A man texting while driving his car is like a man putting on mascara while driving to play fullback at the Super Bowl. Ridiculous.
Not long ago telephones were either heavy black objects which sat on a desk or were attached to a wall. It was actually possible to hear the people on the other end and have real conversations. I lack similar confidence in cell phones. Too often people are driving or walking while using them. Sometimes people I have called have put me on cell speakerphone and I have had to tell them to pick it up. I cannot hear them.
Friends no longer buy their children and grandchildren books for Christmas gifts. They buy something called Pods or tablets.
Children no longer go to the library to borrow books as they once did. As a child I was a voracious reader. Mrs. Evans, our town librarian, often lent me two or three books a day in summer and during vacations. Children now play video games, read books online and spend endless hours emailing other children they have never met. Their parents talk trash about local libraries rather than usefully finding ways to better suit them to current needs.
The local Barnes and Noble bookstore where I buy the Sunday Times has a coffee shop. Most of its stock is dedicated to toys and music and magazines. I used to buy the Sunday newspapers from bookstores that had a small section for papers and magazines and no chairs to read. We browsed upright.
We have new bigger, better grocery stores, gas stations, computers to replace typewriters and adding machines, roads and planes and televisions. Medicine has gone nuclear. We lie and tell ourselves we will live forever. There will be a cure for the common stubbed toe.
Anything can be invented.
Anything can be mass produced.
The world of reality can become a world of magic. We won’t need laws to legalize psychedelic drugs. Life will be painless.
Madison Avenue can sell me anything I want.
Listen up, Babycakes. Not true.
The same lies about things which will take away all of our wants are told in the spiritual world. We can create a new God that will give us everything we want if we can’t find one to do the job. What do we pay ministers to do? If they can’t make up a painless theology, then let them make the theology of prosperity bigger, better, more real.
That is what the tv preachers are all about, isn’t it? Isn’t that why they exist? To make God meet our Madison Avenue desires?
It amused me immensely in the last few years to hear and read all of the discussions about whether or not yoga and yoga classes had anything to do with Hinduism. So many people thought they had successfully divorced the two. Then along came some very smart, very tough Indian yoga teachers who entirely debunked that nonsense. Certainly yoga is still connected to the spirituality of ancient India. There is no way to dissociate the two.
That is about as sensible as wearing a Rosary as a necklace. It is impossible to remove the Rosary from the Catholic faith. Like yoga in the Indus valley, the Rosary was devised as a meditation device for adherents of a specific religion.
When I entered the religion biz people would come for spiritual counseling and ask me how much I charged. I asked the other monks what they did. The answer was to tell people to make a donation to the monastery. Let the people figure out what to pay. The house had fees for retreats, schools and gift shop items, but some things people had to figure out on their own. The other side of this is the outside world where there are fees for spiritual counseling.
Hermits I have met lived by their own wits. Sometimes the people who found them and came to them for prayer, healing and direction gave them donations. Sometimes not. The hermits lived from the work they did in solitary. Away from the world, they lived by God’s rule.
There are no Madison Avenue rules to regulate God. Religions may have their dues, but God is always there for free. We don’t have to text Him. We don’t need a telephone or expensive electronic devices or bigger, better anything. We need more than all of those.
Today I listened to yet another conversation on living life alone. Person after person spoke about how lonely they had been all of their lives. Somebody or something came into the life of each to change that. The loneliness ended. Then their feelings of isolation and alienation changed to lives of engagement in the world.
I have never been alone.
Even at night when I close my bedroom door and the world stays out, I am not alone. I leave one angel to guard the door and keep out anybody who would try to enter. Stray spirits will do that, especially when sleeping in a strange place. I go to bed saying “Good night” to God and St. Michael the Archangel, my sole companions in my alone times. When I sit in my office and write, Michael and other angels are with me.
We buy what we are sold. We can choose whether or not to buy God, to buy spirituality, to buy into the simple sanity of life. We need the biggest, most complex, most brilliant invention of all time. We need an open soul.