One thing about time spent atop a tractor, it lends itself to all kinds of introspection. I have spent the last two days catching up on chores I wouldn’t do in the heat. It seems boring and repetitious to the casual observer, going back and forth with a disc , turning up soil to prepare for next season’s crops, and I guess it can be, but I actually look forward to that time. (bear in mind that one cannot completely go mindless when operating a tractor, they are rather top-heavy with a front end loader, and tip over from time to time) Anyway, I have much on my mind, three of my closest friends are struggling at the moment, and I am wrestling with my faith and my place in Le Grand Scheme.
Aunt B has a post up this morning about Jews, Christians, and that horrible Coulter woman, and, I’m sorry, I just don’t care. I don’t give the proverbial two shits about what that woman has to say, and I even think discussing her latest outrageous statement is playing into her little claw-like hands. She is exploiting the anger in this country to sell books. She is not emblematic of Christian ideals in the least, and I think dissecting or comparing Faiths is a monumental waste of time, particularly when prompted by something Ms. Coulter said.
I often wonder if there is some label for people like me, who, while avoiding church like an I.R.S. audit, still feel that there is value and importance to keeping connected to a Higher Power. I don’t worship. I don’t feel for a second that God needs affirmation or accolades. That would make her needy, and theres that whole Higher Power thingy and all. So, what, then, is it that I expect of myself and my relationship with the H.P.? (I’m going to employ initials from here on out, I trust no one will think I’m talking about Hewlitt Packard)
One thing I never placed any value in when I was young was the comfort and reassurance of tradition. Catholics certainly depend on it, as do Jews. I clearly see that in troubled times, having some structure and rituals in place could keep a person grounded enough to see their way on through. I do sometimes wish I was attached to tradition a little, that feeling part of a large tribe with a long history should indeed bring about a feeling of peacefulness. But I don’t.
Which leaves me with only the Bible to use as a reference to what the H.P. might expect from me. Or does it? Growing up in the United States, I have had zero exposure to any other Scripture, and I think that is most people’s experience, unless they are Theology students. So, off and on for around 40 years, I have read through the Old Testament, (skipping over a boatload of “begats”, I’ll admit) and I have come to feel that it is a lot like a game of “telephone”, only centuries in the making. Please don’t feel like I am trivializing what it means to millions of people, I am speaking only of my experience with it.
That leaves me with the New Testament, which again, to me, tells the story of a great teacher who invoked the name of a H.P. and in doing so, gave credibility to his message of peace, forgiveness, and love. It strikes me as more than a little odd that since that time, anyone else who has attempted to do this has been at best derided, and at worst suffered slow, painful death as a result. Has no one else been deemed fit to deliver a more, say, timely message from On High? A few years ago, I read a series of books by Neal Donald Walsh called “Conversations With God” and I have to say, the exchanges in those books resonated with me more than ANYTHING I ever read in the Bible. I’m not here to debate the premise or the content of those books, but, rather, I’m wondering if we could ever allow ourselves to accept new teachings from someone who claimed to be delivering it from God himself?
I think I would. I have long taken issue with the idea that life is just something to get through to earn your way to a better place. The idea of being fearful of the One that created me is just so foreign to me that I am instantly irritated by the thought. Also, the idea that I am somehow flawed, or lacking in any way strikes me as preposterous, and is rooted in the need to control. I subscribe to neither of those views. Rather, I feel that I am representative of all that is God, and as she evolves, I evolve. It is simultaneously comforting and terrifying.
Ok, so here’s my question for those of you that study Religion or have advanced mathematical degrees:
Is there some name, some label, for someone like me, that feels the H.P. knows that the ultimate experience is the process of becoming more God-like every day? That there is no end-game, that the real beauty lies in the fact that the life process is somewhat circular, and constant, and that he rejoices when we “advance” no matter how quickly or slowly? I may find out that I am Buddhist, perhaps, or Wiccan, possibly, I really don’t know. I should add that I really don’t care that much, except to say that I could at least cling to the notion that I am not such an odd duck. (Though I really hope heaven is like the one on “Defending Your Life”, I mean, all the food you want and no chance of gaining weight? Forget the virgins, I’m getting to the point I’d rather have a great meal anyway…)