In the Humble Opinion of LittleBill, Socialist, Atheist, and Humanist
A Sermon Against Sermons

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

4/7/07
ARW

4 comments:

an average patriot said...

Hi little bill!
As for Religion that is on a need to go basis. Some like you are good to go and do not need Religion to justify their life.
Some like me are our own Religion and are self sustaining.
Some are insecuure and need Religion to fortify themselve. To give them security on the road through life. what Religion one chooses is dictated by their level of support needed.
Now on the items you mentioned! Those are pet peeves of mine. You will find as time goes that you will learn how to recycle everything no just the basics and do so out of necessity.
Just a few minutes ago I was instructing someone how to pollinate his own vegetables. On a self sustaining scale ist is fun. Especially corn on the cobb. i don't know if you read the latest climate report and the dire warnings but things will soon get very different for most.
My post today if I say so myself was quite good. As a matter of fact I will E it to you and you can read it if you want. Adios!

LittleBill said...

Come to think of it (I believe thinking was the nub of my sermon), the day before Easter was not such a hot day to write and post my sermon. For that I apologize to anyone I may have offended. I had dreamed of my message all night long and was in such a hurry to get it down before I forgot it. What I was trying to do, rather than berating churches, was to encourage readers to think for themselves of the trouble this Earth is in and realize how even the smallest gesture would help. The opportunities are everywhere.

pekka said...

As sermons go, LittleBill, yours isn't as controversial as I was lead to believe. I am pretty well on the same page with you as far as religion is concerned. I really don't have one religious bone...or is it the brain in my body. To me religion is a leap of faith, litterally, and either you can do such a jump or not. I can't, period!

However, I had one totally awesome experience that could be classified as an euphoric or near religious in it's nature. It happened in my teens when I was laying on my back on the hill by my parent's summer cottage. It was pitch black, late Summer night with bright star studded sky above. After a little while, laying there and gazing at the stars and galaxies, I started to feel of instead looking up, looking down. Soon there was no up or down and I felt like I was integral part of that cosmic whole. I have no idea how long it lasted but this was my moment, the only moment, when I was part of the everything. Still there were no Christian God at present, just me and the cosmos. And that is just fine by me.

LittleBill said...

What a lovely experience, Pekka! Thanks for sharing it.