Attorney Jeff Sessions has proposed a, “religious liberty task force.” This makes me think of the war on Christmas, the annual non-sense that some Christians trot out to enhance their sense of piety and alienation. Many evangelical Christians fail to have the self-reflection necessary to realize that they are the source of the, “war on Christmas,” that they are the ones who need to be the focus of any, “religious liberty task force.” But they are so obsessed with their piety that self-reflectiveness would be a catastrophe, as it would create a, “splinter in the brain” that Emily Dickinson referred to.
I write here in a confessional mode, from personal experience. I was mired in this “mindless” piety and not willing to initiate the process of, “working out my own salvation with fear and trembling” that the Apostle Paul recommended. This “fear and trembling” is very much akin to the aforementioned, “splinter in the brain” which is necessary for life to break through the encrusted hypocrisy of an unexamined life. Fortunately, the good Lord was merciful to me and has meted out this “splintering” over the course of four decades as He knew I could not handle it otherwise. He knew, graciously, that my hypocrisy was a necessary evil with which I could cover my fragile ego (i.e. “ass”) long enough to muster up enough ego integrity to handle the sting of all those splinters.,
It is painful to wallow in disillusionment. Someone said that, “Reality is a veil that we spin to hide the void,” and when that veil begins to be pierced by the “thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir too,” disillusionment is inevitable. Then we lament with T.S. Eliot, “Oh the shame of motives late revealed, and the awareness of things ill done, and done to others harm which once we took for exercise of virtue.” This always brings to my mind King Lear on the heath of his former kingdom, “pelted by this pitiless storm,” bereft of his family and political power, finding himself naked, noting re roving animals nearby:
Poor naked wretches, whereso’er you are,
That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm,
How shall your houseless heads and unfed sides,
Your loop’d and window’d raggedness, defend you
From seasons such as these? O, I have ta’en
Too little care of this! Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel,
That thou mayst shake the superflux to them,
And show the heavens more just.
Lear was naked, buck naked, stripped of the superficies of his existence and understanding that in essence he had never been anything more than these, “poor, bare forked creatures.” Religion is a fine cover-up for this nakedness but according to spiritual teachers, such as Jesus, it is only in this nakedness that we can find redemption.