Smudge Pot's take on religion in the movement and shoving it up your nose.Submitted by Smudge Pot on Sat, 05/04/2013 - 04:54
Howdy folks, Smudge Pot once again with some longer range memory on the issue of religion. Why does it keep creeping in here? Why do some of us carry it in here and why do some of us just hate it when it happens?
Whom are the evangelicals and what are they doing here? A nefarious plot to religionify the place? And what of the atheists who refuse to be redeemed and the ones who just can't abide us religionists stinking up the place? Who is right and who is wrong and who knows the real truth?
TONIGHT WITH SMUDGE POT we won't even try to answer all these questions, heck, I'll just do what I do. Give you my take and hope it helps.
Most of you know I'm firmly in the religionist camp. Meaning I'm pretty freaking religious. I once told somebody please don't try to cut my faith out of me with a knife because there ain't gonna be nothing left but a puddle of blood. But my faith isn't exactly mainstream so it does afford me a certain perspective.
What are known to us as evangelicals and known to us as Christians have a very deep connection to our general ideology and their identification with freedom and liberty resonated perfectly for them with their faith of freedom and liberation through forgiveness and it embues everything they do in fact it's an ethic for them not to "hide one's light under a bushel".
OK. I was raised pretty tolerant so as far as like...I dunno 9 or 10 years ago, as the result of conference calls inspired by Aaron Russo's movement, and natch that Aaron considered himself to be an orthodox Jew, when I got word....well actually I was asked for help.
Some people got together and got my attention and said Smudge you gotta help us, we got a problem on the conference calls.
Ok what's the problem?
Smudge can you imagine that for some of us this whole begin and end the conference calls with prayer thing is really a major turn off to some of us and some of us are getting ready to walk?
No dude, I can't, what's wrong with prayer?
Smudge can you just come on some of these calls and listen?
Sure I can do that.
I wasn't thinking this was gonna be a big deal and you guys mostly know how demonstrative I am with my faith. I'm pretty much like that in real life too. I sing, I pray out loud, I hug people. I was thinking maybe some bible bashers were offended but I was prepared to listen.
Well. OK. I heard enough in about the first 60 seconds. The conference calls, un-noticed by Aaron who was sick and myself and a couple others had turned into a full on christian patriot thing. Agenda? Let's just say that some of us were handling things by a format and it was down to this:
Welcome to the call I'm Sam, Brother Allen would you please like to open with a word of prayer from the book of Hosea? Thank you brother Allen and father may I add that you add your wisdom to this meeting as you did touch the heart of Daniel when he faced the lions now before we get started did everybody reflect on last week's scriptural reading?
Ok not quite that far but those who got my attention were right. I'm a religionist and I felt alienated. This was so not quite where we were going and ho man if Aaron had heard that all holy hell and fury would have broken out. If Aaron Russo had wanted to be a Christian missionary he would have been one and he would have been one of the best the world has ever known. As it was he wanted to defend and protect our constitutional freedoms and acknowledge that they are here for all people in all places starting with America, the USA.
But since I did not often come onto calls at that point and I had the cachet of being Aaron's technologist I had a certain entre and a bit of a secret weapon because at that point very few people knew of my beliefs. Now almost all of you do. So I saw an opportunity to do something sneaky.
Back then very few of you knew how sneaky I could be either. Now lots of people know I can be sneaky. So I affirmed some things and played along and what do you know, I was actually invited as a kinda visiting dignitary to offer closing prayers.
Thank you, I am honored. And I was. Truly. So I offered closing prayers from my heart. But I kinda layed it on a bit more ceremonially than I usually do....
To the East and the the South and to the North and to the West, to the Ones Above that see everything, to the Ones Below who always listen, to the relations, the Oyasin and to the One Above, Tunkashila, father of us all......
