Sunday, December 18, 2005

Applegate on Crossing the Borders

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" If you haven't contacted your senator or congressman yet to save the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, please do so Ay-sap!

Hi, I'm Satan, your host at "The Gods Are Bored" while Anne works her way through another Christmas from Hell (pardon the pun).

But, my temper is restored, so you can call me "Mr. Applegate."

The distinguised author Alexis de Tocqueville reminds me that in a democracy, majority rules, and it's clear that a majority of ordinary Americans oppose drilling for oil in Alaska. That majority cannot be bamboozled one and all, and it only takes a few voices to put everyone on the alert.

By the way, did you know that de Tocqueville makes a mean souffle? Of course we have wonderful ovens here.

But I digress. Today's topic is as old as the dawn of Intelligent Design:

Sibling rivalry.

I don't have any siblings. I was created when a small star belched.

From what I've seen of sibling rivalry, however, I'm glad to be an Only God. One need only think of the Civil War, or of the Hummels in Aunt Gladys's Last Will and Testament to recall that siblings will fight over big things and small.

And of course, when it comes to religion, how many siblings see eye to eye? Pick a church. Any church. See if you have every sibling from one family present and accounted for on the designated day for worship.

(That's why the Big Guy likes the Old Order Mennonites so much. They stick together on Sunday like peanut butter and Wonder Bread.)

Here's the rub.

On the mortal side of the coin, siblings can argue about religion, tell each other they're dead wrong (which is of course stupid, because they aren't dead yet), pray that the errant sibling sees the light. The greater the gulf in praise and worship teams, the greater the disdain held by one sib for the other.

Ah, human nature. It needs about 10 million years of extra evolution before it will be palatable.

I just want to warn some of you warring siblings about what happens on the Other Side.

First, my own association: namely, heaven and hell.

People who go to heaven or hell spend several thousand years congratulating themselves that they never have to die again. Then, like clockwork, they suddenly miss the old errant sibling. Trouble is, they find it very difficult to get a visa to go to any other alternate heaven (or hell).

For instance, if you're one of those Left Behind addicts, or you froth at the mouth at the opportunity to play a shepherd in the mega-church Christmas pageant, and your sib is a tree-hugging druid, you - the Left Behinder, are going to give up in frustration before you're allowed a passport to Avalon, even for a week's stay.

Imagine being immortal, and still not being able to cut through red tape. With all the time in the world at your disposal. You wind up weeping over a fruitcake you'll be mailing to let the loved one know how much you miss him or her.

Conversely, many worthy pantheons offer better benefits packages in this regard. You can be reincarnated right alongside a sibling from another life. You can come and go through alternate heavens as you please, getting to know people from all cultures and eras.

Sorta takes the sting out of not being able to die.

It's my experience that denizens of Avalon occasionally visit my satellite office to see an old family member or sibling. Rarely do the visitors linger more than a few days. Inevitably they start feeling claustrophobic and quickly remember that they forgot to feed the unicorn. Off they go, leaving the sibling more miserable than ever.

The moral of the story is this: If your praise and worship team claims to be the Only True Way, use caution. This locks you into an ironclad contract.

Flexibility is essential, while you're alive and after you pass. And if my boss knew about this post, he'd have a hissy fit.


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