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"I'm more of a browser, myself."

At thirteen, I agreed to accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. I had no idea at the time what that agreement entailed or, indeed, what it might mean. Even today, a lifetime later, I still can't grok what it means. I had not been a hellion in my youth and carried no deep regrets or vile misdemeanors into my teen-aged years. Indeed, I've rather naturally not strayed too awfully far into the venial as an adult, never really attracted to the low life. I don't have to try too terribly hard to behave decently. Not that I'd ever consider holding myself up as any sort of exemplar, but I'm an indifferent sinner if, indeed, I really qualify as a sinner at all. Not that I'm a saint, either. I can carry murder in my heart for careless drivers, heartless landlords, and the more studiedly clueless, though I can't really see myself carrying out the crime.

I imagine Personal Lord and Savior to be a kind of superhuman personal shopper sort of role.
Not having been raised before the Middle Ages in a xenophobic monarchy, I really don't understand the concept of Lord. The product of the more modern All Men Are Created Equal Creed, I find the concept of Lord about as antiquated as haberdashery. Heaven seems almost as attractive as an all expense paid excursion to DisneyWorld, which is to say that it seems like a higher class sort of Hell where leisure replaces toil, though in life, I find more satisfaction in working than I've ever found sloughing off. I suppose I might think differently if I cowered in a dung-paved hovel indentured to an indifferent fiefdom, but a promise of Heaven holds no attraction for me. I try to live decently without any dangling carrots motivating me upward. I figure good works are their own reward.

I suppose the distinction between saved and not saved to be about as significant as the color of someone's golf socks. I understand that some find tremendous satisfaction from wearing pistachio colored socks and I say, "Good for you!" I think it curious to the point bordering upon troubling when someone sets to trying to convince me to wear pistachio colored socks as an outward sign of an inward goodness. Good works seem a better indicator of inward goodness. I believe that most people try to be good most of the time, even the more annoyingly evangelical among us, pleading for the presumed unholy to accept the same confusing deal I agreed to when I was thirteen. I think a real bar mitzvah might have proven more meaningful.

I don't feel particularly cynical about religion. I suppose that I have my rituals and my aspirations, though I'm learning not to try to shove those off on anyone as exemplars of righteousness. I believe I benefitted from having been, as they say, raised in a church, but more due to the cultural influence than anything I learned there. I used to be very good at bible drills, a game where whomever could find a verse fastest won. The Muse marvels at how little of the bible I've actually read or sought to understand. I've so far found The Good Book poorly written, inconsistently conceived, and a fundamentally lousy read. I do not believe that the recipe for salvation resides in there and even if I did, I would not feel moved to pour through it searching for my personal shopper, anyway. I'm more of a browser, myself.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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