Monday, September 26, 2005


In a way, the Evangelical belief is like baking a cake. You can do everything right and believe that the cake will win awards at the State Fair Baking Contest and you'll be able to display your Blue Ribbon for everyone to see, but for some inexplicable reason, the cake sags in the middle or on one side or the other and has a pathetic look to it that will bring chuckles to those who survey it.

The Evangelicals are so sure they are right in every facet of their faith, and it seems to me that, when they do reach Heaven, they may find that God is a gay liberal with a drinking problem. Or, God could easily be a Black Muslim woman. Since my reading of the Scriptures is rather vague, because I can't comprehend a great deal of it, lacking the proper theological education to spend a lifetime studying those words, I can't really describe God. He seems to be a bit elusive, like a puff of smoke, or vapor hanging over the top of a mountain. He is supposed to be made in our image, but whose image? We are all so different. Is God fat or thin? Is he black or white or yellow, or even red? Is he short or tall? It would help if we knew just whom we are talking about these days.

Evidently the Evangelicals believe that the world will come to an end very soon. This will be the Second Coming of Jesus. But there is nothing to say that he isn't already here, strolling along some city street, looking over the sights. He might even have been in New Orleans, waiting for help to come. But then, there haven't been any trumpets or angels...just hurricanes with howling winds and flying debris. This might even drown out a trumpet or two.

As a person who has never believed I am right about anything and am proved right in that belief more times than I care to count, I just can't figure out how the Evangelicals can feel they know anything for sure. Perhaps they just think they know. I have had that happen to me many times, especially when baking a cake. How do they know their way is the right way? How can anyone know?

I have heard that George Bush has been Born Again. That's okay, because from the sounds of it, I don't think I liked him much the first time around. All that drinking and carousing! But I have been very puzzled by that phrase "Born Again". Evidently it is some sort of an experience, or epiphany that causes a person to change their wicked ways and strive to be saintly. But being saintly is not enough. One must also believe in Jesus. This is a test, sort of like a Final Exam in Physics.

However, the Evangelicals are quite vague on just how a person goes about having this "Born Again" experience. Does one have to force it, or does it just come over you, like a stroke or a heart attack? What if it doesn't happen? Will you then be cast into Hell to suffer for all eternity? If this is the case, someone had better unlock the secret as to how to become Born Again in one easy lesson.

I have always enjoyed being born the first time. Not that I remember it, but I have heard tales of my mother's ordeal in that big bed in the old farmhouse. My father went for the doctor, and my brother hid in the back of the car and rode along. Mine was the only birth where my mother had the services of a doctor. His name was Dr. Furlong and, during one of the World Wars, he wiped out a German platoon and saved his buddies, thus earning a Congressional Medal of Honor. He came home and studied for a medical degree, becoming an obstretician. I took a picture of him at his desk in Pontiac, Michigan. It was a beautiful picture, showing this white haired old man sitting at his desk, with the sun streaming through the window and enveloping him in a golden glow.

Strangely enough, this doctor was an artist. He painted many pictures and had an art museum named after him, the Furlong Building.

Anyway, I have treasured my birth because it brought me so many joys....a few sorrows, too, I must add...but they are outnumbered by the moments of sheer delight. I don't know as I want to be Born Again, but I guess that's the ticket into paradise. I just wonder sometimes if it is humanity's job to worry about the Second Coming or even the Third or Fourth. I had a monk tell me once that "one should not look forward to nor dread one's will come in its own time". Perhaps that could be said about Rebirth also.

I don't like what is happening in our country's churches these days. I don't like the politics mixing with religion. I don't like Faith-Based Charities, because I suspect that sermon will come before the soup. I don't like muddling up Science with Religion. And, if I needed help, I would never approach some of the Nosy Nellies I have met in our local churches. The news of my degradation and despair would sweep the town before nightfall. No, for independence and personal dignity, I prefer my assistance to come from the government, if I ever need it. It may not be a perfect solution, but at least it doesn't gossip.

So, while I am sitting here waiting to be Born Again, I am mulling over some of the problems. It is difficult enough to cope with life in the best of times, without spending the limited number of days allotted to us worrying about Death. I believe I will have faith, love God, and care about my fellow man. I will live each day of my sunset years with my dog, my books and my family! If that isn't enough, I'll just have to muddle through. That's what I do when I am baking a cake, so that's what I'll do in this case, too!