All The Tough Questions

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[ This occurred today---perhaps in your town... ]

It was a very happening cafe---great coffee and superb teas; plus, sandwiches and desserts to die for.

Judy, the writer, was at her usual table near the wall plug, focused on her laptop.

Frank, the astrophysicist, was at the counter, getting his lunch.

Sophie, the ageless hippy, had just come in the door.

Bruce, the quiet one, was sitting near Judy reading a book.

Sophie sat down at Judy's table and stared at her, a beaming smile on her face.

Frank brought his lunch to the table next to Judy, scraping the chair on the tile floor after he sat, making Judy look up. She nodded to Frank, saw Sophie, said, "Hi...", went back to typing.

Sophie cleared her throat and said, "Judy?"

"Hmmm...?"

"I had a most magnificent spiritual experience this morning!"

Judy kept typing...

Frank said, "So, Sophie, how spiritual was it?"

"Oh, Frank, we all know you don't care about the spiritual realm."

"Oh, Sophie, you are so wrong. If only you could use my criteria for making judgements and stop believing every strong emotional experience you have is spiritual---"

"I don't think you have any emotions, Frank."

Judy kept up her typing while she said, "Sophie, Frank's very emotional when he discusses his latest scientific hypotheses..."

Frank blinked twice, then said, "I am, Judy... Forming hypotheses is a spiritual and emotional activity."

Bruce looked up from his book and quietly said, "Can you define spiritual...?"

Sophie: "Anything that let's you feel at one with the universe."

Frank: "The ephemeral, the meta-physical..."

Judy stopped typing and stared at Bruce.

Bruce returned her look with the addition of an ever so slight smile.

Judy nearly shouted: "Religion is an opiate. It's all lies."

Bruce rejoined with, "Would you define what you mean by "religion"...?"

Sophie: "We're not talking about religion, just spirituality."

Frank was silent...

Judy was still staring at Bruce as he said, "What I've been learning is that religion and spirituality shouldn't be separate things---spirituality without religion is emotional fancy and religion without spirituality is fundamentalism."

This was stoking up to be more than just a cafe conversation---even the participants were starting to register some astonishment...

Sophie: "How can you say that, Bruce! I have true and deep spiritual experiences, not emotional fancies..."

Frank: "You sure about that, Sophie?"

Before Sophie could respond, Judy said, "Religion without spirituality? Now you're talking, Bruce. All religions are pits of ignorance, how could they have any spirituality?"

Frank rose up and said, "I need a brownie and more coffee. Anyone else? I'm buying."

Judy shook her head no, Sophie said, "Coffee, dark.", Bruce just smiled...

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