We attended a Sedar meal with our friends the Terras. Interestingly, when they married years ago they just came up with the name Terra and went with that instead of taking his last name… or hers for that matter. He’s an interesting guy, does ceramic art, some of his work is faces on the wall – some with clever phrases impressed into the clay with old pieces of letterpress type. She has the veritable light of life in her eye and has a way to just make things better. They own property on Lopez Island in the San Juans but moved here recently to dig our scene man.
Anywhichway, apparently, unbeknownst to me, he had thought about becoming a Rabbi at one time. So obviously he puts on one heck of a Sedar. I’ve only been to one other Sedar in my life entire and I can’t even remember the circumstance of that one. This one had all the basic ingredients, salt, bitter herbs, and of course the ritual dowsing of glasses of wine. He edited out most of the “chosen people” stuff (wasn’t Yahweh also the “chosen god” ?) and emphasized the personal responsibility sections. We all recited a promise together: when we return next year to the table we will have accomplished something that makes the world just a little better. That was very cool because although we often know this is the general idea of life on this planet, we usually don’t make it a public pledge. The evening moved on to an excellent full-course meal which featured middle eastern style chicken with prunes and olives (kinda tagine-like) and incredible marinated roasted eggs. We ended up the evening singing Old Testament stories in the form of lyrics to silly tunes like “The Adams Family”.
Around this Jewish table were people I assumed to be Christian (though unprofessed), an agnostic who shook his head “no” and another (me) who doesn’t really care for that label and tends to nod his head “yes”, and at least one professed atheist. The atheist happened to be ethnically Jewish, might just be why she was invited, who was was perfectly willing to join in on the more humanistic concerns while vocally gainsaying all the “God Stuff”. I don’t think we’ll ever agree and I understand why some people settle for atheism but to me its the “God Stuff” that makes this life interesting.
So that’s the basic extent of my spiritual experience lately. Other than daily life of course. I’m reading about the Scottish Enlightenment right now (think Hume, Locke, Adam Smith) and there’s a point in that history, after a young university student is hanged for daring to speak publicly about his issues with official church doctrine, that a movement begins to loosen the laws (meaning: “church law” which was one and the same with civil law at the time) to allow a more lenient approach to the personal spiritual path. They called themselves the “Latitudinarians” because they promoted more latitude in dealing with these renegade types.
So I’m a proponent of Latitudinarianism. Amazing what you find out about yourself by reading history. And I was thinking that I thought of it first.