I’m going to talk about religion for a minute

“Religion is like a penis” I read on a bumper sticker….”Its fine to have one. Its great to be proud of it. But please don’t whip it out it public, and don’t shove it down my children’s throats”
I laughed and laughed. An apt metaphor if I’ve ever heard one.

(That’s probably enough.  But if I could throw out a teeny little tic tac of a thought about whats on my mind, I might be able to finish one of those paintings languishing on my porch, and that is what this blog is about: propelling me to work (better, more creatively) on my porch studio.)

So, this is whats on my mind:

There are those of us who need a place of refuge. Those who have had the life sucked out of us by bad relationships or terrible bosses, or who have been mowed down by the loss of a livelihood or home, or vaporized by the death of a parent or lover or child. Survival requires a place where one can be. Just be.  Mostly we will be sad and quiet and dejected, or we won’t feel anything at all.  The shell of ourselves stops flinging up distracting images, masks of identity and function that we sit behind all week long, and we become the lumps of nothingness that we really feel like in this place of refuge.

We need refuge, because we long for sweet relief from the hard toil of appearing normal. And people don’t like to look at lumps of nothingness at work or the gym or the grocery store, so we have to find a place where we are allowed to be.  Its like walking around with a spray paint can.

I am excited because I found a place.  I can sit on the couch in the lobby, or I can spray my emotional graffiti into the computer or on paper and I can hide out, and its all ok.  In fact, I am welcomed there.  If I allow it, I will be hugged and introduced to other survivors of life’s unfairness.  And some of these people are smiling now, and I am intrigued.  I am more than intrigued, I am hooked.  I need to know how they learned how to smile again. And this place reminds me of some things I had forgotten, and there is so very much that I need to remember, and I want to be without the bitterness again.  I really do.

I know that out there in mega-church land, there is the new model of church-as-business, and its all purpose-driven and mission-statements and small groups and curriculum, eight steps for this and seven habits for that and every member must become an active cog in the system or they aren’t doing What Jesus Would.

I used to be a part of that, and then some things happened, and I lost faith in the system.What I have now is something like a faith that Jewel once summed up:  In the end, only kindness matters. I had forgotten that when I was busy with the system.

I give it up to Hamilton Community for being a place of refuge and kindness.  Hamilton, if you feel like you need to move it on up and be more purpose driven, if you are getting complaints about these worthless lumps taking up space, well, I understand, and I know that Jewel is not your guru.  But thank you, for what you are right now, which is the only religion that isn’t making things worse, and is even making life less bitter for me, and keeping me coming back.


About genieearle

I make things in my tiny studio called Claywise, as I try to understand the world I live in, and what it means to be human. I have 4 amazing offspring who are making their own paths, and I am currently an outpatient counselor at a drug and alcohol rehab center, where we do expressive arts in group therapy. View all posts by genieearle

3 responses to “I’m going to talk about religion for a minute

  • Becky

    I am thrilled beyond words that you have found this place. We all need a place – that soft place to land where we can rebuild and strengthen.

    Your post also reminds me of that saying… Going to church doesn’t make you a christian anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car.

    I have found it strange that the flack I receive about studying Kabbalah and the teachings of Buddha comes from those who are christian. I don’t openly promote my studies as they are personal to me. When asked I will share. I asked one day why my red string threatened this person so (they had been making sarcastic comments for a while). They replied “it just isn’t right.” Isn’t right? By whose standards?

    • genieearle

      Becky, thank you so much for your affirmation and sharing your journey too! I had a thin red ribbon floating around my house, on the floor or in a corner, and it reminded me of you, now, so I put it on the doorknob. Godspeed in your journey of understanding, as well.

  • Allison

    Beautiful and true

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