The Stories We Subscribe To

I found myself in an Episcopal Church this weekend for a memorial service for a friend’s mother.  It has been a long time since I was in a church.  There were kneelers and hymnals and a prayer book.

There was a lot of talk of “our lord,” and “our savior,” and “our redeemer.”

I was reminded of a time when I was really into this story, this story of Jesus Christ our lord and redeemer and savior.  Now though?  It doesn’t resonate.  I can’t get into it.

A religion is a story that works for a whole lot of people.  It comforts, it explains inexplicable things, it makes the essential chaos of life graspable.  Religion is a way of explaining why we are here, what we’re supposed to do, how we’re supposed to behave, and what happens to us when we die.

For Christians, it’s the Jesus Christ story.  For Buddhists, it’s the Buddha story.  For Hindus it’s Ram and Sita and Krishna and Ganesha and all that Mahabarata stuff.

The trick with religion is to find a religion (i.e. a story) that comforts and explains a lot of stuff for you, and then link up with that tribe.

A religion is a tribe of people who all believe the same story, know the songs associated with that story, do the same rituals and take comfort in being with each other, part of the same “story tribe.”

Even though I don’t find the Jesus Christ story one that helps me in any way, it was interesting, and an honor, to be in the company of those who do, and to watch them say their prayers and sing their songs and pay respects to one of their tribe: one of their tribe who had just died.

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