(Garrison Keillor commentary, Special to the Washington Post)
And so the Boy President heads for Washington to be sworn into office, pumping his fist, mooning the media, giving the stinky finger to whomever irks him, doing his end-zone dance, promising to build the wall, cut taxes, create jobs, provide great health insurance for EVERYONE and send his son-in-law to the Middle East to solve that little problem, and the rest of us will sit in a barn and keep ourselves warm and hide our heads under our wings, poor things. Discouraging.
So I’ve been shopping around for a new religion to see me through the next four years. Too many of my fellow Christians voted for selfishness and for degradation of the beautiful world God created. I guess they figured that by the time the planet was a smoky wasteland, they’d be nice and comfy in heaven, so wotthehell. Anyhow, I’m looking around for other options.
Buddhism involves way too much sitting still for my taste; the Dalai Lama basically says, “Be gentle. Listen to the universe. Live in the moment. Let happiness flow through you.” And I think to myself, “This man has never had children.” Hinduism includes sacred cows, and my experience with cattle makes it impossible for me to revere them; they are stubborn and stupid, and letting them wander loose in the streets — why? Prime rib is their proper destiny.
Islam is great and so is Judaism but they’re so complicated! You can’t just walk into a temple and listen to a holy person and burst into tears and throw yourself down on the floor, as you can with Christianity, and say, “I believe!” and get dunked in water and, shazam, you’re in.
And spirituality is no go for me, like what you read about in books with sentences like “Creativity is the journey of channeling connectedness and realizing the potentiality of being.” Don’t want that. I want a religion.
At the moment, Zoroastrianism is looking good to me. Compared with other religions, it feels comfortable, something a guy could get used to. (It has nothing to do with the masked adventure hero Zorro, by the way. Or his ass.) Zoroastrians believe in one Great Almighty Spirit of Good who is in combat against evil forces, and Goodness prevails in the end. There is no self-flagellation or staring at the sun or snake-handling. In the afterlife, you will basically reap what you sowed in life. If you were industrious, generous and kind, you’ll be okay, and if you lied and cheated and didn’t pay your bills and plastered your name on big buildings, beware.
If I embraced it, I’d be one of the few Zoroastrians in Minnesota and I could start my own First Reformed Zoroastrian temple and pretty much write my own ticket. This is a huge advantage over the old system of adopting the religion of your forefathers. My parents were Bible-believing Christians, but I don’t get the parable where the latecomers get the same pay as the early birds and also the part about lust in your heart being the same as committing adultery itself: Where did that come from? A Christian who believes in those things is not going to be a happy person.
My religion would be a gentle faith that believed in the sacredness of leisure. Napping as a form of prayer. You worship the Lord by sitting on the porch and sipping iced tea and dozing off over a good book. Baseball is part of Reformed Zoroastrianism, and the number three, and Ferris wheels and deep-fried cheese curds. A tolerant religion, but it would come down hard on tailgaters and the writers of technical manuals and people who butt in when you’re busy working. “I’m sorry to disturb you,” they say. Well, then don’t, okay?
But then I stop and think about all the work involved in starting up a religion and deciding on dogma and having mystical visions, and proclaiming the truth to people who don’t care, and dealing with the oddballs and misfits who’d be attracted to the thing, and I think, “No way.”
So I am left with Confucianism, accepting the sacredness of confusion. Life is messy and it always has been. We work hard to earn money, we neglect our health and then we pay the money to restore our health, meanwhile we forgot how to enjoy life, so what good is health anyway, and now 80,000 people in three states have elected a president who can’t focus on anything for more than a couple of sentences and who contradicts himself every other day. So it goes. Have mercy.
Confucianism — accepting the sacredness of confusion… Oh man! I think this is the one for me! I’m ALWAYS confused!!! 😀
Picture Source: Michigan Radio