Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dear God: An Open Letter of Faith

Dear God,

It's me, hopeless. I'm sorry that I haven't been around much recently, but life has just firmly planted its foot straight up my ass and I can hardly take a moment to breathe. I write this to you because I have hit the proverbial wall with my marriage and I sit here, cast in partial darkness, trying to think where my life will go next. I know one thing for sure, it's not going up. I have reached the point of auto-pilot malfunction with my marriage and it could not come at a more worse time than now. Maybe things are so unstable because my Polish mother-in-law is here, which is never a good time for me regardless of the mood anyone is in. I have reached the point of no return, Lord, and it scares the hell out of me. I have finally amassed the "look" you get when you know, no matter what the other tells you, that there is no more love to give. It's been long in the making and I know that I am partially responsible for allowing it to come to this, with my refusal to call it quits when I should have, but I believed so sincerely in my heart of hearts that you would intervene. I guess that was my second mistake. And don't think I am blaming you, because I am not. At least not on the surface. There are places within me that shout "Why didn't you do something!" when I know it's not your place. I chose to marry this woman and have a child with her, and even convinced myself to try for another with the approaching New Year. 

I did this because a part of me believes that, if you commit to the vows and the holy communion, my god would see to it that such a union remain healthy, as long as the two vowing did equal shares in keeping the faith. And I guess that is where things stop being spiritual and become the fault of others. The main question that has always troubled me was, "Why does she stay with me, if I am so loathed by her?" "Why has she committed herself to a promise she knows she can not keep?". So many questions that will never have answers, yet I have to accept now that my ten year marriage is virtually over and that my daughter will spend the rest of her life with mom on one side and dad on the other...and that breaks me in two, Lord. I am emotionally wrecked. Each night, before I lay my head to sleep, during those moments I would pray, are now filled with uncertainty. Doubt. Confusion. Will I have this same bed with this same woman I desperately continue to find ways to love, or will I be in a strange new bed, where there is only room enough for myself, the trusted dog and my little girl when she is with me on visitation days. All because I took stock in my faith two years ago and trusted my faith, when my heart was bleeding incredulously inside my chest. 

My God, where did I go wrong? A question so many of us have to deal with during the procedures, court ordered or otherwise, as if I did not have enough to deal with already with the new job. A job I took solely to nurture my marriage and better support my daughter while I am still young enough to do so. Appearing intelligent and actually being intelligent is quite a dynamic I must admit. So I guess I am writing you to ask for strength, support, will and maybe a little extra spiritual guidance. I know that sounds selfish, but, right now, selfish seems to be a word that has been lacking too much in my life, causing such catastrophic breakdowns, and a little atta'boy from my God is just what the witch doctor ordered. To get a visual of how I feel, consider Atlas. Burdening the weight of the world on his shoulders, knee slightly buckling, forehead saturated with the sweat of mankind's selfless destruction. My world still rest upon my shoulders, but I am face down in the dirt. Every single muscle in my body is flexed to its max and I am doing just enough not to suffocate beneath it all. Just a little pick-me-up, doesn't seem like too much to ask. Does it? I do not want heavenly intervention, just a little stroke of fortune to assist me. And I am not asking to win Powerball, just a jackpot or two in what means more to me than the paperweight of greed- love. 

I know you understand me. I know you that you know how much I do love and respect you as my God, so please, please God, help me understand those things I must do. If not for me, then for the little spirit who has yet to meet you, but will undoubtedly be grateful for that little miraculous push in the right direction. The one that says to her, "You're welcome." even though she may not ever know what it is she is thankful for. I will know, for her, for her mother, for our family, for the brother or sister I so want to give her, for the world that I have cried, bleed, shouted, kicked, punched and clawed for. Lord, hear my prayer. 

Yours eternally,


Friday, November 11, 2011

Fractels of Faith

I am in the bedroom waiting for my wife to come in from putting our daughter to bed for the night. The house is quiet. The room is silent. The double doors leading to the master bathroom are opened, the Jacuzzi, staring back at me, hasn’t been used in some time, but it does serve the occasional purpose of romance, lined with white candles with plenty of wick left to burn the midnight oil with, when everything is just right with the world. The bedroom door is also opened, revealing the kitchen dimly lit by the hanging light above the family table. I am reminded of all the good and bad times spent at this table and a half-assed smile comes to my face. Much has happened in this house over the last five years that has shaped me as both a person and a husband. I have absorbed the role of father nicely, I think, and continue to frown upon the image looking back at me in the mirror each time I try to shave the growth from my face. Even now as I write this, I am reminded by past events which shaped my family circle from the warped and jagged pieces of old into the nearly complete cog in the wheel of life that spins slowly around now. It feels…nice, when all is still and quiet. It feels right, when no one has anything to say to the other. If I close my eyes and try hard enough, the chill is removed from the air and replaced with a gentle warmth that envelopes me like a nice unseen blanket. During this moment, a distant unfamiliar voice whispers to my soul, "See, I told you so." and though I am not sure what this means, I still like to think I know. I would like to think that it means that no matter how bad things may get, at the end of the day, when the house falls silent and the ruckus of the day settles, the reason why I did those things I did in the past and all those things I am likely to do in the future were done because of this-whatever this is. And that is where I find you, the intangible God whom speaks to me, even when I am not listening.
Things have been rough going, this much is true, yet they tend to calm as any storm does when it loses all of its charge. I am sure many of you already know this, but it still feels as though I have cracked the Davinci Code whenever I have this type of revelation myself. I am sure I have been told this, by someone at some point in time, and never listened. It's the ole "You'll understand one day." threat we have all been handed down by our parents. And, like my mother before me, I will pass it down to my daughter one day and she too will scoff as I did; but, she will see, just you wait, one day. It will all become clear. I guess I just hate myself a little for wasting so many years on insignificant bullshit. My god, think about the opportunities I missed out on, because I had to walk in my mother's shoes. I have to wonder if there is not some kind of celestial jigsaw puzzle whose missing link is not given to us until we take that last breath of air, which might account for why so many people have this sudden look of consternation at that final moment. The deathly AH-HA! So many loved ones never get the chance to pass on to anyone. Tricky, tricky.
 I can admit with some humility that I lost you, there for a minute. Maybe I forgot how to believe. Maybe something inside me, a demon if you wish to blame my own ignorance on something other than myself, told me that my time was better spent on the things I can see, touch or feel. Maybe it was something as trivial as peer pressure that distracted me from you. Whatever the case, I connected with you tonight. Maybe not in the traditional sense, or even in the sense I am supposed to, but it was something I deem important and godly and powerful enough to share here with my peers. I might not be that dedicated sheep my religion demands of me…but I am getting back to why I believed in the first place and that is what means the most to me…and you…I think.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Following the Fissures

