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27. Are Priests Ruining Religion - and What of Dudeist Priests?

Updated: Jan 18

Image by Kollyn Lund

I was listening to an Osho talk the other day...

It's an old one about Daoism, you can check it out further here.  Osho can be quite funny and was known for his forthright way of speaking.  And in this talk, he was saying how priests are ruining religion.

And I agreed with him..

I live in a country (Austria) that is under the heavy shadow of the catholic church.  If you have kids here, at some point, you are going to come face-to-face with that church as they are strongly connected to the kindergarten and early schools..

And the experiences I had in those churches, are pretty much the same as those in the UK, however, there is a noticeable difference in the sense of power here, and the feeling of darkness.

There is no fun, no beauty, no lightness.  It is all incredibly serious and heavy, and the people who sit listening to the sermons are affected by that energy.  They are oppressed by it.  And they too become serious and heavy.

"This [Dudeist] priest was dressed all in white... and I wasn't sure about that."

Jesus in China

The above point reminds me of a book I once read, written by an anonymous clergyman; The Secret Sayings of Ye Su.  The verses in this book were written in 7th-century China by a person teaching Christianity, next to, or in the neighbourhood of a Daoist temple. 

And it is written in a way that is a little more Daoist than we would see in the Bible so that local people could understand it better...

And the author occasionally mentions the "Beast."  And he was referring in fact to the church.  He was teaching a Christianity that was more akin to the Desert Fathers, than that created by the Roman Empire.  He saw the church, and its power, as a dark energy that took away a sense of God from the people and kept it for itself.

As I drift around from one Facebook post to another, I often see Dudeists proudly showing photographs of the weddings that they have officiated, when one caught my eye because this Dudeist priest was dressed all in white, a little like an Anglican priest.  And I wasn't sure about that.  And it got me thinking...

What is the Role of a Dudeist Priest, & How Should He/She be Presented?

The way I see it for myself is that by being relaxed, not getting bent out of shape when something stressful occurs, abiding with the flow, and showing the world the importance of taking it easy, i.e., walking my talk... this is the role of a Dudeist, whether a priest or not.

But if some chilled-out couples want a Dudely blessing then that's groovy.

But, do we want to look like the guy in this picture?  Do we want to look like a conventional priest?

Do we want to "possess" what we think of as being sacred and not giving that to the people?  Because in a sense, the very fact that we are priests, means that we are something more than your everyday Joe or Jane, to the public.


And that's why we get asked to officiate weddings and so on.


Does that take the Dude away from the people? 

Well, not if we walk our talk. 

And I don't think that dressing like a regular priest does that.  Wearing a Pendleton cardigan, or a bathing robe with shades, and flip-flops.  Now that gets my vote. Although, we don't need to get all cliche about it.


Otherwise, are we not in danger of turning into the next Catholic church if we continue down a path that takes being a Dudeist priest too seriously?  Is one Dude blessing a wedding while wearing a white smock going to turn into two, then three, and so on?


Will certain books, like The Abide Guide become the "word" on what it means to be a Dude, and what about other books that don't quite match that ideal?


Could we ever get to the stage where it is written down and enforced what Dudeism is, in the same way that the Romans did with Christianity in the 2nd Century?  That would be pretty undude, right?


Or will we be more like the Daoists, who while describing the Sage, accept that there is something indescribable about him or her, and therefore it cannot be captured, a person just becomes it?


As Dudeism becomes more widely known, more accepted, and more used for ceremonies and rituals, is it in danger of being forced to determine exactly what it is, and what it is not?  Must everyone wear a Pendleton or a bathing robe?  Or is it more important to simply embody Dudeness, and this is our sacred cloak of many colors?

"I can imagine a child walking towards this man and feeling anxious."

Back to Osho


I dig what Osho was pointing to.  I have felt it myself when looking at Christianity here.  Although I am 100% certain that there will be some wonderful priests who are great to be around and are wonderful ambassadors of Christ's Word, I don't often see it.


I go into a church or listen to a priest, and I ask, where is the Beauty, where is the love, where is the gentleness, where is the playfulness, the happiness, the sense of God's joy?  


The priest in the photo looks to me as though he has a head full of thought, and they don't look to me like happy ones.  Even the black robes seem serious to me.  I can imagine a child walking towards this man and feeling anxious.


Dudeism has a sense of fun.  It has an ease, a playfulness, and a lightness to it.  It's a sign to the world that we should be taking it easy and not let our thinking get uptight.


So, we cannot be uptight ourselves if we are the face of our religion. 

I mean, of course, there are times that we will, but they should be outweighed by the chiller, rather than the killer in us.


How would a child view you if you were walking towards them on the street?  Do you look at ease?  Do you have a lightness to your step?  Are you smiling?


And if we can't be this way, if our Dudeism has become a trap, well, in the words of Sheryl Crow; "If it makes you happy, why the hell are you so sad?"


Yup.  Your views are welcomed Dudes...

Rev. Thomo


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