Thursday, April 14, 2011

WWJC, or, Which Chaplain Would Jesus Choose?

I am going to change my blog.  Not my life, mind you. That's too much of a project.  In weeks to come, the look of it will change.  No more drab, 70s powder-room decor with vague birds flapping off somewhere!  This is the age of clean white possibilities. Oh, and search engines.  (Soon. I promise.)

The new focus will be on the writing process and spiritual growth. So there's going to be humor, natch.  For one thing,  I've got a lot of religious ambivalence. Choices!  Who's right?  Aaagh!  One thing I like about being a Quaker is that it can contain all that.  You can be all, Which end is up? and still be an okay Quaker.

So, forthwith, my first post takes a "searing, compellingly readable look" at the smorgasbord of religious options available to us here in the US through a sociological sample of a representative population. (I stole the quote from the back of someone else's book.)

Observations on viewing photograph portraits of the various chaplains at a large university.  READ AND CONSIDER:

The Zen chaplain looks like a cancer patient without any hair, but she actually looks really healthy.  She seems happy.

The Evangelical Christian chaplain looks friendly and happy but unhealthy and blowsy, like he might drop dead from corroded arteries during a service.

The Historically Black Church chaplain looks like someone you'd want to invite to a tense family gathering, because he'd get everyone talking and help them to relax.  Ergo, he looks happy.

The Islamic chaplain looks extremely intelligent and his eyes sort of bore into you.  He might be happy.  He probably has 3 PhDs.  He has a tasteful little beard.

The Pagan chaplain looks like she would rather not have her picture taken.  She looks like she would be happy if she weren't being frozen in film.  She looks healthy in an earthy sort of way.  But clean.

The Protestant Christian Ministry chaplain has a very funny name which I can't repeat here.  It's good that he has a funny name because his picture is so boring.  His surname rhymes with that of a famous porn star.

The Episcopal chaplain looks very smart and friendly in the way of person who never got a bad grade in her life but saw right through the popular kids.  Possibly her legs are quite heavy, but if so she doesn't care. She's so beyond that.

The Jewish chaplain seems to be the oldest one in the group.  He might be happy, but he's doing something self-conscious with his mouth.  He is never seen without his jacket and tie.  Of all of 'em, he probably spends the most time sitting at white-linen-covered tables at fundraising banquets.

Maybe the Lutheran chaplain has to wear the collar, but with that wide lapel blue jacket?  Her photo looks like the kind of high school graduation picture you'd hide in a drawer.  Ooohg, this is getting petty! Hey, it's a photo, not a biography.

The Baptist chaplain looks like someone's awkward teenage son.  I said "awww," when I saw his picture, and I hope the students are nice to him. He looks like he's trying really hard to look happy, but like he doesn't understand half the foul language the college kids use.  He tries to fake it with this anxious smile.

Judging from the hooded robe, the Roman Catholic is an actual monk--a Vote in his Favor.  But his haircut is middle management.  He looks happy and fun, as if he's about to say, "Please. Call me Tony."  (Interesting that the guy has the first name of a famous cartoon character.)

--So, based solely on my completely superficial interpretation of their photos, which chaplain would you go to for spiritual counsel?  And what, pray tell, would Jesus do?


Laura said...

I'd go with the Episcopalian!

Fun post.

Ralph Reed said...

Great blog post Helen. I would love to see the pictures.

I choose either the zen or the pagan, but lean more towards the pagan.

Jesus would choose all of them. They all provide the same thing, just differently.

HelenQP said...

Yes, Laura, the Episcopalian is solid. In more ways than one.

Ralph, do you really think Jesus would have TIME for all that visiting and conversation?

So why pagan over Zen? I'm curious. Is it the Birkenstocks she was wearing (since there was no photo, you must have sensed they were there....)

P.S. Take good care of Jane for us this week!!

HelenQP said...

Ralph, send me your email addss and I'll send you the link to the secret...

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to your new blog style, very intrigued!

As for the rest of your blog, you have a knack of bringing on smiles. :)

Thanks, as always.

Catherine Stine said...

Gee, not sure I'd go to any of them! I guess it might be interesting to chat with the zen person, mainly because I haven't chatted with one in depth and I am drawn to zen. Just watched my hubby's film, Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer, which is coming to public TV around Easter, and I have to say, I was pretty intrigued by the bits of wisdom from the Eastern orthodox hermits, priests and cave dwellers.
Your new blog template sounds good. Looking forward to reading more posts.

Rich Sidney said...

I'd go the Uni-Uni chaplain (he's not at some gathering, but actually doing ministry).

If I had to choose from those present, I'd probably choose the Rabbi, the Zen or the Pagan. Or maybe all three, just to get some differences of opinion.

I would also note that one of the good things about the Uni-Uni's is that they also support personal belief systems and can contain whatever people want.

Please send me a link to the pics -- I am curious.

HelenQP said...

Ryoma, thank you! I feel virtually hugged. You are such a wonderful cheerleader.

KS, Cool about Norris's book. I'll definitely snag a copy. The Zen chaplain seems to be attracting some match her haircut?!

Rich, What is a uni-uni chaplain? Unitarian? or is that a sort of religous pushme-pullyou? (remember Dr. Doolittle?) I'll send you the link. Now watch-- you'll completely disagree with my interpretations!

HelenQP said...

Rich, can you send me your email address again? I had a rather nasty computer meltdown last month and am still building up my contact list. thanks!!

Rich Sidney said...

uni-uni is Unitarian-Universalist. Used to be Unitarian, but they joined up with another like-minded sect and now they are hyphenated. Look for the e-mail.

HelenQP said...

I guess that if they had a chaplain for every religious stripe, they'd outnumber the Liberal Arts faculty at this large university. Says something about the universality (the "Uni") of the spiritual impulse in humans...what Freud called an "oceanic" feeling. Which he didn't share, for whatever that's worth.