December 28-B, 2022

Mistaya Canyon 01 09/26/2009 Oil Paint Rendered — Jasper National Park, Alberta
An antiphon/antiphony is "a short chant
in Christian ritual"
based on the "call and response"
alternation" between singers.

It doesn't have to be set to music.
It doesn't have to be sung.

It is a fundamental structure,
not only in Christianity,
but in all religions.

It is grounded upon an unspoken reply,
or completion,
to a statement either sung or said.

The most popular one is "God loves you,"
as the call,
with the unsung/unsaid extension/reply/response being:
"If you do what I tell you to do,
and if you don't 
you will go straight to hell."

God doesn't love us
if we don't believe God loves us
and don't do what we are supposed to do
as the spokespersons for God define that.

This is the God Scam
that has been running
from the beginning of human existence,
and maybe before,
since we can't be sure 
of what goes on 
within any other species.

"God is real 
and will do what we want God to do
if we will do something nice for God.
And if we don't,
there is hell to pay."

That is the fundamental religious
approach to life and living.

It is based on people getting 
other people to do what they want
by telling them what God wants,
which is always beneficial 
to the people doing the talking,
or behind the people doing the talking.

Hold this thought
while I explore with you
the alternative.

The alternative is drugs/sex/alcohol.

Because we do not know
what to do with our time,
and left on our own
without some structure
telling us what to do,
we quickly go over into 
stress reduction behaviors
which comes down to drugs/sex/alcohol.

The stress we are trying to reduce
is brought on by having years
of unstructured time on our hands.

We can get a job,
but then what?
How will we entertain ourselves?
We still have time to kill,
yes, kill,
between shifts.

Enter sex/drugs/alcohol.
The God Scam was invented
to give us something to do
between shifts.

Pray/Bible study/evangelism.

Because we are lazy
and lacking in self-direction/

Somebody has to tell us what to do
or it's sex/drugs/alcohol,
because there is nothing else
that we want to do
with time on our hands.

And that is why things are as they are 
here and now.

The church orders our life
because somebody has to
because we can't be counted on
to order it for ourselves.

Six million years or so 
of human existence declare emphatically
that this is the way it is.

Changing it requires us to 
embrace in good faith
the three guardians and guides:
Emptiness, stillness, silence,
with our original nature
and innate virtues (Te),
and allowing that to lead us
along the way (Tao).

What's it going to be?
Where we go from here
is solely up to us.


Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

One thought on “December 28-B, 2022

  1. Excellent summary of some human fecklessness and religious cruelty, and Alberta, Canada is just full of it beautiful though that province is. (I have a friend from Calgary). Sex/drugs/alcohol make it worse and stillness/quiet/and emptiness contribute to direction.

    Liked by 1 person

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