I say: Let us Christians saunter down to the Hindu temple and learn about the Baghavad Gita while stumbling through Sanskrit. Let’s ring the bell and lie prostrate. Let’s stay for a Prasad lunch.
I say: You Jews, there, come along to the Orthodox vespers, will you? The incense alone is enough to shock the senses and stir the spirit. Pay reverence to the Theotokos as you light a candle and parse the Greek.
I say a lot of things. But, as a matter of fact, who’s listening?
The devil is in the details, I’ve found. I write too often like an 18th-century wigged scholar, frothing at the pen tip about good, gods, and greatness. Who listens to that in 2010? Raise your hands, please. I’ll count you on my index finger.
The beast is not always in the questioning. Though that’s a bit of a Kraken indeed—how to answer the questions that don’t stop questioning. But who’s to conquer the beast?
I fight with the sharpest sword in the shed—my lustrous words, hoping against hope that flails this way and that will pierce a heart or shock the blood into urgency. It’s time for a battle, after all, and you must not fight unarmed!
Who am I talking to? Fifteenth-century England? A rabidly Catholic France? My own imagination? No, I’ve got it all upside-downways and that means I don’t know to whom I am speaking or what mottle of words would be best for them. After all, if I’m speaking to somebodies I simply don’t know, how well do I know exactly what to say?
Not: Start with spirituality, then we’ll talk.
Not: Put down the rosary and work in a food bank.
Not: Learn a Jewish chant and light the Menorah.
Not: Pray, don’t pretend.
Not: Listen to me.
Not even: Listen to me.
I should probably first figure out who’s willing to listen.