Tag: christianity

Following the Water

This is ornamentation in my friend Angela’s garden.

According to some lunatics tomorrow is the end of the world.  Sometime after noon.  Ish.  So today is your last day to repent and have a private talk with Jesus.  I suspect Jesus is going to need some serious coffee because, generally speaking, the day before the end of the world is the busiest one for Lords and Deities.  I was reading a Christian lady’s blog the other day and was struck by how often she dropped the word “Lord” and “King” and “Ruler” and “Liege”*.  It struck me how human, how mortal and un-deity-like the words “King” and “Ruler” are.  Like she was just talking about any other despot with a crown.  People really like to throw themselves at the feet of power.  Apparently, even though we live in a world where modern people are less and less enchanted with the idea of absolute rulers who are generally viewed as being exploitative, there are millions of people who really do want an absolute ruler.  They just don’t want to have to give their money to one.  But their soul?  Now there’s real coin.

Won’t I look ridiculous tomorrow when the great Armageddon really does happen and I’m left here in the jaws of earthly hell to die like a mortal human being?  I can live (or die) with that.  I’ve never expected anything else.  I wonder if the ascension will look at all like the northern lights.  I can’t wait to see what will happen with all the different factions of Christianity – will they all be swept up together or will some get first glimpse of heaven and first shot at a place in Jesus’ impossibly huge arms?  Will only the Christians who believed that Armageddon was scheduled for Saturday be taken up?  What about the Mormons who believe in Jesus but have a whole separate plan to rule their own planets when they die?  Will all Christians get exactly what they believe?  Surely there can be no disillusionment in heaven.

My dad always slammed me for being irritatingly literal.  I’m only literal-minded when it suites me or amuses me.  He never did get that subtlety.  I actually think being too literal with faith is seriously problematic but I do love to imagine people’s religions being just as literal as they take it.  In reality I believe that religion makes a lot more sense if it’s mostly metaphoric.  It becomes much more respectable and reasonable and believable (to me) when the bible is taken as a general guide, like Aesop’s Fables, where the stories aren’t literally true (mice and lions hanging out together?) but illustrate important concepts of moral and ethical conduct.

I am only just now realizing how switching between the literal and the metaphorical in my everyday language has caused others to misread my actual beliefs and observations.  I don’t do it on purpose.  I am scarcely aware that I do it at all.  My humor is sometimes lost on people who take me too seriously.  Because I’m such a heavy and serious person so much of the time.  I have said it before, it bears repeating, I am a person built of contradictions.

For years now I’ve been fighting hard for change in myself, forcing my own hand with such horrible self recrimination that it’s no wonder it’s proved so ineffective.  I’ve been fighting against the current and have paid with exhaustion and diminished self esteem.  In spite of that one accusation that I am narcissistic**, I am only as self obsessed as a writer has to be in order to see into the hearts and minds of other people.  If you can’t see into your own self you can’t see into anyone else.  I’ve spent so much time hating what calamity made of me.  That’s putting distance between me and my responsibility for myself.  I’m the one who’s made me what I’ve become, not calamity.

It’s so easy to shine a spotlight on the things I hate about myself that have been revealed in the past six years.  It’s easy to see how much I fell apart.  How I’ve become physically disgusting to myself.  How my self discipline in all things has become a ghost I try constantly to put my hands around and curse as it slips away again, melting into the shadows of the past.  How I’ve come so close to crossing the line into alcoholism in order to cope with all the uncopable stresses out of my control or that could be in my control if  I could only put my hands on my old strength, the same strength it took to crawl out of teen-hood into adulthood.   It’s so easy to count all those crimes against myself and punish and punish and punish.

Self flagellation is not attractive.  I have to give myself credit for having continually tried to make change in myself.  For never giving up on finding my strength again.  I haven’t been sitting idle for six years.  I’ve continually and exhaustively asked myself to step up to the plate and take control again.  All of this has helped me to grow as a person.  I have grown philosophically and mentally.  I have evolved.  These years have not been static or stagnant.  They’ve been fertile in ways I hadn’t let myself count.  Because I’m a shit.  I’m counting them now.  If I hadn’t gone through everything I’ve been through I may never have found the key that let me open up my own path to the fiction I always meant to be writing and previously repeatedly failed at.

Max is doing much better and that’s made a big difference, so that’s a huge stress that’s been lightened.  My mom has brought energy to our life and to our garden that we’ve been missing.  So that’s changed.  It doesn’t look like much on the outside, there’s still a lot of chaos here in our tangled up yard.  Quitting Kung Fu classes that require me to use up absolutely all my energy for maintaining my own madness in public has allowed me to relax a little more.  To be kinder to myself because I’m not subjecting myself to a big group of people every week who have, without meaning to, made me feel so awful for being so huge.  So I am exposed to less reason to feel shame.  I guess there’s been a lot of change.