My God, what more can I do? How much more can I try and convince my wife that our life together simply isn't what it was six years ago? How do I stop the pressure and contain the emergency that is my marital floodgates from bursting? I am reminded of a display of human ingenuity this past weekend, where several groups of elderly people, a few mothers with her brood and plenty of WWE style signs, standing on the corner of Popular showing their support for the power of prayer and the abolition of abortion. "Pray to end Abortion!"
I mention this not because of the message, but the delivery. Praying to God to end something we created, which is ironic really. How many prayers does it take to make a woman not go through with that unwanted fetus, which was placed there by a rapist without a conscious? As I drove by these assholes, I wanted to veer suddenly, perhaps claim to have seen a dog run into the street or something, and plow through these people taking up My God's time with abortion, when I need His guidance with my marriage and trying to keep it together. I am trying to remain married to one woman as God intended, while these apes (who I am willing to bet good money on having been married multiple times) protest abortion in God's name. I need My God. I need Him to hear my prayers because they are sincere and honest and true and far more important than someone trying to make another person bring an unwanted life into an already overpopulated world to be shunned upon and treated exactly how someone should be treated, when not wanted, like a stray. I need God to bring me some kind of bleeding miracle, because the woman I love and the mother of my child is simply no longer responding to me, as though she has mentally shut me out of her life and I am without the foggiest clue as to why, what have I done and how did I arrive here and where in the hell is the exit?

Did God send me a message years ago and I just ignored it? Would God stand idly by and allow someone he loves unconditionally suffer one tragic heartache after another, until the physical toll beings on an early stroke or heart attack in which there is not often a comeback story to follow? I AM TRYING TO PROVIDE A GOOD LOVING HOME TO MY DAUGHTER and I am being sacrificed for my troubles. Dear God, I have slowly bled myself dry over the cobblestones of marriage for a decade now and I am only bandaged now and again, drugged across them again before the scabs have a chance to heal and because...why? Why can't I get some kind if answer from the executioner? Why can't my spiritual father just throw me a nugget of epiphany to show me where all the goddamn trap doors are in this path of matrimony. For better or worse, SO. HELP. ME. GOD!

Help me find the strength to carry on with our without the woman I have given so much of my life to. To find a right way in explaining how I could not do something so damn simple as to keep a loving marriage together with my daughter's mother, to explain why a brother and sister are not likely, to say I am sorry for my shortcomings, but please believe me that I tried and tried and tried until there was nothing more I could do, but pray that God could help me, just a little, by planting a rouge thought into the mind of the woman who no longer responds to me and drifts into the blank space before her eyes whenever I speak to her. The same woman who can authentically look me in the eye and ponder if the sound of my voice is the cause to her explosive bowel movements on a day we spent laughing and enjoying one another. WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG HERE???

My God, what more has to fall my way? I braved the life of having no father, worked my way through 9 temporary fathers in the process, battled my heart with my only parent who, till this day, cannot accept my wrongful statements to her, but expects me to forget the pain she brought upon me, cut the cord of family to have my immediate one survive just to hear the woman I fight for daily compare me to a fucking bowel movement. Please forgive me, for I have apparently done terrible things in a past life of which I am paying for now in this one. Oh, and please strike down the woman about to abort a child she knows she can not give a proper life too. 


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Listening. Waiting. Wondering.

I am trying to retain my personal struggles and not allow my emotions to bleed through the rough jagged edges of my atypical self, but find this practice to be a difficult one. Part of my inability to focus on things recently has been due to the ongoing battle to maintain my marriage, providing a stable home for my little girl to grow up happily within, even if it means sacrificing my own personal wants and needs. The other 70% of my distraction falls here with My God, because He is such a large part of it. God has always been my father, when my own failed to show up for work. The unseen, unheard, faceless voice that has provided me with spiritual direction as far back as I can remember has never been more silent than it is today. And, like a son standing with his catchers mitt and ball, alone in the yard expecting his father to play with him, I am left to wonder where everything went wrong between us. My God, I am in need of direction from someone. Heaven knows I have tried to talk to my wife without any success about our challenges and the few close friends I have are not willing to hear my drama in their single-minded childless lives, which leaves me to my mother who is about as helpful in marriage counsel as Michael Jordan is to coaching any Baseball League. There is one thing that my loving mother has left burred deep inside my conscious, always reminding me of this, whenever we are at odds with one another. "You can't fly to high that God will not bring you straight down to your knees."

