Sunday, February 14, 2010

God's Presence in a Good Cigar

Norman Lear on where he finds God:

I consider myself deeply religious. I was born a Jew and I love my people and our culture. I could not be prouder of what, in our long history, we have brought to the world. But that is not what makes me religious.

What makes me religious is the way I experience life and the way I try to live it. In his book "Edith the Good," Spencer Marsh's thesis was that, although she never spoke of it per se, Edith Bunker's every reflexive reaction to any situation was what the writers thought Jesus' reaction would be. Marsh had it right; that is the way Edith was conceived. I'm not in that league by any means - Lyn and our children will certify that - but everything tells me that the world would be an exquisite place to live if we were all able to respond to life as Jesus did.

That is "mamaloshen," a Yiddish word describing the understanding that comes when one's common sense derives as much from the soul as the mind. The Sermon on the Mount is simple mama-loshen. And anything that ain't mama-loshen doesn't square with my religious sensibilities.

Of course, to most religionists these observations are dismissible. To them my words lack scriptural, theological and ecclesiastical weight. Still, ever since my early 20s when I smoked my first good cigar, I have felt that if there was no other reason to believe in God, Havana leaf would suffice. I've had similar epiphanies while biting into a ripe peach, a just-ready piece of Crenshaw melon or a great ear of corn.

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