Reverent Irreverence

(A rewrite of an old blog post  from 2006 that is still relevent…)

“Thankfully, our Gods have a sense of humor.”

This is a phrase one hears regularly in our home.  Francis and I will often find ourselves giggling uncontrolably in the middle of a fairly serious religious discussion.  Or taking an amusing mundane conversation in a bizarre theological discussion – like reinterpreting the old Christian explicative “God’s Blood!” for polytheists:  “Annwn’s Nipple Hair!*  Horus’ Beak!  By the Holy Pancreas of Aphrodite!”  (We share an odd sense of humor, its one of the reasons we’ve been together so long.  No one else will have us.)

Many share our belief that we humans should not take ourselves too seriously, but including the Gods in this practice makes most people uncomfortable.

So I’ve coined the term “Reverent Irreverence.”  (I’ve since seen the term used by others, though in a different context, so I don’t know if “coined” is the right word here.)

I don’t know how Francis came by this approach to divinity, but in my family growing up, a gentle teasing was a way of showing affection.  I love my mother, I have tremendous respect for her, and gratitude of giving me life and helping me become the woman I am.  I will also tease her mercilessly when she does something silly.  We never get mean, but we do remind each other of our more amusing imperfections.  I guess it keeps us humble.

Of course, the Gods don’t need to be humble, at least where humans are concerned.  They’re Gods, after all.

Still, this is one way that I show Them my affection for Them.  I’ve always gotten the feeling They were in on the joke.

(Some Gods, anyway.  Others, er, not so much.  Odin, for example.  While I do sense a sort of wry wit about Him, and I do have a deep love for Him, there’s no way I’m going to make the Allfather the subject of even the gentlest mocking.  Nope.  Wouldn’t be prudent.)

Anyway, it could be argued that there is precedent.  Anyone who’s read Homer knows the story of Aphrodite’s affair with Ares and how Hephastus caught Them.  A story, I assume, the Gods would prefer wasn’t widely told.  Yet no one was smited.

To date, neither Francis nor I have been smited either.

*If I ever start a band, this will be it’s name.


5 thoughts on “Reverent Irreverence

  1. SunflowerP says:

    I may have said ages ago, but I’ve been using the phrase “irreverent reverence” since, oh, 1992 at least – you might have subconsciously picked it up from me, and inverted it. (Not that I much mind, other than being – typical Cauldronite – a fan of accurate sourcing and credit-where-due-if-known; if you picked it up from me, it means I made a Useful Thing, which is always happy-making.)

    Or it could be independent invention; I joined TC in Jun ’05, but my presence was intermittent until, IIRC, fall of ’06 (I recall that because I’d had a long hiatus while my common-law marriage fell apart, and that was when I was recovered enough to have the spoons for getting involved in forum convos again); so I might not have used the phrase where you could see it until later than you coined it.

    And, too, they might mean slightly different (though closely related) things. Um, the difference between doing one’s irreverence in a reverent way (your phrase) and reverent things being done in a way that some people might perceive as irreverent (mine)? (Hairs, I can split them :-).)


    • agathiweaver says:

      I very well might have gotten it from you and then forgot. Though I think when we talked about it before we came to the conclusion it was independant – or we just share a brain from time to time.


      • SunflowerP says:

        I’mma go with “share a brain”, because there’s plenty of evidence for that, while the other hypotheses have an insufficiency of it (and some of what there might be is inaccessibly buried in TC’s Beehive-incarnation archives).

        F’ex, the evidence of my cussphrases, “(by) Hekate’s Left Tit!” (why Hekate? why the left one? No idea – though the second could be partially answered with, “Because she’s not an Amazon” – but she doesn’t seem to have a problem with it), “Herne on a (minibike/pogostick/other unusual means of transportation that presents an interestingly-incongruous mental picture)!” and the like.

        Hmm, which raises questions about whether Francis has timeshare on the same brain, and conversely (because he’s the person with whom I have by far the most share-a-brain instances) similar ponders about JFP’s brain. (And a fairly long list of Cauldronites with whom I get that effect sufficiently regularly to take note of, some of whom I’m reasonably sure you don’t, or seldom, have it with – at which point, I have to posit that there is some indeterminate, and probably indeterminable, number of non-identically-oddly-wired collective brains being passed around, with TC as just one of the similarly-indeterminately-numbered transfer nodes… thereby exploding whichever brain I was using just then :-).)

        Sunflower, who is having an odd day

        • agathiweaver says:

          One of Francis’ favorites is “Frith in a blender!” Yes, Frith. The rabbit God from Watership Down. He actually got in an impassioned arguement with his (then-not-yet) ex about whether one should be so disrespectful of a … bunny … god…

          I like your theory. I’ve had timeshare on a couple other Cauldron brains from time to time, but not so consistently.

          Thorn, who wonders if there is another kind of day to have

          • SunflowerP says:

            There’s some really good theological worldbuilding in Watership Down. And linguistic/cultural (though not entirely unproblematic, since it’s underpinned by once-common “primitive peoples” tropes – OTOH, they’re rabbits, FFS. And Adams did a pretty good job filing off those serial numbers; the rabbits aren’t, at least as far as I can recall, meant as stand-ins in an allegory about human interrelations, it’s a device for making rabbit socioculture complex enough to be interesting but still credible for, well, rabbits).

            I’ve been known to tell people to “Silflay hraka!” (alas, there sorta needs to be someone in the vicinity who will get the joke, so I don’t do it often).

            I’mma stop before my run-on parentheses get completely out of hand.


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