A Religious New Year’s Resolution

I wish sometimes, I really do..I wish I could slip into a 24 hour emotional coma where Bowl Games were important to me, where I cared for just a little while about what kind of car I drive, or what Jennifer Anniston thinks about anything.

I would like to breathe, just for a little while- long enough to gather strength against the endless soul-bruising I feel condemned at times to live within- I would like to breathe the foreign air of “I just don’t give a damn.” I would like to be able knock a beer (as the phrase is put in hard-drinking, easy-thinking circles) and know that it would stop the world long enough for me to go to sleep one night without a single nagging needle of over-extended empathy jabbing at my heart.

I would like to experience a whole day someday, a day that would enable me to remember what it was like to not have stories like these from this day acid-raining on my parade:

For Kurdish Girls, An Ancient, Painful Ritual of Circumcision

and

Egyptian Girl Kept As Slave in California Home

These two headlines happen to be fueled by Islam. It would be just as easy on another day to find such stories of cruelty, intolerance, or mythologically-based stupidity rising from Christianity, Hinduism, or Judaism. (If you doubt that statement, and don’t have the ability or skills to go Googling for yourself, message me and I’ll send some examples your way. At this moment, I don’t have the emotional wherewithal to subject myself to more such UTTER, AWFUL, DEHUMANIZING, GODDAMNING, DESPICABLE crap being dispensed incessantly by those who keep the gods of their foul fantasies trapped in the uncritical, unthinking, and unevolved confines of their reptilian, always reactive imaginations.)

Despite overwhelming evidence indicating otherwise, each of us really do have the kingdom of heaven beating somewhere in our beings aching, wanting, striving to find expression in the environments, large and small, in which we each find ourselves.  I also believe that each of us has the ability to cause that kingdom-of -heaven reality to be present and evident for the benefit of ourselves and others when we are aware of its presence in us.

And I dislike to admit it, but I must: that presence may best be found and understood by examining that which makes us most uncomfortable. In other words- for me- it is the boundary-pushing kingdom of heaven in me that makes me want to retreat at times, from it. I’d rather watch a football game and be excited by it, than contemplate the horror of a nine-year-old girl being hacked on because..because.. because NOBODY KNOWS WHY!!!  (“We don’t know why we do it, but we will never stop because Islam and our elders require it,” says the mother of a little girl whose clitoris has just been cut off.)

The only thing I know to do is to do something- something, anything, each day, in however many days I might have, to expose, fight, ridicule, or- God,help me-  stand between religious cruelty and its victims. I can bitch, whine, or tilt at windmills, or I can do something.  I can look the other way, pretend my wishes of paragraph #1 have been granted, or stop exposing myself to that which pains me most poignantly, or I can make some tiny difference which- like a seed- may grow.

Therefore, I choose (and promise), beginning today, to do one thing each day to chink at the foundations of religion. I’d rather spread Doubt, than Blind Obedience. I’d rather make an ass of myself doing some thing, than not be noticed at all, doing nothing at all, causing not a single fissure in the landscape of a world where, because of the misogynist dogma of  fear-created gods, there are still little girls..

screaming.

God, damn religion too. Amen.

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7 thoughts on “A Religious New Year’s Resolution

  1. Oh my dear friend-
    I think you know, Im right there with you-

    as Im reading what youre reading and saying, theres a voice that urges me closer and closer to that edge – the edge you just mentioned, “the boundary-pushing kingdom of heaven in me that makes me want to retreat at times”…

    I think I know why-
    why it pushes us so…

    for those that have the strength and faith to go with this wave, so that we may see what is there on the “other side” (if you will) of that boundary- of that edge… (Presence, as youve already called it, means precisely that there is no “other side”- that its all right here- but for whatever reason, obscured from our view)

    So let me share with you what this voice is whispering to me, as Im reading what youve written- it seems like it was suggesting that I share it with you…

    “the way is through”

    is what it said…
    “the way is through”…

    Im listening to this- Im sharing it with my friend-
    I dont think “through” means around, or over, or behind or into the “mess”- but I think “through” means something else… and so its bringing to mind a verse from another favorite poet of mine (and one of yours, I think)

    ______________________

    Inside this new love, die.
    Your way begins on the other side.
    Become the sky.
    Take an axe to the prison wall.
    Escape.
    Walk out like someone suddenly born into color.
    Do it now.
    You’re covered with a thick cloud.
    Slide out the side. Die,
    and be quiet. Quiteness is the surest sign
    that you’ve died.
    Your old life was a frantic running
    from silence.

    The speechless full moon
    comes out now.

    ~Jalal ad-Din Rumi

    ________________________

    I know that hes not saying this so that WE can be all blissed out and “happy” with whatever comes along in life- I KNOW its not that… this is something that is speaking of beyond “you” or “me”- beyond the measurements- beyond the borders- the edges, of our selves…

    Im sure this is something that is seen as Pure wisdom- that true and right action is born of intelligence that comes at the END of ALL measurement- it is from there, that compassion acts- it is from there that we need not “think” nor “worry” about what to do- it is from the end of our measurements, that compassion uses us to act – and we need not concern the what where how…

    but if Im still measuring out right and wrong- good and bad- what to do, what not to do- then there is still a “me” there to get in the way- a “me” to involve myself in what God has going on…

    “Inside this new Love, die
    Your way begins on the other side…”

    the Love is there, clearly, in ever word of your post-
    Clearly! it is there…

    but to go “through”-
    to die to this pain that is the inevitable product of our human measurings- to die to this suffering- to die to self, so that compassion may act, may use us for Healing this world… this is what the voice keeps whispering to me, and seems to have wanted me to share here with you…

    _________________

    “Out beyond all notions
    of right-doing and wrong-doing,
    there is a field…
    Ill meet you there…”

    ________________

    With Peace and Love, dear friend-
    right there with you-
    tom

  2. I look very forward in the new year to reading all of the Doubt you put forth. Bravo. My seat in your back pew will not grow cold.

    xo blessings and courage to you in 2009.

  3. Thanks for being honest. Your resolution that you’d rather spread doubt than blind obedience resonates with me as well. It describes well how I’ve felt about faith for a while now.

    I’m not an atheist. I don’t think I will be, but I’m damn sure nothing resembling a Christian. I’m ashamed of what passes for Christian these days. I’m not ashamed of Christ, but I can hardly stand to look at him for the scars.

    That’s what’s missing in the church I think… scars. Scars received from loving too much, from risking too much, for speaking up, for standing up, for doing something to make the world a better place than when we got here.

    All we see is people trying to make the church attractive, ie Jesus attractive. I think its called selling, and I’m tired of buying their crap.

    Sometimes you have to tear stuff down before you can rebuild it right.

    Let the hammer fall. Let it fall.

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  6. Wow. I wish I could muster that kind of passion. I love the thought of spreading doubt to counter blind obedience.

    I know it was just an example, but I’m pretty sure it’s the culture, not Islam, that requires genital mutilation. But, the point is the same: twisted religion and the unquestioning obedience to it.

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