Inspection- Shoe of Brian: a Short Vignette

This edition of Inspection: using a vehicle called fiction instead of some pompous rant, is a commentary on the Pope’s visit and Bush’s comments regarding that visit..

Some believers find faith a way to expand their minds. So did Barack O’Bama mean “all” when he offended the far too easily offended: a current mental condition infecting both sides of the Democratic Party divide right now? But I don’t believe he meant “all” use religion, or guns, as some crutch or to excuse themselves for their bigotry, their hatred and intentional narrow-mindedness. And he was right: unfortunately too many people are looking for some simplistic formula they can cling to: a hatred they can hang their hats on. They want to be told something, anything, anyone: certainly not themselves or their own social group, is “the” problem; and that something, someone, some group, some weapon, some faith can solve this problem. Then they interpret what they have been told for their own purposes: so they can turn that “weapon” on others they find disagreeable. They arrive at their own personal “who or what is at fault” formula, one might say. These “formulas” are usually “discovered” by over reliance on out of context quotes, or one section of one part of a theological text, or political screed, one organized religion, one leader; or “the Pope.” Then they bleat when whenever their icon tells them to “bleat;” even if that’s not what their icon meant at all.

What if the dead icons and deities expressed how they feel about what their followers have done, and said, in their name? This explains one inspiration for the following vignette. Another is a quote from none other than George W. Bush who was speaking to the Pope and those who had gathered to witness his visit: the church hierarchy from the U.S. and other followers…

“When you give your heart and life over to Christ, and accept Christ as a savior; it changes your heart and your life.”

Shoe of Brian

“Did you hear what he said? What changes? What changes? The snippy, sarcastic comments are still there. The willingness to let others be killed with his approval. I wish he would pray to me just to tell me how he thinks I ever approved any of this: even just the using of nicknames to humiliate others… even his closest advisers. I called Peter, ‘The Rock,’ not a ‘Rockette…’ His obvious hatred for anyone who dares to disagree with him… And what about my supposed ‘representative’ and his ‘awesome’ speech? He who spoke with ‘compassion’ about the children whom priests raped, but before he was pope he helped move them around to avoid prosecution, and pushed a rule that nothing could be done to these rapists until after the children turned 28 when the statue of limitations was over? He’s using me. They’re both using me. They’re all using us. We tell them how to lead the best life possible and they use us to excuse the very things we preached against…”

-Jesus; the Lord; YHWH, Joshua, or “he’s not just ‘Josh-ing'”

The tears filled the speaker’s eyes as Buddha, Jesus, Vishnu, Mohammed, Allah, God and all the other various deities, sat at a table. It was a meeting of the minds. Actually it was a bitching session about their misguided followers. The conversation had been depressing until Jesus started to continue his rant, “You know what really drives the nails in my heart about my followers…?” And before he could answer his own question God: his father, raised a shoe and said, “shoe of Brian?”

Everyone started to laugh: even Jesus. As an ice breaker they had played the movie before the meeting had started, so the connection between joke and movie was obvious. Hari almost committed “kari” as his many arms swung dangerously due to his laughter. It didn’t help that Guan Yin was sitting next to Hari and her arms became tangled with his. Mohammad was chuckling so much he didn’t mind when Zoroaster took a picture of him: photoshopped it with a mustache, and said he was going to sell it on some celestial version of E-Bay, but broke up mid sentence… because he too couldn’t stop shaking with laughter.

Henceforth they met every third Thursday, Earth-time: 2pm EST, at the interfaith-afterlife cafe’ called the Vestial Virgin Coffeeshop and Holy Host Bakery. They called themselves “The Deity Club” and spent many, many meetings comparing notes: laughing and crying about how some cup had become an all important search, or how they thought praying to one of them assured success for baseball games or murdering ‘the enemy:’ as if they were simply genies in some holy bottle ready, able and willing to grant any wish… or how directing one’s veneration towards some wall was anything but a waste of time unless done with humility. As Mohammad said…

“It’s not the wall. Why do they think it’s just the wall? It’s how you’re doing it: what’s inside you, what you do after…”

The wall wasn’t the point. The cross wasn’t the point. Even all the totality of the various scriptures, ceremonies and such weren’t the point. The lessons, the words, the teachings were. So every time an example of humans being anal and overly physical about what they worshipped was offered, the members of the club would… as if something had cued them, raise a shoe and say, “shoe of Brian!” Any time they talked of the words, the lessons, the compassion for others their worshippers had missed, or intentionally avoided: they cried, and comforted each other.

We don’t really need to know about this one outcome to their meetings and the movie they watched: the forming of the club also assured one thing… Mel Brooks will always have a place in any heaven, will achieve nirvana, and be given a membership in any after-life realm of his choosing.

However, the rest of us are in still in deep trouble: especially the president and the Pope who spoke that day.

-30-

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over thirty years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.