Friday, June 12, 2009

serious and solemn again

Like a pair of dancers, a couple of thoughts seemed to link up in my mind this morning, moving closer together and further apart as the music demanded....

1. I doubt if the dictionary would agree with me, but if I had to make a distinction between the words "serious" and "solemn," I think I would argue that what is "serious" is what anyone might consent to embrace and what is "solemn" is what is held at a distance.

If this is true -- and if someone fed me enough beer, I think I would argue it is -- then I think it would be wise to examine closely our own solemnities. They are wonderful warning signs. Theologies, term papers and wars are laced with solemnity. Anger, love, and bank robberies are serious.

No doubt solemnities can have serious consequences and serious matters can be left to rot on the vine of solemnity, but we're just drinking beer here, making distinctions.

2. A lot of people love what we might tentatively call "God." And no matter what the religion involved, those same people are likely to assert that "God is omnipresent" -- present in all times and places. It can be a matter of solemn belief and perhaps endless discussion. "God is omnipresent."

But if "God is omnipresent," then only God can worship God and the question arises for any serious person: Why would God bother? As a sly, intellectual question, this can be fun. But as a serious matter, something that enters the heart, well ... why would God bother? Wouldn't this be like water extolling its wetness -- an attempt to separate what is inseparable?

I think this is a good question for Buddhists as well, although "God" may not be their word-of-choice. Is it possible to separate enlightenment from enlightenment, whether by praise or scorn? How long could anyone be satisfied with their own solemnities?

I think it is something worth considering.



  1. Love being an expression that need not be directed at any individual, in the similar manner, reverence or solemnity could have no object- there is nothing that prevents God from expressing reverence. Worship need not always be between two people- a reverent feeling could permeate an unfragmented relationship.

  2. Hi page69 -- In such a seamless and warming scenario, who reveres what? Who worships what?

    No criticism or philosophy-- I just wonder.