Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Religious Encounter

An “offer” is made. It is made using the words “Bible,” and church, and “God,” offers which, when he goes deeper, are transformed as the phrase: “the Word of God.” I say that I do not know what “Word of God” means, as a phrase. He says he's sorry---if he has confused me. I ask him about the word “confused” and he says he will stick with “Bible” then, which I have assured him I can understand without confusion; and there now turns out to be study sessions. We talk awhile longer, and I tell him I resent that he goes in stages. But, the final outcome, the outcome of an attempt at conversation (between two human individuals) is that he informs me that he can just end now. Presumably with a clear conscience. But as soon as he leaves I sense that I am now “other.” I have rejected "G-d" and I am a million miles away from him (the young man). This is a very brief feeling----this feeling of having become a cut-off "other" to the cult, possibly - who knows? - from peace itself, from this mystery of membership in some kind of thing I will now never truly know about. I have become “other.”

I do not want to attend the meetings or sessions. I am "other." He goes right back to his computer terminal at that point, with no apparent unease or hesitation. But I? I have no "Word of G-d." Which I don' evun know whot it is anywayz. duh...

I have turned down the offer of the sacred Wonder, or wonder bread.

Once it is established that the person does not want to attend these meetings, the young man said that he'd be glad to leave it alone now. Now I feel like I have become “other” and I therefore am transferred in status, to that of an outsider. At precisely the moment that we agree to end the conversation I have become “other.” To him, I am outside—outside whatever the “Word of God” actually means. It’s true: I still don’t know about that one.

He has pimples, and he is still quite young. What did he actually say? The kid said was he used to worry so much----said he worried about things that weren’t even things and that he sometimes did not even know what he was worrying about in the first place. He confided to me that church or G-d or the Bible or “Word of God” or something has given him something like inner peace or something like peace of mind or something—and he is peaceful now. I also heard something about stability. I told him that I understand, totally: he was scattered and now he isn’t. He was going out in every direction and now he has attained stability----or peace. So the Bible gave him that. It seems to have stabilized or channeled his mind. That’s called “Word of God.” Which I could get, or could have if I had come to the meetings. All that mattered was that I come to the "Word of God" meetings, which seem like peace meetings. There is a new kind of mentality he has obtained. I don’t think peace is such a bad idea, but I have seen this kind of evangelizing before. Protestant. I asked him if other religions could give the subject individual peace. I do not think he thinks so, because he said you cannot get this short of the “Word of God” thing. He did not say it depended on any specific thing. He did not say "Protestant." It seems to hinge on what is NOT said. It’s like a mystery, this “Word of God” thing.

I do not want to focus on the cult thing. I want to see it as an opening onto a certain kind of mentality, and hence, a certain type of person within our diverse American society. There are so many types. It is almost unwieldy. I can understand, I said, totally, that he was so scattered before, and then he attained religion and at this point he becomes more stable. This is a big problem we have in a diverse society, the kind of democratic, liberal tolerant society Isaiah Berlin called "maddening." Yet this is our system. This is what concerns me.

If the reader tracksback (still I do not know how to leave an actual/virtual "link" thingie) to ... Wed...March 09, 2011('ll see the discussion of the book about a person who emigrated from Cuba to the U. S., via Mexico. Here comes a quote from this dude.........

"I am the material author of this book, which narrates crucial moments of my life; but the intellectual author is God. During these turbulent years full of lucky strikes, which were practically unexplainable [yeah: to him, to his mentality], I was inadvertently following the path He had drawn for me. The Lord was present all the way from the intitial reason why I studied English when I was fourteen years old - encouraged by my mother who was under the pressure of my family's economic difficulties [who in Cuba would NOT have had such "difficulties"?] and could not be aware of the incredibly favorable consequences this "premature" study of the English language would have for my professional and personal life - until the incradibly hasty procedure of solving complex immigration problems and getting the political asylum in America in less than two months. {do not even mention the 'incredible' luck of my finding this for 75% off in Barnes and Noble} Christians know that only God knows his ways. {failure to capitalize "g" is accurate in relation to the original} One can only have a certain feeling of understanding God's will as times goes by, and a series of apparently incoherent and unexpected events get logically and harmoniously linked like in a puzzle. Not a single piece can be missing for the final drawing to be complete. [I would place emphasis here on, or note, "completeness," or "wholeness," just as in the college boy above who stopped "worrying so much"] Only the author of the puzzle is able to know how each of the pieces connects [this is similar to the notion in Buddhist literature of "interdependence"] with the surrounding ones. He guided my hands in solving this puzzle, but the merit of conceiving it is His."

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