Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Bad As I Am

I just got back from yet another trip today. No more traveling for me! *Sinks into chair* I'm exhausted. Traveling gives you a good opportunity to do some thinking, reading, and writing. I have been doing all three, and despite being worn out, I really did have a good time each time. So things are good in that respect.

Apparently Fellow Seeker and I are going to hell. According to his grandmother, anyway.

He called me tonight to tell me about a conversation he had with her about religion. (I think he should stop having these talks with his folks. They're not going so well.) He asked her questions like, "What about the tsunami? Why did God let all those people die?" She said something about man being sinful but he was quick to remind her that the tsunami had nothing to do with man. He said that as a human being, if he had killed all those people (especially the children) he would have to answer for it. Does God have no accountability? He also used an example that he attributed to Thomas Paine. Romans 9:20 says, "But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" The argument is that this is not a sufficient analogy because we are sentient beings, not pots. He said to her, "Me and my best friend both believe in God, but we do question." She said that, once again, you're not supposed to question God, and that people that talk like we do don't believe in God. She also said something about certain ways leading to death.

So, that was pleasant to hear. It shouldn't bother me but it does a little. I don't know why, I'm sure other Christians think worse of me than that.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?

I returned Killing the Buddha to the library today simply because I can't renew it anymore (I tried to read it when I was still in school but had no time.) I'm almost finished but will wait until I receive my own copy in the mail to do so. With that said, I'm not going to wait to write about it. It is not one flowing narrative that I should write about in one post. It is called The Heretic's Bible and it parodies the style of the Bible. The authors assigned certain books of the Bible to other writers to do with what they would. Some came up with fictional pieces, others wrote essays. The Psalms were dispersed throughout the book and contained the true stories of the authors' experiences as they traveled the U.S. to investigate religion in various places. Absolutely fabulous.

In Ezekiel by Melvin Jules Bukiet, the protagonist has lost everything - his job, his wife, his purpose - and he finds himself in Central Park where he gets a job running the carousel. He is ever listening, waiting to hear the Voice. All of a sudden he imagines the carousel animals coming to life, and as he is watching this, he spouts excerpts from Ezekiel. You know, the warnings about all the punishments God is going to bestow upon Israel. Then he comes to a realization:

And that's when I realize that I'm not voicing a warning, or rather it's not the warning I thought. I'm not warning them for God; I'm warning them of God. Why? Because we haven't violated the covenant; God has, unilaterally. Because mortality is the first sin against creation. Because all sacrifice is human sacrifice. Because He loves cataclysm, calamity, and catastrophe, performed to the ecstatic tune of the calliope.

A little death here, we can take, make our peace with, but He went too far. And the stronger, more fervent our faith, the worse our loss. The mistake we've made for as long as He's killed us is that belief does not entail the necessary corollary of worship. If I wander into Fifth Avenue traffic and get run over by a bus, that does not mean that I should hobble to my knees and pray to the bus.

I find a few flaws with this passage. Firstly, mortality is the result of sin, is it not? So God didn't necessarily create mortality to be a part of the humanity package. I also find it a little much to say that God kills us, when according to traditional belief, when we die it is the best thing that could ever happen to us. Or maybe "He's killed us" during life with all the suffering and all the punishments. I'm not sure what Bukiet meant.

Last night Fellow Seeker had a discussion about faith with his mother and sister. He made use of his newfound feminism and told them that it's not right that even the animals were created before Eve. What does that say about the worth of women? (I hadn't even thought of that. My, he's smart.) He made a few other comments and they said to him, "You're not supposed to question God." Ah, the great silencer of ages past. That's one thing he absolutely disagrees with. He even wrote in his blog that you are "doing a great work for both yourself, God and society, by doubting." I think that he's right. If God didn't want us to question Him, we would not have been created with the ability to do so. That ability was not a result of the Fall because without it, the Fall would never have happened. What was Eve's action of eating the apple if not questioning God's omniscience?

Also, today I happened to sit down while Sister was watching an episode of South Park. Many religious people find the show extremely offensive, and I am quoting something from it, so if you would rather not, don't read the rest of this post. I only caught the second half or so, but I gathered that the kids had formed a boy band. Cartman said that God wanted him to. They were supposed to perform at the mall but Stan was late for the performance and the mall security guard was telling them that they could not perform unless they did it right away. Cartman said something along the lines of, "Oh well, I guess my dream is dead. [Looking up] I guess you got me again, God... you sick bastard." Then Stan appeared and Cartman yelled, "Yes! Praises!" I found that to be very telling. I told Sister, "I think everyone feels that way at one point or another, they just don't say it." Don't we? Don't we, at least once in our lives, feel that God is doing things to us on purpose? For amusement, or punishment, or whatever reason He may have. Is it that we're fickle creatures, like Cartman, or is it simply that we are truly unsure of His purposes and motivations, regardless of what the Bible tells us?