Here is the issue I have with this. 
A) Why is my mother constantly wishing ill will on me? All the other mothers I know out there seem to actually support their children, even the ones who murder people, eat humans, kill their babies and poison their spouses for money, yet my own mother wishes God to strike me down when I tell her not to give ice to my two year old daughter.
B) Why is My God so angry with those who believe in him and honor him and pray to him in a world that is increasingly turning the other cheek.
C) Why is it that all those I consider "parents" also come with being selfish assholes?
D) Why is God so against my happiness and success?

Granted, I know this is just her own insecurities lashing out at me, but it is still ungodly annoying. I feel like my life has reached its limit, though there is still so much left in me to give and offer, and I am trapped inside my own confidence box, shouting at the top of my lungs for someone to lend me a goddamn box cutter. How can the outside appear so warm and welcoming, when the inside is corroded with acidic baggage that is simply unwilling to fade away? Faith is such an unpredictable crap shoot that I am not even sure about its authenticity nowadays. What I mean by this is that everything seems to be controlled in one way or another by some other person who thinks they have the answers to all. And maybe they do, but until someone can reach out to me and say that they have walked the same trail I am on with spot-on examples of their own trials and tribulations, I am going to look for the omnipresent LORD as my Savior...except, when I throw out the cross shaped bat-signal nothing happens. I am on the verge of an unprecedented mental breakdown here, where the hell are you?

Then I am reminded of my own personal opinions of the matter. God is there, wherever "there" happens to be, always present in the most subtle of ways, a sudden gust of wind on a windless day, an unexpected smile when no one is laughing, a distant voice inside you that pokes you this way or that. God gave me and everyone reading this a brain with limitless boundaries. A piece of himself that was meant to bring us closer to Him, not drive us further and further apart. Because of this, I am lead to ask myself, have I conditioned myself to use my brain too much? Have I crossed that unspoken line that was meant solely for God's use, the expression doing all that you can and leaving the rest for God to sort out seems to have brought me and my faith to some kind of spiritual crossroads. Have I forgotten my manners or has my heavenly father clipped my wings? This also plays an important role is the whole belief system. God cannot or chooses not to defend his role or tell us anything about his plans, leaving this up to his human representatives to chalk up. But I lost faith in those guys years ago and would not dare seek holy counsel, unless he can raise the dead or turn my water into wine and even then I have to be cautious, thanks to the Anti-Christ.

My current banshee-like wail is this; I am trying to keep my marriage a happy and successful one. I am trying to keep my daughter from spacing out around the age of 13, because mommy and daddy called it quits and love is just an unused condom left on the vacant pillow next to me. I am trying to connect with the woman I love, grow this connection and bring another excellent addition into a world filled with creeps, but I can't seem to find that forgiveness my wife needs and the condomless love I need to make this happen. What in God's name do I have to do to erase the bad and pencil in all the good I want to bring to this holy matrimony? My God, there must be an arrant thunderclap in the sky just waiting for me to hear it, or an unexpected instant message from an unknown advising me on my next move. There must be. There HAS to be. Call me Icarus, but those were some pretty nice wings, regardless of what they were made of.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Power of Prayer

I promised myself that I would go deeper than anyone might be willing to go in questioning their God, maybe revealing too much of myself to a world of infinite cyber space, to read and judge me by; but, am I not already doing that when I pray? I have one prayer. It may not even be considered "praying" by many, but it's what I have been doing for a s far back as I can remember. 

Dear God, 
Thank you for this day and the many more that may follow. 
Thank you for my wife. (this prayer was slightly altered 12 years ago, which went something like, thank you for (insert wife's name) because, after all I had gone through to bring her here to the states, and the time spent on a computer upholding a long distance relationship, it had to have been a miracle) 
Thank you for the beautiful little girl asleep, whose light snore make me fall asleep with a smile. 
Thank you for watching over me and my family, blessing us with good health and the means to survive. 
From here, I just talk. I talk (in my head) to the spirit in the sky as though he were sitting in a chair next to me, chewing on a pen cap and occasionally jotting down a few "Ah-Ha!" comments. Going back to touch a little more on what I get out of religion or faith, I get a kind and impartial ear to hear me from start to finish. I get what I have been craving for years from my wife and mother and anyone willing to put their own selfishness aside to lend a kind perspective to another. The problem now is that I think my shrink is on some kind of permanent vacation, because I do not think He is listening to me anymore, joining a very large group of people I love with all my heart and soul who also have stopped listening. 

Without revealing too much detail (to honor a promise I made) let's just say I am in a very dark place, where voices not your own try like hell to dig you further and further down inside the darkness. You could call it a bout of depression. You could call it drama, which is very overused in my house, or you could call it life baring down on me like the weight of the world crushing down onto the shoulders of Atlas. There is so much happening to me right now that, for the first time in my life, there are too many doors without exits. I have prayed (once upon a time) nightly for the simplest of things. Peace. And not world peace, but a peace of mind that should be easily executable since I am the pilot, navigator and passenger aboard this plane of existence. My God, is there anything in the above prayer too difficult to address? And I don't mean to read all over the place, but without full disclosure, it makes following my logic a bit of a challenge. But, here is an example of my frustration. 

