A sneeze on my part brings an automatic response from a co-worker who demands that her ‘God’ bless me. “Which one”, I reply, “Pan, Cernnunos, Horus?” She gives me a quizzical look. Another co-worker takes the reins and explains that not everybody has the same beliefs as she does and it would be better if she just said, “Bless you”. My argument runs more along the lines of, why say anything at all? There are various ideas as to where this custom originated that range from your soul being thrown out of your body, lest the ‘devil’ grab it, to warding off the plague. It’s a bodily function that to me, requires no blessing, pardon or comment at all. I’m thinking about keeping a note pad handy so that when people issue a much over used request to “excuse me”, I can jot down and hand them one…like, “Please excuse Bill from coffee break today as he appears to be wired quite sufficiently already”.
When I find Mormons on my front stoop, I step outside to play with them. They’re more fun than Jehovah’s Witnesses because they’re usually young, impressionable and will actually listen to me to the point that I think I almost converted one to ‘the dark side’ which is, according to them, where I reside. Having spent a good bit of my life studying advanced Christian theology, I can keep them busy flipping through their book for quite some time. It’s interesting because the places they have page flagged never seem to allow them to find a worthy comeback for my challenging debate. This results in them getting frustrated because I can usually finish the quote from whatever chapter and verse they cherry pick from to find that what they’re telling me is totally out of context and doesn’t really pertain to the issue at hand.
This particular pair on that particular day seemed to have the agenda of touting the virtues of Martin Luther. A man I am well acquainted with due to my previous religious experience. At one point I object and inform them that, “Martin Luther was a jerk. He was a flaming, frothing anti-semite and didn’t think too highly of women either.”
One of the young men stated that Mr. Luther’s personal life didn’t really have anything to do with his contribution to Christianity. The irony and sad tainted truth of this seemingly universal view of things hit me hard. I reply, “If a person’s religion doesn’t inspire them to be a better person then what good is it?”
I guess it’s the same logic that has me confused as to how the same Christian can profess to be one yet gets fully loaded drunk on Friday night, wakes up Saturday morning in bed with a person who is not their spouse, goes to church on Sunday and repents for having done this and then repeats the same thing every consecutive weekend. Didn’t Jesus say to Mary Magdalene, “Go and sin no more?” Or did I miss the part when he said, “Hey girl, times get rough and if you need to turn a few tricks to pay the rent…just say you’re sorry, and it’s all good.” The same confusion fogs my brain when it comes to the language the same Christian uses to describe what happened Friday night.
I know how it all works because I have been there and have done that and know the reasoning behind it. It’s just that I decided that I make a better heretic than a hypocrite. Considering that right now, lent is in full swing and soon there will be a holiday commemorating the death and resurrection of an avatar, this whole concept claims to roll the stone from the dark tomb and I want to see the light. I want to see the change that this event is supposed to evoke in the followers of this man. If the belief is there that he died to save them, the least they can do is honor that sacrifice and stop repeating the sins he died to save them from. Live the principles and ideals he left in his wake and stop saying, “excuse me”.
Is sin synonymous with ‘mistake’? A mistake is something that is done without the knowledge of wrong doing. When a person knows that it’s wrong, that’s not a mistake, it’s a conscious choice. On that note, go forth and celebrate the holiday of the resurrection with all the awesome old Pagan fertility symbols still firmly in place. Hide an egg and pet a Bunny…or is it the other way around?
The bottom line with me is, I don’t care what spiritual path you follow and practice as long as you do. Live it with conviction and sincerity. Especially, when you speak of it openly. There should be some outward evidence that your preaching and your practice have a connection. I want to be able to tell by your actions that your beliefs and your words mean something to you. I want you to inspire me to want to be more like you.