donkey jen at breakfast
Every day I see notice of somebody else who believes the planet is six thousand years old, like it matters. I know people who believe the earth is flat, people who went to school. I'd venture that most fundamentalists believe the earth is six thousand years old. It's fundamentalist popular theology. I have no problem with them believing they're right and everybody else is wrong, as long as they leave me out of it. In the 1950s, the time of Joe McCarthy and red scare propaganda, I sat in church hearing the preacher talk about wanting a fundamentalist theocracy, force everybody to walk the line, the very same republican talk of today. I would think while he was talking that if you want the church to go out in the world and join politics with the intent of taking over, it's the end of your church. I've seen the progression of that line of thinking unto the place now that the Congress and Senate are planted largely with "Christian" intolerance, bought cheap. They see things in black and white, missing the entire rainbow in between the poles where we live our lives. Pat Robertson is now the chief fundamentalist evangelist after Billy Graham sat on the throne half a century. I heard it said Graham was the greatest man of the 20th Century, and I thought: In what category? Slap-stick? I grew up in the choir of Billy Graham praise.
Graham was too gross for me. He was a performer like Bob Hope or Red Skelton. Like them, he was in it for the money and attention. His performance of the appearance of piety worked for him. Though I disliked intensely that world to grow up in, seeing in the news the fundamentalist takeover of government, I have insight into where they are coming from. And now I see it every day. I saw then the only outcome will be the destruction of fundamentalism. I thought they would embarrass themselves out of existence. They embarrass themselves dreadfully and don't get it. Michelle Bachmann, for example. They don't get it because they're so popular. The billionaires club bought them a tv channel to manipulate them to work against their own interest and think they're doing something big. It worked. I've put their way of thinking so far in my past, I'm grateful for the review to articulate from memory the motivation that set me running for my life like the guy in Munch's The Scream. I don't know why it failed to take with me and not the other kids in the church. My childhood reading level got "God is love," memorized verses that said the kingdom of heaven is in the heart. Why didn't I ever hear this in church as something practical to live by? Why didn't I ever hear about compassion as a way to live? Hate the communists and justify hating outsiders. God prefers white people. The God in the church was the god of Fear, before whom we shudder, tied up in knots of guilt. Only the preacher was going to heaven for sure. The rest of us were guilty as all hell. It had me twisted up with guilt for any and everything.
Later, I had a friend in college who was Catholic and just as burned out by bogus theology as I was. Later had a Jewish friend burned out the same as I was. We found the religions we came up in empty shells found on the beach. Pretty. You can hear the ocean in them. There's something ancient and timeless about them. But the spirit is gone. It's off somewhere else with the living. My spirit was suffocated by the emphasis on fear, guilt, punishment. I found the people of my life whose intelligence I respected were the teachers at school. I wanted to be like them. They were somewhat rational, didn't live entirely in the emotional realm. I wanted out of the vacuum of an official belief system. First thing I did, like the dog let off a chain the first time, was run blindly in all directions unaware of dangers, unaware of the world outside that belief system. I wanted to sin, sin, sin. I wanted to indulge in everything I was told not to do because God didn't like it. God doesn't like anything else either. When everything is a sin, I'm free, I can do anything. It's all a sin. Guilt supreme. Control. A belief system built by the needs of the few to control the many. Then one day I came face to face, in the spirit, with Meher Baba and he told me what I already knew, God is love. This was the reward for the fifteen years dismantling, brick by brick, the construction in my head of Kansas fundamentalist theology. God is love is fun. The misinterpretation of God as fear is not fun. God is love allows me to see my donkeys with love in their hearts, embodied spirits, like humans. Under God is fear, I see the donkeys brute beasts devoid of consciousness or mind or heart. I'm able to enjoy the whole personality of my donkey friends, aware of their consciousness, mind and heart. They are aware of same in me, because I'm able to see it in them. One small example of how God is love enhances my life.