Friday, June 24, 2005

Angry Young Woman

I'm realizing that I have been a bit of jerk here lately. Firstly, I never meant to get political. That just happened because the things that I spend a lot of time thinking about leak out onto the page. Secondly, even when I'm not being political, I can be a tad abrasive with my cynicism about Christianity. So, I would like to apologize to all Republicans and to all devout Christians out there. I'm dealing with a lot and this is a fairly harmless way to unload.

It's an unfortunate thing to witness changes in yourself that are not positive ones. A couple of people have told me that I have changed since the accident and not in a good way. Cynic, for example, said that I'm starting to bear similiarities to him, which concerns him. Am I on my way to becoming an angry person?

Virtual Insanity

I have looked into our future, and it was horrifying.

This article by Hanna Rosin, "God and Country," made me want to vomit profusely. It was very well done but the subject matter was painful to my feminist/liberal eyes. Interestingly enough, when I was in Washington I saw tons of these interns, my age or younger, running around. White college kids from the Bible Belt working for the conservative rep's.

Particularly disturbing quotes from this article:

In a speech at the American Enterprise Institute after the 2000 election, he [Karl Rove] said that the President had lost the popular vote because fewer than expected 'white, evangelical Protestants' had come to the polls.

(Oy vay.)

The school has to make room for a student like Farahn Morgan, a ballerina who is trying out to be a Rockette and likes to provoke her roommates by saying she's going to Victoria's Secret ('People, everyone wears a bra!'), and for a junior like Ben Adams, who sent out a nine-page e-mail to the entire student body before the spring formal reminding the girls to dress modestly. 'Lust is sin,' it said. 'It is sin for you to tempt us. It is...unloving. Unsisterly. Un-Christlike.'

(Yeah, it's our fault that you can't control your lust.)

Matthew du Mee, who was an R.A., told me that if he saw a boy and girl sitting too close for too long he would pull the boy aside and tell him to stop, because 'the guy is supposed to be the leader in the relationship.'


Elisa believes the Bible dictates that 'there are different roles for men and women' [...].

(Such as staying home to raise children and forgetting you ever had any talent or potential, Elisa? Don't get me wrong, raising children is a noble pursuit, but if women are excluded or exclude themselves from public spheres such as politics, men will be making all our decisions for us.)

I feel sick.

Anyway, I saw Fellow Seeker and Veteran Seeker yesterday, which is always fun. Before we saw V.S., though, F.S. and I were sitting in a park, talking. We share a common - shall I say distaste? - for St. Paul's ideas about women and gays. So, we were just sitting there, talking, when all of a sudden he says, "I hate Paul. When I get to heaven I'm going to give him a kick in the ass," and I nearly fell off the bench with uncontrollable laughter. When I regained composure, I said to him, "You know that's going in the blog."

Thursday, June 23, 2005

America the Beautiful

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I'm back from a lovely trip to our nation's capital :) Wow. What an experience! I was only there for two days. Four fellows (including myself) were selected to go for Save the Children Advocacy Day. On the first night, we attended the welcome reception, and afterwards, we spent a night out on the town. We had dinner at a Japanese restaurant, scoured the shelves of a trendy used book store, and were sexually harassed by the proprietors of an ice cream shop.

On the second day, we were divided into groups and attended workshops and sessions to learn about our issues (all were about education) as well as advocacy in general. We went to lunch in the Senate Office Building, and as my group walked through the hallway, we saw Barack Obama. I nearly fainted. He turned around and looked at us and the woman I was with gave him a thumbs up and said, "Well done." He smiled. Later, during lunch, I heard people at our table talking about having gotten a glimpse of him or having missed seeing him, and someone called him the "movie star of the Senators." That's pretty accurate. Mark Shriver was also there - he sat at my table in the morning session and smiled over at me - and Mother got a kick out of that when I told her (I knew she would).

