That’s the phrase I’ve just inlaid on a stepping stone. I’m making them for Christmas; with different phrases that will be relevant to the person I’m giving them too. This one in particular seems fitting for the season, much less everyday life. As I reflect on this past year of this particular friend, I am reminded of all the different paths I’ve crossed while doing Compassionate Interfaith work with him.
I have witnessed so many breakfasts listening to an individual sharing his or her journey through this world. So many festivals and events that for me to have a cross-cultural experience, I’d have to go the inverse route, visiting a Baptist convention, or the like. I feel like I have come way out of the closet, Pagan style.
Last night, as my interfaith meditation group was disbanding to go home to their evenings, one of the Christian participants asked if I too celebrate Christmas. I suppose that’s an honest enough of a question, but I mean, really? Where does she think Christmas comes from? But then, maybe I’m assuming too much. Maybe she’s done her research, and she was just wanting to converse with me? Perhaps she regards me as leaning more towards the Taoist side of things, and that she just wanted to know if I fell back on my pagan roots this time of year?
Regardless, I must say that it really saddens me to see the extent of people who don’t do their own research. These people just comfortably accept the traditions that were taught to them, without asking why, how, and when? So many are content to stay in their comfortable box, judging others, condemning those who don’t agree with the religion or lifestyle they do.
Take the town of Pitman, New Jersey for example. A peaceful enough request was made of the Freedom From Religion group, asking to lease a billboard sign that said, “Keep Saturn in Saturnalia.” This request, was of course, a response to the now familiar phrase, “Keep Christ in Christmas.” The Freedom group was denied space, and they went to the Mayor of Pitman. He said, not so eloquently, “find your own space and find your own people to hang it, it’s not my responsibility to find you space for the banner.” (Excerpted from newsworks.org. http://bit.ly/18XThvZ)
Wow. That’s some mayor they have up in Pitman, New Jersey. Seems I need to make him a stepping stone for him to walk on every day. It might help some of that ‘feel-good’ sink in. Actually, right now, let’s all send him some ‘warm and fuzzy’ thoughts.
On the flip side of things, I also know a few judgmental liberals that would do well with their own stepping stone. When a push back is done just so hard, it’s no wonder conservative Christians balk and occasionally feel attacked. I mean, at what point is it even worthwhile to point out to closed ear Christians that most of their traditions came from a time before Jesus (possibly) even existed? If they want to listen, they’ll listen.
For me, I like to do what I call the Underground Method: Do. Be. If questioned, give small answers. If they want to know more, they’ll ask. I have a handful of bumper stickers on my car. One is the standard “Coexist”, there’s an HRC equal sign, a quote by Thomas Paine, “The World is My Country, My Religion to Do Good,” and then my favorite, “If you could be anything in the world, Be Yourself.” I like that the Freedom group chose to respond in a non-threatening, in-kind way by telling the townspeople of Pitman to “Keep Saturn in Saturnalia.” Maybe I should send them a stepping stone to help them with their cause?