What did Speedy Gonzales say to his lover?
"This won't take long. Want to do it again?"
I don't get to church very often but when I do, I like to attend a Center for Spiritual Learning, if there's one nearby. The one nearest me here in the Portland area is in Lake Oswego, a charming little community on the banks of Lake Oswego, and is called New Thought Center for Spiritual Learning. The main guy there is David Alexander and I really like him; perhaps it's because I can relate to his sense of humor, or maybe it's his "definition" of God/god/spirit/universe/whatever-you-want-to-call-it – he doesn't get locked into any one particular name or title or label.
Okay, onward and upward.
I totally cracked up laughing when I heard David say the above joke. In church. In front of God and everybody. In church! I actually laughed out loud. Very out loud! There were only two pockets of people in the room (I guess it's probably still called a sanctuary even though I'm not really sure of that) who laughed. Out loud. There was a group of people up in the right front area… and then there was me. No one around me was laughing. I peeked around me and saw that most people weren't even smiling! How could you not at least smile at that joke! And then David said something about what he just said being inappropriate, and I said out loud, along with still laughing out loud, that that's what made it so funny! It's still funny, even now, a couple hours later. What a crack up!
What's the difference between Catholic guilt, Jewish guilt, and New Thought guilt?
Ha! There I was laughing again! Even though he didn't mention the guilt I grew up with – that good ol' fundamentalist born-again-Christian guilt – I knew he was referring to church guilt of all kinds; it's guilt, no matter where it comes from. Laughing again!
Back in the 1980s, according to what David said this morning, New Thought-ers back then talked a lot about creating your own reality. If something happened to you, it was because you created it in your life. If something "bad" was going on, a fellow New Thought-er would ask you how you created that, whatever it was. He then said,
"Never use the phrase 'How did you create that?' when you talk to anyone in the community (referring to the people in that room this morning)… <big pause here> unless you're looking at their decoupage."
Again with the cracking up! And he made it even funnier by saying he didn't even know what decoupage was! Ha!
Okay, that might be one of those "you had to be there" but I thought it was pretty funny. Maybe that's because I knew what decoupage was and actually did some of it in the 80s!
And now I leave you with something a little more on the "serious" side: David read a poem by St. John of the Cross from the book Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West. (St. John of the Cross was a Carmelite monk who lived in the 16th century and was trained in the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas.)
Once I said to God, "How do you teach us?"
And he replied, "If you were playing chess with someone
who has infinite power and infinite knowledge,
and wanted to make you a master of the game,
where would all the chess pieces be at every moment?
Indeed, not only where he wanted them to be,
but where all were best for your development.
And this is every situation of one’s life.”