God, Earth, Church, Garden, Easter, Diversity
Let us look today at God, Earth, Church, Garden, Easter, Diversity — realistically.
Today is a gloriously sunny day, with nary a sound but birds chirping to despoil it. Early in the AM I go out into the garden here and see the great diversity of blooming things in divers colors. Quite a show some 200 species of plants can put on. Not all are blooming yet; it’s not their time. The ones blooming now, well, they’ll decline, as living things are wont to do. We have three huge trees – three different types of oaks – to shade the house and lower the electric bills. A tree can do that, you know. Just by standing there and getting bigger.
A lawn mower hums in the distance, but it’s more like buzzing bees than harsh grating. The freeway about a half mile away zooms with the hurried citizens going who knows where for what, and who cares, right? How often does one wonder what someone in the car in the lane next to you at 70 miles an hour is going or doing? But it sounds more like a rushing brook in a shaded glen one cannot see. So it too, is not a problem in my life. Lizards are snapping up bugs for breakfast every which way they turn, which seems unfair to the bugs. But, well, that’s life, mostly. The blue jay family around here seems to like the lizards for lunch. Other than that, life chugs along, such as it is. And it would seem there’s nothing to think about other than the most pleasant of thoughts. Alas, reality does intercede in our best laid plans and dreams.
Nasty stuff, this reality; mankind has been quite upset about it for millennia. They have tried to fight it to – to mold reality into a plan. To shape reality to their liking, rather than going with the flow of life as it exists. For people, as God or Gods or something did give us, are extraordinarily diverse. More so perhaps than flowers, or animals, or trees or any other living thing on earth, and even maybe all the non-living stuff too. We are so diverse that each of us 7 billion or so are so unalike as to give some people the vapors. These people then call for conformity, and submission, and bleat insistently “Be like me, be like me.”
Many of these are quite sure that everyone should be exactly alike so that there’s no negatives to reality. They live in the dream world of perfection with no surprises. Fewer of these happy warriors against reality are quite insistent that they have the one and only one best way to do things. And in order to form their more perfect union which they took it upon themselves to make, so that all people are in accord with them, they must get pretty darn nasty themselves.
For the forces that rule the earth, however one perceives their origin, seems to not have wanted conformity too much. Oh sure, all the ants in a nest are alike as ants, true. And all the male cardinals are always brighter red than the females, yes. There’s a certain loose likeness among like things. But other than that, no two things are exactly alike. No two oak’s branches grow the same way. And people, well, we’re even more diverse than that. No one seems to agree on anything much other than that the suns rises in the east and sets in the west and water is wet. Getting agreement on what’s for dinner is often nigh on impossible in a family with three or four kids. I know. I grew up in one. I saw what happened. Still, there’s some agreement needed, and it always seems to work out. Mostly, if there’s lots of leeway and diversity in the outcome. Even free market economy is like that – an incredibly diversity, even among like things, so that everyone can fulfill their choice, and not some central planner’s idea of what a thing should be. Still, these conformists do rail on.
For these few who would get nasty and mold society and individuals to their will, they get violent. Or at least urge it. Whether it be a dictator like Khaddafi (on whose name conformity of spelling dare not tread,) now busy slaughtering whomever disagrees with him on how life should be led, or the Castro brothers who have kept 17,000,000 souls thinking the same thoughts as Fidel. At least publicly, for the swimmers from that island do show that there’s a seething unhappiness at the dull conformity of that society. Look at the protests all across the Mideast – Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Bahrain, Tunisia – did I miss any? Oh, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq – each of these places is beset by a man who thinks all should think like him.
Hitler was such a man. Stalin and Lenin too. Killed untold millions to prove just how into conformity they were. And Mao in China went so far as to make everyone dress like him, presumably down to their underwear; and killed anyone who would not conform – some 70 million it’s said. Poor North Koreans have to endure a stultifying conformity to a craven family of lunatics beyond nearly everyone on earth.
Across Africa and well, much of the rest of the world there’s a craven indifference by leaders to the diversity of their populations. Instead of letting people do what they want to do so long as they cause no harm and keep it orderly, neat and honest – you know, virtuous – these dictators demand obeisance to their wishes. That’s what state run media is all about – and in someways why funding NPR is not good. For government funding of media always comes with the price of conformity. It’s not that NPR is too liberal, or too conservative, or too balanced – it’s that it means some people are forced to pay for other people’s thoughts even if they might not want to support such thoughts. There’s enough people who love the programs of NPR to support the thing to not require my money, right? Every other radio station does, right? Or is it that the thoughts expressed aren’t all that popular so no one will pay for it? No one pays for this blog, but my thoughts are no less than NPR’s. Why don’t I get subsidized by everyone else? Well, I wouldn’t ask. And how WordPress which gives me free stuff makes money off it this I don’t know. Don’t care either.
Still, this is Easter, and there’s a great Christian fervor across this land. That’s not a problem, mostly. For there’s a great diversity of opinion on what exactly Christianity and the teachings of Jesus are; and in our modern world there is an acceptance of this reality. Most Christians have accepted the diversity and gone on to better things like helping the sick, the poor, the lame, the halt, whomever might need succor. But other Christians, still operating under the Medieval theory of conformity are quite sure that they should dedicate their lives to destroying – or at least limiting the potential thereof, or the quiet enjoyment thereof – the lives of people who will not conform to their desires. These religionists are not much different than Mao, in a way. Religionists, yes, which isn’t really a word, but should be made, for it signifies a type of people who aren’t “for” religion, or “of” religion, or “with” religion in order to make sense of their own lives and fortunes, but to use religion as a political tool to enforce conformity upon people they don’t even know.