And I prayed. I thanked our ancestors for watching over us and protecting us, I thanked our Holy Ones that I stand among such great people and I asked for wisdom and understanding and concluded with the traditional words I AM SMUDGE POT AND I HAVE SPOKEN.
(well i didn't take the name Smudge Pot back then but you get the idea)
Well a great silence followed. And a very diminished form of what we usually do, promise to follow through, get in touch, stay in touch. But there was a silence.
Never again were official AFTF calls begun and ended with prayers the same way or not just by one religion or perspective. And some room opened up. And some vibrant voices that were driven away came back in and some new ones did too and we got a big step further to being the movement we are today. In that small way. But "we" were small then so small things like that had resonance.
Made a big noticeable diff when Aaron passed because we all got to pray and also some of us had the qualifications to sing the kadesh for Aaron on our behalf and ALL OF US OF EVERY TRADITION PRAYED INCLUDING THE ATHEISTS because their words and devotion were not only equal to or better than ours and not only did they resonate, Aaron would have appreciated some of their words better than ours.
BECAUSE BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF FAITH, WE ARE EXPECTED TO BE TOLERANT AND UNDERSTANDING.
And Christan brothers and sisters to whom I claim relationship with by virtue of blood and upbringing (part white, part Christian) we do not exist in a universe of justice. We exist in a universe of mercy. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. If there were justice you know exactly where we would be. But for forgiveness we would have absolutely nothing to look forward to after this world.
I rather take example from our "principled atheists" who conduct themselves in a righteous manner even without the constant reinforcement and love that we have that helps us keep our selfish natures from practicing even worse than we often do.
And recall the example of the kindly Samaritan and look for them in daily life, look for them going forward. And don't expect the bible to tell you who your friends are going forward if the tough times we expect come to pass. Many are called and few are chosen. And we are not the ones doing the calling aho?
We have alienated some of whom our God has created. This is not the message and this is not The Way prescribed by my belief.
I would ask you, brothers and sisters to minister to hearts before minds. Their minds are not the problem, they are rational, they are intelligent and they are observant. And they are injured and often need help. Minister first to their bodies and simple needs. And remember there but for the grace of the One. Who to reach your heart put his son right among these and to suffer their fate.
And learn that there is spiritual blowback as well as military and if you do not understand this then do indeed study up on the crusades. This Onward Christian Soldiers Marching As To War thing hasn't really worked too well in the past 500 years. And it's destroyed almost all that remains of certain ancient Christian cultures that got along for centuries like the Coptics and Safardim and others which I am reticent to tell you about now because it's almost better you don't know. These cultures will now have to go into deep hiding. This is the reality.
Otherwise just get another rifle and sit in your chair and rub linseed oil up and down the stock with a rag and just think about how what you want to do. If the rifle is too tall and you are too short just prop the butt up on a stack of bibles so you can inspect the muzzle.
Brothers and sisters I'm not exactly happy to bring you this news. Not only do I know you are commanded to share the light but like freedom, when you have God in your life you really do want to shout it from the roof tops. It's hard to contain.
it's also hard to contain when we are attacked. It's hard when they trample on our Holy God. This is why men charged with no crime are now attempting to starve themselves and die in Guantanamo. Their major complaint? People wearing the flag of the United States Of America keep disrespecting their bible, their Koran and since they can do nothing to stop it they want to die.
I know. So do you. It's called devotion. "take up your cross daily and follow me". In other words, you are supposed to know how that feels and you above all people are ordered not only to turn the other cheek but to expect to have to.
Will I be a Christian example to you?
Only incidentally if at all. My belief is informed by Christianity. The closest road I follow is the Red Road. Before that it was just called The Way.
These days I am now called a Shaman or an Elder but I kinda like Priest. I like Priest for various reason but it reminds me to be one. Or to try. But I also respond to "jerk" or "hey moron". Regardless of what you call me, I know what you are called to. And I do believe I have just convicted you. And you know exactly what that means.
Mitakuye Oyasin (including you)