Do you know what I’ve discovered? I’m not doing that well this week—how you doin? I feel like pond scum to tell you the truth. I rarely feel this way because, by nature, I am an eternal optimist, and to know me is to be part of an instant party of laughter and joy, if I do say so myself. I should be on top of the world: My husband, WW, and I are meeting a daughter’s serious boyfriend for the first time (THIS COULD BE THE ONE, FOLKS!) this weekend, and my blog just topped off 50,500 views! Who knew when I started this storytelling malarkey just over a year ago, anybody outside my family and friends would even bother to tap my space, let alone 50,000 and counting? So why am I so blue? The whole world is going to Hell in a hand basket, that’s why! I’m in mourning over what has happened in Libya and the rest of the Middle East, just when it seemed as if liberty, justice, and freedom had come to visit during the Arab Spring and were unpacking their bags. But now it seems that various factors of the religious entities of the world (Muslims, Christians, Jews, and including the Mormon running for President and the Republicans who claim to be “the moral guardians of God”) have forgotten that we all bleed red and have the same tenet running through our religious ideologies: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” As I mourn for Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and his staff, I can hardly breathe; let alone write a blog about how we “need to love each other and all get along.” What’s the point?
I’ve got so many questions but they all boil down to one observation: none of us (not one) has seen our particular God face to face, so we all need to chill and remember we all could be wrong about an entire host of things regarding our individual religions. And maybe that is the point, which is why I’m going to spend the rest of the week meditating on the old Indian parable about the blind men and the elephant as I contemplate what it means to live in a world where we all see the meaning of life through a foggy glass and deem it fine and dandy to demean, disparage, bear false witness, blaspheme, and kill innocent people “in the name of our particular god” over some perceived slight that was the creation and promotion of a couple of demented cretins.
You remember that old 19th Century poem by John Godfrey Saxe don’t you (and I loosely paraphrase) where six or seven blind men from Indostan approach an elephant for the first time, which the poet dutifully labels as our “theological wars.” As each man touches a different part of the elephant, their description of what they believe an elephant is like is completely different from the other blind men, yet they are all right and they are all wrong. The poem ends as such:
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!
So, oft in theologic wars
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an elephant
Not one of them has seen!
I am discovering that until we pass beyond the reality of this life into the next, we only have theories about life: how it began, who began it, and how it will all end. Until Mother Theresa (the Saint), Christopher Hitchens (the Atheist), Martin Luther King, Jr (The Liberator), and Adolf Hitler (The Asshole Murderer who, if he isn’t in Hell, would make me seriously doubt the validity of God) to name a few, come back and tell us what they’ve seen, we’d all better chill. Until they tell us that God is or isn’t real and Heaven and Hell do or do not exist, we better figure out that we all bleed red and we’ve only got one planet and one life to live (sorry my Hindu friends, but I’m pretty sure I’m right about this—yet again, I could be wrong!), so we better learn how to honor the one theme that flows through all our religions regardless of the gods we serve: Do unto others as we would have others do unto us! (Yeah, that’s the point!)
Image from funnychill.com
“You can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image, when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”—Anne Lamott
“Scapegoating will go on forever. We need someone to blame – illegal immigrants, single moms, people in prison. We need someone to victimize.”—Winona Ryder
“Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.
“If God had a name, what would it be?
And would you call it to his face
If you were faced with him in all his glory
What would you ask if you had just one question . . .?”
What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home.”
“What If God Was One of Us?” by Eric Brazilian (as sung by Joan Osborne)
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