On one of my last posts I referred to North American adoration of celebrities and used (unwisely) Taylor Swift as an example. I received much feedback on that choice, through Facebook, messaging and texts. Clearly, a wise person does not discuss politics, religion, sex or Taylor Swift.
Since my raising Taylor Swift in a post worked so well for me, I thought I would venture into yet one more of the taboo topics . Today I thought I would venture into religion. Perhaps in the next week I will venture into politics, considering the current state of the world. Sex I know nothing about so I will studiously avoid that topic.
There is something about the Christmas season that causes reflection about faith. But first let me talk about emotion and Lady Gaga.
I am not an emotional person. I have worked hard to contain my emotions as I was taught to by my parents of English ancestry. I think that I learned that showing emotion displayed weakness, and I don't think I've actually cried about anything since I was 17. But I think that as we get older, we become more open to emotion. I can only think back to seeing tears in the eyes of my hard-as-nails father when he was 80 and was surprised by a visit from Ontario by my brother and his late wife. Those tears absolutely amazed me.
This morning I took a fast look at Facebook, and on one of the reels it had part of a recording from Lady Gaga and Brad Cooper of their award winning song, Shallow. I cannot hear that song without having a catch in my throat.
I am what would probably best be described as a liberal Christian. I believe in a God of love, but not of judgment. My United church background has taught me to take the Bible seriously but not literally. My faith is mixed with science and rationality. But I understand the importance of emotion in spirituality. And perhaps it's because of the preponderance of rationality and less emotionality that my church, the United church is declining in numbers. People want emotion just as they want black and white answers and truths. But the United church does fit my family' s general view of spiritualty and the world. We must all follow the path that our faith or lack of faith takes us.
One of my favorite authors, that I read in one of our United Church Book Studies, was Marcus Borg. A theologian who focused on looking for Thin Spots. Places where we feel closer to the spirit whatever we may name that entity. Some find it in nature some find it in family love. I find it strongest in music. I find standing in church badly singing a hymn with thirty, fifty, or two hundred other people badly singing is a thin spot for me. And it may not be a hymn. It can be a choir or perhaps even "Shallow" by Lady Gaga. But at those moments my thin spot tells me that I am part of something greater. And it reminds me that I must contribute to my world positively and with love. Faith should never be a source of hatred or judgment. Or exploitation.
Many of the presentations of Christmas music, choral music, and productions like Handel's Messiah, will provide people with those thin spots that most of us crave. As I get older, I am more intentional in my seeking of thin spots. Christmas season is a time rich with such thin spots, whatever your faith or worldview.
What are your thin spots?
Posts copied from FaceBook.