A Sermon Against Sermons
My title is not entirely accurate, because some good things are suggested in church. What I don’t like (and what, in addition to nonbelief in God as we are led to know him, led me to give up going to church after boarding school) is the idea of going to church to have someone else tell you how to think and live your life. I feel that should come from inside your mind and your heart as a result of your total life’s experience.
An example of what I’m talking about could be a suggestion by the pastor that a group go down to the beach to clean up the junk that has either been left there by others or drifted in from the ocean. That is a great idea that I heartily approve of. What bothers me is that it is suggested by one person to other people who may not have thought of it. And beyond that, if they go down on Saturday, do they go down again later on as a group? Better yet, does each individual’s mental process kick in so that they go down alone—or even pick something up somewhere else?
Let me give you some examples of what a wider experience in the environmental movement led me to do. You can laugh if you want, because they are tiny things, but they have taken me on to other tiny things. And they are tiny things that have been internalized by other people, not just me. Here is the list: dog poop, cigarette butts, and paper clips, and they weren’t learned in church.
Many people pick up after their dogs “religiously,” if I may use that term. Many may also pick up after other dogs, as I do. Here is a hint that might help. We cannot recycle our newspaper bags here, unfortunately, so we recycle them by using them for dog poop. It may not have occurred to some recyclers that if you tie the bag in a knot at the bottom, and slide the bag up your arm again, you can use it for a second heap of poop that you come across. That way, the bag has been recycled twice. (Unfortunately, if our total rainfall here remains at less than two and a half inches for the year, we will only be getting rubber bands, which won’t work, and we may have to buy our bags or use produce bags instead of using them over again.)
Cigarette butts speak to me, and they say, “What the hell do I care if I clutter the street? My smoker didn’t care. So that’s two against one. In the second place, if the wind from cars going by works like a bellows on a forge and starts a fire, so what? That’s not my smoker’s fault. Get lost!”
Paper clips. For some unknown reason, when I go to the shopping center, I spot paper clips on the ground. These may get there inadvertently, but they do not add to the general decor. So I pick them up, and there is no way to count how many times I recycle them or send them to someone else who recycles them after me. End of sermon
A Sermon Against Sermons