“When I was just a little lad my father said:
‘Son, you see that universe?
It’s gone into the red.
You can make a world or two
And create a human race,
And watch over them from your
Throne in outer space.
And you know you won’t be bored
After you make day, because...
You can tap, tap, tap your hours away.
Thou shalt not - tap, tap, tap.
Don’t commit - tap, tap, tap.
Have no other Gods before me!’”
That funny, slightly sacrilegious song was written when I was 17 years old. My friend, David Rappaport wrote the lyrics and I wrote the music. There was more to it. In fact, it was to be an entire musical that David and I decided we were going to write. Obviously, the musical was about organized religion. In this first scene, which is the opening of the musical, people are milling around on stage. They look bored, confused, and bewildered. After a while, a man says “What should we do?”. A woman answers, “I know. We should pray.” The people on stage all get down on their knees and suddenly, a man appears in flowing robes on a trapeze. He sings the song I just sang, and the musical went on from there. In fact, the “tap, tap, tap” refrain is enthusiastically sung by the people on stage in response to Jesus on the trapeze through more pretty irreverent lyrics.
Yes, I was 17 and already seriously questioning my Catholic upbringing. By that time in my life, nothing about Christianity made any sense to me. I was beginning to understand that it never would, and quite aside from the fact that I made fun of it, I was also going through a rather painful divorce from it. To be honest, my questions about Christianity started a long time before then, when I was in catechism classes as a child. Too many of the questions I raised in response to what I was being told were unsatisfactorily answered with, “Well, Clovice, that’s just a mystery of faith.” The painful divorce was a result of the feeling that my entire moral and spiritual universe was being unraveled at the core of my being.
Was I a terrible sinner? Was the devil causing me to fall away from my religion? What was wrong with me? How come I couldn’t believe things that seemed to me to be simply unbelievable? Why don’t I have enough faith to overcome my doubts, like other people seem to be able to do? These questions were all very serious to me at that time. I was drifting far away from anything I knew about religion. That growing distance made me feel isolated from other people — and it made me feel wrong. I didn’t have any guidance through those waters I was trying to navigate.
You see, at that time, I still believed in God. But I was slowly forming an opinion that whatever God existed had to be reasonable – indeed – had to be much more reasonable than the God I was taught to fear. Fear of God was one of the first things to tumble. It seemed to me that a reasonable God would not require me to be fearful of him. Why would the God that created all things in the universe need me to have any opinion of him, good or bad, fearful or praising, I thought. Why would He care?
About this blog.
This blog is a place where many of the confluences of my life can be shared. I am, at the core, a creative person. I approach everything from that basis... whether composing symphonies, playing the cello, being a serial entrepreneur, writing sermons and essays, flying airplanes, or creating software apps. I am deeply passionate about creativity, issues of social justice, and spiritual enrichment. These are fundamental to everything I do. Welcome to my journey!