The Ottawa Citizen “Ask the Religion Experts” question for this weekend is “In the dog days of summer, can faith take a holiday?” There are so many ways to play with this question using free association. The question brings to mind Cliff Richards’ 1963 song “Summer Holiday” or Gabriel García Márquez’s novel Love in the Time of Cholera. It is also tempting to think of Brian Hyland’s “Holiday for Clowns” (1967), but it’s probably best not to go there.
As Rabbi Bulka points out, this latest question gets a high rating on the stupid scale:
This is quite a question. Permit me to ask why the summer is dog days. This is a pejorative of sorts, somehow downplaying the quality of the summer. But is not summer, and the respite it purports to offer, something most people look forward to enjoying? If that is so, why are they dog days? Maybe it was an inverted reference to God days!
For those, like Rabbi Bulka, who don’t know that the phrase, “the dog days of summer” is not pejorative, nor is it “an inverted reference to God days,” information is available on Wikipedia. Note to Bulka: Not everything is a reference to God.
Jack McLean takes a swipe at secularists and discusses the etymology of the word holiday:
a word that meant originally “holy day,” a notion that is lost on the vast majority of the secular-minded, who never associate the sacred “holy day” with “holiday.”
Of course, as secularists know, words and language evolve and Oxford Dictionaries Online acknowledges the change in meaning for holiday:
an extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or in travelling.
The responses are predictable; there is one “maybe,” six “noes” and one “yes.” Every
clown respondent plays with the word holiday. Ray Parchelo asks “Why would you want to? Faith is the holiday,” and Geoffrey Kerslake gives a little sermon which includes a quote from Joan of Arc. Radhika Sekar talks about the “spiritual journey” or vacation from the real world, and Balpreet Singh would consider taking “a holiday in order to focus more on [his] faith.” Rick Reed assures us, “Most people in our world have faith in God.”
How many of you have considered a break from the faith? For eternity. It’s something that we need to talk about.