This blog far more often considers Homer the Greek that Homer the Simpson.
I just don’t often write on religion… Not here.
You can’t take the Sunday out of the Catholic, I suppose.
But there’s actually something more at play.
Last night I met a clothing repairwoman named Pearl.
Having been highly recommended, Pearl seemed everything she’d been advertised to be, until it came time to get my receipt.
Pearl, it would seem, considers her shop the last resort for the repair of two items: denim and man’s eternal soul.
“Would you like to receive the world’s most important blessing?” her business card innocently asks.
Every other charming detail about the transaction begs the customer to answer in the affirmative.
(Everything other than Pearl’s accent. But more on that in a moment.)
Once the customer answers yes, Blue Jean Yoda launches into a lecture on Heaven, Hell and accepting Jesus Christ as one’s savior.
I was not entertained.
In fact, I halfway considered reporting Pearl to the store that had recommended her.
I don’t mind discussing God. In fact, I kind of enjoy it, but the contradictions were, for me, glaring.
What if Pearl had worn a hijab and made it her practice to discuss submission to Allah?
What if she had been a Buddhist and used her shop to lecture on the profitlessness of possessions?
I just don’t think either would have been as readily acceptable.
In the words of Homer Simpson, “Jesus, Allah, Buddha, I love you all!”
But is that ever the case?
Some favor one, and some favor the other. (Some favor none.)
Is there ever really room for both?
For me, there are additional factors at play as well.
Pearl’s country of origin (that accent alluded to above) is a place I lived for many years… a place whose views on religion (though in theory the same as my own) I found very challenging.
As such, Pearl’s proselytizing was far from innocent, FAR from foreign, it was a reminder of something that had actually driven me from wanting to know God.
Above, I posited whether Pearl espousing another path to salvation would have been seen as acceptable.
The truth it, by me, it would have been.
I love the exotic. I love that which I feel I’ve had to work to adapt to myself. (Though shouldn’t I be the one changing?)
Had Pearl been a Zoroastrian, I would have labeled her quaint, if not positively inspiring.
Is it fair then for me to feel intruded upon by Pearl’s hypocrisy… Even if part of her offense was that she made me confront my own?