Life’s Too Short To Pretend You’re Not Religious

My life is like a scavenger hunt.  I’m constantly searching and trying to understand the world and my place in it.  I’m pulled into mystery and beauty as I work my way through different realizations and epiphanies that are clues for what is next.  David Dark for me is like someone who is ahead of me on the same hunt, but then leaves little guidebooks from each destination explaining what I’m looking at and articulating a number of nuances of what is  happening around me.  In school we read Everyday Apocalypse, a fascinating perspective to behold when you are nineteen and only know the evangelical world.  The Sacredness of Questioning Everything was permission to keep doing what I was doing.  Dark’s Twitter account is one of the few that keep my attention and continually give me things to chew on.

lifes_too_shortLife’s Too Short To Pretend You’re Not Religious, his latest guide for me, is an incredible description of what I’ve been wrestling through the last number of years.  Religion takes on a new identity that acknowledges and accepts our search and embrace of mystery, meaning, values and hope.  I just wrote this a few days ago, Why I Still Call Myself a Christian, and then picked up this book and realized I could have said the same thing about being religious.  I still consider myself  a Christian and now I realize, that is because I’m just admitting that I’m religious – and Dark’s book is a great explanation as to why I still do.  Accepting all the baggage that comes with such a word/label just feels honest.  Life is too short to make more excuses and constantly trying to explain what I’m not.  I’ve learned through my many conversations with people from all backgrounds that we all care, we all long for things and we all have ways in which we manifest those longings.

This book is important for those that notice and feel a lack of sincerity in their relationships and in the way that they want to be known.  Many of us feel this need to hide and downplay moments of meaning and enlightenment because we are nervous that we will get lumped into a category that describes “religious” people.  It’s terrifying to be lumped into the same group as televangelists and those that seem to exist in a world of pure negligence, and it’s a small price to pay to just throw out the label all together.  Dark drags the term back through the mud and through poetry, sci-fi and music brings it back to life (some would say it is born again) and makes it something that all people relate to whether they use the same language or not.

This book really is for everyone, but particularly those who have an opinion, good or bad, about religion and meaning and mystery.  This poem begins his book..

This goes out to those for whom:
Religion is violence backed by divinity.
Religion is a backward step in human evolution.
Religion kills joy.
Religion is why you can’t talk to your family.
Religion is the state of being hopelessly stuck.
Religion is brainwash.
Religion is the old relative who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.
Religion is a cage around reason.
Religion is the thorn in the side of common sense.
Religion will not house complexity, mystery, the unknown or contradiction.
Religion represents death of the imagination, invention and seeing yourself in someone else.
Religion is the elaborate disguise for Fear that gets him a seat at the table of survival.
This also goes out to those for whom:
Religion is peace backed by divinity.
Religion is a forward step in human evolution.
Religion gives joy.
Religion is the call to somehow honor and revere your family.
Religion sings songs to the silenced and forgotten.
Religion illuminates the invisible threads of cosmic connection.
Religion is the moral memory of humankind.
Religion is an ancient intelligence summoning us to choose humility over hubris and love over fear.
Religion dresses the wounds of alienation, isolation, oppression,desertion, haste and hierarchy.
Religion is the lexicon of mystery.
Religion brings the dead back to tell stories.
Religion is the library of love and longing, candor and liveliness

One Comment

  • The roots of the word “religion” are (I think) literally “to re-read” or “re-learn”. I have learned to always be open to new understanding and to look forward to deeper ways of understanding myself and the world around me.

    One important step on my own journey was to reject any religious dogma and creed, which forces people to conform to a set of “rules”. All dogma is man-made and as such is detrimental to spiritual growth.

    Thanks for your own insights and information about this writer. One book I found worthwhile is “When God is Gone Everything is Holy” by Chet Raymo, who was a devout Catholic and now calls himself a “religious naturalist”. He is not shy about using the word “religious” either.

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