Archive for November, 2008

The Greatest Bargain of All

Friday, November 28th, 2008

So here it is, Black Friday. The biggest shopping day of the year. And even with the economy in the worst shape it’s been in in my lifetime, there’ll be millions of people out there hunting for bargains.

I got to thinking about bargains of other kinds and asked God if she could give some advice for anybody out there looking to get a bargain on their religion. What’s the best deal out there when it comes to asking somebody else to interpret God’s will for you, to get someone to give you comforting words and stern guidance?

She told me that it’s great to find a good deal and all, but that the most important thing is the same as the most important thing about any shopping: it’s not a bargain to get a good price on something that you don’t really need or want anyway. So keep that in mind. If religion seems like a lot of hassle for little gain, if you already know how to be a good person, if you’re happy and you know it, don’t be afraid to try getting along without any religion at all. God will listen to you just as much without it.

Turkey Day

Friday, November 21st, 2008

The end of the year gets a flourish of big holidays here in the United States with one each in October, November and December. That’s Halloween, Thanksgiving, and depending on your perspective, the Solstice, Christmas or Hanukkah.

This coming week is the middle of the three, Thanksgiving, and like all middle children it rarely gets the attention it deserves. It even gets the ignominy of being associated with the turkey. Despite it having been runner-up to be our national bird, the turkey is what we call out when we want to insult something. Only in bowling is getting a turkey considered a good thing, everywhere else getting stuck with a turkey only barely beats getting stuck with a lemon.

So this week if you’re casting around for something to be thankful for, God and I suggest thinking about the turkey. You can be thankful they’re there for us to eat, or you can just be thankful you’re not one of them. Or are you?

Grim Reaping

Friday, November 14th, 2008

It’s been a week and a half now since Californians passed Proposition 8, voting to take away the right of Gay couples to get married. It really shouldn’t have surprised me, but somehow I had always thought that Californians were better than that.

I’ve been talking it over with God and neither of us is too happy about it. This is one of those things that the more I think about it the more angry I become. I mean, I know that civil rights are rarely granted at the ballot box, that they almost always come either through the courts or through war, but I keep hoping that mankind will learn better. And the people that voted for this? Do they not recognize that bigotry and hatred inevitably lose? All they’re doing is slowing down the process and hurting people along the way.

God tells me that he gave us free will and intended us to exercise our brains before using it. Instead we blindly follow leaders with no more direct connection to God and to knowing God’s will than we each have on our own. The hatred of the Old Testament was supposed to have been overtaken long ago by the love of the New Testament, but it’s amazing how many preachers haven’t gotten the message, haven’t received the good word.

The campaign against Proposition 8 was led largely by the Mormon and Catholic churches. As the protests against this vote have sprung up around the state I’ve read the reports of the representatives of these churches saying that the protests are nothing short of religious intolerance. Well, I’m sure those leaders don’t read my little blog, but just in case they do, here’s a quote from the Bible (King James version) that they might want to consider: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians, 6:27.

Barking Up the Wrong Cloud

Friday, November 7th, 2008

There have been various polls through the years that show Americans have an overwhelming belief in heaven and angels but not so much in hell and demons. God tells me it’s that good old American optimism at work. We see the afterlife as half full.

To a certain extent, I think it just shows us to have the focus of dogs. There’s an old Far Side cartoon that shows a lady talking to her pet dog and it translates what the dog hears as something along the lines of “bla bla bla, Rover, bla bla bla,” showing that the only thing the dog really understands is its own name. I think most people go to church that way. The preacher is up there talking about all the demons in the fiery pits of hell, but that just seems like a quaint story, something distant and not really related to “us.” “Bla, bla, bla.” Then he gets to the part about heaven and the choirs of angels and suddenly we’re right there. We picture ourselves as part of that scene and so it has a more visceral feel to us.

So the next time someone asks if you’re going to heaven, you might want to just bark once for yes and twice for no.