I have not been sleeping so well lately but it seems indicative of other change.  Instead of being tortured by it I am just allowing it to be what it is.  If I don’t get any real sleep until 6am and have to sleep in until 10:30 am like a slob, it’s okay.  I have a job with the kind of flexibility that allows me to make my daily schedule how I need to make it.  So why curse and fight the strange sleeping patterns I’ve been experiencing?  I’ve been getting more exercise lately but I’m not letting myself agonize over it or hold myself to a specific goal.  “More exercise” is as specific as I’m letting it get.  I’ve been eating better.  Less cheese snacking late at night.  Less cheese in general.  Lighter breakfasts.  Less food.  Not starving or dieting by any means.  Just less.  Because it feels good to eat less.  I have no specific food goals except to not over-indulge.  I have been drinking less beer and changing up my routine, which for an OCD person like myself, is pretty difficult.

Except that when you let go of the fight and simply float down the river it’s amazing how far you’ll get and how close to what you’re looking for you’ll come without tearing yourself open.  Anyone who has known me a long time, or who has been reading my blog for a long time, will recognize this as part of my continuing cycle.  I forgive you if you don’t see anything new in these crumbs of change.  It’s not important that you see what’s changed.  It’s not important for you to be impressed.  Because it isn’t about you at all.  Except for how we all tend to mirror each other without meaning to and you may find that you’ve been following your own cycles and rivers and if you’ve been fighting against yourself, against the tide, against inevitability and against the suffocation of perceived helplessness, then this is about you too and you’ll see the small change I’m enjoying if you look in yourself.

What’s important is that I have been reclaiming self discipline during a time of stress, of change, of uncertainty, of Armageddon leering down at me.  What’s important is that I’ve been recognizing the small triumphs.  The inner victories.  The ones you can’t really see from the outside.  I have been drawing my boundaries in the sand and not crying when the water washes them away.  I draw them in the clouds instead.  Until the winds blow them away.  Instead of feeling futile I draw them in my spirit because no one can wipe those lines away without me letting them.  What’s important is that I’m not pounding my head with the same damn two by four every day.

If tomorrow is the end of the world I’m at peace with it.   How about you?

*Okay, not liege.  But with all the talk of Lords and Kings it’s what jumped next into my head.

**I only pulled that old insult up because it still amuses and confounds me.  It has long since lost its sting.  It’s just that it’s got a permanent place in my head now and though it no longer hurts it has become part of my story.

Figments of the Liberals’ Imagination (and their agenda to control you with evil)

I have recently had to read more mommy and Christian mommy blogs than I can choke down without a corresponding scream mushrooming up through my esophagus.  I don’t do this to myself for recreation, I promise you.

The declaration that overpopulation doesn’t exist and is a figment of liberal fantasy to try to control people is unbelievable.  A real case of reading data very selectively.  Someone asserted that there is a “birth dearth” and the numbers support this.  Looking at numbers in a vacuum, like most people do, is dangerous and leads to a lot of misinformation.

You have to consider that while world birth rates might be down this year from last (Oh God!  HAVE MORE BABIES NOW SO HUMANS DON’T GO EXTINCT!) the population of humans on this earth works in exponential numbers (do you remember those from math class?) and you have to compare the number of people on earth right now (over 6 billion)   to how many people were living on this earth fifty years ago, a hundred years ago, a thousand years ago.

There used to be room on this planet for humans AND Mastodons.  Hell, there used to be room for humans AND elephants.

Overpopulation isn’t about whether or not we’ve sustained a population number from one year to the next.  This planet has been over populated for a long time.  It was overpopulated last year.  And the year before.  And a decade before that too.  So when you pull out the yearly birth numbers you should put it in a context that actually tells you something.

When the world population is down by fifty percent there will still be so many people on this planet God really need not fear we die out, relieving all of you of the necessity to go forth and produce multitudes of babies.

I think that how I look at over population and how other people look at over population are very different.  Some people apparently don’t think it’s possible to overpopulate the earth.  Some people think as long as they and their family still have water and food then the earth can handle more people.

I ask this: how well is the human population on earth doing?  How many resources can we possibly use up, how many more millions of people on this planet need to live in poverty and die of hunger before we consider that maybe humans have already collectively bred too fiercely for the earth’s resources to support them?  Hunger and starvation don’t happen because people are too stupid to grow things for themselves or to find clean water.  There isn’t enough room for us all to grow enough food and sometimes when we have the room we don’t have the water or the money to keep it going.  And sometimes there’s the room but it’s all owned by government and other corporations who don’t give a shit about you and your subsistence living family.

Whether or not you care about over-population (and your part in it) is up for discussion between you and your conscience.

Whether or not it exists is a matter of mathematical fact arrived at by the measurable finite resources on the planet (food, water, land, breathable air), the amount of those resources needed by each human, the number of humans needing those resources, and how fast humans multiply.

