Friday, February 15, 2008

Mine Own Dear Religion

When it has been a while since you've swept out any corners in your life, the untidy little gremlins you find tend to be a bit larger than not. What did I find?

People sometimes ask me in our conversations if I am religious. My characteristic and usually immediate response is often, "Well, I certainly hope not." It became a sort of programmable answer, because it threw a number of people off track, and the conversation was able to continue. But, my own religion remained veiled to my eyes for some time. I'll give you a clue: Al Gore is the high priest. His film An Inconvenient Truth is the Gospel, as I am increasingly appalled to find that there are people who have not seen it. Earth Day is the great feast day. But the biggest problem that it poses is that there are a couple handfuls of heretics that I always seem to want to address. Folks who drive SUVs, and furthermore, folks who insist on driving everywhere, even to the corner store, when they could walk or take a bus, are subject to my judgments of heresy. Those who destroy the landscape for their own gain in building second-rate housing and commercial development are also indicted. People who cut down trees, litterbugs, automobile tourists through the Smoky Mountains...the list goes on beyond reckoning.

So, what's the problem with that? Why is it so bad to be against all those things? Well, it isn't, necessarily. But where the rubber hits the road, I have to admit that I have often had as much anger in my heart at these particular "sinners" as the synagogue elders had at lepers and adulteresses in the four Gospel accounts. I am as often as certain and as articulate as Judge Danforth from The Crucible in my decision about any infraction. Naturally, this can get in the way of such commands like, "Love your neighbor as yourself." Is it wrong to desire good stewardship of the world that we have been given? No, certainly not. But I must "have no other gods" before the one whom I serve.


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