A conversation with friends late last year keeps coming back to me. We were talking about the global youth climate strikes in which Greta Thunberg had emerged as a celebrity figure. My friend Chuck reflected, “People want her to be the next Messiah. But this is a time when we all need to be messianic.”
Chuck’s comment brought into focus something that has been tugging on my mind for a while now: the relationship between the regenerative economy and the concept of religion. I realize this is a slippery slope — discussing religion in the context of business.
As if the slope weren’t slippery enough, for further lubrication I’ll add sex.
I’ll borrow an approach from my tenth grade sex education teacher: I’ll use a film. But instead of an over-simplified, sanitized script and preachy voiceover, I’m going to use the Quebecois film, Jésus de Montréal (Jesus of Montreal), to guide us.
I’m feeling awkward. Let me back up a step.
I majored in religious studies at university in the early 1990s. I chose this because I had noticed that ideas like “the Messiah” and religion more broadly were important to lots of people but I didn’t know what they meant. This seemed worthy of investigation.
Those years of study were a heady time for me having had literally no religious indoctrination. I felt a bit like Alice in Wonderland. My quasi Christian experience centered around an annual family Christmas tree that didn’t connect to the Christ-child story told by Linus in A Charlie Brown Christmas. The fact that Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer and Santa Claus — who had apparently no relation to Jesus — showed up in other televised Christmas specials was not for me to wonder why.
I also have Jewish roots but they only manifested in my family having more bagels than our neighbours, coupled with a dim awareness that my maternal grandfather’s family name had changed from Klein to Cline somewhere along the way. That, and the family lore of our distant cousinship with Leonard Cohen, constituted the sum total of my Jewishness.
In the wider context of my cluelessness I never thought to ask if there was anything other than a Christian or Jew even though I knew I…