A Religious New Year’s Resolution

I wish sometimes, I really do..I wish I could slip into a 24 hour emotional coma where Bowl Games were important to me, where I cared for just a little while about what kind of car I drive, or what Jennifer Anniston thinks about anything.

I would like to breathe, just for a little while- long enough to gather strength against the endless soul-bruising I feel condemned at times to live within- I would like to breathe the foreign air of “I just don’t give a damn.” I would like to be able knock a beer (as the phrase is put in hard-drinking, easy-thinking circles) and know that it would stop the world long enough for me to go to sleep one night without a single nagging needle of over-extended empathy jabbing at my heart.

I would like to experience a whole day someday, a day that would enable me to remember what it was like to not have stories like these from this day acid-raining on my parade:

For Kurdish Girls, An Ancient, Painful Ritual of Circumcision

and

Egyptian Girl Kept As Slave in California Home

These two headlines happen to be fueled by Islam. It would be just as easy on another day to find such stories of cruelty, intolerance, or mythologically-based stupidity rising from Christianity, Hinduism, or Judaism. (If you doubt that statement, and don’t have the ability or skills to go Googling for yourself, message me and I’ll send some examples your way. At this moment, I don’t have the emotional wherewithal to subject myself to more such UTTER, AWFUL, DEHUMANIZING, GODDAMNING, DESPICABLE crap being dispensed incessantly by those who keep the gods of their foul fantasies trapped in the uncritical, unthinking, and unevolved confines of their reptilian, always reactive imaginations.)

Despite overwhelming evidence indicating otherwise, each of us really do have the kingdom of heaven beating somewhere in our beings aching, wanting, striving to find expression in the environments, large and small, in which we each find ourselves.  I also believe that each of us has the ability to cause that kingdom-of -heaven reality to be present and evident for the benefit of ourselves and others when we are aware of its presence in us.

And I dislike to admit it, but I must: that presence may best be found and understood by examining that which makes us most uncomfortable. In other words- for me- it is the boundary-pushing kingdom of heaven in me that makes me want to retreat at times, from it. I’d rather watch a football game and be excited by it, than contemplate the horror of a nine-year-old girl being hacked on because..because.. because NOBODY KNOWS WHY!!!  (“We don’t know why we do it, but we will never stop because Islam and our elders require it,” says the mother of a little girl whose clitoris has just been cut off.)

The only thing I know to do is to do something- something, anything, each day, in however many days I might have, to expose, fight, ridicule, or- God,help me-  stand between religious cruelty and its victims. I can bitch, whine, or tilt at windmills, or I can do something.  I can look the other way, pretend my wishes of paragraph #1 have been granted, or stop exposing myself to that which pains me most poignantly, or I can make some tiny difference which- like a seed- may grow.

Therefore, I choose (and promise), beginning today, to do one thing each day to chink at the foundations of religion. I’d rather spread Doubt, than Blind Obedience. I’d rather make an ass of myself doing some thing, than not be noticed at all, doing nothing at all, causing not a single fissure in the landscape of a world where, because of the misogynist dogma of  fear-created gods, there are still little girls..

screaming.

God, damn religion too. Amen.

Advertisements

Maybe the best reason yet for being happy that Obama was elected..!

On the day before Thanksgiving, Barack Obama and his family helped serve meals to Chicago’s homeless at a Southside Catholic Church. After about an hour, Obama left the food line to go to an elementary school associated with the Church. This AP photo captures the reactions of those kids who had only been told there was a “special guest” arriving.

Wow!

Look at every single face. Each face is the verse of an epic poem. Each expression is a note in a symphony. Here are a hundred eyes full of excitement and joy, and..(though these kids don’t know it yet their parents and grandparents do)..hope. This is the kind of Hope that straightens paths, brightens colors, and builds bridges to possibilities. It is the kind of Hope that I feel so grateful to have been able to witness, and even feel in my own heart.

