Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Oprah: My Wife's New Pope

There are a few things you never really expect to hear your wife say:
1. "I'd LOVE to have a threesome with Sanaa Lathan!"
2. "If you don't mind, I'm going downstairs to watch Revenge of the Sith."
3. "I agree, my ass does look nice and big in these jeans."

About a month ago (I've neglected the blog, I know), my wife dropped this gem on me: "Maybe I'm not a Christian."

If you knew her you'd know this was a big deal. And if her mother read this, she would literally shit a brick. I'm half tempted to actually make my mother in law read this so I could tape the brick-shitting and a make a grip by selling the video to Guinness. Ok, that's gross (but I'd do it).

So why is this a big deal? Because like most Black folks, she has always defined herself as a Christian. She was raised in a typical Baptist church (collection plates, little white dresses, hooting and/or hollering) and unless you go whole hog and take on Buddhism or Islam, you don't just up and leave the table and cash in your chips. Why not? Because you'll go to hell.

One of the biggest advantages of being me (aside from the obvious) is that my complete lack of a religious upbringing has left me without a concept of hell. I mean, I know what people say it is, but I have literally no faith that such a place exists so I have no fear that I, or anyone else for that matter, will ever go there. In that sense, it's a lot like Lynchburg, Virginia.

But as bad a place as hell is, its a hard place for my wife to turn her back on. Despite her vocal questioning of Christian doctrine, she never really broke camp because to NOT believe -- more importantly to SAY you don't believe is punishable by an eternal trip to God's oven.

Now, I have to give credit where credit is due. The Jehovah's Witness who have been "studying" with her have opened the door to a "hell-less" spirituality. Too bad they're not coming any more (I'll explain more next time).

But the one who really drove it home was none other than the biggest spiritual leader in the freeworld: Oprah.

My wife is completely in love with Oprah's latest book choice Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth" which my wife says "feels right." More right than the Christianity she grew up with. I think most of that has to do with Tolle's similar hell-less spirituality and idea that there is more than one way to connect with a higher power. Curiously, none of these ways mention Sanaa Lathan but I suppose I shouldn't hold that against anyone.

Anyway, my wife seems to be finding a new spirituality, one that does not fill her with dread or remorse and I can honestly say I'm thrilled -- not just because it cuts down on my church-going (once a year is a tough schedule for me), but because she seems a happier person, and isn't that what a connection with God should be about? Seriously, I'm asking because I don't know.

I look forward to your answers.