We placed two pieces of firewood in our driveway to discourage delivery truck drivers from venturing onto soggy ground and leaving ruts or getting stuck. It doesn’t always work because you can’t fix stupid. We have a wagon beside the driveway, closer to the road, for delivery men to leave packages. We pull the wagon to the house, unload it and return it. The system works and everyone is happy.
When the dogs and I leave the house on “business trips” the Budster always walks between the two pieces of firewood, never to one side or the other. Right down the middle. Always. He then walks around the dumpster, does a part of his business and heads down the driveway to his favorite place in the tall grass to complete his mission. He always walks on the driveway side of the wagon. Always. If we double back rather than walking the circumference of the yard, he again walks on the driveway side of the wagon and then back between the pieces of firewood. Always. Attempts to alter his route are met with resistance and he wins. He always wins.
We were on our way back to the house this morning, making our way around the wagon and through the firewood boundaries when it occurred to me that humans, and especially Christians, do similar things. We are steeped in tradition and ritual. We all have our own costumes, quirks and magic words.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death…
Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.
Some make signs with their hands, some kneel, some dance, some speak in tongues and some cluck like chickens and bark like dogs. Some play with snakes during their church services while other spritz water and wave incense. Everyone thinks their ritual is the only true ritual and everyone else is a heathen destined to eternal damnation. Some pray to Mary, some pray to Jesus, some pray to the Holy Spirit and some pray to God but some don’t call Him God, they call Him Jehovah or Yahweh or Hashem and there are strong opinions as to which is correct. Ours is right and everyone else is going to hell.
Our religious preferences are based on our culture. Get over it. Rituals for those raised in highbrow neighborhoods will be different than those who grew up in the poor south. You were one neighborhood away from being raised Catholic or Muslim or Southern Baptist or Lutheran. We gather with those who are most like us, we adopt the mannerisms and beliefs of those closest to us and when surrounded with our kind we harshly judge anyone who is not like us or does not agree with us. We are all bigots.
bigot noun big·ot \ˈbi-gət\
a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. : a bigoted person; especially : a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group)
Don’t be a bigot and don’t listen to bigots.
16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.
17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind.
19 They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.
Buddy is not a bigot and will not judge me for walking on the wrong side of the wagon or the firewood. I am not a bigot either. If you disagree with my politics, religion, traditions or rituals, who am I to stop you from going to hell? 🙂 A little joke maybe, but you got the message, didn’t you?
May we all become more like the Budster than those in our churches or snooty neighborhoods.