I have a friend I really enjoy, a guy I knew in college, with whom I now only communicate on facebook. He is one of those people who re-posts a lot, particularly jokes and satire. A considerable percentage of what he posts has to do with religion and mocks conservatives who exaggerate or mislead to gain political advantage or to denigrate other religions or homosexual people. To him, and to a growing group of people like him, “religious” is synonymous with “ignorant” or “bigot.” It is getting to the point that the phrase, “an open-minded religious person” is popularly considered an oxymoron. I blame that on all the really noisy wack-a-doodles who keep promoting grossly hateful views that cause people who aren’t of faith to wonder what in the world “religion” and specifically “Christianity” is all about. These wack-a-doodles would not consider me a person of religion at all because my reading of the scriptures and observation of the world haven’t led me to the same conclusions they have reached, but since I don’t let them (or anyone else) tell me what I am that doesn’t bother me. What does bother me is that I am being painted with the same brush as anybody who claims a faith based on love but gleefully wears hate on his/her sleeve.
I might wince when I see remarks and jokes directed at the religious, but I will neither deny I am religious to the snarks or let the wack-a-doodles claim the whole package. Some might think me stupid for believing too much, others might think me a “watered-down” Christian for not believing enough. Whatever, I will not change my beliefs to belong to your special club. Nor do I expect you to change yours to join mine. Just, I beg you, think your own beliefs out for yourself, don’t leap on someone else’s noisy, pretty bandwagon because it is labeled either “Smart” or “Righteous.”
Related Post: https://wordtabulous.wordpress.com/2011/08/08/a-housewifes-theology/
I was reading Salem’s Lot by Stephen King for my October ambience read and was struck by a couple of things. First, I noticed how tiny the size of the font used in the paperback is and how old and squinty my eyes are. Second, I noted what traditional vampires King’s monsters were, compared to the mutations that have hit popular culture since his book was published in 1975. And thirdly, (and here Mr. Wordtabulous would point out that I have exceeded the ‘couple’ of things I referred to in the first sentence, couple meaning two and not three, but Mr. W. doesn’t read this blog so pbbbbththhhh,) there is an interesting spiritual bit in the battle between Callahan, the priest, and the ancient vampire, Barlow. I suppose I need to warn you there could be spoilers here, but honestly, the book is over thirty-five years old. Consider yourself warned. Barlow has the boy, Mark, in his grasp and is facing off against the priest. Callahan, crucifix in hand, is all full of righteousness, and is literally glowing with the light of his convictions. Barlow is sly, and offers to release the boy and face Callahan “mono e mono” if the priest cast away his cross. To save the boy, Callahan agrees and tells Mark to flee. Mark does. Callahan suddenly becomes afraid to give up the cross, but even before he can throw it away, the light of it starts to dim until it is nothing but an ordinary piece of metal. The symbolic cross wasn’t saving him, his faith in God, in “the White,” was what channeled that devastating power. When Barlow challenged him to let go of the cross, the priest became momentarily confused about the source of the power and he stopped channeling. And then bad things happened. End of spoiler alert.
Okay, I do understand this is fiction, but this vignette does make me wonder what, exactly, I am channeling. As a Christian, I believe in a Creator with infinite power, and a Savior with the juice to transform humanity so that they can enter the kingdom of heaven, as well as a Spirit surrounding and filling me with that love and power all the time. Instead, I seem to be channeling a lot of anxiety and wimpiness. This has got to stop. I am going to try on some power and faith and see what little monsters I can crush beneath my boots.