Category Archives: religion

Monotheism, Part IV

OK, so let’s say for the sake of argument that Science, the discipline and the practice, is a fourth branch of monotheism, following Judiasm, Christianity and Islam. This bratty youngest sibling in a mostly Motherless family obsessed with monopolizing Truth periodically argues for killing off the Father. So where does that leave us? Free? Stranded? Alone? Drifting? Seeking? In a cosmic bus stop with $20 and the freedom to choose?

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Family Mythology No. 1: Exiles from The Shire

About Family Mythology: It’s good for families to inhabit common psychic terrain. We do, but sometimes I think it stops at the boundaries of our property … maybe extends to the park a few blocks away, certainly to the kids’ schools … but there’s a whole lot of “TBD” out there, owing, in part, to the various life experiences and viewpoints we hold. (I was thinking “To Be Determined” when I typed TBD, but let’s change that to “There Be Dragons.”) For instance, I like church, and he likes football (both kinds, American and what the rest of the world means).

So anyway, about The Shire: Back when I first read The Lord of the Rings I longed for the mythological terrain of Middle Earth, with the cozy rightness of The Shire, and the epic landscapes beyond its borders. Somehow (that’s a quick gloss over of a lot of literary criticism) Tolkien created a world that seemed realer than regular old life. And all that place-based magic and meaning – how did we lose that?

Fast forward a decade, and I’m married. A couple more decades, and I’ve realized that he, too, is an exile from The Shire, and really wants little more than to hunker down in a hobbit hole with a cup of tea in a rocker by a fire. In his case it’s more personal. Economic forces uprooted his family when he was 15 from his home in Oxfordshire, and swept them across the Atlantic, inland, to the remote and barren terrain of West Texas.

We’ve had some lovely trips back over the pond, in which many of our country rambles on footpaths trod by Romans and earlier inhabitants of the isle lead to country churches that were there when William the Conqueror did his inventory way back when. Luckily no village is complete without a pub, as all that tramping builds up a thirst.

Now we live on the edge of the Great Plains of North America. It’s not as green as The Shire, but it’s got that ever-so-humble homey quality, low-key but tightly woven community — to quote nerdily from LOTR, “deep roots are not touched by the frost.”

Other truths “we” hold to be self-evident: The Sex Pistols have redeeming qualities. James Bond is a minor deity.

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What She Said

I just ran across an interview by Caroline Casey, visionary activist astrologer, with The Washington Post. She has got to be one of the most articulate people on the planet, and I identify with her efforts to communicate a mystical sensibility in the context of secular science. She drops finely honed gems of wisdom like, I don’t know, a diamond thief on the run. A couple of amazing excerpts from the above interview:

About being asked to give a blessing at a prominent international water conference:
“At the heart of all great cultures is the heroic task of restoring the waters of life.”

On religion:
“The divine wants to be liberated from past confines of human imagination.”

On religion and science:
“Once they said there’s meaning in patterns, the argument is over between physics and metaphysics and the idea is that then they could have a child, reverent science, as though life mattered.”

Amen!

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