Tag Archives: religion

The Camp Meeting

“This town needs a revival,” I heard some sure person say
at the supermarket just the other night.
I thought about replying, but instead just walked away;
no point in telling people that they’re right.

There’s at least 50 churches in the just under two miles
between the store my driveway, I think.
It may be old time religion is now coming back in style,
but the water isn’t what we want to drink.

We know we’re headed straight for self destruction;
hell, any fool with half a mind knows that:
we’re dumbing down our children’s school instruction,
and becoming lazy, mean and fat.

“I put my faith in Jesus,” I heard an old-timer say
while co-signing a check down at the bank.
I thought about a comment, but instead just said, “good day;”
sarcasm would have likely drawn a blank.

This town is full of lawyers, and their practices are booked
from now until the final judgment comes
with people suing people, calling other people crooks;
attorney’s fees are quite a tidy sum.

We know we’re headed straight for immolation;
hell, any fool could see the flames by now:
we’re reveling in ignorance and mental masturbation
and evolving into our own sacred cow.

“This town needs a revival,” with a sad shake of the head,
the lady at the market firmly spoke.
I thought about replying, but kept my mouth shut instead;
you can’t fix something you can’t see is broke.

There’s at least 10 or 20 in each church’s parking lot
on Sundays between nine a.m. and noon;
by early afternoon the sermons all have been forgot:
but at least we’re all humming the same tune.

We know we’re headed straight for real damnation;
hell, only a blind fool would disagree:
and all that we can do is suffer through the situation
watching it play-by-play on the TV

We know we’re headed straight down to perdition;
hell, any fool could see the end is near.
It’s lucky that we’re not to blame for this sad world’s condition;
let’s praise the Lord and have another beer.

14 FEB 2007

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Dear Kleenex

As of late, there’s been a commercial advertising your products that runs a little something like this …

A man with a shaven head (not tonsured, but completely shaven), wearing maroon robes very similar in style to those worn by the Dalai Lama, is shown during his daily activities to be careful about not harming the natural world around him. He rights a beetle so it can go on its way. He checks his steps to make sure no creatures are harmed by his footfalls. And so on.

Then, he plucks a tissue from a Kleenex box and blows his nose. There is a voice-over reminding us all that Kleenex tissue kills millions of germs. Germs, of course, are living creatures too. This puts a very worried look on the man’s face. I say man, but quite obviously he is supposed to be some kind of monk, most likely a follower of an Eastern religion, particularly as he has been acting with a Jain-like level of non-violence, and even sports a set of japa beads, not a rosary.

But all is not lost, the voice over assures us, saying “Thank goodness for forgiveness. Thank goodness for Kleenex.”

However, there is a bit of a problem here. So far as I know, and I have been studying Eastern religions and the myriad of paths that preach non-violence and “do no harm”, none of the sects to which the monk might belong have what you might call a “Doctrine of Forgiveness”. That is, I believe, a Christian notion. Where paths preach non-violence and non-aggression, there is no forgiveness, regardless of how small or petty the infraction may seem. There is payment due. It is called Karma. It is also, in some strange circles, referred to as a law of physics: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. To coin a phrase, what comes around, goes around. If you truly believe in non-aggression and non-harm, you take personal responsibility for your every action, and do not seek (or expect) forgiveness. You expect a bill, and you are prepared to pay it. Even if it is mere, lowly germs who have given their lives to afford you better health, you are inclined to thank them for the sacrifice.

As one non-Christian practitioner who thinks that the beliefs of others should not be parodied out of ignorance, particularly to sell products, I think this oversight (and I’d like to think that’s all it is) is nothing to sneeze at. But it certainly has inclined me to purchase Puffs instead.

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What’s the Point?

What’s the point? I want to ask
the Mormons on their bikes,
who leave their own nice neighborhoods
to share the view they like
that they are sure contains the answers
to what’s wrong with us,
and don’t mind spending hours
on the front porch. We discuss
the book they’re peddling, free of charge,
the origins of man,
how God moves in an unseen way,
while we do what we can.

Their exposition on their faith
leaves me, at length, unmoved;
while my opinion on the universe
remains unproved,
at least, to them, because my book
has either not been writ,
or none have yet to take a look,
or maybe, it’s bullshit.

My entire life has been like that:
I understand their plight;
despite my great attempts to speak out
where I think I’m right,
the bottom line is no one listens;
no one gives a damn;
the world wants nothing of the truth,
and who I think I am
to people out there, on the streets,
is of no great concern.
They’d neither light a fire to warm me,
nor piss so I’ll not burn.

So in the end, who gives a f**k
about some grand design,
about nirvana or great bliss,
my neighborhood’s, or mine?
F**k new ideas, f**k advance,
f**k thinking for yourself;
f**k listening to the cosmic dance,
f**k those books on your shelves.
F**k gurus, mantra, holy books,
f**k pilgrimmage and prayer,
f**k hours of meditation,
f**k all gods who aren’t there.

F**k cities, f**k the small towns, too;
f**k hypocrites and saints;
f**k those who swear there’s something else,
f**k those who say there ain’t.

F**k friends who never call,
and those who won’t leave you alone;
f**k every last iconoclast,
f**k every single clone,
f**k me, and then go f**k yourself
and when you’re finished there
f**k those too f**ked to give a damn
and f**k those left who care.

‘Cause what’s the point? You live,
you die — that’s it this time around?
A sack of meat that keeps a pulse?
That doesn’t seem profound
enough to build religions on,
or claim some higher cause;
why bother with psychiatry
to correct minor flaws
when the whole purpose seems to be
just feed and breed and die,
and in between kill off those
who don’t like your reason why.

