Book # 11
With a Lenten task of of seeking joy in all things and fighting my negative thinking and self-criticism, I realized that at least one thing that I really need to do is lighten up. That meant doing things pretty differently than my usual patterns. I'm more prone to analyze something to death than to just absorb it. Knowing that about myself, I decided to approach Cameron's book differently than I have her others, and I chose not to work through the exercises at the end of each chapter. I have the feeling that there are several that I'll go back and do sometime later, but for now, taking in her message that faith can bring happiness, contentment and joy was exactly what I needed.
The sad truth is that a lot of people have been hurt by religion. I have my own wound, but Christianity is not the only religion that can suck the joy out of faith. With humor and tenderness, Cameron discusses how people in faiths as different as Christianity, Buddhism, New Age beliefs, and ethical beliefs like veganism, can try to impose their way of spirituality on others. Spiritual Experts, Very Spiritual People, the Sisters Very Nasty, Buddha Pests, Spiritual Salesmen, Seducers and Waifs and others all receive a bit of recognition. Yeah, I noticed myself in that crowd a time or two. (Ouch.)
Cameron does more than address what can hurt and what has been misused in the world of faith. She challenges you to rethink what you "know" about God and how you relate to God. She challenges you to find spirituality within yourself even if you don't believe in God. She pushes you to seek joy, and Some People Say That God Is No Laughing Matter helped me find it.
These are just some random thoughts that came to me while reading this book.
I worship a God who loved hanging around with his friends and thought little kids were really cool.
The God I worship went to parties and enjoyed food and wine.
The God I worship created ladybugs, donkeys with their stubbornness and braying, laughing voices and lizards who can lick their eyeballs.
I worship a God who loves colors bright and dark.
I worship a God who welcomes us into the Divine world but doesn't push God-self into ours.
In reading this book, I was reminded of the importance of kindness, forgiveness, apologies, showing our appreciation, valuing our friends and valuing our selves, and appreciating imperfections. I'm glad I read it. I feel more than a glimmer of hope, and it's making it easier to be kind to myself and tell my darker thoughts to get out.
This Lenten season may be the best I've ever gone through, and this book is one of the reasons why.