How to Change a Lightbulb, an Ecumenical Guide | Bob Shepherd

Amish: What’s a lightbulb?

Buddhist: The brokenness of the bulb is in the nature of things. By renouncing the desire for fixing the bulb, you can release yourself from the endless cycle of changing bulbs only to have them break, only to have to change them again, only to have them break, only to . . . [Here rest of the Pali text is missing. Western scholars of the nineteenth century suggested that the original might have contained, in this place, directions to the nearest Lowes, but recent studies have cast doubt upon those speculations.]

Calvinist: Because you are human, your perspective is necessarily limited. It may seem as though you are deciding to change the bulb, but that, of course, is an illusion due to your being born IN time rather than existing OUTSIDE time, as God does. The decision regarding whether the bulb will or will not be changed has always been made. Your intentions in this matter are irrelevant, and nothing you can do, one way or the other, can influence the changing (or not) of the bulb, which is predetermined. Nevertheless, you are responsible for whether the bulb gets changed. You have this responsibility even if you are bed-ridden, armless, catatonic, or any combination thereof. It may seem incomprehensible that a bed-ridden, catatonic, armless person could be responsible for an action over which he or she has no control, but that is because you are too ignorant to understand the wisdom of God’s plan for all things, even the lowly lightbulb, and too sinful to accept, in your heart, the righteousness of His justice.

Catholic: Recognizing that bulbs need changing and that it is not always within the power of people to do that on their own, God has given us the Sacrament of the Blessing of the Shoe Polish Tin so that the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church might address this need in the lives of the Faithful. That polishing shoes bears intimate, indeed, essential relation to the changing of light bulbs, while repeatedly affirmed by the Church and obvious enough to the Faithful of previous centuries, has become increasingly difficult for Catholics today to accept, but it is this very difficulty that we must embrace, for that difficulty presents what is perhaps the primary test of faith in our time. See Pope Pancreas VII, Lux mundi et hocuspocus ad nauseum, ad infinitum.

Hindu: As Valmiki teaches in the Lotus Bulb Sutras, the bulb is always broken, and the bulb is always fixed. So, there is no need to do anything about the bulb you perceive, which is held in the right hand of Maya, the Goddess of the World Illusion. Leave the house and its lightbulbs behind. Commit the Lotus Bulb Sutras to memory. Read them by your inner light.

Jainist: If the bulb died in the nature of things, accept this, but do not, through carelessness, bring harm to any bulb.

Jewish: Fine. I’ll sit in the dark. Who needs a light bulb? My son—the big shot—is too busy to bring his own mother the paper anyway. (Suggested by Dan Carsen)

Lutheran: In Adam’s Fall, we sinned all. Because of your inheritance of this Original Sin, you are not worthy of having the bulb changed. But if you open your heart and become a willing vessel of the Light, maybe, just maybe, a kind electrician will stop by and change the bulb for free. This is called Grace. Whether it will happen is anybody’s guess. Good luck.

Muslim (Sunni): Allah made the moon and the stars and the sun. To ask for more is blasphemy, and that is why the Dark Angel created Jews who created lightbulbs. For a history of the plot to create and market lightbulbs, which obscure the lights that Allah set in the heavens, see the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Muslim (Shia): There will be no need, of course, for lightbulbs. The Imam has issued a Fatwa against darkness.

Mooney:  After you have sold enough flowers or newspapers to buy a lightbulb, bring the money back to the home so that it can be sent to the Reverend Moon. Praise the night.

Mormon: It takes five. One man to tell his four wives how to do it. They actually let him get away with this.

Santaria: Just do it quickly, before the cops arrive.

Satanist: Steal a new bulb. Paint it black. Screw it (in). Smash the old bulb on someone’s naked body.

Sufi: Holy is the Light! Holy is the Night! Holy is the instant of the Unblinking, which cleaves the two halves of the Great Whole. [Editor’s Note: The English translation of this this seventeenth-century poem is felicitous because cleaves means both “to stick together” and “to cut in two.” Modern commentators have noted the similarity to certain ideas in contemporary number theory, particularly the Dedekind Cut, which separates the real number line above and below an arbitrary point, rational or irrational. See Richard Julius Wilhelm Dedekind, Continuity and irrational numbers (1872).]

Unitarian/Universalist: We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a lightbulb. However, if in your own journey you have found that lightbulbs work for you, we shall, of course, accept your private and individual decision with the Reverence it deserves. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your personal relationship with your lightbulb and to present it next month at our annual illumination service, in which we will explore a number of lighting traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, three-way, long-life, and tinted, all of which are, of course, EQUALLY VALID PATHS TO LUMINESCENCE or–dare we say it?–ENLIGHTENMENT.

Wiccan: The Priestess drips candle wax and menstrual fluid over the bulb and presents the bulb to the four powers.  She then invites the circle to move to the center, join hands around the bulb, and walk, deosil, to screw it in. You will need counterclockwise sockets to perform this ritual. These can be purchased online at http://www.mymonamorrigona.lalaland. Optional: Perform the Great Rite.


About Bob Shepherd

interests: curriculum design, educational technology, learning, linguistics, hermeneutics, rhetoric, philosophy (Continental philosophy, Existentialism, metaphysics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, epistemology, ethics), classical and jazz guitar, poetry, the short story, archaeology and cultural anthropology, history of religion, prehistory, veganism, sustainability, Anglo-Saxon literature and language, systems for emergent quality control, heuristics for innovation
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1 Response to How to Change a Lightbulb, an Ecumenical Guide | Bob Shepherd

  1. Nan Mykel says:

    Reblogged this on NANMYKEL.COM and commented:
    So clever I had to reblog.


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