Ok, so a Christian a Muslim and an atheist walk into a restaurant. One of them gives the waiter all sorts of hell, complains about his table, sends his food back, twice, and refuses to leave a tip. Do we care what the man’s theology is?
I would like to give a shout out to my atheist and agnostic peeps. I have known plenty of people who deny, or are unsure of the existence of a spiritual world, but whose daily practice of loving-kindness would astound. If I understand the basic teachings of Jesus correctly, anyone who treats his neighbor as he would hope to be treated is a practicing Christian. And, we are all just practicing our creeds, our philosophies. I would rather see the teachings of Jesus acted out in service than in lip service.
I am heaps more uncomfortable with the fundamentalist than the atheist, though it is possible to be a fundamentalist atheist, and these can be pretty frightening. Any philosophy can be twisted by a rabid mind.
I will not always recommend books whose authors wear their religion on their sleeve. There are some books that are written with such a loving pen, such generosity toward their characters, that I consider these books to be transcendent. I will try and recommend books that have taken me to a place where my mind has been lifted into the finer atmosphere of love.
One such book is The Tender Bar by J. R. Moehringer. The book is a memoir of the author’s upbringing on Long Island, raised by a single mother and the kindly regulars of local watering hole. “Everyone has a holy place, a refuge, where their heart is purer, their mind clearer, where they feel close to God or love or truth or whatever it is they happen to worship,” writes Moehringer, of the bar where his uncle bartended, and where he found a group of fathering souls.
I fell in love with this book. I hope you will too.