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Black and Mild Jesus: A Poem

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Black and Mild Jesus

I saw Jesus in the smoke and the spit

He was in the ash as cigars lit

I felt the Holy Spirit inside of my lungs

with every puff as cigars spun

He was in the gravel where I dug in my boots

He was in the dirt, the soil and roots

Jesus appeared, oh' the plume of smoke

where broken eyed men gathered and spoke

I heard him in the tone of untamed tongues




Their hands unwrung

I felt the Holy Spirit around the unkempt pit

where the addicts shot from the hip

They abandoned the bottle for the faith of the nails

a Black and Mild Jesus

They let go and inhaled

"God is in everything, or God is in nothing"

Someone once said, "God is in everything, or God is in nothing."

I've spent years in and out of churches where proper looking families gather in polo's and rompers. Their little boys have gel in their perfectly spiked hair, and their little girls wear cute dresses. They listen to the pastors message then have Panera for lunch, where they split a turkey sandwich.

This is what I thought a proper Christian looked like, clothes from Marshalls and overpriced deli meat.

Recently, I was invited to a small men's group for recovering addicts, where they gather around a small fire pit, talk about Jesus and smoke cheap cigars. I was in. This wasn't a group of small business owners and hedge fund managers. These were men who lost everything to their addiction and found their faith through necessity. They spoke about Jesus and what they learned from their morning devotional that day. It was real. It was dirty. It was smoky and I felt God there.

I was inspired to write the poem "Black and Mild Jesus" after seeing these "unlikely" Christians confess their sins and celebrate their recovery. It was a real church. God was in the ash that dropped and the spit that hit the gravel below my boots. Jesus didn't go to the temple to find his disciples, he found a group of guys that needed him. A group of rough and tumble men. Christianity can be found inside of a polo or a pair of skinny jeans and Vans, but let's remember the necessary faith that burns at the end of a cheap cigar.

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