By David Joel Miller.
Sunday is becoming more confusing than ever.
I am feeling a little scared each and every Sunday largely because of the way my neighborhood chooses to celebrate this day.
Actually, to be truthful, the whole weekend thing is scaring me. Weekends used to make sense but not anymore.
This uneasiness is not solely because of the number of religious observances that occur over most weekends but also because I see a shift in the dominant religion and I am not sure I can fully embrace this new faith.
Most of my neighbors have abandoned the small local church, synagogue or other religious establishments in favor of monstrous temples dedicated to crass commercial consumption. The place of worship that seated one or two hundred has been replaced by the hundred thousand square foot place dedicated to the worship of a god known only by the name “More.”
All my neighbors seem to need to make weekly or more frequent pilgrimages to these palaces and they return with their vehicles laden with sacred venerable articles of the new faith in mass consumption. Buy more and the country and you will prosper.
The custom used to be to make donations to the work of the Lord, whatever particular lord or lady you chose to venerate, and then expect some form of blessing in the future.
Now you load up your car with big screens, fashionable semi-clothing, and other shiny trinkets and then having received your blessings in advance you make a legally binding promise to continue to pay your alms on the monthly installment plan.
The banks and credit card companies are only too willing to do the work of the Great God of Manufacturing.
I try to be understanding of this new faith. I am accustomed to the concept that the entire weekend may include religious ceremonies on Friday evening Saturday or Sunday. Some faiths have worshiped by day and some by night. Some even worship outside. Some get dressed up and some were nothing or next to nothing. A smaller few even pray.
But this newfangled faith in the God of Things has taken to conducting their sacraments, called doing business, at all hours of the day and night. Some temples to consumerism are now open 24 hours a day seven days a week.
Can any heavenly God without a distribution warehouse match those hours?
I had fully expected that the rapidly expanding multiculturalism of this world would lead to more tolerance (religious not chemical tolerance.) It has not.
My neighbors who consider shopping a religious duty are beginning to look askance at my reluctant consumerism.
I have the anti-religious approach of driving my car until the parts can no longer be found for her in the wrecking yard. In deference to Mother Earth and my local political guru, I do get her smog checked on a regular basis.
My neighbors are beginning to indicate that my older car is both a detriment to the neighborhood and some form of religious sacrilege.
There are in fact an entire constellation of religious artifacts that are beyond my comprehension. I cannot invoke any I-prayers on my I-tablet nor am I familiar with blue rays or any other colored rays for that matter.
I would like to find the freedom to practice my own religion in my own way but the nightly broadcast media tells me that I am not doing either my religious or civic duty because I have not made any major purchases this month.
I am willing to greet the usual assortment of religious proselytizers that occasionally reach my doorstep. Recently, however, there has been a radical influx of missionaries devoted to more opulent consumption who tell me I am shirking my duty by not buying a host of products from vacuum cleaners for the hardwood floor to weekly specials on USDA rejected beef.
I had expected more religious tolerance, but somehow my efforts at frugality are seen as undermining the common morals.
Clearly with church attendance continuing to decline and a host of new religions vying for our membership there is less, not more, tolerance on matters of personal belief and practice.
For those of you have not yet done so – go buy something before Sunday is over. I am occupied for the moment watching a little bird outside my window as he scratches through the lawn looking for free seeds and bugs. He has not yet gotten the message that the duty to spend is awaiting.
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books