“Church. You’re always in it. Actually there’s no way out of it.”
Bunga Low was the favorite daughter of the famous fin-de-siecle low-cost housing architects Pavi Lion and Ken Nel. In the new century Bunga was being interviewed for the cover story of Global Gazette, a mildly progressive rag. Bunga was transfixed by the architecture of consciousness — How do you get people to fling open their doors and windows to the zephyrs of awe? She was one of the three interviewees for ‘The History of Hypocrisy,’ one of Global’s more adventurous cover pieces.
Bunga continued, “What an hilarious con job got perpetrated upon us. From being every where and all ways immersed in and accompanied by Holy, some slicks snatched our birthright right out from under our noses, and we hardly even quacked in umbrage.
“True, this happened a long time ago, but their perpetual propaganda has kept us from too much awkward questioning about who holds the reins. We remain obediently doggèd, or is it cowed?
“Whatever, they got us buffaloed to the degree that even those of us who have slipped the traces feel at least insidious echoes of guilt.
“If the keepers of the keys ripped open our brains and poured in joy, tore open our hearts and poured in beauty, they’d bloody deserve the job, but when was the last time you came out of any church, mosque, synagogue, or meditation hall laughing out loud, hugging the lamppost, grinning like a fool?
“Imagine if you knew you were always in church, that each of your 2,522,880,000 seconds was under the Scrutiny and within the Freedom of the Divine. (These are our words too, you know, Freedom and Divine and SuchLike.)
“Imagine if you knew that you could dare put your finger in the socket of the vivid universe. Indeed that you dare not not dare.
“If you do not violently love the sky, you must be all but dead. Blue, all that blue, deeper than the blue sea. They should teach you rapture, how to find it, how to feel it, each of your two-and-one-half billion unrepeatable seconds.”
Bunga laughed at a sudden memory and said, “You never know what will be the key to irrevocable reverence. Of course, the ultimate point is that every single thing is a key, but there are odd favorites that, because they are so unexpected and personal, accompany you through your life.
“Oh, there’s all the flashy stuff, sunsets, full moons, gorgeous mountain views, thundering ocean surf. They invigorate, illuminate, stir, amaze. If they were jewels, one might wear them to a ball.
“But what took my secret heart was a wall. I am so mammal, impatient, frolicsome. When I really met a wall, I was astonished, and a little wistful that I had gone so much of my life without knowing any walls. That walls were so willing to stay walls. To stand tall and be a wall and never cut out and go gallivant.
“I was so touched by a wall’s willingness to be a wall that I was suffused with faith and joy. It was so bloody sweet and preposterous to have all spiritual contumely and fear felled by a wall.
“Earth is defined really by its steadiness and sturdiness of image. You can count on it. You can particularly count on a wall.”
Lowering her voice, Bunga continued almost slyly, “You never know what it will be, so you have to stay watchful lest you miss it. Not greedy or demanding or clutching at things, just watchful.
“‘Urgency’ is too stirred up to maintain all the time, but with a little practice you can be deftly intent all the time. Then you begin to notice each thing’s pulse and gossip. It all chats and chirps and sings and preens.
“One of the big ‘inside’ church mistakes is imagining that humility is dull or solemn. Obedience is dull and solemn. When you get humble and start attending to your fellow miracles, it is a pleasant, riveting din. The palm frond, the gear shift handle, satin, crayons, they all have a story to tell.
“I agree that all this energy can be dangerous and disorienting because unfortunately we are not taught in school or church to hold ecstasy naturally and simply in our hearts.
“I would be the last to suggest that the standard church, mosque, etc. cannot be a delicious and generous part of the whole smorgasbord of wonder. I just regret and even resent that they have aggrandized such power and exclusivity unto themselves. Forbid. Sin. Punishment. Detachment. Us. Them. These are bludgeoning power words.
“I don’t for a minute suggest that there are not rotten things we ought not do, but under the influence of wonder, one is reluctant to do harm.
“If the churches led us to wonder, let it bloom in us, careen in us, then I would go back, and we could share glee. Perhaps one day soon.”
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