There are religionists aplenty in the Muslim world. They are the ones who call for a conformity not just in Arabia, where they live, but right here on my street, too. They’re quite insistent that everyone should live exactly by the words of Allah, supposedly. And Mohammed, definitely. As they interpret them. And it must be human interpretation – for Allah nor Mohammed are not here to clarify their meaning when diversity uproars onto the plane of life. And if you don’t conform to this or that intepretation, well, then, off with your head. It’s a time honored tradition among the conformers of this world. And somehow I can’t grasp the idea that just killing people because they don’t wear the same clothes as you as a rational thing. Mao killed millions who did want to wear a Mao suit. Just like Muslim fundamentalists kill those whom don’t don their garb. As if clothes made the man, or woman.
There are some environmentalists who think like religionists – which is why we can make the new word – they are the same sort of insistent crusaders for conformity that people live like the fearless leaders preaching apocalypse and doom on society if anyone is allowed to live a bit differently. If you think walking instead of driving saves the planet, then walk, and plant a tree along the way. Don’t call for a law to make me walk and plant. This call for dictatorship, for command over the lives of others, of conforming to some idealized perfect man that a leader thinks should be made in his image – this is what drives the wars and the horrors, and the slaughtering and the revolution all over the world.
The Western World, and most particularly the United States, saw that this push for conformity to one man’s whims is not good for society, and causes untold suffering. And so religious wars died down, and the last murderous dictatorship or two in Europe was gone by 1945. And the stultifying ones by 1989. Though from time to time, it being of such recent memory, there still arises some crusader for conformity to his wishes. The Yugoslav break up was like that. The Serbs just weren’t going to tolerate the Croats anymore – and what’s the difference between the two? Oh, they speak the same language and have shared the same lands for centuries, but one writes in Cyrillic and the other in Latin letters, one is Roman Catholic the other Eastern Othodox. And so, because the one wouldn’t conform to the other’s demands – a fine city like Sarajevo was reduced to a killing parlor filled with rubble. Amazing, right there in the 1990s.
This weekend, as many billions celebrate Easter – which is about a man who preached, taught and commanded tolerance of diversity so long as you loved Him – it’s well to remember that this is not the time to bring back the theology of conformity which plagued Europe for the past 2000 years. This country should be very wary of the false prophets of doom like Tony Perkins, Maggie Gallagher, and Bryan Fischer, Peter Sprigg, Peter LaBarbera, Bradlee Dean, Brian Brown who blame a tiny bunch of unconformable people for all of society’s ills. It’s impossible we’re guilty of anything, other than being part of God’s diversity. These are political pushers of a conformity they have no human right to push. They are demanding something which is unGodly. They are preaching a violence of sorts, in direct contravention to the Word of Jesus. They come not from any agape, but an unbridled refusal to accept reality.
They’re is no room for these people in the garden of life. These are the sorts of people whom always wind up getting millions slaughtered. They are part and parcel of the craven crusade for conformity which has always destroyed societies, not built them up. For to be so messianic against one sort of people, namely me, will require them to be against another sort of people, my family. Indeed, they are quite sure that even my mother and father were evil of some kind, for having brought me into this world as whom I am. They are preaching hate and bile and subjugation to their wishes not just on me, but on my family and my friends. One group, AFTAH, calls other Christians “sin-affirming pseudo churches.” It might be said the same way in Mecca about AFTAH, and then what? Let the wars begin? And right now, some 50% of my fair city supports gay couples getting some Christian decency, and the other 50% opposed because it’s been presented as a political issue by the doomsayers, rather than as a compassionate issue because we’re people who are harmlessly different.
This theocracy they call for is very dangerous. For once done with the gays – not that they’ll get away with it – they’ll come after everyone else who doesn’t conform to their brand of Church. And church is not where Jesus is – He’s sort of out here wandering among the people who do good works and say nice things and lend a helping hand. Jesus never did go to church except to tell the money changers to get out, and tell the Pharisees to stop saying words of faith and do works of faith. These poseurs of morality there in the Family Research Council and Iowans for Family Values have now riled up some people like Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich, and others too, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee among them, to ladle out hypocrisy in astounding contravention to the teachings of Jesus that it’s hard for me to contemplate that these men are attempting to be the president of a Free Republic of Individuals. That anyone should sit down with people who are calling for the systematic slaughter of fellow citizens is rather horrifying to me. They can couch it in whichever nice words they want – family values, protecting civilization, tradition – I don’t care. It’s nothing but calling for my elimination from this earth. And to enjoy my garden no more.
Yes, this “tradition” as they call it – it only led to the slaughter of millions of people over the course of history, and it still engenders the blood letting. And somehow, calling for my blood on this weekend as some sort of sacrifice to the altar of a more perfect society without me is Paganism at its worst. It’s heathenism. Nihilistic in the craven disregard for reality. It’s a mind numbing abrogation of the message of this Easter. They should be ashamed of themselves and look to some forgiveness for their sins of hubris tomorrow as they sit in their church with the bile and hypocrisy forming in puddles at their feet. And let a true sense of Jesus come into their hearts, and let the lions lay down with the sheep. So I can sleep better knowing someone is not out rid me from my life.
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