Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Faith, Religion and the Solstice

I’ve always envied and feared people who claim to have a direct line to their god. Envied because, lets face it, it must be kind of neat to have a Higher Power you can ring up like you can Uncle Stan in Minnesota, and feared because the hubris involved in having God that close to you is nothing short of phenomenal.

I was thinking of this recently after a 12-step meeting turned into a glory hallelujah get-together and made a few participants, myself included, very uncomfortable.

You can generally spot the non-Christians at meetings pretty easily. They speak of faith, rather than religion; they don’t recite the Lord’s Prayer; they shrink back into their chairs when someone ‘testifies’ and invokes Jesus as his or her personal savior. For them, God is an acronym for Good Orderly Direction, which is a conviction of its own.

My personal belief is that my God doesn’t listen to me much.  In organized religion, one gets around that stumbling block by telling the adherents they’re simply not smart—or tuned in—enough to know God’s will. This explains all the tragedies that occur around us, the events that can only be described as mythically unfair—think Haiti, think Bangladesh, think starvation and disease. We are basically too dumb to understand the underlying reasons for calamity and heartbreak in the grand—and beneficent—scheme of things.  We are also told not to pray for our gratification but for that of others, which is a neat way of saying “don’t expect much.” And though God is always responsible for the good things in life, His/Hers/Its reasons for allowing evil are, you got it, beyond our understanding. 

My faith comes and goes. I believe that true faith is the equivalent of true trust. You leap from A, not from A to B. Faith is taking chances, and welcoming change. Most of the time I am loathe to do so, since change can have some unforeseen side-effects.

Enough of this. Tonight is the winter solstice, one of my favorite days of the year. Each 24-hour period from today on and for the six months will carry a few extra minutes of sunlight. The moon tonight is huge and sacred.  I imagine Druidic and Selenite celebrations are being held the world-over. 

Happy solstice to one and all.

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