Monday, August 08, 2011

The Sky's the Limit

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Do you own a house? I live in a house. The bank owns it, but they let me rent it from them. Trouble is, they expect me to keep up the place like I own it. Why can't they fix the leaky pipes? I'm paying good rent here!

Today's sermon is inspired by a post from Hecate in which she discusses whether or not Pagans should start building community centers and sturdy places of worship. Churches, in other words.

Hold the phone. Count to ten, Pagans. Take a deep breath. Then sweep from your mind all notions of a warm and fuzzy community center where you can hold Rituals without dodging pellets of hail.

(Seriously, my Druid Grove once got pelted by hail during a Ritual.)

Just before I ceased and desisted being a Methodist, the church I attended began a vigorous campaign of building additions and renovations. I've been gone from that place for awhile now, and I went in to give blood a few months ago. Oh, you should see it! Big old gymnasium in the basement with a basketball court, and a brand new entryway that looks like Versailles... Jesus would be proud, I tell ya! Fresh paint on the three-story pillars, new carpet ... The church lady greeter remembered me, you see, so she was keen to give me an eyeball full of what I'd been missing.

You know what I saw? I saw fifty bucks out of my pocket twice a month to pay for Jesus Versailles. Bullet dodged!

I'm 100 percent sure that my Druidic ancestors did most of their praise and worship indoors. It gets cold in the British Isles in the wintertime. But our religions can evolve while still supporting the bored gods. In this case, I vote for evolving into outdoor praise and worship teams. There is literally no overhead if you go to the nearest park and do a gentle little ritual. For something bigger, you can go with a festival that will not take chunks of change from your daily lifestyle. If you are phobic about the outdoors, look for that friendly Unitarian Universalist Church -- but they will probably charge you a user fee.

I have never liked the idea of religion and money going hand in hand, except when the do-re-mi goes to a worthy and reliable charity. Otherwise, if I want to play basketball, I'll join a gym. And if I want to sit in a pretty parlor, I'll visit my granny.

You know how they did it at the Methodist Church? They were so hard-pressed to get the money to pay for the building and its upkeep that, on certain Sundays, they asked you to put dedicated charity money into a different envelope, so they would be sure to send that money to the charity! I call that double-dipping.

I will borrow today's punch line from Bard Andrew (see my sidebar, he's pretty cool).

You get up in the morning in a box. You get your breakfast from a box. You get into a box to drive to a box, where you work all day. Then you get back into your box, drive home to your box, and sit and stare at a box all evening.

To me, being a Pagan means getting out of that box, going out in the thunder and hail and sub-zero wind chills, out in the blistering heat and the glorious equinox weather, and pouring your love of the bored gods into the air, down into the earth, deep into the water, and across the hot coals of the fire. Leave the box behind! It's an expensive distraction.

Finally, let us not forget that, being meek, we will inherit the Earth after Rapture. Then we'll have our choice of so many fabulous buildings, all bought and paid for, and some with basketball courts -- also paid for!

Bide your time on that building campaign. Is there any roof prettier than the sky?


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I agree with you. Does Stonehenge have a roof, walls and windows? Feh.

FernWise said...

Stonehenge doesn't have roof, wall and windows - but the land was still dedicated and kept up by the people of the religion. Seems to me that it's unreasonable to expect the US/state/city government to own and do upkeep on land that you want to use. Especially, say, in California where parks are being closed for lack of money. Doing it 'on the cheap' - not having your own land at all - fails if the park is closed.

Anne Johnson said...

Fern, it would be unfair if I didn't pay taxes on the parkland, but I do -- so why shouldn't I use it? Not having to pay for a worship building frees me financially to contribute to the charities of my choice.

kimc said...

We Unitarian Universalists thank you for the mention.

Witch Mom said...

Right there with you on this one!