Me, in a stepped upon nutshell lying on the floor of my Lonestar franchise, waiting to be swept away by underpaid help, called life.
My marriage is very unstable. Still. In fact, my wife has told me recently how she continues to further "numb" herself to me.
I have one parent (a mother) who might be the most selfish, unforgiving, unloving, unkind, unjust and totally ignorant woman unabashed by how anyone feels about her, who continually fucks me over every chance she gets.  That's it, folks. My family begins and ends with these two women. AND THEY ARE GIANT FUCKING ASSHOLES. 
I have been working feverishly in finding time alone with my wife, without the child, and every single time I have found a time, she has found something more important to do, or tell me how we do not have the money for this or that, or she wants to address the house (because that is what adults do and what men who love their wives do). My boss gave me some tickets to a triple A baseball game on Labor Day, a day game which should make for a nice time out. We have never been to a sporting event and she once said how she would like to see one of these games. Opportunity knocks, I open the door. There is one problem- my daughter. The simple solution would be to pay her, no bubbles no troubles. This would dip into those savings we are trying to pile in. My mother is there, free of charge, and a phone call away. Problem is, my wife cannot stand her. She "tolerates" her, which translate to not speaking to her when around her, unless spoken to first, which is a single word reply and back to ignoring. 
After a terrible turn of events in trying to talk to my wife about this "fun" time I was arranging lead to a stupid comment in Facebook, another admission of how she is numb to me and a day filled with anger. 

On the way home, I called my mother to ask her to sit for us, which she said OK, but then started throwing out bait to reel me in to another one of our arguments about her not having enough time with my daughter. I cannot do much about this. My wife dislikes her. She has reasons to do so, but something has got to give between them. My marriage and life is suffering because two people are unwilling to let go. So, I lost it. I was (am) sick and feel horrible. I told my wife about the argument with mom and me, which lead into my frustration with the argument with her earlier in the day. ALL OVER A TRIPLE A BASEBALL GAME!
This lead into my most recent prayer. 

Dear God, 
Thank you for this day and the many more that may follow. 
Thank you for my wife. (this prayer was slightly altered 12 years ago, which went something like, thank you for (insert wife's name) because, after all I had gone through to bring her here to the states, and the time spent on a computer upholding a long distance relationship, it had to have been a miracle) 
Thank you for the beautiful little girl asleep, whose light snore make me fall asleep with a smile. 
Thank you for watching over me and my family, blessing us with good health and the means to survive. 
(I am not sure what I am doing wrong here. I have worked tirelessly in expanding on my marriage, committing to having another child and doing so right, with love and respect for the woman who is my wife...and she is numb to me. Everything I do falls onto a numb surface. when I got home, I was clearly distraught and she rolled her eyes to me, defended herself, and left to go lend an ear to a woman she hardly knows. I have lost my wife, my family and quickly losing my mind. I have prayed for some sense of stability and I get instead a mountain of grief. Are you telling me something I refuse to listen too? Are you even here anymore? 

If there is one person in this world trying to do the right thing and getting killed for it, it would be me. I think half of this would be non-existent had my God added one more commandment. Love thy children. I recently held a conversation with my mother about the list of 250 priest who fucked children in Boston, and asked her what she thought and how it effected her. "I am not giving up my religion over a few bad apples." Yet, she is willing to sacrifice the happiness of her own flesh and blood, with refusing to do the simplest of things-do as I ask with my child. This single request from a son to his mother has fucked up my entire life. My God, where are you? Where did you go? Were you ever there to begin with? My prayer has changed again, after 12 long years. 

Dear God. 
...---...! ...---...!


Monday, August 22, 2011

Oh God, You Devil.

So now that we have covered my religious preference, I can focus on attacking it like white blood cells on cancer. I've mentioned that Catholic Priest have nearly destroyed my religion for me, while preaching tirelessly how Jesus proclaimed that the Devil would enter his church, implying this is all bad press, but no reason to abandon your church over fear Father Friendly might touch your child. Truth be told, this is EXACTLY why you should avoid going to your church and maybe look into other parishes that shy away from molestation and child pornography. But, then, I read about the insane actions of others not Catholic in nature, although the number of cases might be forever held by the pontiff and his posse, and shiver even more nervously. Take for example the case out of South Carolina, about the preacher who was arrested for raping women behind the church, in a trailer, at gunpoint! The details are disturbing. "LADSON, S.C. — Dale Richardson was saved at a tent revival 32 years ago, was called to preach the Lord's word in 2006 and, for the past year, had served as pastor at Freedom Free Will Baptist Church, a modest red brick structure on a South Carolina side road running along a railroad track. Now he's in jail, charged with kidnapping and raping three women at gunpoint — two of them in a trailer behind the church — and kidnapping a fourth who was not sexually assaulted.

Take a moment to go back and read the piece in its entirety. Go on, I'll wait. 

