Category Archives: Religion

Unclear On The Concept

There are a fair number of things that push my buttons these days, and I seem to have a lot of buttons. I’m trying to “maintain an even strain,” particularly here (mainly because I fear that once I let those floodgates crack open there won’t be any way to shut them) but an image today has piqued my interest in a special way.

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

I will attempt to be brief and to the point.

  1. I have nothing charitable or nice to say in any way, shape, or form about those who are ignoring the scientific facts with the current pandemic, particularly those who are actively campaigning to “open up” our cities and states.
  2. I’m a “recovering Catholic” who got a LOT of dogma rammed down my throat as a child. While I find theology a fascinating topic in general…
  3. …questioning Catholic dogma got me in a **LOT** of trouble about the time high school rolled around. (It’s tough having Mom trying to get me to be an altar boy multiple days a week when Father Murray is horrified by the fact that I said something like “What a crock of shit!” when he gave me a stock answer to my wise ass question about something that didn’t make any sense at all.)
  4. Points #2 and #3 being a given, just because I thought it was nonsense didn’t mean I wasn’t paying attention. (You never know, that point of doctrine from St. Bernard of Clairvaux in the 12th Century could show up on Final Jeopardy when you most need it!)

So when I see this particular picture, all of this dogmatic trivia coalesces in my brain (sort of like congealing grease mixed with yesterday’s leftover oatmeal, grey and lumpy) into the following thought:

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Filed under CoronaVirus, Moral Outrage, Religion

Easter Eve

We just got home from the family Passover Seder which, as a “recovering Catholic” especially, I find wonderful and thought provoking and fantastic.

It’s late.

It’s been a long day. It’s been a long week, and month, and year.

We found at least five rabbits on the front lawn. There might have been more – it was dark.

There had better be a shit ton of Easter eggs out there in the morning!

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Filed under Castle Willett, Religion

Cloudy Days

If you have a clear Western horizon with minimal clouds over the next few days, take a look just a few minutes to a half hour or 45 minutes after sunset. You’ll see the crescent moon, a little bigger and a little higher every night. You’ll see Venus, which will be REALLY BRIGHT. And if you’re lucky (not too lucky, it’s not THAT hard), to the upper right of Venus a ways you’ll see a much dimmer object – that’s Mercury.

We won’t be seeing that in Los Angeles. This was last night:

And this was tonight:

There’s a major storm moving in for the next several days, so maybe Thursday? Friday?

That’s the message from the Universe tonight. It doesn’t care what you wanted or were wishing for or were hoping for. It doesn’t care if any given time period was going to have something happening that you wanted to observe or participate in or enjoy. The Universe will cloud out your planetary conjunction or eclipse or rocket launch or baseball game or marathon or parade or plane flight or vacation and be totally oblivious and uncaring.

It us, the little animated meat sacks on this dust most in the cosmos who put meaning on it. We are the context.

Logically, or perhaps “theologically,” the Serenity Prayer has it correct in that there are three things we should ask for – serenity to accept things that can’t be changed, courage or strength to change the things that can, and wisdom to know which is which.

It’s one cloudy day when I start quoting prayers. As for this particular prayer, today I’m apparently zero for three.

There’s always tomorrow, even if it’s cloudy.

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Photography, Religion, Weather

No Context For You – January 24th

Perception. It’s a funny thing.

I liked this picture on the phone, but couldn’t figure out to save my life what the snippet of writing was or any of the other forms. Maybe that’s why I liked it so much for this post.

Then, just before hitting “Publish,” one element goes “SNAP!” in my brain, recognizable despite the aspect change, color change, spin away from the horizontal. Like lightning dominoes the pieces fell into position.

The brain is weird.

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Filed under Paul, Photography, Religion

No Context For You – January 17th

 

 

Thought #1 re: everything – as we all know, “Don’t think! You can only hurt the team.”

Thought #2 re: Thought #1 – “What’s the team done for me recently?”

Thought #3 re: Thought #2 – “Yes! I hear you! The voices! The nuns, the nuns, will they never GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!”

Thought #4 re: Thought #3 – Sin! Ask for it by name! Accept no substitutes!

GOTO Thought #3 – Infinite Loop

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No Context For You – January 08th

I did not come down with a cold – yet. Or the flu, which has rampaged through our small office – yet.

Thought #1 re: that – Let’s assume my guardian angel is doing a good job of prioritizing and protecting me from the biggest threats so I’m staying healthy while all about me are spending days and weeks in misery. How bad must that flu be so that I need that sort of angelic protection instead of some divine intervention with Lottery numbers or something useful? Hey, I’ll take a week of the flu if I can get about $50M cash after taxes, thanks! Just an FYI…

Thought #2 re: that – How freakin’ EGOMANIACAL do humans have to be to believe that the Lord Supreme God of the Entire Universe would create an entire race of divine beings for no purpose other than to follow us around (invisibly, mind you) and protect us from evil and guide us toward being good people. We, the psychotic and only semi-intelligent meat puppets of planet Earth, working hard to annihilate ourselves and take the rest of the planet and the biosphere down with us, **WE** get our own personal set of divine slaves!

Thought #3 – wow, that got dark and escalated quickly!

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Filed under Paul, Photography, Religion

Groundless Faith vs Depressing Reality

Having been raised Catholic, complete with six years of nuns in full “penguin” regalia teaching Catholic school, I’m familiar with the concept of faith.

Having rejected Catholicism and all other religions, I’m familiar with the realization that reality often sucks.

Tonight, having exposed myself to my daily dose of muck, mire, stupidity, and hatred in the news, I saw a comment by someone who was taking solace in her faith in God and her belief that under divine guidance it would all work out for the best. (For the moment we’ll ignore the discrepancy between that common view of the deity’s job description and the theological necessity for free will.)

For a moment I was almost jealous. In her piety and faith she wasn’t pissed off, depressed, furious, outraged, or anxious. God would take care of it, all’s well, let’s have dinner!

Then I was wondering how people with that kind of faith can manage to hold on to it when their it turns out God might have been asleep at the wheel that day. I know that many people lose their faith at that time (hey, welcome back to reality, have some wet wipes, there’s a lot of shit being flung about out here!) but many, such as my mother, hold onto it no matter what.

So which is better, to face reality with all of its flaws and warts and at times like this being pummeled heavily about the head and shoulders with the fact that we’re a long, long way from that mythical Paradise? Or to sail through it all with our faith as the rock solid keel keeping us on course, only to end up spinning and capsizing when that keel breaks away?

I’ll stick with reality for a lot of reasons, but here’s a key one that comes to mind.

If you forfeit the ownership of the world’s slimier aspects, you also forfeit any credit for its moments of bliss. You can believe that God’s invisible angels are all around you, or you can find yourself to be an angel of our own making. This can be in the smallest things, the way you treat people from total strangers to heads of state, to the biggest things possible, such as how you choose to react in a crisis.

You also get to take ownership of the world’s rainbows appearing in a ray of brilliant sunshine slipping through a hole in a black  thunderhead, the sound of the thunder rolling across the landscape, and the brilliant stars that come in the clear night skies that follow.

Sometimes there is an awful lot of shit to wade through, but if you’re going to have faith, think about a Mozart symphony, a 9-11 first responder, your child’s first cry, and the feel of your lover’s hand in yours as you walk through a quiet forest – then have faith there there really will be a pony underneath all of that shit.

 

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