Thursday, October 2, 2014

You Just Don't get It


                                       You Just Don't Get It!

          After many years of failing to get "it", I've decided to tell you about "not getting it".  I'd much rather write to you about "getting it", but since I haven't got it,  I have come to believe that the history of the world, and indeed the history of the world's religions, is simply a history of the many ways followers have not gotten what their founder wanted to "get across", I've decided to write about this. 

 When I was a boy, I loved sports, especially baseball and basketball, because we could play those on the streets of my neighborhood in Norwood, MA. One day there were four of us kids playing "roly poly" one street over from my house. It was a hot day and after an hour  or so we were thirsty. Just then an old lady called out to us from two doors down and said, "You boys look hot, would you like some cold lemonaid and cookies."
          We said "Sure", and so we went into her house. Her name was Mrs. Lawrence, a widow and she lived with her sister. As we sat down to a huge plate of cookies and drinks, Mrs. Lawrence asked if we minded if she read some scripture to us. Not wanting to seem ungrateful, we said to her the equivalent of "Whatever turns you on".

At supper that night my Mother asked me where I had gone that afternoon, I told her, "Oak Road".  She said "I drove up and down Oak Road looking for you and you weren't there".
I said," That must have been when we were in the Lawrence's house". Then I told her how Mrs. Lawrence invited us into her house for cold lemonade.
      "Oh wasn't that nice of her".
      "And she made some delicious chocolate chip cookies too", I added.
      "My, my, what a sweet thing for her to do", my mom said.
      "And she read scripture to us."
      "She did what!! Charles, I do not want you ever to go into that house again, do you understand??" She was clearly upset.
We were Catholics. We went to Mass every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation. Some went daily.  We said the Rosary, and ate no meat on Friday.  Most of all, We never read scripture; for that's what Protestants did. The wall between religions was clear and everyone seemed happy there was such a wall.
I was too, until I fell in love with a non-Catholic.       
       Now, at 76 years old, I have studied the scriptures and theologies of many of the religions of the world and I  seem to come to the conclusion that no one really understands, or "gets it". They often think they have got "it", and try to preach to others so that those others will get "it" too and thereby avoid some kind of eternal damnation reserved for those who fail to get "it".
        In looking back on my life's experiences  it is my belief that the most common image I see of Jesus is that of a gentle teacher who loves his "pupils" but realizes that for the most part, for most of them, "they just don't get it".  They are all very competitive and want to be thought more highly of than others by winning this competition, but they fail to understand that the goal of their search is within as indicated by the very first words put on the lips of Jesus, his "keynote address" so to speak, in the Gospel of Mark;
      "Jesus went to Galilee and proclaimed the good
         news from God, saying,
         'The present moment is the right time,
          Change the way you think about reality;

          for the Kingdom of God is within you. 
           believe this "good news'."    (Mk. 1:14-15)

                                                 Charlie Mc