But, just look at these kids! Whatever I might feel is peanuts compared to the smiles, laughter, and amazement of these young ones. These kids are having their futures redefined- right now- in ways we could not have  imagined that happening just three years ago.  None of us know the full extent of the redefinitions or the long-term ramifications of the cultural reformation that has just taken place. But we do see those smiles, and those smiles tell me that whatever is coming next has got to be good.

Obama-Thanksgiving-19

It has got to be.

It just has to be.

The World is a "Dirty Gas Station Restroom.."

In October, I was banished (their word) from one of  the fundamentalist Christian,  Rapture-obsessed forums. This particular one is billed as “your prophecy resource for the end times.”

It was the end of October, 2008. I was banished for daring to ask in one of the forums, the following question: “Can we assume that the president we elect on November 4 is God’s answer to our prayers?” It seems an innocuous sort of question, doesn’t it? Actually, I knew these folks would have a hard time with it, which is why I asked. They overwhelmingly, of course, wanted McCain/Palin to win- they’re the Republicans and they used kind of language that would appeal to these fundamentalist, literalist “Christians.” There were many, many written prayers in the forums there pleading with God to make their victory happen. But the polls showed Obama/Biden ahead; thus, their dilemma. To answer my question affirmatively, and in the face of a possible Obama win, it would be evident that God was different than this Rapture-obsessed crowd had understood God to be. They knew, after all, that God (He) was conservative, Republican, against Muslims, for war, for capitalism, against gays, against illegal immigration, for McCain, and against everything that Obama stood for, including his middle name. So if Obama would win, it would mean their fundamentalist and oh-so-narrow view of everything, would be in the spiritual toilet.

Thus, my banishment, and this segue..

In 2005, I lifted this particular quote from one of their forums. I lifted and kept it because it captures so well the attitude of so many fundamentalists regarding our world, our planet, this great and shared part of Creation upon which we are all utterly dependent:

I think we Christians should look at this world as being a filthy restroom at a roadside gas station. Fate has brought us here, we try to touch as little of it as possible while doing our business, we hope to leave quickly, and we don’t ever plan on coming here again until it’s under better management.”

bathroom

Welcome to their world!

That’s not an isolated attitude; in fact, it’s pretty common. They feel separate from the world, not a part of it, not responsible for it:  in it, but not of it. The world, they will tell you, and most persons in it, belong to Satan, the bad guy to whom they ascribe almost-God-like powers. “This world is not my home,” is one of those phrases heard every Sunday in most of their churches, and the focus of their lives becomes the end of their lives. They will only live when they die. Only when they die will they be able to leave the filthy gas station restroom they are trapped inside of; only in death will they be able to walk out the door, across the street, and down the hill to the river where, if they look closely, they will see tiny little wild violets in the spring, hundreds of tadpoles in early summer, the gold/red/orange/burgundy blanket of fallen leaves in the autumn, and the diamond sun-reflections in the whiteness of a wintertime snowfall.

I mean, I guess that’s their back-asswards, crypto-eschatological, FUBAR-brained thinking. No wonder they pray every day for the Rapture to happen! They’re getting tired of the stink!

I am, too.

The Problem, Whatever It Is..

It really is true, but I needed to elaborate on it- for myself. Feel free to read over my shoulder. Tell yourself, as often as is necessary, whatever this, at the moment, is:

This, too, shall pass..

And indeed it shall:

~from the immediate corners of consciousness where- now- it jostles jaggedly, by the moment, by the half-moment, seeking a position but finding only juxtaposition.

~from the aching, angry forefront of lobotomical lamentations and synaptical sorrows.

~from the emotional heat which causes embers thought to be cold to flare again in the white and searing heat of memory, and memory of memory.

This, too, shall pass..

And indeed it shall:

~as unexpected crises are confronted, and what is imperative right now becomes an afterthought to what the newest right now is clamoring.

~as the sharp and focused particulars- each letter, each syllable, each raised eyebrow- of these moments in time become the faded pastel memories of yesterday, last month, and several years ago (no one remembers exactly when..)

