Sunday, February 22

Today's Blue Gal Sermonette (ha)



'What wouldn't Jesus do?' thong from Betty Bowers's underpants store, of course.

So I just want to start by reminding everyone that Blog Against Theocracy is not 'Blog Against Religion'. There are other blogswarms/movements that deal with the latter, and I'm not afraid to link them.

Carnival of the Godless


and

Atheist Bloggers (social network)

are just two. Feel free to join there AND participate in Blog Against Theocracy.

For Blog Against Theocracy, we have to be careful we're not motivated by anti-religion hate on this one, even when it's deserved. Some participants of BAT (including yours truly) are church-goers who actually get it that separation of church and state blesses everybody. They're on our side, and there's no good to come from alienating anyone. I don't have any problem with a minister who keeps his theology in the church and doesn't want federal tax dollars or school vouchers. And, um, not raping little kids is also up there.

No matter whether you are an atheist, believer, or don'tgiveashit, you are welcome to Blog Against Theocracy, and God bless you, er, whatever.

So at church this morning I got the little blue brochure on all the stuff I can do during Lent. It may sound counter-indicated and selfish, but I'm giving up perfectionism for Lent. I have found the past couple of weeks that after a solid cleaning frenzy where the house looks really good, and then I'm confronted by three messy munchkins...

...I am the nastiest bitch of a mom you've ever seen.



I don't want to put plastic on the furniture or make my kids think I put having a clean dining room ahead of turning it into their personal art studio. So I'm going to use the Lenten Season as a time of spiritual practice where the goal is a home filled with Peace, which means cleaned up and organized enough(so we can function), but also happy (so we can function).

In the past I've gone off to a little side room in this mini-mega church (United Methodist) to have my own personal silent Quaker Service. Last week I just sat there and cried from loneliness, when the thought occurred: "you can't feel sorry for yourself feeling lonely when you isolate yourself on a regular basis. There are three hundred people in the next room who'd love to shake your hand." I reject that kind of contact a lot as superficial and not worthwhile. (Don't ask me to mention "Aspie" here it's self-evident.) Anyway I picked up my butt and went into the service and it wasn't half bad. And this week was good too, the sermon was about Jesus glowing on the mountain top but he only did that for a moment and didn't respond to Peter's suggestion that they build a monument to the event, just get back to the valley (and our valleys are divorce, job loss, loneliness, fear, and a sense of no help with the laundry) and get to work. I suspect the minister finds me a bit of a threat, something about my three screen email to him expostulating on one sermon he did, but wev, and after church I did walk up to him and thank him for the sermon and also mentioned in passing the zen proverb, "after enlightenment, the laundry" and he was all, oh yes WE acknowledge that Christianity is first an Eastern religion, not a Western religion, and I walked away thinking, you keep that sense of personal ownership in your ministerial ziploc bag, Baby.

And the only job that really matters long-term is that one where we wake up every morning and are grateful for another day, and spend the rest of our day proving our gratitude by doing that thankless task of forgive, forgive, forgive ourselves and everyone forever and ever, Amen.

11 comments:

  1. As well as yourself, BG, I have many friends with whom I do not share 'faith', in the socioreligious sense - But I will defend your right to have and cherish it as strongly as I will resist all attempts to force conformity of belief upon me, whether by individual effort or government fiat.

    Religion is not the problem. Ignorance and exploitation of same in a quest for power within the temporal dominion is.

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  2. Well, Darkblack got here first and said it best. What can I add to that?

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  3. taylorbad1:46 PM

    My Dad was a clergyman in the Anglican religion. He was all about compassion, mercy and forgiveness. I can't recall a single Hell-fire sermon coming from him. He loved Life and Creation whether it was serving up a Sunday dinner to family and guests or cradling an infant during baptism. And while I do not share the faith of my father, I will always view it as true Christianity, a life of compassion, forgiveness and service to others. In my admittedly biased opinion, every professed Christian that isn't in close proximity to his views is a poser.

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  4. I don't know too many non-believers who "hate" religion. It's hard to hate something that isn't a person. Some of us are afraid of them, because they seem to serve as an excuse for people to shut off their minds and do what they're told.

    Certainly, most of us have no use for religion. That's not the same thing as hating it.

    From my perspective, religions are a great Rorschach test. What people see in them has more to do with who they are than it does with what their religions are. You can find wisdom and inspiration in many things if you're willing to look. You can find the excuse to be a hateful little bastard (or bastardette) in just about any religious text. It's really up to you.

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  5. To forgive, one must first be forgiven - by yourself. No matter who you meet, who you know or how well you know them, the most important person in your life is yourself. That's inclusive, not exclusive. In order to be of the most value to our family and friends, we should be as healthy and sound as we can be.

    Religion is wrought with politics, like a flower garden wrought with weeds. Rather than try to weed our Garden, most of us just resign to ourselves that the weeds don't look that bad.

    Faith has a way of putting us back on track when we start to look at these weeds as something other than weeds. Keeping true to your faith (even if it changes as you grow more experienced) is the best way to be of the greatest value to your family.

    Keep the faith, BG. Having faith isn't the problem, it's wanting other people's faith that's the bug.

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  6. I have to say that regarding your feelings of loneliness, I felt much the same way when I started attending Friends meeting here in DC.

    However, with four months of attending and constant vocal ministry, people have started opening up to me. I'm no longer a stranger--I have become accepted as one of them. It didn't happen overnight and I only made the strides I did with great persistence. Quakers tend to be introverted, shy people and as I've thought about it, I am no longer angry at them for not being instantly friendly. In its own time, fellowship became a reality.

    As for Blog Against Theocracy, as a person of faith I have long ago buried the bitterness I felt as a teenager when I rebelled against my religious upbringing. That is a battle I no longer feel compelled to fight, but I am still aware of all of the means by which religious is used as a bludgeon and a means of control that stifles individual thought and overall freedom of choice.

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  7. Church is a hard place for those with Asperger's becuause there are elements in Christianity where self-relfection is beneficial and as well as belonging to a community. Aspies stuggle with leaving the isolation and feel left out. Church where everyone is supposed to be welcome can easily disconnect and even harm those with Asperger's.

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  8. Thanks for the link to Atheist Bloggers. I'll have to check it out.

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  9. Sitting here watching the breakers roll in off Lanakai, it's hard to read that you are lonely enough to weep; the Spirit in me wants to immediately touch that loneliness and make it go away.

    And I'm always puzzled at the difficulty in distinguishing between religion as the sociological group-thing and religion as your personal relationship with God. "Churches" and the "church" have absolutely no business in our government; living out our values as religious persons has everything to do with any and all aspects of living, including government.

    I'm glad you're getting something out of the sermons, too. But your pastor was clueless about your zen proverb; perhaps he was just nervous that someone would teach him a lesson in a sentence, instead of a sermon.

    It's nice to hear that some are reflecting on the transfiguration, an episode of Christ that instantly throws his whole life and teachings into another, higher realm; the realm of the spiritual world just beyond the veil. That Jesus wanted a few of his apostles to witness his confab with a couple of spirit beings is striking in itself, but the fact that the apostles could actually put it into words after having the shit scared out of them was remarkable, too.

    So all this to say thanks for sharing your life with us, BG. And the reminder to be grateful, and forgiving, always.

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  10. good luck on giving up on perfectionism. hope you don't find your panties on fire.

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  11. yes, yes, yes and yes.

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