Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Exhaustion of Mushgod

Years ago I heard a pastor in Pittsburgh preach about Mushgod. Mushgod is the civic god of our nation, the uniting god of our culture. She/he is the god referenced at the end of every politician's speech though, as they dutifully quote on cue their statement of faith at the very end, they always use the cute nickname they have for him/her: "god bless America." Likewise, every service organization from the Rotary Club to Little League Baseball prays to her/him and justifies their existence by him/her. Mushgod thinks nothing of her/his own glory, but rather is here just for you. Like a can of child's Play-Doh, Mushgod takes the shape of his/her worshiper's wishes. A while ago, one described the knowledge of her/him in a way we can all understand (or at least I can, seeing that I had this for breakfast this morning): "Cream of Wheat" divinity. For Mushgod is beyond definition, preferring an amorphous, rounded existence to the edges and corners that most theologians employ. If on occasion he/she gets mistaken for Santa Claus or Mother Nature, that does not bother her/him. And according to many of his/her followers, like the significant gods of other cultures now long dead, such as the Greeks and Romans, Mushgod also has a son. His name is Myjesus.

Myjesus is the god of personalized salvation of the Mushgodites. Legend has it he did great wonders but then died on a cross, which in itself sounds like a wretched end. But Myjesus followers have made this a beautiful symbol of their faith. They do so by using it as an example of how we should live, wearing gold crosses, singing love ballads about it, and pointing out that the legend also says Myjesus rose from the dead so we too can rise above all our difficulties. Rather than demanding any change of lifestyle from his followers such as found in legalistic religions like Christianity, Myjesus accomodates whatever lifestyle the believer chooses or was helplessly born to follow. His followers are allowed to use any of Myjesus' favorite quotes, such as "God so loves the world," "Love one another," and "Do not judge" as support for any of their actions. The only word they are not allowed to use is "sin," unless used for civic purposes that would, in their opinion, serve the public good such as in the "sin of intolerance." Myjesus followers usually worship in big places like crystal cathedrals and even New York Stadium.

Though this religion of Mushgod and Myjesus continues to grow in numbers, there are signs that they may be running out of resources, perhaps even getting a bit tired. Afterall, no one ever claimed they were infinite. Why do I say this?

For a long time the Mushgod devotees promised that because Mushgod would always bless America, our nation would always be able to provide a growing economy, plenty of jobs, affordable education, ready healthcare, inexpensive housing, free childcare...I do not have times to list all the blessings. These blessings, so they told us, would come as long as Mushgod was satisfied with three things: 1) "Mush-tithes" collected by the government and given willingly by the people, which are usually in the neighborhood of 40% or more of your income (it's just a little hard to figure out how much to give sometimes); 2) "Mush-shifts" which is the peaceful distribution of this money by the priests in Washington to whomever Mushgod deems worthy of his/her beneficence, be it single mothers or banks needing a little extra; and 3) "Mush-money" which is the one miracle Mushgod does as she/he creates money ex nihilo by causing printing presses magically to turn on and start printing more bills when they are needed.

Though these conditions are all still in place, Mushgod seems a bit exhausted in keeping up with all of the blessings that were promised. Or I wonder if it just that he/she is displeased because 1) people are starting to protest giving their Mush-tithes, 2) they seem to be having more difficulty in doing the Mush-shifts, and 3) some of the other unenlightened countries who have yet to come to believe in Mushgod do not like using our Mush-money as mush much anymore? Usually when Mushgod is unhappy (note: she/he never gets angry), there are signs indicating it. Start listening for words such as "sacrifice," "redistribution," or "universal." They'll be in those speeeches that end with the mushy "god bless America."

3 comments:

Ben said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben said...

Wow. That was awesome. I detect a running gag.

David said...

Incisive and helpful for understanding the impotence of what is commonly called Protestant Christianity in USA.
Our God reigns, no matter how much He is ignored or belittled!