The fate of the world rests in what my father believed and passed down to me. In what his father and fathers before passed down to him. All father’s everywhere in the world are responsible for the mess we are in right now. But what about our mothers? It is said that the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. What did she, the universal Mother, pass down to us through the ages? Is her voice and actions responsible for the mess we are in?
Those are blanket statements, overgeneralized, narrow and fearful in view. I come here today to chew on the savory stew brewing in the world’s cauldron, yes, even the blood and gristle that come boiling up to the top. Today I am sorting to see what needs to be done.
In the beginning there was the Word, it is said. Every culture has one. All our fingers are printed with ancient soot we told our stories in. We record them because we need to remember, and perhaps more importantly, we want others to. Sometimes the words become holy, and what is holy for you is not so much for me. When I was an infant I was baptized Catholic, an action I could not consent to. I withdrew my faith as a teenager and my parents discontinued their push to get me Confirmed, to continue my life’s journey through Christianity. Strange that I would study the bible and torah looking for answers when I no longer believed them holy. What about the rest of the world? Shift your eyes to the greater world, other cultures and faiths. I wonder how many still believe the faith of their fathers in the same way? How and when does their faith shift, if ever? The poorest among us still share what they have, and I ask is it out of basic human decency, or is it faith? So many of us do not have the time (or inclination) to sit down and sort through verses and quotations to establish their truth via translation, or study the men who composed them to attain a deeper understanding of what they really meant. “How can I believe anything Paul said when he was once Saul, why should I care, and what bearing does that have on just another workaday in this soul-sucking life,” is what I believe so many people must feel. Conversely, so many people adhere to their faith without question. They don’t feel the need to do a background check on Paul. They get through their working two jobs with no car, no daycare, no healthcare because they are living their faith. It heals and upholds them, and that is a beautiful thing.
The Constitution of the United States was written by men who owned other human beings. We learned about them all throughout school, memorizing certain facts from textbooks in order to pass tests. Henry Rollins, once a rock star, can quote amendments, Jefferson, and Mandela because he wants to, not because he has to pass a test, and it makes my pea brain want to implode. So many of us do not have the time (or inclination) to sit down and sort through the Constitution, the amendments, to do background checks on the framers, Supreme Court justices, hell, even local official, to get to the bottom of things. To become informed about our country or the world. I believe most of us just don’t have time or the need for that, so we take the worms our parents fed us, assimilate their biases into our own, grow up into good little birds, leave the nest and start the whole thing all over again. (Yes, we assimilate their good deeds, too.) Even if we were their clones, we would still make our own mistakes in the process of being our individual selves. Wouldn’t we? We just take it all on faith making our way through life best we can. I can feel the weariness from here, and it makes my soul tired.
There are some who are delving down into faith, into our history. The best-seller list indicates as much, but what are we doing with what we learn? Time to break the cycle of “I am the product of my father and mother’s faith, teachings, and what I observed of them.” Time for us to stop being the product of our parents faith, their history, their biases, the product of our schooling, our jobs, or being somebody’s lamb. Time to give a shit about that guy down the street, our neighbor, those strangers who are a family, instead of some guy on the squawk box or the pulpit. A “radical” idea from a pro-choice privileged elite feminist hell-bent on destroying religion and by tearing up the political and moral fabric of our nation? Or just a small idea from a person who believes that making a better world comes from the bottom up, not the top down. From my hands into yours. Who believes a smile, a hello, a hug, speaking kindly, speaking someone’s name can make a difference. You are the majority, the weary ones with your hands in the soil, giving the last of your bread to your neighbor. You are the nameless holy ones missing from our table.