Friday, June 15, 2007

The Great Potato, Prayers and Pork Rinds

Yesterday's post ended with reference and reaction to the news bite that a governor, because of drought in his state, had brought forth the idea sending state officials out to get farmers and other good folk to gather and pray to the Great Potato for rain.

There were a number of people who were, if possible*, even more bemused than I at the incredible inanity that an elected official could not only make such an idea public, but use state officials to implement it! It's the sort of thing I'd expect in the Third Galaxy, but the Great Potato forbid that anything of the sort should happen in my beloved US of A!

However, my bemusement is more nuanced than some so, I am in no way an opponent of prayer as such.

Something the Crazy Bird wrote many years ago explains my position better than I ever could:

Some think that prayer is a sort of wish list we can send off to the Great Potato while we're washing dishes or scratching our butts. Others say we have to assume certain positions, be in certain places or make our requests at specific times. I'd rather not comment too deeply here, but it's as if they've gotten the idea that the Great Potato a sort of souped up Santa Claus, fairy godmother or divine Welfare Office.

Then there are those who look at prayer as spiritual sit- or push-up exercises. It's as if repeating a string of words should somehow remove flabbiness from the soul. Despite my sarcasm though, I do recognize there may be an element of reality to the idea -- it is not the words, though, but the silence they can lead to, that is to say, contemplation, even meditation.

Finally, I know that many labor under the unfortunate illusion that prayer is like the punishments Bart Simpson does after school where he has to write 100 times on the blackboard, "I will not pick my boogers in class..."

To be as clear as I can: prayer is not something that will please, appease or coerce the Great Potato to alter Reality.

My position is that prayer is an instinct as basic as those which urge a baby to suck milk or adults to desire the embrace of love with another human being.
Is it possible to accept Reality and, at the same time, ask that it change? Perhaps, but it does seem like there is a disconnect somewhere, like when the bicycle chain hops off or the gears strip when you reverse while going forward.

The bottom line is that not only does the Great Potato not hear prayers, but if It did, It's reaction as well as that of It's Only Begotten Spud, the Holy Idaho, would be to wonder if we were ever going to learn to listen to what we were, in essence, saying and understand the consequences of what we were expecting to happen, should that actually occur.

It's kind of like saying, "Thank you for the glory and wonder -- gimme a bag of pork rinds!
* If it is of any interest, you can see the comments of others here and here.


BadTux said...

The Great Potato sounds much like the Great Penguin, who is a rather lazy deity who spends most of his time chowing down tasty herring or sleeping. Tuxologists pray to the Great Penguin, but the Sacrament of the Herring does not seem particularly effective at getting His attention. But at least Tuxologists don't advance silly ideas such as praying for rain as the solution to the problems caused by drought...

- Badtux the Great Penguin Worshipping Penguin

Chuck Cliff said...

[Sigh] You are right on target!

There is much discussion among those who claim belief in the Great Potato -- and the dialogue is often, umm, more than verbal.

The biggest dispute is between the Peelers and the Mashers.

The Peelers say that, Holy Idaho (His Only Spouted Spud) was "peeled" and those who believe in Him will not be tossed into the giant vat of boiling oil to be, umm, French Fried Forever.

The Mashers say that the Great Potato begat no spuds and that all unbelievers will be "mashed". Believers, on the other hand will go to live with the Great Potato in the Colender in the Sky.

I hope this clarifies things for you!

Lurch said...

i have just learned to invest all my emotional and psychic energies in believing there is a Great Pumpkin, and now you tell me that at my advanced age I have to start believing in a Great Potato?

Chuck Cliff said...

LOL, belief is not enough (and Charles Schulz is an apostate!)!

One must also accept the Great Potato's Only Sprouted Spud, the Holy Idaho, as your personal "Peeler" - otherwise you will be thrown into the vats of boiling oil to French Fry Forever...