In what seems like a long time ago the band “R.E.M.” had a hit song called “Losing My Religion.” Although many assumed it was about becoming an atheist that wasn’t exactly the case. In an interview with Q Magazine, Michael Stipe, the author and lead singer in the band, says, ‘”Losing My Religion” is about “someone who pines for someone else. It’s unrequited love, what have you.” The phrase is common in the US deep South meaning being at the end of one’s rope. When we have tried everything we know to get what we need or want and have run out of options, we tend to start questioning our understanding of reality. When we believe something is true, i.e., that a special someone loves us because we love them, and they show no interest back, it is a time of anguish. That hopeful dream must die a tragic death. That “religion” dies and grief sets in. Sorry if that takes you back to your teen, or even more recent, years of pain and sorrow.
Even more recently for some, the recent municipal election in Calgary is causing some to lose their religion. Dreams of new stadiums and uncontrolled urban sprawl to delight investors seem shattered. Strategies to sweep away opposing candidates have failed. Assurances that a gullible population could be manipulated into voting against their own interest have proved to give false hope. Regardless of your own political leanings I suspect you will agree that conservatives (note the small “c”) in Calgary need to offer something more than “Not Nenshi/N.D.P./liberal/etc” if they want to carry a future election. I think that they need to take a profound look at the failure of their “religion” and thoroughly examine what they really believe about the people of this city, democracy, good government, worthy candidates, and so on. I suspect that instead they will go into the next election with the same old religion and risk getting it handed to them on a platter.
Moses, after leading the Hebrew people out of oppression, out of danger from Pharaoh’s army, out of hunger and thirst and into a new understanding of how to survive together and minimize conflict (the Ten Commandments) was not faced with brilliant success but the one reality he probably didn’t want to face – more wilderness! (Exodus 33: 12-23) He really felt he had fallen out of God’s favour and longed to see God face to face. His deep yearning was heard by God who assured him that he was favoured and reminded him that if he were to experience the full reality of God (face to face) it would blow his circuits (Exodus 33: 20). God does, however allow Moses to see his backside (33: 23).
Jesus, confronted with a question about taxes (Matthew 22: 15-22), held up a small coin with an image of Augustus Caesar on it and uttered “Give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s and to God that which is God’s.” This is often taken as meaning “Be good and pay your taxes”, an unfortunate interpretation. As I understand it he was telling his challengers it was time for them to lose their religion and decide on a new future.
I can say more on this and probably will this Sunday at Living Spirit. Please let me know what you think before then and maybe I’ll have to lose my religion.
God’s peace of justice and respect is with you.