Tuesday, December 19, 2006

AntiGrinching

I have often been impressed by Rabbi Lerner. He is a true humanist, the kind of man who reminds me why I so disliked Brisbane's "humanists", who equated "humanism" with hatred and exclusion, when it is, of course, the religion of inclusion. I am above all else an inclusionist. I want us all in the same boat, no one left to drown.

I loved his piece on the theft of Christmas. In the UK, of course, Muslims are the people accused, not Jews. Islamophobia sells better than antisemitism in the UK.

Rabbi Lerner's ideas are great. I love that he wants to rescue Hannukah from the materialists, and his solution is quite beautiful. I was wondering what on earth to get my wife for Christmas. Now I have a great idea. She will love it too.

Even so, in many ways, we would all benefit from celebrating a secular Hannukah1 rather than Christmas. We should all light a candle and say a prayer to whatever we believe in that ignorance is illuminated and that the world can be in a tiny way better in the next year than it was this, and that we can contribute to its betterment, in no matter how small a way, more than we contribute to its detriment, which, usually inadvertently, we know we will.

1 I don't know much about Hannukah, and my apologies if I have it wrong, but my understanding is that it is a festival of renewal (because it commemorates the rededication of the Temple). In any case, that is the meaning I intend: thankfulness for what we have perhaps, but above all, hope for renewal. Return

3 Comments:

Anonymous Don said...

Candles work. Singing works. I'm still stuck between a rejection of all religion, and the fact that humans evolved a need for religion (or something like it) and I'm human too. So any derivation of tradition is right out and yet ... it works.

And the consumption doesn't. Your post is tangential to my growing problem with this Season.

December 19, 2006 at 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Dr Zen said...

I do not have a problem with religion. It articulates the hopes, fears and needs that bind us. Okay, the vehicle is all wrong, and we drive it to the wrong places, but it still has merit.

And I love the candles, the carols and the togetherness of Christmas. Yeah, the commercialism makes you feel dirty, but the happiness fuelled by mistletoe and wine and having rich food to eat is not to be sniffed at. Consumption does not have to be massive to be enjoyable, after all. Just a few pints, a snifter and a kiss with the missus under the 'toe. Where's the harm?

December 19, 2006 at 4:43 PM  
Anonymous Nobody said...

I'm eating shortbread I made from scratch (yeah, I know, four ingredients, how hard is it, fuck off I'm telling a story), cut into the shapes of tiny stars. Consumption can be lovely.

We should all light a candle and say a prayer to whatever we believe in that ignorance is illuminated and that the world can be in a tiny way better in the next year than it was this, and that we can contribute to its betterment, in no matter how small a way, more than we contribute to its detriment, which, usually inadvertently, we know we will.

Beautifully said. You say Hannukah. I do this at Christmas. Call those shadows on the cave wall whatever you want.

December 20, 2006 at 11:56 AM  

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