Some people have enough faith in their own abilities to declare once and for all there is no God. I don't see how any human who has ever lived can draw any conclusions about God despite all the speculation. When I try to imagine anything like God, I tend to go along with Herman Hesse's Siddhartha or Disney's Pocahontas. I figure that if you listen to the colors of the wind, you'll hear: Respect each other and the planet and calm the fuck down. I can't remember what Siddhartha had to say, but if he were to pass me a reefer right now, I'd smoke it. Namaste.
Apparently, I'm pretty good at contextual, exegetical hermeneutic discussions on the fly. Who knew? I always knew I was helpful with my friend's English papers in college, and frankly, I don't see a whole hell of a lot of difference between a sermon and an English paper except that with sermons, you absolutely have to bring in Jesus and The Bible which is actually what you would have to do if you were in a class in The Bible as Literature. Actually, Jesus is only relevant in The New Testament - but it's all still The Bible as Literature and you can bring in current events and comparative mythologies all you want.
In all this sermonating, I have learned about a character called The Witch of Endor. Never think I have started reading the Bible. I haven't read it yet in all my fifty years, and I'm not starting now. I might read it some day if there's a large print edition with pages that don't stick together. My mother got me an Amplified Bible some years ago in a subtle attempt to nudge me into giving Velvet a Christian Education, and I haven't even filled in the family tree.
**Side Note** I made Velvet go to Sunday School roughly eight times when he was in fifth grade. My thinking was that if he were forced to go to church long enough so that he begged to stay home, Velvet wouldn't turn into an Adolescent Evangelist and start telling me I'm going to Hell in my own living room. I hate that Bible Thumping Bullshit, and I felt it was my duty to society and to myself to prevent my own child from becoming a Bible Thumper. To date, this plan was successful.
Even though I still refuse to read The Bible, I have taken it down off the top book shelf and looked at it once when I was on the phone with JD. My intent is to leave it on the nightstand and pretend like I'm reading it when, really, JD is just telling me what it says.
One of the people JD told me about is The Witch of Endor. Some ancient king was about to go into battle and didn't feel like consulting God/Jehovah about anything. He preferred to consult some dead prophet. This king either went to see The Witch of Endor or had somebody fetch her so she could conjure up the prophet from the underworld. Once the prophet was conjured, he declared that the king sucked so thoroughly as a leader that he had to die in order to make way for the Kingdom of David.
If we can believe Joseph Campbell, and I believe we can, then Star Wars is just as Biblical as The Bible. Ewoks may be overgrown teddy bears with limited technology and fire power - but they can bring down an Imperial Walker with a length of strong rope. I especially liked it when they smashed one with a couple of well-aimed swinging logs. If memory serves, the Bil Moyers-Joseph Campbell discussions show that people around the world in every kind of culture have stories about little guys triumphing over the forces of Evil.
In Star Wars, we know for sure that every ambassador and senator in the galaxy can't or won't do jack shit about The Forces of Evil - and we see it today when Dick Cheney can publicly admit to War Crimes and nobody in the government even yawns.
It's too bad that real life doesn't play out like popular movies and pervasive mythologies. Maybe here in America we're all oppressed by malaise as we wait and wait and wait for a leader. And truly, the Ewoks of Endor could not defeat the Empire on their own - and neither could the Rebel forces or the Jedi. They all had to work together. This alliance indicates that any changes for the better in this country will only result if We the People, the few true populists in the government and liberal churches work together.
According to Jack Daniels, 20th Century theologians struggled to reconcile the horror of the World Wars with the idea of God. Paul Tillich and some other theologians went in a direction that makes a bit of sense and the rest insisted on clinging to an understanding of God that only works by denying a reality that slaps you in the face every morning - which is how we wound up with Conservative Christian Right Wing Republican Straight White American Males like those bastards at C Street running the show. We have church loads of congregants who have been conditioned to deny facts such a Obama''s Hawaiian Birth Certificate and whose fantastical notions persist even as they are being crushed to death - like the notion that Corporations are basically Good and a free market generates the best of all possible worlds, especially in Banking and Health Care.
Personally, I dismissed The Church back in eighth grade as irrelevant because it was filled with greedy hypocrites. I have to wonder, however, if the liberal branch of the church could provide a structure to facilitate social change from the grass roots. The Church where I work has been calling for social justice since the first service in 1931. Despite the fact that Martin Luther King, Jr preached from our pulpit - and Nelson Mandela, too - we haven't seem to have gotten very far with the Social Justice mission. Those guys were real leaders, however. We haven't seen a real leader in this country since Ronald Reagan took office and told the white people to forget social justice, go back to the suburbs and shop. Rudy Giuliani and George W also said the most patriotic thing Americans could do after World Trade Center Day was shop.
I got an email today from Howard Dean saying he wasn't going to stop fighting for a public option. Naturally I sent twenty bucks - but this endless argufying over health care is making me cranky. I feel like we've passed the point of going to Hell in a Hand basket and are careening toward Idiocracy like the Jamaican bobsled team - except I liked the Jamaican Bobsled Team. Between an education system that is designed to produce an underclass who will follow instructions and churches across the land encouraging cognitive disconnect, the outlook is bleak at best.
All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
Apparently Edmund Burke never said that even though he is often credited with the statement. Wikiquotte says that the line probably came from the screen adaptation of War and Peace. I like the War and Peace idea better since we're up to our ass in a class war where the Tea Baggers have been mobilized by propaganda masters retained by the wealthy to maintain the status quo. At least the Tea Baggers are doing something, though. We watch Rachel Maddow with our fingers crossed.
It doesn't matter which stories resonate for you - The Bible, Lord of The Rings, Harry Potter or Star Wars - sooner or later, Evil gets so strong that little people have to fight back. As much as I continue to support Barack Obama, The Empire is in Endor. Saruman is in The Shire, and Dumbledore is dead.
Davis Fleetwoood from No Cure for That has a suggestion: