Saturday, April 14, 2007
~:E N D • O F • D A Y S:~
Yesterday I was summoned by Bjorn downstairs who was madly barking at voices coming from the font yard. I opened the front door and heard my neighbor Pat saying, "No, Thank you." Then I see two women pull up my driveway in a white Cadillac. They approach me with Bibles in hand and I immediately get nauseous.
One of them shakes my hand and says that she's here to get my "opinion" about the word of God.
"I'm an Episcopalian, so you don't need to evangelize to me."
"Yes, but do you believe we are indeed in the End Of Days?"
"Really, thank you but I don't need to discuss this with you."
So they left in pursuit of their next victims , thank GAWD.
I find myself so ashamed of my religion when I come across people like these. I realize I should be more tolerant, but it's THEIR intolerance that triggers mine. Fear-based fundamentalism makes me sick to my stomach. A couple of years ago I had an argument with a Christian who believed that homosexuality was a symptom of sexual abuse and that this was FACT and she had proof because ALL of her "recovering" homosexual clients (she's a Christian therapist) struggled with the same issues.
Last night I watched a fabulous documentary of Rome produced by The Learning Channel, back when TLC used to really be the "learning" channel. One of the strengths of Rome was that they assimilated their conquered cultures and were quite tolerant of other religions. They didn't have the racial tensions that we have in America today. The Romans simply adopted the best of all cultures to make themselves even stronger. No God, technique or style was too good for them.
Then the strange cult of Christianity appeared. This was one religion that refused to be assimilated. You were either a Roman OR a Christian. This all came to pass as Roman emperors became more and more ridiculous, Rome was too large to expand any longer, inflation disrupted the economy.... The Fall of Rome was here. Christianity offered unhappy Romans a way to escape what was wrong with their civilization. It contradicted everything Rome stood for. It gave them a solid moral ground upon which to stand. It offered a black and white world with no room for interpretation, no reason to stray into the abyss of self discovery, the despair of choice.
It's so odd for me to think of Christians meeting in underground catacombs for years and then suffering for their beliefs. What made them so different and eventually SO successful was their intolerance of other religions. And this is true to this day. It's what makes many Christians nauseatingly unbearable to me.
What keeps my heart tied to the idea of Christianity is Christ's message of love, grace, tolerance, generosity and forgiveness. There are a few other Christians out there like me, I know. But we're not very popular. Not as popular as the Bible Thumpers.
It's kind of a lonely place to be.
There must be comfort in thinking you're right all the time. Comfort in not having to think for yourself. Comfort in using the Bible as a magic 8 ball, instead of a beautiful set of stories meant to inspire kindness and truthfulness in all who read it.
I think all religions are valid. I don't think I have the right to dictate to anyone how they should worship if they chose to do so. My god is real. But he may not be yours, which is fine. Doesn't have to be yours, which is more than fine.
I believe the wonder of God comes in many forms, many faces - in people, rituals, places, nature... god is a single being, god is a culture, a group, a prayer. God is not a "code of conduct" or set of rules meant to make decision making easier.
I know that's vague. Infuriatingly so for many people. But I've been doing a lot of thinking lately.
If you have any thoughts or beliefs you'd like to share, I'm open to listening. And if not, that's OK, too. Just know that you're probably going to hell.
Kidding! I don't actually believe in hell - I think THIS is hell and when we all die, somehow, SOMEHOW everything we struggled for in this life is rewarded by peace.
I just believe it all works out.
No matter how awful things are, we are, they are - things just work out.