At a staff breakfast last week at a state agency, someone asked someone else to give a blessing, which he almost reluctantly did. It was a Christian prayer.
Two days ago I was in the ER and someone came in to ask me a zillion questions, mostly concerning my ability and intention to pay them in case my insurance company goes belly up before paying. But the lady also asked me what my religion is. I just sort of looked at her. Twelve inch flames were crackling off my back at the time, so I wasn't totally focused.
She clarified, "I mean are you Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist . . . Catholic?" It seemed a rather irrelevant question to me as the room filled with the smoke of my burning flesh. But I answered, "None of those," and she hurried out of the room. I reckon she didn't want to be caught hanging with a heathen if the whole room went up.
What is strange about this is that neither of the incidents made me angry. I think I'm becoming tolerant. Could that be? Mellowing in my golden years? Seeing the good or the potential for evolution in all people?
A friend once said something about not liking Pantheism because she wanted to be able to pray. I didn't get a chance to answer her and that's always sort of bothered me. I wanted to be able to explain that I pray. One doesn't need a steeple to pray.
In fact, all my thoughts are prayers. And yes, I love the Jesus of the Gospel According to Matthew. I love the Buddha who taught that nothing in this world can be enjoyed forever. I love Muhammad who tells us, "Be the compassionate, be the merciful." I love the God of the Old Testament who said "I am that I am." I love the stars, the water, the trees and their magic. I love you. I love me. I reckon we are all the Universe which is divine.
So am I a Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Wiccan, a Jew, a Flying Spaghettian? The world is full of people divided by labels, even though we must have all come from the same place. The problem with religious labels is that rules come with them and the rules are made by people, not by God the Universe.
So don't come at me with a religious label and I won't come at you with one. If you must call me something, call me whatever it is that makes you most comfortable. Just don't expect to see me under your steeple.