Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Passing the metaphysical collection plate

The Onion: Churchgoer Tips God For Excellent Week

Unused to the collection plate, the notion may seem rather gauche to many Jews, but I find the sentiment behind it to be rather—echoing Harley’s delicious wordchoice—titillating (yup, that would be Mammary Mention #2 for me). I think that there is something profoundly spiritual about having a tangible representation of the blessings in one’s life.

Most people tend to do most of their “God-talk” when they need something or when things aren’t going well. Case in point: I sincerely doubt that Janis Joplin’s famous Mercedes Benz song would have had such staying power if she had been singing about how happy she was that she had actually gotten the luxury items that she wanted.

Now I’m not advocating that synagogues incorporate a collection plate or anything into their services (although synagogue-sponsored luxury vehicles are always welcome and appreciated), but I wonder what spiritual impact might be had from actually stopping once in a while and looking around and saying, “You know what, things are going okay. If that’s Your doing, thanks.” Maybe it would make the world a slightly better place because people would be a little less bitter and unhappy. And you know, even if religion is just a social construct, I’m okay with a construct that encourages me to stop and appreciate the blessings in my life.

4 comments:

Zie said...

I say, if everything is socially constructed and there is no "truth," then we definitely have free reign to decide for ourselves what is going to be true and what is going to have meaning. People are generally too worried about being wrong to get anything right. So pass your metaphorical or real collection plate. My motto is pagan- an it harm done, do what ye will. We should all enjoy/recognize the blessings in our lives (shout out harley) and the constructs too:)

The Pedant said...

I've been at daily minyan where everyone chucks some cash into the pushke on the bima at an appropriate time, so I think I get the "collection plate" concept.

harley said...

The collection plate reminds me of the "give us money" speech on Yom Kippur. I know it's necessary to ask for money, but I don't think solicitation (of any kind) has a place in synagogue.

I find that the Amidah, during which I have time to thank my Social Construct for all the blessings in my life is the right moment to think to myself, "Damn, I am so unfathomably lucky to have all of the blessings I do." That said, I choose to give my charity outside of services.

Duchess said...

As do I. I just liked the idea of some tangible representation of one's personal blessings and I found the image of a collection plate to be particularly apt.