Erecting Walls or Opening Doors?

When I learned a year or more ago that the popular Grammy-award-winning band Mumford & Sons is a Christian band, I liked them even more.

The idea of a cool, hip band with universal appeal singing and writing and performing about spirituality and the divine and their own religious inspiration means that our world is coming to a point of shared truths and the spiritual has gone mainstream.

It’s evident everywhere you look: yoga on every street corner, with people starting out thinking they’re getting a workout, then ultimately delving into ancient teachings that change their lives and dispositions. TV and radio stations dedicated to spiritual topics. An abundance of authors and speakers inspiring people to change the world.

I was at a great conference recently in San Diego put on by Ted McGrath. He’s not a particularly religious guy and his goal is to empower coaches to sail in their career and personal goals. But even his talks veered on the divine – he was like a preacher in Armani, encouraging his audience to strive for a higher purpose, to make the world a better place.

This weekend, Dan and I are going to Ohio to the Mumford & Sons concert festival and we’ve been looking forward to this for a while. A great lineup of bands in a new-to-us setup so tons of discovery and exploration. The other day, when we were scheduling out parenting time, my ex balked when he heard we were going: “You know they’re a Christian band,” he said, full of reproach.

Um, yes. It makes me like them more. It doesn’t mean that I should avoid this music at all costs because I happen to be born a Jew.

Next week is the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, and in deference to my tradition, I won’t work heavily on the holiday and I will instead choose reverence. In my own way. It isn’t likely to look like the proscribed go to synagogue for hours on end, reciting the same familiar prayers.

I take the liberty of fulfilling my spiritual inspiration in other ways. A walk in the woods. Meditation on my patio. Reading an uplifting book. Slowing down to savor the minutes. Baking muffins. Things like that.

If I had my way in the world, I’d lead a congregation of like-minded people who find inspiration under every leaf. I love that Mumford & Sons is at heart a Christian band. Let’s find the commonality between us. Let’s find my own inspiration in their words.

That’s what makes the world go round.

Not shutting out everyone and everything different in favor of only seeing what you believe. Don’t you realize that we’re all saying the same things, believing in the same God? We just express it based on our individual upbringing and conditioning, community and language.

When I was in Bali two years ago, I marveled at their spirituality that permeated their days. I learned to make an offering under the tutelage of a local woman. That doesn’t make me a convert.

It makes me understanding of how people everywhere on this earth elevate their days. It makes me see how similar we all are, how connected.

If that’s a bad thing, I’m sorry but I just don’t see it.

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