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THE CARDINAL

Dreamed 1994/9/4 by Chris Wayan

Ink sketch of dream: an irritated-looking bishop or cardinal in full regalia--the big dress, the silly, phallic hat.


I'm in my parents' house. I hear a noise in my old bedroom, and look in through the door. A man in a a bright red robe and tall, silly, phallic hat stands by the window. A Catholic bishop or cardinal? He extends his hand, with a huge ring, expecting me to kiss it and get his blessing.

I say "I won't kiss your ring. But I'll wave hello to it, if you want. Hiiiiiii, ring!"

His eyes widen. The tone got him. He snaps "You lack faith in God, in the Church." Regaining some control, he adds "I hope you find it. You need it!"

The words just pop out. "No. I don't. I rely on experience. I MEET God. What do I need faith for?" And feel a rush of joy as I hear what I just said! It's true! My life is blessed. Hey, not even just one god. I meet lots of them. Always a party in Wayan's brain.

"To rely only on your own experience, to deny the role of faith is... it's not just pagan, it's the sin of pride!"

I get a little annoyed now and say "I don't have faith that gravity exists either. What for? I live in it. It doesn't need my faith. Is that the sin of pride too? Of course you also live in it... so maybe you'd like to claim gravity as a Christian monopoly, like God."

Suddenly my anger is gone, replaced with clarity. I've passed a gate. I've struggled with health and money and loneliness and love, all the daily wars of Earth. But when suddenly challenged, I realize my life's a spiritual success. I routinely meet the sacred, face to face. Millions hunger for just a taste, and I get to swim in the fountain.

No, I don't pee in it. I leave that to you mullahs and priests.

These spiritual middlemen, these guys (it's always guys, isn't it?) who used to set fire to people like me, now have the nerve to lecture me on humility and faith?

Metaphysician, heal thyself! You can start by apologizing for the millions you burned, and confessing the shadows it cast on modern Christianity--the woman-hating, the claims that other religions are false. And face that line in your holy book: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. Either swear it's God's immutable word, and openly stand up for theocracy, persecution, and civil war... or admit your book's not God's word, but a text written by men, as fallible as the words you're reading now.

A text that gets in the way.

Why let it? When you toss out books and priests, you make elbow room. For God. Or gods. Or just room to breathe easy.



LISTS AND LINKS: Christians - religious authorities - rings - shamanism - paganism (is there a difference?) - vanity or pride?

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