Posted by: The Amoeba | August 17, 2008

In Search of Sunday

For those who track their religious beliefs back to the survivors of this guy with an ark, Bill, God is an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent Being who, basically, is in charge of everything. God is also, according to these same people, unknowable. Which calls the “omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent” business into question, doesn’t it? I mean, how do we know?

What was that? That’s where priests, prophets, and messiahs come in? Riiight. Great work if you can get it. Though I’d recommend proceeding with caution in the vicinity of large rocks or crucifixes.

Anyway. You’d think that an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent Being who (according to priests, prophets, and messiahs, not to mention the occasional university professor) loves and cares for each one of us – even you, George – would know how to get that message across just the eeensiest bit more effectively. Instead … I really don’t have to go through the list, do I? Just the I’s should suffice, if we need that much. Iran. Iraq. Ireland. Israel …

Think a minute. How many times have you heard friends and acquaintances tell you about their search for the “right” church/synagogue/mosque/temple/coven? How often have you heard that line without benefit of any company but your own? You’d think that a universal message would be, well, universal. Wouldn’t have to be marketed like pickles.

But then again, maybe it does.

I know, and if you’ve been reading my stuff for any length of time you might have guessed, that I’m uncomfortable with, er, enthusiastic styles of worship. You know, where everybody’s jumping up and down, the pastor/worship leader is trying to get everyone to shout Amen! every ten seconds, all that. The stuff you mostly see on television these days. Complete with its production values.

Perhaps that’s ’cause I was raised a Yankee, in the cradle of Yankee Puritanism. Where everyone goes to church on a Sunday morning, plunks down in a pew and goes to sleep for an hour. OK, maybe not, but it might look that way. And sound that way, especially the way the reader reads the Bible passages. In a flat drone. Why? It’s not because Professor Jones can’t read. It’s because the Word of God (we won’t go into whether the Christian Bible is the Word of God right now, ‘kay?) is complete and sufficient by itself, it needs no help, no coloration, from puny humans, thank you. This is church, not Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, sir. Who are you, putting your ashes and dust ahead of the Word of God?

Want to put yourself on the outside at a funeral, in a church that traces its heritage to the Pilgrims? Shed a tear. That’s trouble, Jack. Vain glorification of the flesh. Aunt Mabel’s ashes and dust are with God, and soon so will yours be. Stand ye still and silent before God’s will.

Yankeedom did a lot of grumbling and sniping about people who engaged in pentecostal worship. Outsiders, they are. Slaves to the flesh. Damned by God, and don’t you go visiting with them either. At least the Puritans aren’t in charge of things in Massachusetts any more. Back when they were, this sort of trouble could get you killed.

Now, if some of these Puritan folk had actually bothered to read the “word of God”, particularly the book of Acts, they would have discovered (most likely to their horror) that the worship practices of the Christian apostles looked a whole lot more like pentecostal enthusiasm than their own brand of faith. Not a whole lot of sitting quietly in pews and reading scrolls in a monotone, but plenty of prophesying and speaking in tongues and general carrying on. To hear tell, these guys got emotional! And “emotional” packed the houses. Then and now, if the profits of the megachurches is any indication.

Only one problem with emotions. You get a bunch of people all riled up, they’re not altogether likely to sit back and ask, like Bill Cosby’s Noah, “how come you want me to do all these weird things?” Like, maybe, standing in church on a summer’s day and pretending to be fireworks shooting off into the sky.

Or maybe burning crosses in an Outsider’s yard.

Or maybe invading foreign nations on false pretexts.

Maybe colorless Bible readings aren’t so bad after all. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust …

   – O Ceallaigh
Copyright © 2008 Felloffatruck Publications. All wrongs deplored.
All opinions are mine as a private citizen.

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