Friday, 17 December 2010

Tea light theology

I realised the other day that I only occasionally refer, as it were with a glancing glance, to the theology of tea lights. Yet they are an important part of the ethos of the Beaker People and worthy of consideration.

I suppose in many ways the tea light is a paradigm of modern spirituality. I often draw the analogy to the Anglican communion wafer, or a Methodist communion glass. The wonders of industrialisation meant these small, identical tokens of spiritual refreshment could be made - and the cult of individualism made them desirable. That's your spiritual moment. No-one else's. They can get their own, just like your own. After all, they come in bags of 50.

A tea light is not morally demanding. It does not ask you to examine yourself. And, let's face it, by the light of a tea light it would be terribly tricky to examine anything. No, rather through using a tea light you provide yourself with the illusion of light, while at the same time actually allowing the dust in the darker corners to be obscured.

But it gives you the sense of something. Just a light shining in the darkness. A brave little tea light. Your own little light of yours, you're gonna let it shine. Giving comfort. Giving hope. Giving a focus. Giving, if you buy the right scented variety, a lovely Christmassy smell around the place.

Sure, it's all about you. But then if religion isn't about making yourself feel better, what's it there for?

There's no progress with a tea light. It can't move you, like poetry. It can't inspire you, like the prophets. It can't challenge you, like John the Baptist. It's just what it is. And you can be just who you are. Not becoming, not growing, not changing, not moving. Just being. Bit of Enya, you could be in a dull little suburban heaven, no threat to anyone.

Go on.  You know you want to.

1 comment :

  1. Unfashionable, unsophisticated, uncomplicated maybe, but I like tea lights, they give me a small centre to focus my prayers on, in a very often rackety rowdy environment.
    They have for me, a sense of stillness.

    So shoot me!


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