My group met with a congressman and two senators and it was such an incredible experience. I didn't do much talking because I was the passion while others covered the background and the ground work. But I observed and learned so much and was completely blown away by it. Besides, Save the Children is an incredible organization and if you can ever to do anything to help them out, you will not regret it.

While traveling home, the fellows and I found ourselves in another unpleasant scenario. We sat, reading and writing and wearing headphones, yet for some reason a couple of inebriated, 30-something, married Republican males decided to crash our party. One sat with Fellow #5 a couple of rows away from us, and another climbed in between the remaining three of us. He talked incessantly even when we nodded and gave one-word responses and resumed reading. Finally we began talking to him just because we were left with no choice. He made reference to his wife and kids, yet he found it appropriate to touch Fellow #6's knee when he laughed and joke to me that he was supposed to visit my area recently and he could have stayed with me. By the end of the trip, Fellow #7 had got into a heated debate with him over local politics. Truly memorable.

Mind you, this was nothing compared to the ice cream shop fiasco. Let's just say there was sexual innuendo flying and the older gentleman continually calling us "cutie" and "sweetie" and telling me to give him a kiss. We were technically only in the city for a little over a day - one afternoon to the next - and we had to deal with this? It forces me to stop a moment and reflect. Why must we be subjected to this? You get used to it after a while, but why should you? Men do not have to deal with going into a store and being sexually degraded. I'm not saying that it doesn't happen, but it is rare in comparison with the number of times women face this. It makes me sick.

And they wonder why we become lesbians. (I may not be one but I can certainly see the logic behind it!)

On that note, let's see if I can find anything spiritual to mention. Hmm. I am nearly done with Killing the Buddha, which is phenomenal, and I will definitely post about it when I finish. While we were out and about D.C., we passed a Scientology church (are they called churches?) and when we paused to look in, a man gestured for us to enter. The other fellows were freaked out and didn't want to, which was too bad, because I really wanted to. But it's best to stick together in a strange city at night.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

We're All Made of Stars

Howard Zinn is a passionate man, and this is a passionate article. He knocks liberals, too.

The Scourge of Nationalism

My favorite quote is "We need to assert our allegiance to the human race, and not to any one nation. We need to refute the idea that our nation is different from, morally superior to, the other imperial powers of world history." I love my country... but do we love it a little too much?

Humble Me

Today I spent the afternoon with Future Priest. First, we had some interesting conversation over lunch. Afterwards, I dragged him shopping with me, poor guy. He was civil, though. As we walked from store to store, I told him that the statue of the Virgin Mary that he gave me for my birthday has lost her hands. Sister can be destructive when she's angry with me, and in one fatal swoop, she massacred everything that was on top of my bedroom dresser. Jesus, Buddha, Mary... the whole lot of them. Jesus and Buddha emerged unscathed, but Mary lost her hands. While I was shopping in one store, he excused himself to run an errand. When he came back, we finished up and left.

He coerced me into stopping by his church on the way home. I reluctantly agreed. It was nice, though. We genuflected, we prayed, we lit candles. I loved the statues and stained-glass windows, as usual. It was nice, although I didn't feel the way I did the other time in the smaller chapel. *Shrugs shoulders* I can't account for these feelings, they pop in and out without my consent. Future Priest is convinced that I'll become a Catholic eventually. Just before he left, he gave me another Mary, which was what he left the store for earlier.

After that, I stopped by to visit my Dad. I was only there for about half an hour but for some reason I nearly broke down in his room. I thought about it while I was driving home. A while ago, a friend of mine described me as smart and strong in her blog. Cynic remarked to me, "Smart? Definitely. Strong? Not so much." I asked him what he meant and he said, "How many times did I have to get you through one of your crises?"

I was a little affronted when he said that, but now I think he may have been right. I can admit that. I'm a weak person. This situation has forced me to recognize this in myself. I wonder if some people are stronger than others by nature, or if there's something else to it. Perhaps someone else in my situation would fare better than I am. I don't really know.

Edna St. Vincent Millay, one of my favorite poets of all time, wrote something incredible in her poem "Interim" (the one I quoted in a previous post): "Ah, I am worn out - I am wearied out - It is too much - I am but flesh and blood."

Future Priest and I talked about prayer. I am trying to stop asking for things all the time, but it's very difficult. I tried to do that in the church. "Please help Dad to get better. Please please please." Wait, that's asking for something. Alright, how about this? "Help me to know You better." Oy, that's asking for something too. "Help me to do Your will"? And then I gave up. I suppose I could just tell Him things but all I want to tell Him is that I need help. Maybe that's selfish, or maybe that's what weak people do. But who am I supposed to tell, if not Him?