F**k war. F**k peace.
F**k those who think
that either one can fix
a world where children are shot down
by raving lunatics.
F**k newscasts, f**k those on-the-scene
reports that never say
each one of us played some small part
in how we got this way.
F**k schools, if all they try to teach
is how to get along,
the best fraternity to join,
or how to load a bong.
F**k infancy, f**k youth,
and you can f**k the middle aged,
who somehow act as if they’ve turned
to some important page
of life, and yet prize youth and beauty;
as if they’re still there,
despite the fat around their waists
and gray now in their hair.
F**k getting old and being old,
used up and of no use
except to buy up scooter chairs
and suck down carrot juice.

F**k Democrats, Republicans
and anyone who spouts
it’s not their fault the world is f**ked
or they’ve got a way out.

‘Cause what’s the point, I ask
because I’d really like to know;
I’d like to teach the world to sing
and tell it what I know
Not because “it’s my duty,
for the Bible tells me so,”
but because it seems so pointless
to just live, and go,
without affecting anyone,
or causing them to think
about the reasons that we’re here,
and why in this small blink
that is human existence,
why we bother to believe,
and when no one will listen
why the thinking man must grieve.

08 OCT 2006

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By Faith Alone

Religion is not the enemy; it is just a tool
employed by those who would control
and those who seek to rule
by any means to make it seem
as if this world is just a dream.

It’s not great evil or great good;
it does exactly as it should,
considering why it was made:
to keep in silence, and afraid
to challenge why the poor remain
and their hard lives
are filled with pain.

For if this world’s a proving ground,
it should be so for all;
instead, it’s playground for the rich,
and workhouse for the small
who’re told that they’ll inherit
the whole next world, in due time.
And the powerful are happy
as long as each week, in long lines,
their labor force goes willingly
to hear how they should wish
for more of the short end of the stick
and fill the offering dish.

To know is to have learned it,
and by use, to understand.
To believe is just to claim to know,
by learning second-hand.
But faith is more: believing
in the absence of all facts,
or when facts contradict belief
or are against it stacked.

And that’s the tool religions use
to subjugate the throng:
convincing you something is true
when sense tells you it’s wrong,
belittling your lack of faith
when you express some doubt
that those in power should be there
and you should be left out.

19 MAY 2006

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But It Ain’t

If this were a Christian country
by Jehovah’s rules,
there’d be much more compassion
and glad suffering of fools,
less hands out full of gimme
with mouths full of much obliged,
no clear advantage to the rich,
less chance of a free ride.

There’d be a lot less hoarding,
much less emphasis on fame;
the suffering of even one
would bring all others shame.
Equality would be the rule,
and bigots would be shunned;
there’d be no race for riches,
nor a need for all these guns.

An even-handed justice would
inform our politics;
and none would need to worry,
from the ghettos to the sticks
on whether their best interests
by the corporate lust was served;
the good and kind would be rewarded,
just as they deserve.

At least, that’s the great theory,
but in practice, I’m afraid
that we have used religion
to create this world we’ve made.
We’d be a Christian country,
but we’re quite afraid of saints;
so holier-than-thous, be thankful
that Christian it ain’t.

05 MAY 2006

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Careful What You Ask For

Do you really want theocracy,
to thin or blur the line
between what makes us get along,
and what God had in mind?

That means you’ll have to tell the truth,
and never get divorced;
make no income from interest
(that’s usury, of course);
respect your elders, even when
they say you’re full of shit;
give not your coat, but your shirt, too
when the homeless ask for it;
never bear false witness,
which means you’ll have to work hard
to learn what really are the facts
beyond your own back yard;
and stealing? Each and every kind
you’ll have to forthwith cease;
that means the end of espionage,
sly dealings, and palm grease.

You’ll need to give up judging sheep
who come from other folds,
and leave off all interpreting;
just do what you are told,
not by some politician, preacher,
or pope, full of zeal,
but by a judge beyond your ken
who does not hear appeals.

17 JUL 2005

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The Camel in the Room

Tonight, I answered questions
from a survey-taking girl
who wished to know where I weighed in
on God’s place in the world.
The purpose for the questions
seemed to me a bit unclear;
more fodder for pro-Christian ranting
or control, I fear,
but I took part, and did my best,
although the answers seemed
to only fit such a small range
of my spiritual scene.
She asked after my parents,
and the job I thought they did;
if moral guidance and the Bible
formed me as a kid.
I told her it was by example
that my parents taught;
they did not spell out right and wrong,
and certainly did not
expect that I would blindly follow
their belief or creed,
but rather taught integrity
and finding what you need.
It’s odd – responsibility
seemed not to be a part
of the survey; I guess
that would put horse after the cart.
Instead, did I attend a church,
or pray, or fellowship,
believe that Jesus Christ had sinned?
At that, my kindness slipped,
and I said, how would I know that?
I never met the man;
he lived two thousand years ago.
And if you think you can
believe what’s printed up in books
and sold like blessed snake oil,
there’s not much hope for anyone
escaping evil’s coil.
I strongly disagree that evil
is personified
beyond the selfish, clutching hands
who prey on those outside
the mainstream, where the status quo
dictates that blame be found
in others first, before yourself.
You seek God? Look around
and make the world a better place
by caring for more than
your own private and shallow soul.
Try that on, if you can.

Whose God? Whose Bible?
Whose church service
would you have me grace,
when everyone I meet has
good and evil in their face?

Truth is a pathless land;
it wanders beyond black and white.
To posit otherwise is like
a blind man, in the night
giving directions to a man
who cannot hear a word.
One’s map is forged, the others’ blank;
both seem a bit absurd.

12 JUL 2005

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