It's summer in Ohio City and that means kids on the trampoline, seeing people get ice cream at Mason's, and... sirens. Sirens sirens sirens. And not because of the weather.
I took a long walk through my neighborhood after spending a day feeling some extremes of emotion and disposition - started the day reading Belleville by Amy Herzog and while it was a really good play, it also made me feel like crap, for lack of a better way to describe it right now. And going to my bank to deposit a check and was reminded of Wednesday and trying to go pick up prescriptions at the pharmacy at the closest hospital (which also has Cleveland Clinic's in-patient psychiatry ward), and turning the corner to see a sheet draped over a body across the street from the ER. And finding out it was a suicide victim. And just feeling unpleasant feelings of impending doom for the last two weeks. As one does. ?
But I took my walk, in this neighborhood with a lot of colorfully-painted old houses and lush gardens, which reminds me of Longmont, which is one of my hometowns, and a dear place in my heart. And then there were SIRENS. But I was on my walk because I needed to "chew" on why Christianity, as it generally is today, is so obsessed with morality. ...I haven't done that in awhile, walk and think on big topics. I have walked and thought about my writings-in-progress.
I came to the conclusion that it was what I already been thinking: comfort. Comfort gets a bad freaking rap. Including by Christians because I sure as hell remember a lot of youth group sermons about not being in your "bubble" or "comfort zone" (though this was all about witnessing and nothing more). But reading up on global history, and how freaking bloody and barbaric it was (another reason why I have no interest in Game of Thrones - I know it's not history but it is a bit too close to comfort), and thinking back on the arc of the canonical Bible, I can see how religious communities move towards a more strict, calcified version of what I consider to be community-saving laws and moral virtues. It makes sense, then (and my reasoning and thoughts here aren't really engaging in true rhetoric, btw), that some Christian individuals and groups are totally freaking out about what's happening right now in the U.S., and frequently bringing up their fear that this will cause the decay and ruin of our country. It's a threat to their comfort, yes - but they do actually think it's a threat to community.
Which I totally get. But the problem, to me, is that I don't remotely think gay marriage is an inherent threat to the country, for reasons I loosely outlined in yesterday's post. I can't make a leap from gay marriage to country-ruination. And this is because I don't focus on the U.S. being a morally virtuous nation according to Christian principles. I was wasting time earlier today, because I had a bad morning, and in another dismal mood I clicked on a slideshow of "31 Last Pictures of Celebrities Before Their Deaths" or something like that, and after I pathetically went through that slideshow, it automatically took me to the next one, which was "X Number of Celebrities That You Didn't Know Were Atheist", and I confess to finding that one both dismal and entertaining. There were actual atheist statements and then there were joke-statements, like from Woody Allen. But someone - I think it was Nigella Lawson, ?! - who said she wasn't raised to believe in religion, but she was never taught that morals weren't important, or something like that. And that was one of the more useful things about that whole time-waster.
You can be good and not be Christian. You can have strong morals and not learn them from straight-up religious texts, teachings, or individuals. More heretical statements from me, I know. Because I was taught that our moral selves came from God. Which is not a bad thing, to me, if God is love. I think our highest human morals and ethics are definitely of the order of transcendence. And I'm not actually knocking a Christian's belief in all morals coming from God, I'm just frustrated that this has turned Christianity, as a socio-political force, into a pedantic, phobic cult. ...Geez. I just said that. Because I just thought it. I don't find individual Christians to be like that - not the ones I encounter OFF of Facebook, that is - but I also don't really hang out with a broad spectrum of denominations. But the way the religious leaders, the ones whose quips or sermons or ideas get disseminated in media, talk about our nation's "moral downfall" makes it sound like that's what every Christian thinks.
And I still don't see a link between gay marriage, and, like, impending barbarism. I find fear, ignorance, and hatred more likely indicators that terrible things could happen if gone unchecked.
And I don't think that pedantic phobias are Christianity. I do believe, if I remember my Sunday School lessons correctly, that such people who engage in these things rather like Pharisees. Even though I also don't recall the Pharisees being particularly histrionic.
Anyways. Morality: good. Fundamentalism, militantism, and the like: not so much. We need comfort, yes, because this world can be a MESS - but trying to impose the wrong kind of moral restrictions on non-offending people in order feel less afraid is NOT the point. The point has gotten lost - Christianity is about love and not a constant barometer of how "righteous" a nation (a nation! Where does it say in the Bible that the U.S. is somehow special?!) is.