Friday, June 17, 2005


Oh my goodness. I had such a lovely day today. Fellow Seeker and I had plans to visit a Jewish Temple with Veteran Seeker, his (well, our) newest friend. V.S. got his degree in Religious Studies - how awesome is that?? I kept bouncing questions off of him and he knows everything. The temple was for Reformed Jews so it was fairly lax and very welcoming to everyone, including Gentiles. Let me tell you... it was one of the loveliest experiences I have ever had in my life. I really mean that.

It was not unlike a Christian church, in that it had pews and stained-glass windows and prayer books. There was even a choir, but it was concealed above us and behind a curtain. That was remarkable. There was no distraction of looking at the choir - there was just this heavenly music throughout. I especially loved when they sang in Hebrew rather than English. It also reminded me of the Episcopalian church because there were parts that the congregation had to recite in response to what the rabbis said. F.S. described the prayers perfectly by likening them to poetry.

When the time came to read the Torah, the back wall of the sanctuary actually opened up to reveal the scrolls. Unbelievable. I was mesmerized by the entire service. I may have mentioned once before that Future Priest took me to a Catholic chapel months ago, and during the entire time that I was there, I felt this overwhelming peace all the way down to my core. I felt that same peace today. I wonder why I haven't felt it in other houses of worship. That is not to say that they are less holy, I just have a different experience with them, that's all. But, why?

Obviously Christian doctrine is always with me, and while the service was going on, I thought to myself, "There is no way that people who are seeking God in this manner could go to hell. It just wouldn't be fair at all." Similarly, in other religions, all around the world... how can we believe that variety and cultural factors and personal experience are negative things when it comes to spirituality? I feel that they make up spirituality, and what would it be without them? Cookie-cutter spirituality. Ick. That nagging Only Christians Go To Heaven mentality is really starting to bug me. I don't believe it anymore, I'm just annoyed by its presence at all.

I also had a strong feeling that the God that they were worshipping was my God too. That their God and the Christian God and my God are all One. (Yes, I know that Christians appropriated the God of the Jews and their Scriptures, but that's not what I'm talking about.) Not just because I would like to believe that... I just really felt that that was the case. I could recite their prayers and listen to them sing and feel that we were all connecting to the God that I have known all my life. I still know Him, I just don't know much about Him anymore (and goodness, do I hate saying "Him!" Friggin social conditioning.)

I told F.S. and V.S. that I would love to go every week (well, whenever none of us are working). We also discussed our Unitarian church visit plans. That should come up in a couple of weeks or so. Also, we had this joke going about conspiracies. For example, there's the Right Wing Conspiracy that consists of trying to evangelize everyone, and the Homosexual Conspiracy which is striving to undermine the institution of marriage. There's also a Feminist Conspiracy, of course - trying to undermine the family unit! Hours after we went to Temple and had dinner together, we found ourselves in an Irish pub (how else do you end a truly spiritual day?) When we got our drinks, someone suggested a toast, and we tried to figure out what to toast. I said, "To our conspiracy - undermining organized religion and coming up with our own crap!" And we drank to that.


During the summer, one of the requirements of our fellowship program is to be up on current events and to participate in e-mail discussions with one another on things we read in the newspaper. Yesterday, Fellow #4 sent us all an article entitled The Gospel on Gay Marriage. I just read it and I think it is very interesting, especially Scanzoni's categorization of Christians within the religious right movement (I can relate to both Thoughtful Questioners and Hurting Strugglers).

I used to be into the whole religious right thing because that was how I was raised. Homosexuality was wrong, along with a host of other things, because the Bible said so. Nothing personal against gay people, that's just how it is. Then Fellow Seeker came into my life, and aside from the fact that he meant so terribly much to me (and still does), I simply could not envision him as a straight man. That is not who he is. I have since met other wonderful gay and lesbian individuals and I no longer condemn their lifestyles. I would not have admitted that it was condemnation back then, but what else should I call it?

Another great point is that many Christians "ignor[e] the biblical vision of social justice in areas such as poverty, the environment, and questions of war and peace." Once again, I said many, not all. I'm not here to judge anyone. I just know what I see. If pastors were rallying their respective troops against world hunger, the AIDS epidemic, or genocide, I think I would have more respect for them. The religious right in this country is so focused on not letting gays marry that they don't even consider more urgent problems that need to be addressed.

