Sunday, April 22, 2007

Good neighbors

Last fall and winter, Progeny and I heard nightly serenades from the local Suburubian coyotes, and only slightly less frequent singing by a resident owl. The other night, out to watch Venus doing a dance with the new moon, I realized it's been months since I've heard either. It might be that they're busy with denning and nesting, or it might be that these brand honkin' new efficient windows are dampening the sound. I hope it's not that our friends have succumbed to the lure of the cheaper real estate east of here.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

He is risen

My father-in-law, who believes that all bad things can be placed at the feet of religion, once asked me if I actually believed in the resurrection. The implication was that someone as educated as I am couldn't possibly believe in something so plainly contrary to fact.

I said, simply, yes.

I believe in the power of narrative to bring all kinds of things back from the dead: hope, green leaves, relationships, the people we love, dreams, butterflies, neighborhoods, a sense of community.

I believe that the much greater danger than believing something contrary to fact is to think death or abuse or resentments or cynicism have the final word, are the end of the story.

I believe that it is less illogical to believe in something that can't be verified by my own eyes than it is to believe that only things I can see exist.

I choose to think that God decided to favor a poor, subversive rabbi from a small town over the dominant powers and principalities, and that God's strength is more often found in those of any faith or religious background refusing the thrall of violence and coercion than in any number of proclamations of glory or righteousness from God's followers.

Make no mistake. I do not reject the teachings of the empirical and the humanistic: the world is not flat; human beings did not cavort with dinosaurs, except in the mind of Hollywood animators; God's plan does not include slavery; and I'm fine with women shaving their heads if they damn well choose to. When I'm sick, I want the insights of modern medicine available to me, but when I'm in pain, I'll be glad to accept the insights of acupuncture as well, which modern Western medicine has had to scramble to try to explain.

I hadn't intended to preach an Easter sermon, but these are the things I wish I had said to my father-in-law.

This I believe.