Monday, June 20, 2011

birds and earnestness

Our back yard is like the Merritt Parkway for birds. Sit on our deck for 15 minutes and you'll probably see 50 birds fly through.

There are Robins, of course, Mama and Papa looking for worms for their baby. A family of Cardinals who must nest in one of the back yard trees and several young Cardinals. Chick-a-dees a plenty and some swallow like birds who fly back and forth about 5 feet from the end of our deck for what seems to be the sport of it. They fly so fast and are so small I never really get a good look at them. Sparrows, of course, and the occasional hummingbird. Wrens and Mourning Doves and a Bluejay or two. A couple of Cowbirds who should have moved on--that being their modis operandi, after all. I even believe I saw a scarlet tanager the other day, though they are rare around here. And there were the three young tawny woodpeckers, that distinctive red swoop on the sides of their head, who were practicing pecking wood a few days ago.

And the crows. They fly above the tree line but there are lots of them. I've become overly fond of crows since I learned that they don't mate until their second year of life and often stay with the parents to help raise next years brood. A avian nuclear family, for goodness sake. Plus they are smarter than dogs and closing in on dolphins. As annoying as they can be, I have a good word to put in for crows....

What I can't abide in the world is earnestness. Sincerity I can tolerate and commitment is fine with me. Even Zealots for whatever cause, misguided or not, those I can co-exist with. But the earnest folks...well, no, I have no time for earnestness. Earnestness, as I am describing it, is devoid of irony or paradox or a sense of humor about yourself. Earnest people are simply single-mindedly self assured that they have the truth and 'their' truth is the Truth that will set you free.

For example, if you are truly earnest you have no idea what that last paragraph meant. It is outside of your ken, you can't comprehend it, it is not a part of your Weltanshaung (or however you spell the German world that means, roughly, 'world view').

Most evangelical Christians, much of the Tea Party and all terrorists are what I call 'earnest'. And they simply must be stopped.

I'd truly welcome a born again Christian who said, "Jesus Christ is my Lord and least I hope so...." Someone from the Tea Party who admitted that destroying the world economy by blocking the raising of the debt limit might not be 'the best idea ever' could earn my respect. And a terrorist who said, 'Lord, blowing up people and myself is really a truly warped idea!' could come to my next party.

If you have absolutely no doubt whatsoever about your most dear and cherished belief, then, in my book, you are too earnest and need to get a life.

I'm not saying 'everything is relative', at least not exactly. What I'm saying is that whatever you are 'certain' about can't come into question and be made fun of and laughed about, then you need to check your earnestness at the door.

Everything isn't 'relative'. But I can't remember the things that aren't.

In one of Robertson Davies' novels, a man is questioning a Roman Catholic priest about how he can claim to be holy after eating most of a chicken and consuming a bottle of wine at dinner.

The priest says to him, "I am quite a wise old bird, but I am no desert hermit who can only prophesy when his guts are knotted in hunger. I am DEEP IN THE OLD MAN'S PUZZLE, trying to link the wisdom of the body with the wisdom of the spirit until the two are one...."

I fancy myself always 'deep in the Old Man's puzzle' a place of paradox and confusion and metaphor and wondering and pondering and not for a moment imagining I have the slightest clue about what is 'certain' and capital T-True. That's where I live and move and have my being, in that ironic and skeptical and mysterious place. So, is it little wonder that I am predisposed, almost to the marrow and the DNA, to want to stamp out and erase from existence anyone or anything or any group that is 'earnest'?

If I were a super-hero in a comic book, I would be IRONIC MAN and I would seek out and destroy certainty and especially earnestness in all its guises.

When I was needed, the Mayor...or Bishop...would point a spot light to the sky that would imprint a giant question mark on the clouds.

????? IT'S TIME FOR IRONIC to leap all 'certainty' in a single bound, stronger than any dogmatic stance, beyond belief and doctrine, Enemy of whatever and whoever is Earnest in the land....Look, up there in your un-conscious and's IRONIC MAN come to save the day......and make you laugh for a change....

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive

About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.