What Am I Supposed to Do with All This Karma I’m Collecting?

February 23, 2009

Hey blog friends! Thanks so much for reading my blog, including you new readers. Your dedication to visiting and commenting always warms my heart, and that’s good karma!

Did I just say karma?

What does karma even mean? No one in America seems to know what it means, but it’s a pretty popular word to casually throw around. Just sprinkle it randomly into conversation, and people will think you’re enlightened and trendy. It’s like if you have a bunch of stuff in your house from Pier One, like a vase full of colored balls, or a little Buddha statue or a big metal thing on your wall that even you don’t know what it is. People see it and they don’t know what it is either, so they respect you for having things in your house they’ve never even heard of.

Betty: That is a lovely…decoration on your wall!..Er…What is it?

Wanda: …You know I don’t know. But the guy wearing the capri pants at Pier One said it makes good ‘karma.’

Betty: Oh, I think you mean ‘fun sway.’

Wanda: Oh you’re right. But it’s probably good ‘karma’ too.

Although the word means a lot more to people in eastern cultures, over here karma serves the same purpose as exotic looking furniture, or ‘soul patches,’ or glasses with fake lenses.

Christians don’t seem to be sure what to do about karma because Jesus never talked about it. Is it okay to use? Do we frown on it? Do we try use it just to be hip? The only reason karma is cool these days is because it’s a different culture’s word for a concept that we already know.

It’s called, ‘The Golden Rule.’

But the Golden Rule just can’t hold up to the awesome latte sipping hipness of karma. Karma sounds like a mysterious and exotic belly dancer whispering breathlessly in your ear. The Golden Rule sounds like a schoolmarm rapping your hand with a ruler.

I actually heard a (young) Sunday school teacher at a church I used to attend correct a couple of kids by saying, ‘You know, there is such a thing as karma.’ I was stunned. I wanted to rush in and say, ‘No no, no there isn’t, don’t listen to her, kids. What goes around does not come around. Your deeds or misdeeds to others will never be repaid after you die.’ But that didn’t sound right.

Christians have tried to come up with their own cliche phrases with vague meanings to substitute for ‘karma.’ ‘Love on’ or ‘In Christian love’ are viable alternatives to ‘karma.’ You say those enough, you’re covered in the afterlife. But even these popular phrases fail to infuse the user with the same levels of awesomeness experienced by the ‘karma’ user. ‘Love on’ is like a hip looking trinket in your friend’s house, and she says it’s from Pier One, of course. But then when she’s not looking, you flip it over and the tag says ‘TJ Maxx: CLEARANCE.’

The word ‘karma’ is hip because ‘eastern’ themed décor is hip right now. 99% of all the Buddhas, elephants, and African tribal statues that places like Pier One sells are purchased by people who will never believe in Buddha, African spirits or elephants. It’s all for those people who say ‘I’m spiritual, just not religious.’ If Jesus were a jolly, fez wearing elephant genie, you wouldn’t be able to keep him on the shelves, he’d be so hip. I guarantee it.

Who knows, maybe in China’s version of Pier One, they sell Jesus trinkets like crazy because they think Jesus is novel and cute and will bring them good luck if they rub his belly. Sounds offensive, doesn’t it? I think it swings both ways, but that’s just me.

A couple of weeks ago I was attempting to find a parking space at the grocery store, and I was stopped behind a guy who was waiting for someone else to get in his car and leave. He had a bumper sticker that simply read ‘Karma,’ which I found ironic, given what a tool he was being in the parking lot.

But he also had a ‘Darwin fish’ on his car. That’s a Jesus fish with legs, and it’s an abomination.

I found it curious that a dude with ‘Karma’ on his car would also be a Darwinist. Do Darwinists believe that ‘what goes around comes around?’ That we should treat others as we would like to be treated?

Imagine the world, as Darwin envisioned. Animals are all jostling to climb the evolutionary ladder, natural selection, survival of the fittest, etc, etc. What happens when an animal decides he’s going to take a more karma-centered path; to treat other animals as he would like to be treated?

Antelope #1: You know, Bob, I’ve lived a while now, and I realized the other day that I have never thought of anyone but myself. If I wanted something, I took it. Didn’t matter how it made the other animals feel. After all, we’re all equal in the sight of the non-existent creator. I’m going to start doing good deeds for others. I’m going to think of others before myself.

Antelope #2: You know what, you’re ri…

Tiger: (violently mauls both antelope, takes only two bites of each because he just ate a wildebeest but just had a hankering for antelope, throws leftovers in river so no one else can share, obviously flaunting the ideals of ‘karma.’)

Have you heard ‘karma’ being thrown around? At church? What do you think – is it a word Christians can successfully annex for our own use, or do we need to come up with another, equally hip word to summarize ‘the Golden rule?’ Confession time: how many pieces of furniture or decoration do you have in your house that’s ‘eastern culture’ themed?

One response to What Am I Supposed to Do with All This Karma I’m Collecting?

  1. I know this post is old, but I'm new to the CofNP, and I just wanted to comment because I LOL'd when I read "TJ MAXX: CLEARANCE" Because I work there!