So it’s 4:00 in the morning and I am lying in bed wide awake, thinking of any number of random things. I think about Jake and Carly Parker, the characters in my upcoming novel, Rescue in Panama, and I wonder what adventures they will have on the road. I remember my aunt and uncle spending Christmases down in San Carlos outside Guaymas, Mexico before it was developed, and then I remember spending time the kids in Cholla Bay outside Rocky Point, with a friend and her family at their beach house. Then I wonder how she’s doing–if our friend is still married, still an active Catholic. We haven’t seen each other for more than ten years.
And that gets me thinking about religion. I remember Obama talking about small-town folk clinging to their guns and Bibles. (Actually he said, “So it’s not surprising then that . . . they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations” which to me is a very demeaning description.) We live in a very rural area and I don’t think my neighbors are anti-immigrant nor do they dislike people who aren’t like them–at least I hope not because we are certainly a part of the minority on the border, and it sure feels like home.
But what I really thought about was clinging to religion and the Bible. And yes, I say cling to the Bible, to the scriptures. Hold them close. They are our roadmap back to our Father; they are the key to knowing Him who created this earth and sent us here to live and learn. What other subject would we expect to master without time and study? What other subject of importance would we expect to understand by following our feelings while investing no time in learning what its basic precepts are? Why would we not study the Bible which contains the most important subjects of all? The scriptures are our compass, our GPS, a device that gives us guidance and direction through the conflicting paths of life and that sometimes even speaks to us.
The Bible teaches us to love one another, to judge not, to judge with a righteous judgement. It teaches us to accept all people as children of the same Father and to live our lives according to His laws–because it is the best way to be happy. Who wouldn’t want to cling to that if they understood what a precious source of knowledge it is?
I am grateful every day for the scriptures, and I wonder why I don’t study them more. I think most people are like me–we need to spend more time studying and applying the teachings in the Bible. We need to reach out more than we do, help those who are in need and suffering; love our parents, our children and our neighbors.
Lumping guns and religion with “antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment” is to imply that all of these are negatives. It’s too bad. I find religion at its best to be the most uplifting and hopeful institution we have. And yes, religion is an institution. But it gives a foundation to our spiritual growth. It is well and good to say that spirituality replaces religion. For me, religion gives substance, form and direction to the spirit. And the spirit gives life.
I know Obama’s statement is old news. He made that statement six or more years ago, but the truth is timeless. So at 4:00 in the morning I wonder why we don’t all cling to our religion, hold tight to faith, hope and love, and resonate the joy it brings!