Monday, July 19, 2010

Eat Your Trash

When we die and are herded into purgatory to work off the sins of this life, we will first be required to eat all of the non-biodegradable trash we have generated in our lives: all the Styrofoam ™ cups, plastic bags and packaging, all the batteries and televisions, all the car parts, refrigerators, computers and printers and phones, electronic gadgets of all kinds.

They won’t be easy to swallow, but to wash it all down, we will have the sum total of the gallons of jet fuel, gasoline, and toxic chemicals we’ve been responsible for using. Then, when we are done re-generating with our own muscles every kilowatt of energy we thoughtlessly spent by plugging into our wall-sockets or flipping our light switches, we’ll still have to re-grow all the trees we chewed into oblivion with pulp fiction, useless reports, non-diary desserts, shopping lists, tissues, and toilet paper.

With the gnashing of our teeth we will grind to dust all the concrete from our roads and our runways, parking garages and shopping malls; we will die and decay over and over until our wasting bodies create enough earth to fill our hollow mine pits, and replace the soil eroded from our factory farms. After the mountaintops we’ve blown to bits for their coal have been rebuilt with our bones, be prepared to hold your breath until the carbon dioxide you emitted from tailpipe or furnace has been offset. For the grand finale, we’ll be asked to melt back to ore with the heat of our contrition all the steel from our cities and ships and tanks and trains and bombs.

As to the radiation, well, there is just no punishment sufficient to atone for the radiation from our missiles, medical equipment, or our nuclear waste, but we will be forced to live out all of its half-lives in torture witnessing the deformities and death visited upon generations upon generations of our descendants and upon the creatures of this earth, while our own bodies shine black with cancer, twisted and burned as matter itself disintegrates and passes through us endlessly.

These are the torments of the hell-realm we’ve created.

But let’s go back to the beginning. When we arrive there in purgatory, stripped naked of our advantages, the bill for our extravagance come due, and with the horror of what lies before us slowly dawning in our clouded minds, we will begin to understand that all of those scruffy “backward” people in the world we’ve been looking down on for living in dirt and in poverty will suddenly be far ahead of us in achieving release from the weight of their human incarnations. We’ll finally see the truth of our privileged American lives: that all of our unjust comforts and technological diversions are in fact the most insurmountable barriers between us and our entry into union with the divine. This is what Jesus meant when he said that the poor were closer to the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you who are poor, for the reign of God is yours…But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.” (Luke 6:20)

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