side couples square through
I went square dancing last night. In and around the square dancing was some kind of churchy juleklip and julefrokost, which Jane had convinced me would be a good time in spite of the churchy bit, and she was right. I hadn’t been seriously square dancing for ages, since the days when my parents would drag me along on their gigs in the basement of the Unitarian church; I learned to square dance by being swung wildly around by crazy old people, and so got around the “boys have cooties and gym class sucks” problems with public education. I know it’s a dying tradition, but it’s fun and I don’t see why nobody does it anymore. Apart from crazy old people of course.
For a church function, the whole thing was astonishingly secular, but of course people eventually inquired after my religious preferences. I explained some of the reasons I call myself an agnostic, and to my delight they were met not with bafflement but with understanding, in a sort of Christianified slanty way at least. Which gave the theology student at the table enough room to ask some apt questions. Among them: if you were to have a religious revelation, would it change you? The easy answer is yes – otherwise, I’d classify it as a random vision, and not a religious experience – and in a sense it’s a bit of a tautology for me. The more interesting question is this: if you were to have a religious revelation, how would it change you?
Here I see two possibilities:
- Some inexplicable experience convinces me that God exists, and generally conforms to my existing notions of what any proper God should be like: genderless, almost entirely featureless, impossible to alienate. I locate a U.U. establishment with a good choir, or possibly a liberal synagogue. My left-wing politics now have divine backing; I become insufferable.
- Some inexplicable experience convinces me that God exists, and does not conform to my existing notions of what any proper God should be like. I view religious conversion as a random process anyway, so without loss of generality we can call me a Mormon. I have just been handed a heartfelt belief in modesty, sobriety and traditional gender roles – what happens to my inner hairy-legged feminist? I can’t picture her giving up without a fight. Actually, I can’t picture anything at all, beyond the obvious changes in my behavior. Meh.
Here’s a recipe for stuffed monkeys. I haven’t tried it, and I’m planning on banana chocolate chip cookies in the near future instead, since I’ve got some gunky bananas in my cupboard, but I haven’t made any gratuitous monkey references in a while.