Saturday, October 22, 2011

God is not Square

I rejected the opportunity to be confirmed at my family's church when I was 13 or so by telling the Reverend that I wasn't sure I was ready to sign on to all that jazz. It disappointed my parents, but the Reverend acted as diplomat and I didn't have to get confirmed. I was pleased.

Why didn't I want to? Well, it had zero substantive meaning for me. Jesus loves me, blah blah blah, don't steal or lie, whatever. I liked singing songs in the choir but that's really it. Of course, as a gloomy and cynical teenager, I'm sure that declining to be confirmed comported with my sense of dark sophistication and all that. And rejection of something mainstream felt right to me. Probably mostly in a vanity way, in a too-cool-for-school kind of way, adults-are-stupid and I-can't-believe-I-have-to-be-here kind of way. But maybe also in an authentic, this-isn't-right kind of way, too.

But now I sort of resent god's reputation as a total square. I don't want to go godless just because it's been made so freaking lame in lots of corners of the world. I want to feel great about god, like it's hip and meaningful and rad to believe in god and feel grateful and full of wonder (wonderful?) about life. I don't want it to feel embarrassing to say grace over my dinner. I don't want anyone to look at me like I'm crazy if I were to say I actually believe in god.* Why is it so lame to be goddy? It is lame that it is lame. Warm is better than cool, people! Being too cool for stuff is over. Are you noticing this? It's like how no one wants to stand in the dark and barely sway while a moody band emotes its ennui - nope, we're done with that - instead, we want to connect and collaborate and dance and have fun. Same thing with god stuff. The Occupy movements, happy music, reclaiming god - there is a wave happening, a good, happy, positive wave. We had to reject and deny and be sad and directionless to get here, but I think that's ending. Something else is happening. I'm glad.

*Side not on "belief": I don't necessarily mean this in a hard-and-fast "faith" kind of way. For now, I mean it more in the way that I believe in equality and an end to poverty: life is nicer with these aspirations, and we are sooooo close, really, to living with them (and god) in an every day way that is true and immediate and empirical, not just conceptual.

1 comment:

  1. I declined to be confirmed as well. At the time, I was opposed to openly declaring that "I am totally completely sure that I believe..." If I've learned anything in my mathematics education, it's to be sure about something before you declare it's truth. And when you do declare it, have proof ready. No such proof exists when it comes to god (or God, etc.).

    Goddiness still has a bad rap for many good reasons. Missionaries are oppressive assholes, extremists are violent assholes, Catholic priests are raping boys' assholes... the list goes on. Religion was born out of a need for explanation of how/why the universe works, and immediately adapted to control a populace and force it to bend to the wishes of those in power. Not much has changed in this regard.

    To be sure, I like all of the positives associated with the god stuff (generosity, feeding the poor, etc.), and I don't see any reason that these cannot exist outside the confines of a religious system.