

      • Oh, I know you weren’t talking about the modern ones, I wasn’t conflating them, but I was unclear, sorry!

        As I said, I’d have to go back and read it again to see what referencing in order to comment any further. I believe you! I just don’t remember that part specifically, and hadn’t retained that such a line was attributed to Jesus, or that this was distinctive from the rest of the sexism and such in the Gnostic gospels I’ve read. There are a lot of problems with the Gnostic gospels.

        Then again, there’s a lot of problems with just about any historical scripture, historical cultures being what they were… Hell, *people* being what people are, even. *sigh*

        –Ember–

  4. The night I read this, I had a dream in which Antinous appeared to me. He was dressed in modern clothes: white T-shirt, blue jeans, and a black leather jacket. He indicated he had something to teach me regarding forgiveness but the dream-image shifted before he could continue. I’d never had a dream with Antinous before. What action would you recommend to try to discover what his message for me might be?

    -Constance

    • Very interesting, and he does have a similar sort of appearance for some of us modern folks, as illustrated here.

      I’d suggest getting an image of him that you like, making offerings to it, and just praying (always aloud, never silently) to him, and actively invite him to come into your dreams again and say more, or say what he might like to at that point as you pray and meditate upon him. If you have a preferred divinatory method, ask him to speak to you through it, then proceed as usual. If you have trusted diviners or mediums to whom you can speak about this, that might also be a good method to try.

      Let me know if there is anything else I can do to help! :)

      • Excellent, thank you. I’ll give these things a try.

  5. *applauds*

  6. […] on the night that I read this blog post about Fred Phelps reaching the afterlife I was visited by Antinous in a dream. Rather than appearing in the Roman garb of his time, he was […]

  7. […] I made this post a few months ago after the death of a certain person; and yet now, according to his grandson, the […]


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