Good Time Reflections, or Feeling Unusually Earnest

I'm feeling good these days - like the pressure valve has been released on my life. This working less than full time thing really suits me, I think, as does doing a big piece of my work from home, coffee shops and Facebook. I never thought I'd be the type of person to say "I can't believe I get paid to (fill in the blank)" (I usually hate to work on principle), but I have in fact found a job that I can't believe they pay me for, working to start up our new Diocesan Commission for Emerging Mission. My title is "Community Catalyst" and essentially my job is PR, admin support, event organization, shmoozing and canoodling, and trying to trick people into becoming Episcopalians - mostly from the comfort of my own home. It's only 12 hours a week, and with most of my other work hours at St. Margaret's being filled in on Sundays and Wednesdays, I can take life at a leisurely pace for awhile. That's a nice feeling after three years of too much work and too much stress. I probably couldn't afford to do it if I wasn't married to a wealthy benefactor, but still, it's a nice change for awhile.

I've also been feeling unusually happy to be an Episcopalian, which is an incredibly geeky thing to say, I know.

I'm reading "Why Faith Matters" by Rabbi David Wolpe, which was written partly as a response to the new cultured despisers of religion - Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, etc. Most of us liberal religious types have bought into cultural biases against religion, at least to a degree, and have a secret self-hating streak. As all educated people know, reasonable human beings are supposed to try to be like the Europeans, which is to say not religious. However, Wolpe makes a lot of really good arguments about religion as a beneficial or even essential "meme", as it were, that isn't in fact responsible for all of the evil of the world, whatever that old grumpypants Dawkins might say. After all, God-abolishing Commies and Nazis exterminated something like 100 million people across the world in the 20th century, including large numbers of religious people who resisted them. Can't blame us for that one. Maybe it's okay to recognize in the public sphere that spirituality and faith don't equal weakness and superstition, and atheism/agnosticism don't equal bravery and enlightenment.

I've voiced my happiness here before to not be a part of a religion where "belief" is used as an exclusionary boundary. In more positive terms, today I'm feeling happy to be a part of a religion (period), and one that in general has it's shit together. It's good to have a community and a value system and a theological framework, and its nice to be reminded on a regular basis about the things I claim to believe are important. We need to get this religion thing right, and make it work for as many people as possible, but as the saying goes, the best response to bad religion isn't no religion - it's good religion.

And, to close things out, I'm happy to have just learned that my brother's flying into Seattle in a few weeks for the next reunion show of these guys, who often sing the agnostic theme song and are awesome:

To close with a fun fact that I insert into conversation whenever I get a chance, the Murder City Devils dedicated this song "To Bottletown" - that is, Specialty Bottle, my former employer and their lead singer Spencer Moody's - at their second reunion show in 2006, the day after this video was made. For another fun fact, if you Google "Spencer Moody Gay" this is the first site that pops up, and we've had more than one hit from people who've searched that. Sorry boys, it's an act. I don't think his gayness goes beyond kissing male band members onstage.

Good times.