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As we really are

My therapist has a theory that we have no idea how we really look.  We can look at ourselves in the mirror to brush our teeth and comb our hair, but our perception of ourselves has so long been colored by expectations and concerns of how we might appear to others that we simply can not see ourselves as we are. 

I can identify this wrinkle or that grey hair, but then is that all I am going to see of myself? 

We have to ask others how we look and hope for a consensus. 

Then try to forget about it.  Get away from the mirror, step out into the world and see what ever else there is to see.

I feel that I can never see this person Jesus of Nazareth, whom some call the Christ, because from before I could comprehend words I was taught many great expectations and particular attitudes about Y’shua bar-Yosef (if I can take a guess at the proper pronunciation of one purported name).

With all due respect  (which really means you’re about to get clobbered) I suspect that practically speaking Jesus is most often a ventriloquist’s dummy in the hands of theologians, amateur and professionally trained alike. 

Or perhaps Jesus is our team mascot and the otherwise unpopular kid who didn’t make the cut for the football team or the cheerleading squad, or who couldn’t even qualify for band-fag (I was one of them), volunteers to wear the fuzzy suit just to be part of Friday night’s game. As long as he animates our clannishness we’re entertained.

He’ll say whatever is on the script the qualified experts give him.

What’s really the center of community religious ritual is sports: physical competition.  The grandest ceremony of all goes to football: stylized violence reflecting and foreshadowing the real but perhaps distant violence upon which the material treasure of this great society is founded.

I was born and raised on stolen property, the bounty of armed robberies committed in my great great great grandparents time, and I never realized it, distracted by all the spectacle.

Some of our football players become Marines or Rangers conquering -

or rather,

liberating foreign markets -

I mean,

people for corporate exploitation -

 um…

democratization!

 

You see I just keep stumbling over the officially prepared script for some reason.  I won awards in history, I should know better.

It seems to me that most religious rituals in state sanctioned community gatherings, the ceremonies marked by moments of silence, are to honor war veterans.  Such tremendous community effort is not made to remember say, for example, family farmers who shared produce with hungry neighbors, or doctors and nurses who volunteered health care for the uninsured.

By far the vast majority of tax payer supported statues, religious icons of the state, are for soldiers who died for reasons perhaps known only to the delusional minds of qualified experts in economic-political think tanks.  As if the only people who are worth remembering are those who were willing to kill on behalf of their wealthy overlords.

We can not see ourselves as we really are, we can not extricate ourselves from our own society and study ourselves as perfectly neutral anthropologists.  We must ask others how they see us.

And how do they greet us liberators abroad?

Apparently they don’t have enough Improvised Explosive Devices to convince us of their true sentiments: “Get out!”

NOW!

Just enough Americans suffer from “true believer syndrome”: everything will be interpreted through the officially crafted framework taught in public schools for the great society to remain stable and on course.  No matter how much damning evidence is mustered against the status quo of reverence for this “Christian nation” it will bounce off the helmet of education or be reviled as a test of loyalty to One Nation Under God, coolly ignored then dutifully forgotten.

History is a weapon.

And its battlefield is our minds and hearts.

And where was Jesus and God in all of this?

He was in those prayers or the moment of silence offered before the football game.

At the funerals of the war heroes.

 

In the Battle Hymn of the Republic.  Could I translate that War Chant of the State?

Trampling out the vineyards where the grapes of wrath are stored,

Jesus has a terrible swift sword,

He said he came to divide brother against father,

Or something like that.

 

My head hurts.

My father was a Navy chaplain who felt called by God to minister to Marines.

I hardly know who I am and much less about why I am here.

My heart aches.

Oh wait – wait! “to glorify God and enjoy Him forever”.

Did I get it right? Gold star?

 

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