Monday, July 25, 2005

A Sunday Stroll

I was talking with Laura yesterday as we walked past a church, and she called me on the instinctive shudder of loathing that this building and its denizens inspired in me.

"You know why you feel this way, don't you?"

From the tone of her voice, I knew a lesson was on its way.

Me [sarcastically]: "No. Why don't you tell me?"

"You've pretty much made your peace with the Christian religion, but you haven't yet forgiven yourself for being drawn into fundamentalism when you were a kid. Why you can't forgive yourself, I can't imagine--you were young, ignorant, had seen nothing of the world, were vulnerable and gullible and looking for easy answers, like everyone else."

Just then a white couple, about my age, walked past us, on their way to the church--very odd, as this church, from all my observations over the past seven or eight years, has seemed exlusively African-American.

Laura continued: "That guy could be you now. And what would be wrong with that? Do you really think a person has only one True Will, decreed from the beginning of time? The universe isn't nearly that euclidean, my dear. And--had you stayed a Christian, let's think about it. You would have tried to emulate Christ, and thus would have tried to surrender your ego to the will of a loving divine parent. As you are doing now.

"You would have eventually realized that in God there is neither male nor female, and thus you would have come to some kind of gnostic/advaitic understanding of the divine. As in your heart of hearts you have now. You would have eventually understood sensuality as a gift from God, as a lot of these evangelicals are finally doing, and you would have striven to attain oneness with God in lovemaking and in all other experience. As you are doing now. You would have kept on reading T.S. Eliot and would have eventually come to understand that scriptural truths are best understood as deep psychological truths, not as scientific or historical truths. As you have done. So--what would be the difference?"

Apparently angels have trouble with the finer points. And my Angel, at least, has an annoying tendency to be right.


  1. (Nodding) Love these observations.

    Wondering when the fundamentalist kid last got a hug from the questing adult....

  2. Wondering when the fundamentalist kid last got a hug from the questing adult....

    well--a couple of days ago, for sure! L. made me.