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The 77% Weekly
The 40/52-weeks-a-year, quick-reading, thought-lingering, spiritual-religious newsletter.

Religion-Outside-The-Box (oldrotb.wpengine.com) is a donation supported not-for-profit empowering adults to find and be with (the) God (of their understanding).  

Unscheduled issue about religion
From the desk of Rabbi Brian

Real religion.

 


Following up to
Issue 14.40 Religion, a subscriber to The 77% Weekly sent me the text of a speech given by the writer David Foster Wallace to the 2005 graduating class at Kenyon College.  It’s text is so wonderful and about real religion that I wanted to send it out to you!

In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of God or spiritual-type thing to worship — be it J.C. or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan mother-goddess or the Four Noble Truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles — is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things — if they are where you tap real meaning in life — then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you. On one level, we all know this stuff already — it’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, bromides, epigrams, parables: the skeleton of every great story. The trick is keeping the truth up-front in daily consciousness. Worship power — you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart — you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on.

Look, the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful; it is that they are unconscious. They are default-settings. They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that’s what you’re doing. And the world will not discourage you from operating on your default-settings, because the world of men and money and power hums along quite nicely on the fuel of fear and contempt and frustration and craving and the worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom to be lords of our own tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying. The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default-setting, the “rat race” — the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost some infinite thing.


(The full text of David Foster Wallace speech, and it’s BRILLIANT, is is available here.)



With love,


 


Rabbi Brian


 

The 77% Weekly


The 77% Weekly: The Religion-Outside-The-Box Newsletter
helps people find and be with (the) God (of their understanding) 40 out of 52 weeks a year.


Why 77%?
Two reasons:
1) 40/52 = 0.76923. The newsletter is sent every Monday except the last of each month.
2) In school 77% was a passing grade and ROTB wants to remind you that life isn’t graded, it’s pass/fail.


Religion-Outside-The-Box is a donation-supported,
non-denominational, internet-based, 501c3-tax exempt religious congregation.

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