Faith Takes a Holiday

Religious Holidays in 2014 (Huffy Post)

New Year World

The Secular Chaplain has some questions (of course):

Ten Religions “own” about 168 days set aside as “holy days.”

That leaves almost 200 “unholy” days left for the rest of us freethinking Secular-types.

Well, actually, we get all 365 totally holyday-free!  That’s quite a bargain, if you ask me. . .and you didn’t.

So, next question:

I understand the meaning of holy days, I really do.  Special days to commemorate or memorialize or pray.  I get it.  What I’m wondering is what does The Deity think about all this?  If the faiths and their scriptures (I guess Pagans wouldn’t be included here) claim that The Creator (Their Creator) is the creator of ALL Days, then one might wonder how One Day is more special or hallowed than Another Day?  Aren’t ALL days sacred?  If so, why mark or set aside a day, or 168 days, as More Special?  If I was The Creator of Days, I wouldn’t be too happy about that!

One more question. . .then I’ll leave you to enjoy The Holiday (it’s New Year’s Day here today. . .and you see how I’m celebrating!):

Well, that’s my question:  Why not simply stick with the Universal Holidays like New Year’s Day and. . .I’m not sure there IS another one. . .to bring the Whole Dang Planet together and celebrate that:  you know, that we’re all citizens of this chunk of space-junk spinning wildly (ok, orderly) through the vast emptiness?  Ahhhh.  There’s the rub! There are Different New Year’s for Different Cultures!  Oh well, I thought it was a good idea but Naaaah.

I guess I go back to my old thought:  EDAH (Every Day’s a Holiday!).  Whatya think?  Sound too secular, too this-worldly, too simple and too inclusive? Right.

Happy (fill the blank day)!

(maybe we could use a Happy Happiness Day?)

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8 thoughts on “Faith Takes a Holiday

  1. I don’t think that some days are holier than others, or some are unholy. For me, holidays give a RHYTHM to the year; they shape it. I go through certain emotions during one day, say joy, triumph, remorse, etc. I think holidays reflect the “moods” of the year, so for example in Judaism, Purim reflects merriment and humor, and Yom Kippur reflects remorse and self-reflection, while Sukkot tunes in to thankfulness and the savoring of material things. Karen, of http://offbeatcompassion.wordpress.com/
    (I am a fellow chaplain–hospice to be exact.)

    1. Thanks for the comment, Karen. Hospice chaplaincy is admirable, and quite the challenge. Good work. I agree about “rhythm,” though since there are natural rhythms and cycles that religious days are often based on, I would just rather focus on the original and leave the artificial or supernatural focus which can distract from Nature and present concerns. I learned that working with “outsiders” whose lives had their own cycles to honor, respect and sometimes celebrate. I’ll visit your blog. All the best.

      1. One good thing about an “artificial” focus, at least for Yom Kippur (Day of Repentance) is that if I have put off confronting someone who needs to apologize, or have put off my own apologizing I owe, then that day gives me an opening to say, “as you know, because of this time of year, there is something I’ve been meaning to talk to you about…” So the communal pressure of the shared meaning of that day helps me take care of difficult discussions that I might avoid indefinitely..

  2. Sure, Karen, I get that. Having heartfelt discussions that need to happen is anything but artificial. I think taking any occasion to make and take that opportunity makes sense. Unless, in my opinion, the “I-Thou” is put in the context of “God wants me to do this and it’s The Day to do it.” I’ve always found the “command” (mitzvah/obligation) to do right or the good thing very artificial and really unhelpful. Thanks.

    1. Interesting how human needs vary. Some people thrive on more structure; others on less or virtually none. Reminds me how people in the time of the Judges (in the Bible) clamored for the far more formal structure of a king, and how they were warned that they might get what they wished for. As for me, I’m with you. As a chaplain, I’m so glad it’s all about listening and nothing about preaching or coming in with an agenda, religious or otherwise. Thanks for allowing me to engage in so much back-n’-forth on your blog. -Karen

      1. Respectful back and forth is good! A listening presence. That pretty much sums up my years of chaplaincy. Anything else (including biblical or theological “ping-pong”), as I often say, is unhelpful distraction from the human connection/relation. Have you read much Buber? Some of his wisdom was fundamental in my emergence from fundamental religion.

  3. Excellent post on your blog, Karen. I suspect the sense of I-Thou presence is major common ground for all relevant chaplaincy (spiritual or secular). This is encouraging, since we see so many chaplains who have to impose their agenda and miss any chance of meaningful presence.

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