Now, these are representatives of the LORD, God. And I know man is flawed in too many ways to note here but, if you take a sample from a murky river and closely examine it under a microscope, all of the bacteria you see are the good in people, while the water would make up the rest of the human gene pool. The ratio is just overwhelming. One of many problems I have with faith is how easy it is to start your own "religion" and have the government actually acknowledge your weekend Dungeons and Dragons meeting among Clerics and Paladins as meaningful spirituality, and, by the way, here is a nice tax credit for your trouble. I have tried to avoid research on all things I blog about (it just takes out the authenticity to me), but I have come to realize the real reason I do not like to look into topics of interest is because I tend to emerge from my rigorous research with a new found hatred for it. For this post, however, I decided to do a quick Google search and found this. 

More reason to turn away from God (provided you believe in Him ). God has finally outgrown himself and his legend and mercy, which was once a beautiful story of sacrifice and love, is now a running joke that anyone with a sharp (devil-like) tongue can transcend into a gut-busting-tear-jerking-spiritual release of orgasmic funny that is unlikely part of His "Plan". So, when you have one person making a mockery out of God, while another is preaching how great God is, only to go out back to the trailer and rape your sister at gunpoint, you start to wonder if you have wasted all of your life believing in the greatest fairy-tale ever conceived, or eternally pissed off the one being you do not want to fight with. If Satan is constantly working to pull you away from God's grace, he is doing a fine job. 

And I cannot place all of the blame on bad church leaders, atheist groups, God Hates Fags, KKK, or Sarah Palin. There is plenty enough blame to pass around, specifically, to those people who are praying for the "alleged" rapist reverend AND for the families of the victims, which is a lot like saying I am praying for the victims and their families of 9/11 and also for Osama Bin Laden's family, because I am sure they too will miss their son. Sometimes, God does not (at least he should not) have a role in things. Fucking women against their will and threatening them with a shotgun is probably one of those areas, I'm just saying. My God, if everyone is getting his attention, bad or good, it's a wonder he even gives a shit about any of us. And those people who pray to God for delivering their army sons and daughters to them, when he decidedly thought their comrades time was up, should be ashamed of themselves. God did not save your son over the next, because you quietly think to yourself that you prayed the hardest. God does not favor...anyone. His own Son was crucified, which should be the end for all people. You think he thought more of Charlie than Lt. Dan? 

This is why I find myself on the fence about many things with faith and religion and God. An argument can be made in one direction or the other, and there is never any real conclusion just self-satisfaction for those who were luckier than others. My God gave me a brain. I think he gave everyone else one too, but I often find myself wondering about this more than I probably should. This brain of ours is a mighty piece of tissue, capable of a great many things and yet none of us have figured out how to bridge the gap with mankind and their God. Instead, we pledge allegiance to a flag that is one nation under ___________________ wait a minute...I recall something here. I also recall a time when the doors of the holy church were opened all hours, and then someone decided getting robbed in the middle of the night was just not worth seeing the creator sooner than necessary. I remember a lot of things about God that time had slowly, methodically, wipe out from the public consciousness, which I can understand some of the outrage, but the real problem is relying on other people to do something you, as a parent, should be doing anyway.  My daughter is two, and she is aware of my God in so much as Him being a tasty chew thing in my wallet. (I carry a scapula with me. Have done this since I was a teen, which I am not sure why I have it. I think it might protect me from some things, except a robber, car wreck, illness, malice from a co-worker, anything human and animal with height and toothy advantage and some fungi. But I am still alive and mostly well, so this thing is a true blessing.) My wife is not godly, preferring to be spiritual (as I wrote about before) so I have elected to teach her about my God, when the time arrives and tell her, as best I can, about this being you will never meet, until you die, but don't rush it. My wife will tell her to hug a tree, when she is lonely, and I will likely tell her to hug a tree, but make sure it has the face of Jesus on it first. I guess, touching on the procedures of being a Catholic, I should probably leave my wife and explain to my daughter later that daddy had to appease his God's church and find himself a decent woman, which might be more trouble than it's worth...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bridging The Gap

I have been asked a few times now, what's in this for me? The answer is winded in its explanation and candid to a point that it makes me a little uncomfortable to even think about it. So forgive me if I do a poor job of explaining this. Removing the distractions from God; the faith; the religion; the outside heavily opinionated views of your fellow worshipper; the views of others not of your own faith and just focusing on God in whatever form God is, what remains?

Space. Nothing. Without the fancy intellectual clothing, God is naked to humanity. A personal journey for those who believe and want to believe that there is something more to this unexplained existence of ours. God is a nature walk without the filler. Using this analogy, for me, I stroll through life mostly on auto-pilot, going about my business and trying not to get myself killed with the numerous dangers around me. But, sometimes, I will come across a curious flower, a new construction, a strange cloud formation, a family of four walking a trail hand in hand and stop everything I am doing (hoping this is not while driving or crossing the intersection) I do this because there are moments, when you see something that current fundamental understanding of the world does not explain, I have to stop and try to apply reason to. Picking on the human side of those I listed, seeing a family of four walk hand-in-hand along a trial is almost as uncommon in today's modern world than seeing a spotted tailed Quoll.
click for info on pic
In case you wanted to know what a spotted tailed Quoll was.

How does God play into this? I have to believe that God weaves his "mysterious ways" into those families that stick together in such means as a simple nature walk with their brood holding hands and enjoying one another and the life around them. There is something about this scene that reminds me there is something much more to life than the bullshit man adds to it daily (myself included). Is this reaction God? Possibly. It can be argued easily that it's just good parenting, but, if this were true, are we then saying our world has dropped the parenting ball? Turning this thought to the advancing machine that is mankind, seeing a marvel like the Sears Tower or a more modern behemoth, such as the Space Station Mir, I cannot help but stand before an open night sky, looking up to the blanket of space riddled with thousands of starry moth bites and wonder, while acknowledging God, Where is this all leading? OK, but "What's in it for you?"

