Posts Tagged ‘religion


a religion for everyone

Why is it that many people who are religious feel compelled, no, instructed to share their faith with everyone, but recoil if someone suggests that he or she does not agree with them, or, horror of horrors, doesn’t believe in “religion” at all?

Out-of-the-closet atheists are often treated as if they are, inherently, evil. As if saying you don’t believe in a god is saying that you molest children for fun or sacrifice virgins or puppies in the forest around raging bonfires on Saturday nights.

Is it really so impossible to believe that humanity would do good, or right, because it is the right thing to do, without the impetus of fear-of-eternal-damnation?

I often wonder if the people focused on their salvation, their redemption, in the next life are not, in fact, missing the point. So many relationships with the people here on earth sacrificed, in the name of “standing up for what [I] believe in” or, even worse, for “The Truth,” as if they know, with absolute certainty, what that is.

How can it be wrong to find wisdom and beauty and joy and morality and justice and love from works of Shakespeare, and Dostoyevsky, and Merwin, and Robert Frost, rather than from a book cobbled together over centuries by men with differing agendas?

And don’t we all see that if we argue morality through the lens of religion we’ll never agree?

A couple of clips to watch. You might not agree with everything said, but at least give it some thought.

(thank you treacle talks)

(the interview starts around minute 4)



ashes to ashes

I don’t get it.

I did it, but I don’t get it.

Tonight’s reading, from Matthew — When one fasts, don’t disfigure your face as the hypocrites do so that those who see you on the street know that you’re fasting, for there your reward will be, but put oil in your hair, and go out into the world with a smile on your face, and your Father, who sees you fasting in secret, will reward you in heaven.

And then we have the pastor put ashes on our forehead.

For those of you who haven’t figured it out already, I am very !!! conflicted about religion. I have often in my life felt the presence of an enormous spiritual power, although it seems to me to stem more from our collective energy than from a Benevolent Dictator, but there it is — something enormous and beautiful and far beyond the understanding of my feeble little mind.

And, I have a church job. This church job allows me to a) teach ~ 4 fewer hours less every week, and b) play great music every Sunday, working with other wonderful musicians and for a congregation which really seems to appreciate what I have to offer from a musical standpoint. (After the service tonight, as I finished the Postlude — the second Barber Excursion, which conforms to the dark and somber mood of Ash Wednesday — my biggest fan, Paul, whom I believe to be in his 60s, gave a silent “whoop whoop” with his fist.) I don’t generally take communion, as I am usually playing during Communion, and am not really sure I’m comfortable with the cannibalistic-ritual of consuming the “body” of Christ anyway. But as I waited for the pastors to complete the imposition of ashes, and wasn’t playing the “background” music at the time, I listened to them intone repeatedly, “From dust you come, and to dust you shall return,” and decided there wasn’t really anything wrong with being reminded of that, so up I went.

But doesn’t this count as “disfiguring my face,” as do the hypocrites?

I do like the last line of the Matthew reading: “For where your treasure goes, so goes your heart.”

Nothing wrong with being reminded of that, either.


Independent Parties

Gov. Charlie Crist announced Thursday that he is leaving the Republican party to run independently for the United States Senate.

I’d like to see more of this.

Our two-party political system just isn’t working for this country. As the article points out, the campaign strategy consists of two stages: move far to the right or left to secure your party base, and then to the center as you near election day to try to secure all those people in the middle. The result is hypocrites as our elected leaders, and an increasingly polarized electorate; extremism takes over, and nothing gets accomplished while people on dramatically opposite sides shout sound bites and wave their fists at each other.

English parliament has representatives from 12 parties; Italy 17; France 4; in Canada 4 are currently represented in the House of Commons, with 15 other parties registered with Elections Canada.

Do we really believe that what this country needs can be represented by one of two parties? That’s like saying there is the need for only two religions: Judaism and Catholicism. Everything else is just a subset, right?

(And yes, for those who wonder, I also think we need to revamp the electoral system. The current one was devised when only landed, white, educated men could vote. Patchwork amendments are just not doing it anymore. And while we’re at it, how about we look at the constitution as a mission statement and stop treating it like it’s the Holy Word?)

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