Archive for March, 2009

drphil 001Yesterday, filing out of church by myself, I spotted our friend Beth ahead and felt a twinge of apprehension.  Since Rachel and I started coming to St. Columban’s more than a year ago, Beth has been an admirer of our brand new marriage.   “Everytime I see you two, you’re smiling and holding hands,” Beth said once.  “You seem so in love.”  Rachel and I accepted the accolade modestly. 

Now I felt like a fraud.  If our marriage was so perfect, why was I at church by myself?  The immediate reason was that Rachel’s son Jack had a 102 degree temperature, and her other son Michael, given the choice between going to church with his stepfather or watching a Star Wars video in his pajamas, had picked Star Wars.  My daughter Alani was with her mom.  

Jack’s 102 temperature gave me an easy answer to the inevitable “Where’s your lovely wife?” question at church, but that answer concealed a dark secret: 

My wife prefers Wayne Dyer to Jesus.

Rachel denies this, but it’s Dyer’s Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life she curls up with in bed, not the Gospel according to Matthew.   During the sermon at church, she tends to read the bulletin.  “I’d have no problem with church,” she explained,  “if I could bring a latte.”

After months of groaning her way through Sunday Mass,  Rachel announced two weeks ago that her attendance on  Sunday would no longer be automatic.  She announced this with some trepidation, because it meant that she and her sons would stay home and my daughter Alani and I would go to church.   We both feared this divide.  If  the family that prays together stays together, what happens if half the family prays together and the other half watches Star Wars?

And I felt bad for Jesus:  He’s the earnest, geeky kid.  The cool kids,  Wayne Dyer, Mary Ann Williamson, Eckhardt Tolle,  Dr. Phil, and the rest all have their glossy bestsellers, pricey seminars and Oprah appearances.  Poor geeky Jesus just has his dusty old gospels and his parables. 

I  called Rachel on the way home.

“Hey” I said.  “This Jesus guy says that to flourish as a person, you have to abandon your ego.”   This isn’t exactly what Jesus said in the Sunday reading.  I’m trying to rehabilitate Jesus by  translating King James into New Age.  He actually said “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a grain of wheat fall  into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” 

 “Huh,” Rachel said.  “That’s what Wayne Dyer says.”

“No offense,” I said, “but I think Wayne stole some of his stuff from Jesus.”

Rachel patiently acknowledged that Wayne Dyer may have drawn from Jesus’ teachings.

“I think this Jesus guy is on to something,” I said.  “He should write a book.”

Rachel tells me she’d like a tall decaf  from Starbucks.


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