I don’t know about most people but I envy the Hare-Krishna’s sometimes. They’re a group people robed in pastel and they sing “Hare Krishna” all day. They’re usually at Union Square Park, occasionally underground at the Times Square subway station, or rarely, at the Jackson Heights subway station in Queens because why not.
The Hare-Krishnas can be contagious. They chant in a key that is contagious. I’d use the word “intoxicating” but really, it’s a happy key that sustains above the traffic, the crowd, and the rest of the city. Like that one moment in a casino where everything hits the same major key simultaneously and the place lights up literally and aurally. At that very moment, more than just a handful of people are happy; that very moment euphoric.
I saw them underground at Union Square after a long day. They were chanting at a pace that resembled a stroll in the park. Their voices a glorious unison, their music thronging like a heartbeat, and one lone dancer, her eyes closed and arms gracefully floating in muggy subway air. It looked like heaven and it sounded like home. I wanted to go to it. I wanted to join them. I wanted to hear it, taste it, feel it, bask in it. I would have danced naked in a meadow at that moment.
Personally, I have nothing against the contagion of the Hare Krishnas or against the Hare Krishnas themselves. One of these days, I’ll be chanting along and dancing hand in hand with one of them for all of ten minutes at the most because whatever they are doing looks fun. Joy can be so appealing. It also looks like a good time. I might even get a free book which is the frosting on your grandmother’s red velvet cake.
Walking by the Hare Krishnas one afternoon, I spotted someone whom I know is a Christian (I may know who is but he may not know who I am; that kind of thing). He was walking by them, and what I saw kind of ruined my joy buzz:
He rolled his eyes. Then he gave a jeering once-over to a random (aka struggling and probably high) b-boy dancer who obviously didn’t care that his spastic attempts at b-boying was fueled by the joy of that moment. The unsuspecting dancer may have known about someone rolling their eyes at them, but still. He didn’t deserve that. Also, eye-rolling is unacceptable. Worse, it is a turn off, if not a disappointment, to see a fellow Christian rolling their eyes at someone who is, in more than one, different.
Interlude: The former Archbishop Desmond Tutu said that God would never tell Ghandi “I love what you did for humanity, but too bad that you’re not a Christian though.”
Also: I submit that when Jesus said you ought to love your neighbor, I believe that he meant to love those who are not included in your family. If Church is your family, then anyone outside of it deserves your love just as much as those whom you see Sunday to Sunday.
Christian eye-rolling should be stopped. It’s kind of like casting prejudice on someone based on the kind of music they listen to. Like shooting someone for something that is clearly not their fault. (Shooting them would be your fault if it ever came to that) If Christians would stop thinking that anything or anyone who is different from what they supposedly believe in is “inferior” or “silly” or “ridiculous”, they’d have much more unselfish lives and their capacity to love would be near infinite. If Christians would stop rolling their eyes within earshot of anything that seems different from any Christian “norm,” we would be known for our compassion rather than the rigid fundamentalism that has closed us off from the rest of the world God loves. If Christians would stop rolling their eyes and actually see what’s going on, they would be the ones that society could rely on for help, hope, and love.
I was eye-rolled by a friend who didn’t want to hear what I had to say about what I thought of the zodiac. Here’s the gist of what I wanted to say:
Star signs have unique qualities and in my experience, my reading of people based on their signs and/or birthdays are for the most part very accurate. However, you can’t make your sign define you, or make it as a go-to excuse. Personally, I don’t subscribe to horoscopes because they trap you into thinking that your sign is all there is, that there is no room for improvement, that you have no other path other than what is typical to the dictates of your birth date. Your sign is a stereotype that you have to defy, not an excuse to your typical uniqueness. On the other hand, if you think about it, each person has a star chart uniquely based on their date of birth, time of birth, and specific location. I consider that a gift that God could only put together. Whether or not you can take something from that chart is up to you, but I think that that is absolutely beautiful and worth looking at.
I never got to finish my point. Instead, I got shot down and this is what I was bombarded with:
“I don’t worship the stars; worship the God who made the stars.”
End of story. Like what I had to say didn’t matter. I get what they meant though. I just wish they had pondered, that they allowed a “selah” moment before dismissing what would have been a conversation with what seems to be a canned response that doesn’t really hold any other meaning other than carrying out the purpose of not wanting to hear something worthwhile.
They didn’t even give me a chance to finish, and more awkwardly so, they expected that we could carry on with our fellowship over pancakes and bacon and pretend that a conversation was aborted.
Christians can make the worst conversationalists. Ever.
It’s got nothing to with consulting who or worshiping what. It’s got to do with how all of creation is unique but connected and united. It’s also about how God can somehow speak through his creation but it’s up to us to listen or obey or ignore.
I won’t lie though, I love seeing the Hare Krishnas. Their endurance is champion and their joy is amazing. I’d stop by them for at least 2 minutes to take them in, sway a little bit, and let myself feel God for a moment. If God works in mysterious ways, then why should his presence be limited to things we “ought” to know, or by the things we think we should say? For all we know, we roll our eyes because we are blind to certain things. So stop doing that. I promise you it doesn’t look sexy. Ever.