We didn’t have to leave our house to have a holy experience this Easter. Laurel and I spend the morning tidying up the newly tiled “Dog Room.” Some people would call such an area the “Family Room,” but as we revealed in one of our Christmas letters, our life revolves around the original Wonder Pet.
At night Serena sleeps in her dog crate. Or on the futon. Her choice. Now, if she has to urgently pee or poop the mess will be on tile rather than carpet. That actually was a prime consideration in our plan for remodeling the Dog Room. Like I said, we know where the center of our existence lies.
It isn’t in church or an organized religion. Not on Easter. Not ever. Today many people heard, “He is risen.” To us those are three meaningless words. No one knows if they were ever true. Belief is fine, but believing is far distant from knowing.
Our Dog Room rose to life today. That was real. We experienced it. From an empty room, devoid of furniture, we returned it to fullness. I made peace with the mitre box that had been devilishly confusing me (molding and me hadn’t had much of a relationship until this home improvement project brought us together).
Why does religion have to be about far-off times and places? Why is an intermediary necessary to bridge the gap between us and the divine? Why can’t holiness be found in the most mundane activities of daily life. Putting in molding. Carrying furniture. Sealing grout.
As the saying goes, chop wood, carry water. Is there anything else to do?
Over on my Church of the Churchless blog I can sound like a curmudgeon about religion. Most recently, I wrote that “I’m arming for the War on Easter.” (But I’m shooting blanks compared to real anti-religious battlers like PZ Myers; his “Easter mourning” rips Christianity a new one.)
At heart I’ve got no problem with religious belief. Myself, I’ve been there and done that, so I understand the appeal of unfounded faith. What I do have a problem with, a major problem, is when people take their private belief and try to make it public policy. We’re heading toward an American Theocracy, and that scares the shit both out of me and Kevin Phillips, who wrote the book with that name.
Today my wife and I created something concrete instead of sitting in a room with true believers, listening to strange abstract notions about what God might be like. We acted positively this morning.
All too often, religions don’t. The religious impulse gets misdirected into destructive channels. Witness the upcoming GOP agenda intended to mollify the religious right. Constitutional amendment against gay marriage. Limits against abortion. Restricting embryonic stem cell research.
Negative to the core. Life-denying. Irrational. Ridiculous. This is the unholy side of religion. It should be sliced off and sent into oblivion. Superstition, prejudice, and fear of science belong in the Dark Ages, not the 21st century.
What really needs to be remodeled are the minds of the fundamentalists who want to make the United States into a Christian Taliban nation. We’ve got to keep an eagle eye on that un-American agenda.