You also have to decide whether you’re doing the equation with the minimum needs of people or what they’d need to consider themselves leading a healthy and abundant life, which is really what everyone hopes for, right?

I don’t personally need to write out that complex math problem because I already see the evidence of the answer all around me.

I don’t care about anyone but me:

Having to read this choice piece of idiocy “I don’t care where my meat comes from or how it’s raised.  I buy  meat based on two factors: taste and price.” made me tired and sad.   The same person goes on to claim that all this crap about ethical and environmentally responsible methods of raising meat is just hyperbole spread by people with the specific agenda to boost sales in niche markets.

I’ve never heard a more calloused dismissal of the treatment of livestock by human beings or of the quality of food you put in your body and the bodies of the people you love.

Taste and price.

Taste and price.

I wonder what my life would be like if I based all my decisions based on taste and price?

I’m not a natural woman:

I’m not a normal woman.  I get fresh evidence of this every single day.  The more exposure I get to people the more uncomfortable I feel.  Either I’m uncomfortable with them and their beliefs and their values and their choices or they make me feel uncomfortable about mine.  I know and love so many incredible women and yet I find myself outside their feelings about so many things.

I often feel more like a man than a woman.

I don’t want to BE a man.  I don’t feel like a man in a woman’s body.  Yet I sometimes feel that my general lack of sentimentality is a seriously unfeminine quality.  I put my writing ambitions ahead of my husband and child the way a man is expected to do, to be ambitious enough to demand the time and space to achieve what he’s supposed to achieve out in the world.  I did stay home with my kid and I’m deeply thankful I was able to do it but never has having a child been the fulfillment for me that it seems to be for most other women.

I see children as people.  I don’t have a soft fuzzy lens through which to appreciate them.  They are simply underdeveloped human beings who have a lot of needs.  I really like kids when they aren’t in bunches.  I don’t get them from a maternal viewpoint, though.  I evaluate them as developing people.  I see them as humans who are one day going to piss me off.

I read blogs where women are gushing about their kids and I feel like what I really need to do is go find a quiet corner in a men’s club and light up a cigar and read the paper.  There are a few parenting blogs where the mother in question is a keen observer and an excellent writer who can make me really care about her children and her experiences parenting but so many posts women write about their kids gush shit like “I’ve learned SO MUCH since I had you, my little fluffball-poopy-pants!” but they never actually say what the hell they learned.  Mostly what they seem to learn is that parenting is hard or that they are so very blessed in their lives.

Which is nice.  I’m happy for them.

But what about all the ethical questions being a parent forces you to grapple with?  What about the lessons about death, dying, and how some kids want to kill themselves and aren’t feeling all that blessed.  What about that?

If I was a regular woman I’d say things like “My uterus aches every time I see a baby.” and “Now that my kid is ten years old I feel devastated that he’s not my little baby anymore!” and “I will put off writing my novel until my kid no longer needs me, when I die.”  and “I just MELT every time Max farts!” and “I completely submit to my hubby because God made him the leader of my goddamn pack of feral dogs-

Oh wait- I got a little carried away there.  That was obnoxious of me.

I feel feral most of the time.

When sex is a four letter word:

That brings up this other trend I’m noticing amongst the conservative Christian crowd: the great return of the subservient woman.

I hear women say they are submissive to their husbands even when they know their husbands are making poor decisions for their family well-being because God expects the men to be the head of the family and it’s the duty of a woman to support him even if she can steer the family’s well-being better.  I guess some women think they’re sacks of potatoes.

It makes me angry.

There are conversations out there where women are suggesting that wives should have sex with their husbands even when they don’t want to, because it’s their job.

The other word for making a woman feel obligated to have sex with you when she doesn’t want to is: RAPE.

What kind of asshole bastard man wants his woman to submit to having sex with him when she doesn’t want to?

Any woman can tell you that if you have sex with a man because you feel you have to but you don’t really want to:

a) it hurts physically

b) it feels like a violation

c) it’s demoralizing

d) it’s bad shit and should never NEVER happen

Is this just another way I’m unfeminine?

I’ve been married for almost eighteen years and one of the reasons for it is that I’m not married to an asshole power-tripping megalomaniac.

Rise, Martyrs, for you have suffered for the sake of suffering and now must be rewarded with NOTHING:

Suffering for the glory of suffering for your faith because it’s an honor to suffer for your man/family/children/god… I’m not the martyr type.  Suffering happens spontaneously enough in life that no one should have to orchestrate their own special hell so they can feel good that they are surviving it.

The other day the image of Christ leading people over the edge of a cliff to their doom like lemmings popped into my head.  I didn’t think it on purpose.  I didn’t think it to offend my Christian friends.  I just thought about the concept of complete faith that Jesus is good, that he will only lead people to good things, that no part of his plan is to make you suffer…

and the image just popped into my head because no one can be sure that Jesus doesn’t plan to walk everyone off the cliffs of Dover.

Ted Bundy was charismatic too.