I think my dad would be proud of me.
I ticked off some high and mighty Christians last week.
Feeling frisky and not a little irritated by the insistence of some in the majority religion in our country that we bow down and honor their traditions, I let fly with a few juicy remarks on Facebook:
First there was:
“My little pal asked, “What’s Good Friday?” so I asked him, “What do you think it is?” He replied, “Any Friday when there’s no school?” and I said, “Right”.”
And then there was:
“In honor of the events of yore celebrated by the upcoming holiday that purportedly saved us all from our sins, I will attempt something equally miraculous this weekend by completing my taxes, thus saving myself from prison.”
Followed by (and this one really stung ’em):
“As of about noon on Easter Sunday it will be April Fool’s Day somewhere in the world which is actually pretty appropriate if you think about it because to some people the whole resurrection story is like the greatest April Fool’s prank EV-ER!”
Finally, when enough people had private-messaged me to express their displeasure, I offered a mea culpa:
“Easter is arguably the most important time of year for Christians. It has stood for more than 2000 years (give or take) as the seminal event in the establishment of a way of viewing the world and our role in it. I respect and honor those who seek a deeper understanding of its meaning.
When I make light of some of this extremely diverse religion’s underpinnings, it is with intent to remind Christians of how non-Christians see them and reflects the kind of Christianity I grew up with — the sort that doesn’t take itself too seriously lest it wander into that dark place that has for centuries justified itself in committing gross abuses of power. Even today, many of us continue to be squeezed in its mighty fist rather than caressed by its loving hand.
To you for whom this day holds great significance, I wish you peace on your journey and hope that you will continue to live your lives in the spirit of Jesus’ love and grace.”
Yup, I pushed the proverbial envelope (BTW, in which verse is the proverbial envelope mentioned?), but in the end, I don’t feel all that bad about it. Dear old Dad had no problem taking people down a notch or two when they became too sanctimonious for their britches. If there was anything that really rankled him, it was people who hid behind kitschy phrases to prove their piety. He was a master of the parable and most often accomplished his religious rebukes through sly humor. A little caustic at times, biting, but ultimately effective.
I’m not one to judge, but if Christianity is to survive and grow in a way that brings people in rather than chasing them away, it’s going to have to get better at camouflaging itself in such a way that people don’t see it as a blinding beacon emanating from the control tower of a mega-church, but rather, as a tiny night-light in the darkness, helping to keep people from stubbing their toes unnecessarily.
So, I guess my point in all of this is to remind people to just BE the light that others want to gravitate toward; don’t shine it in their eyes if you don’t want them to freak out and run away.