We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I will never forget two things that happened on Pentecost about twelve years ago. On the way to church, a dumb Box Turtle was perplexed in the middle of the busy road. Naturally, I stopped traffic and helped him across. Not a dove, but a cool turtle. Then during church, a bird appeared inside the sanctuary. Not a dove, but a Chimney Swift who had come down the chimney of the old church. We brought him outdoors and I felt blessed.
2:1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
2:2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
2:3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.
2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
2:5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem.
2:6 And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.
2:7 Amazed and astonished, they asked, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
2:8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?
2:9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
2:10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
2:11 Cretans and Arabs--in our own languages we hear them speaking about God's deeds of power."
2:12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, "What does this mean?"
2:13 But others sneered and said, "They are filled with new wine."
2:14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, "Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say.
2:15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o'clock in the morning.
2:16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel:
2:17 'In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.
2:18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.
2:19 And I will show portents in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and smoky mist.
2:20 The sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the coming of the Lord's great and glorious day.
2:21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'
'In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.
There's a thing. Wonder how many really consider stuff like that. What's it really like when G-d comes knocking, right inside your head.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
No pleasure seekers mentioned. No war entrepreneurs, stockbrokers, corporate lobbyists, Wall Streeters, DC insiders, politicians, rulers, globalists, or elites. No club memberships, golf handicaps, yachtsmen, rich franchisees, leisure class members, personal trainers, churchy-christianesers, social climbers and butterflies, comfy community figureheads, or mailbox money mentioned either. No smiling nodders, glad-handers, posers, fancy people, trust-funders, or even bank customers.
Nobody knows what Jesus was on about. No one ever has. No one ever will.
Faith is a thing but even faith is not a virtue. We'd have to be able to define it in some meaningful context to G-d to know how it could be and we can't even do that. How could we possibly speak for or as G-d?
So we brand it and sling it around like a logo or membership card or even an identity: Faith! Then it cases to be faith - for whatever that's worth - and becomes a certainty.
All that tends to mitigate against comfort of all kinds.
Funny how the East already knows that and how much we assign them the lower class status of hippies or vegans while we revel in the lifestyles borne entirely of our hundreds of trillions of dollars of red ink, as if our smugness and place and expertise were somehow virtuous. As if G-d values our manipulations so that we can be so glad we're not them.
"God, I thank you that I am not like other people. I think you that I am not a sinner."