The other day Mother and I were getting out of the car when I noticed a man standing on our front step. I asked Mother, "Why is there a man on our step?" and he saw us and came over. He said that he was there to register the former owner of the house with the Republican party. Mother explained that we live there now, and he asked if he could register her. She asked him to wait a minute while we brought our bags inside. On the way in, she asked me, "What about you?" I snorted and said, "The Republican party? Are you serious? They would revoke my fellowship." (This was only a joke. The truth is, the fellowship is made up of about 90% staunch liberals, but there have been some Republicans in it over the years.) She went back outside to speak to the man, and she wound up telling him all about the problems we are running into while trying to get my father help. When she came back in and told me the subject of their discussion, I asked, "What did he say? That's nice, but I don't really care?" She said, "Pretty much." I told her that if you're looking for someone to give a you-know-what about you, you don't go to the Republican party. (I'm trying not to curse in front of Mother. She finds it objectionable. Last night I was cursing because my laptop practically exploded and she called from the other room, "WTF is the politically correct term." I said, "That's not a matter of political correctness. Being politically correct is using a certain term so you don't offend a group of people." She replied, half-joking, "Well, you're offending me.") Anyway, I doubt he got her to register that day.

Now I just lost all my Republican readers :)

But that's okay. I mean, really, they have ideas that I like. For example, I'm pro-life and probably always will be. But that aside, I wish that Christians would look a little closer at what Jesus's priorities were, and that might, in turn, shape their priorities.

And for all those Liberal Christians out there, I acknowledge that you exist. You rock.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

Good morning all. I'm sitting in the office with my green tea and I decided to finally set down the things that have been swirling around my head for the past few days.

Let's see... Okay, here are some spiritual topics that have come up lately:

1. On the last day of my trip, I was having lunch with Program Coordinator and some of the fellows. Fellow #2 mentioned that he had a dream about the world ending. This prompted P.C. to say that she is currently reading Left Behind. She seemed surprised that Fellow #3 and I were familiar with that series. Fellow #3 explained it a bit, and P.C. said, "I would think that people would just do whatever they want since they're damned already." I said, "They do. Chaos ensues. But you're not necessarily damned. You could always be beheaded." It was a funny conversation to have over lunch, but it was a light one because it seemed that no one really believed that those things are true. On the other hand, I know many, many people who do believe they're true and will happen in our lifetime. Strange, huh?

2. On Monday I met up with Fellow Seeker, Skeptic, and their friend, Former Quaker, who I was meeting for the first time. We had dinner and Former Quaker regaled us with descriptions of what Quakers are like and what they believe in (well, in the Northwest, apparently they're different everywhere.) He had been a youth pastor at one time. He said that Quakers won't swear on a Bible in court, feel that communion is symbolic and doesn't necessarily involve bread and wine, and are serious pacifists. I asked him if he still believes in all of that. He said he still believes, but he doesn't think God is as involved in our lives as we think. "If He was, there wouldn't be so many Christians who are sick." Good point. F.S. also showed me a book on Judaism that he is reading, specifically a poem in there that was written by a gay man during the Middle Ages, wishing that God had made him a woman. It was a very good piece. I don't remember what conversation followed, but I must have said something irreverent because Skeptic laughed and said, "In Narnia, you would so be the White Witch." I replied, "She represents the devil. Thanks!" Skeptic said, "If you think about it, of course the lion hero is a man and the evil witch is a woman." I didn't comment, only laughed.

3. Yesterday I was reading an article online about the Locke v. Davey Supreme Court case. I did not hear about this when it happened, but I would have found it extremely interesting. I was going to major in pastoral ministry, after all. I find it unfair that Joshua Davey had his scholarship revoked because of his major. I understand that the state is in no position to train future clergy, but it is not like they are seeking out future clergywomen and men to fund. They offered a scholarship to all college students that meet the criteria, and all college students - regardless of major - should have been able to benefit from it. The state is not supposed to impose a specific religion on the people, promote a religious life over a secular one, or promote a secular life over a religious one. By taking his scholarship away, wasn't the state promoting a secular life over a religious one? As long as that scholarship was equally accessible to a future Rabbi, Imam, or head of American Atheists, I don't see why Davey shouldn't have had it. It wasn't promoting a religious career choice - it was promoting any career an exceptional student chooses to pursue.

