We have been asked (repetedly) not to judge the religion by its most extreme adherents. We tried to comply. We tried even as we mocked our own for the foibles of a few. But if every tenth (or fifteenth or twentieth) bite from the proverbial apple is rotten or sickening or deadly then the whole cart is suspect too. It then becomes worth, at the very least, a wary eye and a cautious proceeding in the going forward.
I took my two-year old son for a drive in the neighborhood to look at the Christmas lights. As the radio played the standards he gleefully called out each character he recognized. I felt joy tinged with a feeling I am reluctant to call regret. As an adult I have chosen the title agnostic to mark my place in the arc of belief. I have arrived here after a long journey through rebellion and atheism. What will his journey be? I find Christianity fascinating as one does any history without its strings attached. Must I submit him to Sunday lectures and the fear of the afterlife to teach him the reason for the glory embeded in Adeste Fidelis? Does my softening reflect some ritualistic and predictable failing that befalls all upon whom culture inevitably places her crown of yielding? I do not wish to spend Sundays listening to the tired intonations of those whose key book has seen more revisions than a dictionary. I cannot, however, deny the power of human belief that leads to such endeavors in the first place. Must I submit this child to these practices to give him the fuel to know when to rebel? Perhaps… but if not there is always the covenant of grandma and grandpa… that’s how it worked out for me….
It’s Christmas time. Look at all the lights, and decorations. They bring beauty to the hideous and mundane. Within their twinkling I am returned to my five-year-old self. Children’s faces light up and the adults reach out warmly to one another; to strangers. These simple illuminations can mask the bitterness, cull the acrimony, If only for the season. I think therin lies the true miracle.