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Showing posts from July, 2012

The Lincoln's Dog Test

I tend to agree with Abraham Lincoln, who once observed that he didn't care much for a man's religion whose dog and cat were not the better for it.  And it's not just dogs and cats, either, but all the beings of the Earth--including the somewhat annoying ones we happen to share a species with.  I take it that that's what religion is for, and that we honor our religious tradition best by illustrating that.

Compassionate engagement with the world ought to be the main fruit of anyone's religious life.

I would think that was obvious, if we did not live in the age of the Internet.  But living in the age of the Internet, I am exposed to an awful lot of ideas that go under the name "religion," and some of them bear the same religious label I do.  This bothers me, possibly more than it should, because I dislike having the religious tradition that I love so poorly represented.  This is especially true for me of Pagan ideas, because Paganism is a religion that is s…

Neighbors

When we die, where do we go?  Does more of us remain in the grave, or where we have lived?

My husband Peter and I have lived in this down-at-heels farmhouse for three summers now.  It is an odd house, in an odd sort of a neighborhood; I have hundreds of acres of woods, much of it owned by various public groups, in my backyard, a suburban neighborhood of close-built ranch houses across the street, and a neighbor in such another house not a stone's throw from my kitchen window.

Despite the fact that deer and bears and hawks and owls are all regular visitors to my yard, despite my flourishing garden and apple trees, I do not live in anything like isolation.  And there is no place on my property that is truly private from my neighbors or from the street.

I'll admit, my dream of a house in the woods was of a house off by itself in the woods--maybe not one where I could never glimpse the smoke from my neighbors' chimneys, but definitely one where I would never have to see my neig…