Sunday, June 12, 2005


Kid Sister is the coolest. Today she was talking to Mother about how God made her and everyone else. Then she asked, "With what?" Mother tried to explain that God just thought it and it came to be in child-like terms. Kid Sister put her face really close to Mother's, looked deep into her eyes and asked, "What are you talking about??" It was hilarious. Mother looked over at me and said, "Well, actually, He spoke and things came into existence, right? He said Let there be light and there was light." I shrugged. She asked, "What are you shrugging for? You know this stuff!" I shrugged again.

Sister is something else as well. I picked her up from wherever she was hanging out tonight and I was playing WOW 2005 in the car. I said, "I'm sorry I always make you listen to Christian music" and she shrugged. We started talking about one of the songs - More by Matthew West - and I said that I think it's one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. Then I said, "I wonder why I still listen to this music since..." and she interjected, "Since you became an atheist?" She has called me an atheist several times before (once in anger and I don't think she was joking that time) but I'm sure she was joking tonight. I told her once again that I am not an atheist, "I just have problems." She started cracking up, but I was serious.
I love you more than the sun
And the stars that I taught how to shine
You are mine, and you shine for Me too
I love you yesterday and today
And tomorrow, I'll say it again and again
I love you more

Saturday, June 11, 2005

In My Life

I just got home from being away for two days. My fellowship program required us to stay at a college campus and have discussions on class in America, international issues, etc., while simultaneously getting to know the new fellows that were just accepted to the program. I had a lovely time although it made me sad to think that my time in this program is limited. All good things must come to an end, and this has been one of the best things to ever happen to me.

I have been debating whether or not I should write certain things here from day one. As honest as I have been, many things have been withheld because I don't feel entirely comfortable disclosing them. It is not the fear of having strangers read my innermost thoughts - that is somewhat liberating, although I don't know exactly why - it is the thought of those of you who know me in real life. I don't particularly like the idea of revealing these things to some of you because you will have them in mind when we interact. Those of you who don't know me probably never will and for all you know, I could just be writing this for kicks. Those of you who do know me, however, know that these things are true and I don't know if you should know that. But then again, how much of ourselves should we keep guarded and how much should be revealed? I'm sure it varies depending on the individual. The fact that I have an audience at all makes this more rewarding and more therapeutic for me. Your comments are wonderful. Feedback is the best thing in the world for me because I can actually learn from others instead of wrestling with these things alone. But there is something else that is totally unrelated to feedback, a joy that I would get even if no one commented but people still read. I feel that there is some kind of pleasure in writing for an audience, and since I will never be a writer of fiction, this is the best that I can come up with.

With that said, I'm going to share with you something that I wrote on the bus coming home from my trip today:

Well, I am on the bus ride home. Our weekend at ______ _______ is over. I had a really good time this weekend, but at the same time, it was depressing. I have noticed that this is a phrase that I use a lot - "it was depressing." Walking through _______ Park on a beautiful day is depressing. Being with my fellow fellows is depressing. I was thinking last night as I lay in the stiff bed of a ______ ______ dorm that I am a depressed person. Now I have a valid reason to be, because of Dad's condition and everything, but I was like this before it happened. Years before it happened. It seems like I will always lament the loss of parts of my life rather than simply living it. I will never quite understand time, and how it is spent and runs out like currency. That's what it is, in effect. When you're born, you are given a certain amount of time to spend as you wish. The only problem is, you never know how much. Could you imagine trying to live your life without ever knowing how much is in your bank account? How would you plan like that? And then you have your thrifty individuals and your big spenders. It's a very good analogy.

People always say that the missing piece in a person's life is God, and until we acknowledge that and take steps toward connecting with Her/Him, we will never be fulfilled. If that's true then I'm screwed because I feel that I'm looking at God through a foggy glass wall that I can't penetrate, no matter how hard I try. Not only is there a separation, but there is a limited perception issue there as well. Peering through the glass and trying to make out shapes and colors, taking guesses... that is all spirituality will ever be, isn't it? How does that not depress/frighten/frustrate/insert-your-favorite-negative-emotion-here everyone else?

Cynic and I have discussed this point before. He is the same way. We let things from the past haunt us. Things that we miss, that we'll never experience again. I just find it so sad. And not knowing what lies ahead, not only after death but in life as well, doesn't help. Counselor told me that she thinks I'm more philosophical than most philosophy majors. It has come to be a real burden, though. Why can't I just stop thinking so much and enjoy my life? Is it really because I don't have God, or is it simply a personal issue to be dealt with?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Return to Innocence

I miss my blog and it hasn't even been that long.

