What does it mean to drive a VW Bug? A Bugatti Veyron? A Ford? Our cars are one of the biggest purchases most of us will ever make, so our choice means something. Our choice is nuanced with what speaks to us. Whatever our choice, our fuel mobiles facilitate the flow in our lives. We rely on them for the small things and at critical junctures. The journeys we take in life are powered by our choice of vehicle and, likewise, our choice of vehicle impacts where we’re capable of going.
So it is with the belief systems we use to carry us through life. When I learn of someone’s choice of faith, what does it mean about them any more?
Going back to our wheels, some of us stick with a certain brand- my grandpa felt great pride in his identity as a Ford Man, even after manufacturing went overseas and a cooperative agreement was made with a Russian auto manufacturer. While he would accuse others of not being amongst the truly faithful or loyal, I don’t believe we’re growing and evolving if we don’t remain open to change. After all, we don’t have to leave something entirely; just step away to do some critical thinking about how now is different from then (like stepping out of your front door to take a walk and a deep breath or two to “clear our heads” or to “hear yourself think”). We need to grasp the good that change can bring.
Grandpa stuck to his guns about driving only a Ford, but, in reality, the human species has always stepped in and out of traditions, faiths, attitudes and perspectives, just as we have with our rides. Perhaps being a child of a large, extended family of multiple faiths, I’ve grown up accustomed to finding the commonality amongst the various faith systems so that the rituals, vestments and specific wording is interchangeable. When family came together, we understood that faith is essentially the engine that powers whatever we choose to go forward in life with. If the engine changes, it is, perhaps, just that our understanding of the dynamics behind propulsion is changing, growing. So it is when God is kept foremost and at the nexus of our variations of faith.
Okay, let me just say it: whatever faith you tell me you follow, it’s all the same to me. Whatever name your God(s) have, the universal truth to our human experience is that killing is wrong. Period. When a fellow human is crying out in misery, we can never claim that this is what God wanted. All faiths have compassion and love at the center. The defining kernel for all is “Do no harm.” Faiths, like cars, have to shift their outer, superficial trappings with local and global concerns intermingling and touching every part of the human journey. Otherwise, it’s like saying, “Okay, everyone driving a Subaru is honor-bound to drive straight at everyone driving a Hyundai and kill them” or “God’s chosen are those who only have male drivers – if there’s a female driver, throw acid in her face.” These are the fools and self-deluded who would say, “Let the dead and disfigured go before our God to make Him proud that I have willingly and with forethought done harm to his child. Let me stand before the Almighty and pound my chest like an animal because, in my blindness, I can’t see how I am weak with intolerance and have debased myself.”
Change can be uncomfortable, but change can be a good indicator that what has been is no longer working in its current form, if at all. Without this change toward love and inclusivity of all humanity, we’re idling in our lives; we’re spinning our wheels without really getting anywhere, except to wallow in the same ol’ waste of space we’ve been in.
Hint: Should a God speak to you in loving approval for doing harm to another, RUN!
Hint Hint: Should you do grievous harm to another and march proudly in mind and/or spirit to the Almighty, either to your place of worship or in the privacy of prayer….Look around…Really look around. Who is it you see? Did you really expect it to be God?