~as the persons involved are ripped, or fade, from our stories, and as their circumstances, as their reactivity and proactivity waxes, and wains, and is washed away by new calendar pages, new ticking-tocking of the world’s clocks, and new birthdays, seasons, before there are..no more.

This, too, shall pass..

And indeed it shall:

~when, over a millennium, not too many millennia away, glacial sheets like geographical snow plows push down and across whole continents and Stockholm, then London, then Madrid; and Montreal, then New York, then Washington are scrapped from their rebar and concrete moorings before the great cliffs of ice.

~ when the shards of the Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center, the Library of Congress, Parliament, Windsor Castle, and the Louvre are piled deeply beneath the former shores and sand of the one-time Great Lakes, the no-longer-there North Sea, and the gravel that once laid at the bottom of the English Channel.

~when that ice, in epochal time, begins to melt and frozen swamps give rise to the bacterial surge of New Life, and the hundred thousand year movement toward new geological eras begins, and where new ice will again appear and new swamps, new mountain ranges, new continents, new volcanic islands, new life forms- slimes and swarms- birthing and dying, become themselves 100 million year old fossils, never to be found, catalogued, or contemplated.

~ when the Sun, explosively benign and vital through all that has been, begins its final interior burn and expands as the last stores of helium flare through ten billion years of pressure and the Sun, larger and larger, encompasses one by one the orbits of its planets, and the blue and green of Earth becomes a desert, then a smoldering coal, then a hot ember, then an ash, then smoke, then nothing but the chaotic then coalescing atoms which, in this tiny portion of the Universe, will begin again to end and begin again and again, and then- indeed-

This, too, shall have passed..

God Damn Dog Fighting (Again)

Dogfighting Subculture Is Taking Hold in Texas

from today’s New York Times:

By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.

HOUSTON — The two undercover agents were miles from any town, deep in the East Texas countryside, following a car carrying three dogfighting fanatics and a female pit bull known for ripping off the genitals of other dogs. …….[etc.,etc.]

dog fighting

Somewhere, in some obscure lexicon of the Inquisition, or in the dictionaries of Bergen-Belsen or Treblinka, or perhaps in the indexes of Jonestown, My Lai, or Abu Ghraib- in some collection of heart-ripping words like those collections must represent, there might be found the right words to describe this despicable practice of that particular debris which postures in human form.

Go ahead, knee jerk reactionary, blame it on the breed. Swallow the media’s fear-mongering use of the sharply spit, so easily spoken description, pit bull. Make it easy on yourself to hate, to fear, to write off en masse a whole species by allowing those with a vested interest in making you afraid of everything outside the walls of your flat-screen television to tell you how, what, and with what degree of terror to think.

And above all, don’t dare look too hard or too long into the eyes of the dog pictured above. Because it’s impossible to not see the confused hunger for human attention and affection pouring from that dog’s one good eye, isn’t it? Deep within his/her genes the synchronistic and ancient communal relationship between humans and dogs is still pulsing, still resounding. Don’t you just know that dog’s tail is wagging at the photographer’s brief attention?

For the record, here’s the kind of pit bull our grand-parents and great grand-parents grew up with, and that many of us can remember watching on television, before the words “pit” and “bull” were twisted around the pricks of drug-addled thugs and  and turned into pornographic metaphors for manhood and virility:

petehomeimage

Yeah, it’s “Petey” of the Our Gang films. Petey– whose descendents would one day be hauled in the back of a pick up truck to obscure locations in Texas (and Virginia, Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas, and..hell..wherever bloody handsful of hundred dollar bills are regarded as orgasmic) and starved  before being placed in a cage surrounded by sweating, screaming Michael Vick wannabes and then rewarded for tearing off the genitals or out the eyes of the other frightened scared dog in the same cage, or drowned or head-bashed the next morning for failing to do so.

Look at those eyes, go ahead..once more. One of them belongs to the dog. And one of them belongs to us..