I began my summer internship, and because it is also accompanied by a rigorous academic program, I will be extraordinarily busy until mid-August. So, forgive me when I go days without posting. I have to travel three more times this month alone, just to give you an idea of why I might not be blogging (although when I get my laptop fixed, look out!).

Anyway, I had an interesting conversation with Kid Sister before bed last night. Mother taught the kids how to pray and now they do it every night. Mostly for "Daddy to get better." Last night, however, Kid Sister started asking me all kinds of questions about God. It made me quite uneasy. Here are a few of the things she said:

What does God look like?

God doesn't hear my prayers because He's not here.

I wish I could fly so I could go up into the clouds and see God.

I think most people have had these things cross their minds at some point. I didn't know how to answer her, though. I know what the "right answers" are, the ones that Mother and Father would have given her had she spoken to them. But she didn't speak to them. She spoke to me. The perfect person! I am always tempted to take the easy way out and give her the typical Christian answers, but I don't feel that would be fair to her. If I tell her that stuff at this young age, she'll take it as fact. When she grows up, she'll be just as screwed up as I am (or moreso). She'll probably resent me for lying to her (or at least for claiming things were true that I had no proof of).

You know, none of us believed in Santa Claus growing up. My parents felt that if they told us that Santa was real and we grew up and discovered that it was a lie, that we would logically conclude that everything they told us about God was a lie, too. It didn't bother me while I was growing up. I actually had a lot of fun telling other kids that Santa wasn't real and that it was their parents who bought the gifts. (I wasn't trying to be a bitch, I was just trying to enlighten. Mother recently told me that I was never guilty of outright disobedience as a child. I simply articulated all the reasons why she was wrong. *Shrugs shoulders*)

So how do you raise well-rounded, spiritual children? I read an MSN article on the subject once. It said things like, "Give them all the options and when they get a little older, tell them what you believe but emphasize that it's only a belief." Yeah, right. People are going to do that? Maybe they should but they won't. The stakes are too high for most people. If you think your child will go to hell by becoming a Buddhist, you're not going to say, "I believe Jesus is the way, but hey, you know, to each his own."

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Rocky Raccoon

I'm back. It wasn't a very long trip that I took, but it was refreshing. I was not in the Bible belt - that's only the Midwest, isn't it? - but I was definitely in a more rural area than I live in. I saw several Christian billboards about marital counseling, abortion, and the local churches. When I didn't see a Gideon's Bible in the hotel room, I jokingly shouted "What is America coming to?" until I found it in another drawer. Sister asked why they leave Bibles in hotel rooms. I said that perhaps they are there in case travelers are lonely and need Jesus. She asked, "Need Jesus?" and I said, "Well, yeah. They're not purely for entertainment. You never see a copy of War and Peace in there." That was the extent of the religiosity of my trip.
Now Rocky Raccoon, he fell back in his room
Only to find Gideon's bible
Gideon checked out and he left it no doubt
To help with good Rocky's revival.
Mother went shopping while the rest of us were still asleep, and when she returned she informed me that she bought me WOW 2005. For those of you who don't know, WOW CD's are annual double-CD sets of the Christian hits that come out each year. When I was a teenager I collected them. I have WOW 1996, WOW 1997, WOW 1998, WOW 1999, WOW 2000, and WOW 2001. I lost interest after that. When she told me she bought it for me, I wasn't sure if it was a well-intentioned attempt to patch up my broken spirituality or just a bad joke. When she saw my surprised reaction and asked, "You like those, don't you?" I realized it was neither. Mother is just a saint, no pun intended. I don't deserve her.

Anyway, I have been listening to the CDs and I find that I really enjoy them. I know most of the songs because of the radio (and that's another thing, what self-respecting doubter still listens to Christian radio?) and I really like them. As I was listening to them, I was thinking to myself that all I want is to be a regular Christian minus the extremism and the harsh feelings towards God and other Christians. I think that fundamentalism has soured me towards something that I have a real, deep-rooted love for. If this was not the case, I would be throwing out my Christian CDs and I would not want to attend an Episcopalian church. I also would not have signed up for yet another church book group. Yes, I did. I don't know what made me do it. I don't even go to the church anymore. Between their three Sunday services and tons of members, I don't think they even notice.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I'll Be Back

Gone until the weekend. Ciao!