In a word, Hope. Hope that there is something more to this life than just being one day and not being the next. You can argue life's cycle with me until we are all blue with depression, but living and dying is way too simple for such an intricate and complex animal. And I am hip to all the species in the world and their own complexities, however, I do not see many dung beetles building sky-ways or space stations beyond their own habitat. We are up there, in space, and though we are only a few now, there are thousands of people on Earth working diligently in punching through that space . We are opening ourselves up, removing cancers from our bodies, and stitching up the wounds with lasers for faster healing. We find human miracles, such as the young boy who was officially dead for 20 minutes, suddenly revive without brain damage or complication to his being dead. We humans do unthinkable feats every day, and achieve unspeakable acts of human ingenuity, god-like yet grounded by the tethers of "human advancement" rather than considering the godly inspiration behind our own daily proclivities.  You might say I am part of that group who wants to believe all this beauty is not the act of a random event. 

I need to know for more reasons than I can state here, but will likely divulge over time, that God is out there. Not watching over me or thinking about pulling the same numbers as those on my lottery ticket, because I prayed the hardest for an easy street, but to know that life, not just my own, was all worth something to the celestial purpose of anything being at all. I have to believe that God is and not just because someone smarter or holier than me says so. I need to know that that giant luminous Moon of ours is not just a fancy hole punched into a massive cloaked dome hanging over our self-indulgent planet, and that it's there because it was a crucial piece in our existence. That God put it there as his little human ant farm's nightlight, so they will feel as though he is watching over them all at once. I want to believe that the beauty of life I have created with my wife in our daughter is not just a temporary pacifier to make me feel special to someone other than a woman who could leave at any point in time and take back everything she ever said with a signature on a document. I desire to know that when I pass on, I will see my family again, one day, in some fashion; although, in the flesh is highly unlikely. I can sleep a little easier at night, knowing that I might return as an amoeba that shares the same pond as my daughter or wife on a planet 900 light years away from here. It may not be the same as fleshing out my hand to touch my girls face and tell her that I lover her dearly, but it does allow me to exist on a similar level with her.

Now, about that religion aspect of it. Being raised in a "catholic" family had some part on my choosing, to say that it did not would be a lie. However, it is not all of my reason or even half. If God is out there, again this is assuming we all believe in God, then surely he visited his ant farm as any good boy would. Playing on the Word that we were created in His image, I am left with my own devices in trying to piece together what God may have wanted from his pet project. The only thing I have to do with this is another person like me who was also created in his image. The problem with this is a very common problem in all of life's decision making. I have to accept what I cannot see or hear (God) much in the same way I have to choose my favorite football team. Who is on the roster? Do I like them? Will they entertain me (ironically) on Sunday? Do I have enough faith in them that they will bring me a Super Bowl title? I will never met the players on the team, at least not in the sense that I can school them on the game and pick their brains. So, I look out there and I venture the best guess and become a fan. For those of you who do not like sports, then the comparison would be choosing the right vehicle to get you where you want to go, without really knowing the man who built it. Sure, you will speak with its representative for a few hours, and he will sell you on said vehicle until your trust is earned and you buy into that no interest, no down-payment payment plan for the next eight to ten years, but was it the best buy for your money, or did you just invest in a lemon that will likely get you killed, which sums up the whole analogy nicely. So, what's in it for me? I guess a quiet place to go to when I feel like there is nothing else around, or no one left to listen to me. Remember, we are all going on faith, which is just a sweet way of saying nothing at all. And I don't equate my religion to being "God" as I would not do so for anyone else practicing their faith in their own institution. God, according to most bibles, just is. And how do you pursue something that is not there, but really is there?

The blog is called "My God" not "I am Catholic", and even though I do not follow the rules of being such, I am, nonetheless, officially a Catholic. Even if I decided to move to the boot hill of Quatar and worship sea snakes and sacrifice babies in the name of Seth the goat-headed meanie, I will always be Catholic, according to the ordination of my baptism. I do not "get" anything from this, other than the title that comes with the ceremony of being baptized. I use it as a way through the door, when I need to feel closer to God. I suppose I could do this by walking inside a synagogue, but I hear they are far more serious about their religion than my own, and some traditionalist Jew might smite me for steeping my Catholic foot on their carpeted ground. And, yes, I could just take a moment to myself and hug a tree to feel closer to God, but I do like shiny objects and God knows my church has plenty of those things lying around to inflict holy hell on my A.D.D.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

On the Outside, Looking in.

I give you a rule, "Read only if you promise to share this blog with others." and I have no other way in knowing you are honest with this, other than to trust your word and my faith in you as a loyal reader. Now, logically, I know you are not going to do anything other than read a post, and possibly, if you really like it, refer the link to a friend; but, nine out of ten times you are just going to read the post and maybe contribute a comment. There are two main goals here with me as the writer and you as the reader, which I can compare to the "rules" of following a religion.

