Saturday, June 20, 2009

"always speak to everyone of God"

Sri Ramakrishna, the 19th century Vedanta Hindu, once said, "Always speak to everyone of God." Buddhists may get itchy teeth when it comes to a notion like "God," but leave that aside for a moment ... just pick whatever it is you like that is bigger than a breadbox, bigger than you, more entrancing or benevolent or far-reaching or ineffable or blissful or superfragilisticexpialidocious ... cut-and-paste that over the word "God" and consider: "Always speak to everyone of God."

For believers, there are churches and temples and duets of people who come around on Saturday mornings and knock unexpectedly on your front door. Selling the good word, or, if you're not inclined to that sort of salesmanship, selling ice to Eskimos. Or maybe just a pain in the ass. From the pulpit and at the front door, here is the good news ... or maybe good news with some strings attached -- if you don't accept and act upon this good news, you will end up in a place that is decidedly bad news.

However this sort of salesmanship is presented, still it is salesmanship and the premise of the whole affair is that something is missing, a something without which your life will be messy, incomplete and possibly doomed. And sometimes we don't even need anyone knocking on the door ... sometimes we ourselves are the salesman: Something is missing.

Talking up "God" is by turns a kindness or a threat or a wonderful usefulness. But I do wonder from time to time: How is it possible NOT to speak of "God?" From dirty jokes to singing songs to a magnificent philosophical or religious exposition -- seriously, how is it possible? And if, in FACT, there is no such thing as not-speaking of "God," is there some reason to speak of "God" ... or not?

OK, OK ... we can all fidget and fuss and weep bitter tears and do our damnedest to "always speak to everyone of God," but in our clearer moments, the moments when nothing is missing ...

"Always speak to everyone of God" ... whether speaking or silent, what other choice is there? Isn't this a time -- right now -- when goodness and evil play no role, when "God" is an add-on ... possible but not necessary, truly God and yet not God at all? Isn't this a time to pick up the dirty socks and throw them in the wash? Isn't this a time to get dressed up for work or kiss a friend or go for a walk or veg out in front of the TV or be sad-sad-sad? Isn't this just a time to enjoy the fact that "God" is doing the speaking? Nothing sexy or refined or consoling or elevated.

"Always speak to everyone of God."

As if you had a choice! :)

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