Saturday, December 19

Brewing my religion.

Since an adolescent, I've always been suspect of religion. For instance, dedicated to my role as a rebellious, angst-ridden, pre-teen, I would often call out my mother (our Hebrew school principal, no less) on just how little sense it made to congregate in a room and intone words in a language from which we derived little personal meaning.

(In response, my mother enrolled in a conversational Hebrew class, which didn't last long, since I'm guessing she wanted to say more to God than, "The ball is red." Love you, mom!)

Anyway, religion's always seemed a bit weird to me; I haven't been able to wrap my brain around the idea of having faith in something as intangible as an invisible man in the sky.

Until today, that is.

I had two meetings scheduled about two hours apart, leaving some time to kill (and only 20 blocks to walk) in between. It's freezing cold here in NYC, so I wondered what to do. I just started walking down Seventh Avenue, when my Great Religious Epiphany occurred.

Perhaps this is what it's like when people say they hear the voice of God: I was walking in the cold, aimless if not exactly lost, when as clear as day a voice said,

"Starbucks. Keep walking, Adam, and you will find a Starbucks. You need not take out your Blackberry, nor ask the man on the corner for directions. Keep walking, believe, and ye shall find."

In a rare moment of blind faith, I just kept walking, knowing with religious certainty that I would encounter a Starbucks perfectly situated between where I was and where I needed to be.

And lo and behold, there it was, at Seventh Avenue and 27th Street: a Temple of Caffeine, offering me warmth, comfort, and a place to sit for a lot less than my parents' synagogue dues.

I mean, if that's not faith in action, then paint me green and call me Jesus.


Blogger Claire said...

When you're a child, typically you are taught a metaphor for what is termed "God" in our culture that is understandable to a child - Our Father, The Lord, an invisible man in the sky.

Some religionists cling to these metaphors as adults, and may even have the delusion that they are a close approximation to what God is.

Many intelligent adults, as they grow older, find that these metaphors are no longer workable, and since they are silly for an adult, they decide all religion is silly, or that God doesn't exist.

You can't judge God's existence based on childish understandings of what It is. If you're interested in such things, you have to go on your own spiritual journey as an adult.

Is this Starbucks your first way station on that journey? Personally, I don't think you can judge whether or not God exists on the appearance of coffee. Although, Lord knows, there have been times when having a hot caffeinated beverage did approximate a religious experience for me, as apparently it did for you.

Most likely: you had seen this Starbucks before. If you wanted to go all supernatural on us, you could perhaps think that you had seen the Starbucks before in an altered state of consciousness; while it wasn't completely in your conscious memory, you had a sufficient recollection of it such that you had faith that it was going to appear down the block.

This to my mind is the most likely explanation. What do you think?

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