1. I write something I feel passionately about. You read the post and feel passionately about liking or vehemently disagreeing with it. Either way, the first rule was met. I posted and someone read it. (Hopefully.) With religion, the rule is the same. Someone feels strongly about a God and writes some gospels that one or two people buy into as 'The Word" and some others hear or read the same writings as Blasphemy and anyone who agrees with it as Heretics. Same rules, different mumbo-jumbo.

2. Invoke raw emotion. Extract said emotion. Reach into the reader, as the outspoken writer, and wire your brain to incite a riot of feelings, laughter, anger, tears, jeers, joy, sadness, hope and the list goes on. As the reader, one of these emotions or feelings makes you act. Either you clicked on the follow widget, with giddy anticipation of the next installments, or you closed out from the page making a mental note not to ever fall for such garbage again. Religion is the same here as well. Granted, it's far more elaborate and scheming than anything I have done here, but religion also has a few thousand years head start.

Two goals met, both as a blogger, a reader of blogs and a believer in God and the faith institution banking on Him. The nice thing about these goals is that each and every one of you fit into one or the other, or both. I mention this because there has been a lot of chatter about rules and following said rules in order to "be" something, whether it's a Catholic, a Baptist, a Mormon, a Jesuit, a Jew, a Muslim or a number of other religions. My God, the one I feel pretty confident about being the same God as most other religions, except maybe Buddhism and Satanism (that would be the ultimate anonymous for God to be Satan too) tends to be loving, and possibly jealous. But seriously, are we really that stuck on ourselves to think God actually cares if we go one way or the next? Have you seen space recently? There are billions of galaxies out there. I imagine God is way too busy to really care much about Little Nicky cutting heads off chickens in the name of Lucifer to garner more TLC from his mommy and daddy.  In any case, my God never made any one religion a requirement. If he had, according to my own faith, one would think he would have added it to the Ten Commandments. Maybe take the one about killing people out and put in its place "Thy Shall Be Catholic And Nothing More." that way, when someone like me wonders about the rules, there can be actual consequences in my doing so. The problem with this is I just don't believe there will be any consequences to something Man alone created, being rules and their necessity in following them down to a tee.

And rules only apply in things that have conclusions, such as Mathematics or Russian Roulette. Tangible outcomes that everyone can see. Either 2+2=4 or it doesn't. One bullet, five pulls of a trigger. The question is not will there be a bullet, its when will the bullet no longer be in the chamber, which even then you are not going to know it, but the winner will be awfully happy about knowing himself. Faith, on the other hand, is the intangible truth we all want to believe in, because the alternative flat out sucks. To me, rules are placed around the religion to strengthen both the tangible (The living Priest speaking to you that you can see and hear) and the intangible (that the Priest believes in the magic man in the clouds as passionately as he does those stories he tells you about on Sunday) tethering you to the selected faith. Its these very rules that cause people to blog hop, if you will, from one religion to another. The reason why many Baptist were once Catholics, Catholics once Greek Orthodox and Goats disgruntled Sheep. Without rules, I might congregate over to being a Methodist and pony up my hard earned money to that denomination. I better place this "rule" to scare them into thinking our way is the tried and true way.

If you don't follow the rules of the institution then you cannot be a part of that institution. Negative. What if I were christened into several faiths? Can I become a Cathodest? How about a Jewvangelical? Maybe I could get real crazy and deem myself a Bapmon or Mortistican

1. Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
2. Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather 
than proof.

How can anyone have faith in any religion when the "rules" of the very word state that your complete trust or confidence is in another person, and we all know NO ONE IS PERFECT BUT GOD. I do not trust anyone and that includes myself. Why? I am human, therefore, I am flawed. Flawed in my thinking, my intent, my nature, my very own existence. I equate being a Catholic like this. Our Government tells us that an unruly country is developing weapons of mass destruction, in which they can use to threaten the foundation of society and kill our children, and they must defuse the situation before it gets out of hand. Part of this is true, there is no doubt about that in my mind. The problem is that I also know there are other interest in this region that my greedy country would love to have stakes in, so I know the overall explanation given to me by the "speakers" and media outlets are, for the most part, bullshit. The core issue, the threat imposed by an enemy with nukes, is very much a reality that I can see and hear and feel from afar. My God is a lot like this, in that I know there is something out there far greater than any mind a human can grasp with. I know there are authentic people out there who wish to observe this God and explain the concept of God as best it can, but I also know there is A LOT of money to be made in this, and times are tough. Yet someone always manages to reach deep into their pockets to help, because that is what God wants us to do. Help one another. I am faithful in my religion and my God and the core belief that the two are united as one, lost over time by a great deal of selfish people with too much power, too many rules and not enough, as it were, faith

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Once Believed...

In many things, God, country, people, law, love, the afterlife and a host of many other common household beliefs, but, in the age of reason, that all slowly changed. Some of them returned, while others worsened until what once meant something to me now only bothers the hell out of me, like Government and the tooth fairy. And it's not like I just one day woke up and thought, nah, Fuck it, I quit you Love. I, like so many others, am victim to life's relentless games. A constant flow of bullshit pounding me day in and day out. And you can't escape it. I wake to it on the morning news, battle it on the drive in to work, deal with it throughout the workday, curse at it on the drive home, and throw my hands up at it at the nightly news. The only real solace is when I am asleep, and that can sometimes be chock full of more headaches, nightmares, night sweats, wet dreams, morning wood and the dreaded insomnia. My God!

There are six (probably more, but six is enough for now) reasons why I used to believe. They are, in no specific order;
Sexual Abuse
Manipulation of words and events.

Generally it only takes one good reason to cause the balloon of faith for me to deflate. Someone good natured and full of love died of a terrible disease, when someone vile and evil to the core dismembers a few children, sends photos of this to the parents, gets caught and serves life in prison without parole. That's life, they say. Bullshit, I rebut. That is the system being to lenient on the real assholes. Another pin to the elastic is blatant horrors that can never be replaced, no matter how much money you pay someone. That's right, I am talking about priest touching little children. Specifically, my religions priest. And before my fellow Catholics get any ants in their pants, I know it's not just Catholic priest; however, if I cast a stone in a random direction, chances are it would smite a Catholic pedophile, before any other religious leader.

The central argument for the reason abuse is so rampant in the Catholic church happens to also be the keystone of reason that set off countless inconsistencies, and my eventual muffled admission of being Catholic whenever someone asked. If Father Flanagan could flog Molly rather than Pete in the privacy of his own confessional, a lot of this debauchery would end in the church, but someone went and made up this rule that God says in order to serve Him you must do so with a vow of celibacy. And I will not get into the reason Priest take the oath, nor the ludicrous symbolism behind the covenant, and how nuns are the multitude of wives for the Father to enjoy at his leisure. I am aware of the rules, so don't waste the time explaining them to me in the comments. If, and I stress this with enormous bold lettering not found on my drop down menu, the world worked the same way it had two hundred years ago, one could see how this vow of celibacy and faith to the All Father made logical sense. The purest of being, or at least the purest humans can be at anything, God's soldiers in the sinful world to assist the wicked, offering them a way out from their unholy lives and into the hands of Jesus. The problem with this is that times changed, but the church remained firm in its traditions.

And though it made no sense to me, I still went along with it. My thinking was this. If a man can remain a virgin his entire life and not be the least bit excited by a huge pair of tits (and was not gay, which would be awfully inconsiderate to the other Priests) he must be far more god-like than I was, so why not trust in him to an extent. Confess to him on Sunday's and feel as though I had spoke to God. Which reminds me. For those who think Mary is not a conduit to the LORD and feel pushing her aside seems a better alternative, then you might as well give up your religion because you are doing the same thing to each pastor, each "Faith Counselor", each Rabbi, each Man of God every time your confide in Him through him. Back to my point. Today's God surely compensates a little on the naughty list, because you can't have some of the values and traditions of God from 200 years ago and the God of tomorrow. It would be like asking a Caveman to teach the physics of the wheel to a bunch of Neanderthals. Think about that for a moment.

For me, asking a Priest to remain celibate is not only cruel, but not exactly what God had in mind when he created us in his image, which begs the question if God is the most powerful Hermaphrodite in the known universe. He would have to be in order to work out all the nuances of women, and how to make them mesh with men long enough to procreate. But deeming women as the forbidden fruit just contradicts, for me, a few commandments. Would this solve all of the abuse in the Catholic church? I doubt it, but it would certainly cut down on all of the abuse currently running rampant. Child touching, without all of the other stigmas attached to this, child molestation alone is enough to strip the holy representative of any God-like attachments. The accused should be (if convicted) immediately castrated. Keep in mind, The Crusades did far worse to innocent people for far lesser reason. But (and it still fucks with me to no end to know this) not only are those Priest who openly touch children not reprimanded and ostracized from the church for life, they are moved to more secluded parishes in the world with a slap on the wrist. Their victims are paid ungodly amounts of Shut-The-Fuck-Up money (settlements for those wondering) and the demon that is the media exorcised by Out of Sight, Out of Mind. But this is not the topper for me. There is one thing I have heard many times by Catholics, Priest and supporters from all around the world. I am willing to bet each and every one of you reading this has heard it, at least, a dozen times. "The Bible said His Church Would Be Condemned." This was the moment I no longer cared about my faith, and nearly dropped God in the process.

Really? One of the more heinous human acts has become, in biblical speak, an excuse for the travesties occurring in our church. And AMAZINGLY people accept this. "There are bad apples in every basket" or "you can not judge a whole religion on a few bad seeds." Yes. Yes, you can. I can because of all the other religions, only Catholics try their own. Only Catholics have a "city" to call their own. Only Catholics can openly settle cases and ship those fucking bad apples to a new basket elsewhere. In a word, I was Floored. Embarrassed. Humiliated. Ashamed. Shocked. This was not a religion I wanted to be a part of. With the information age, other religions started to have their own unbelievable stories as well. Wives killing their pastor husbands who abused them, had affairs on them, touched their kids inappropriately. Religion was suddenly the place where completely evil fucking people came together a couple of days a week to have some child touching, neighbor coveting, child porn loving dill-weed tell them God says you are all forgiven. See you same time next week for more sin forgiving. Don't forget to tip your baskets on the way out.

No. I do not believe in Religion as much as I once had. So, am I a Catholic? Someone commented that if I am not following their rules then I am not one of "them". I tend to disagree. I do so because I sat in a tiny room with a Priest. A statue of the Lord God sat on a table, a statue of the virgin Mary stood in a corner, the Pope John Paul II hung on the wall in a nice little Rembrandt painting, all looking back at me as Father Pontichello looked me in the eye and asked me. "What is God to you?" When I emerged from that confessional, a decision to baptize me (without the schooling) was made. Whatever I told the Priest, a man of God, the assigned hall monitor to the gates of heaven, it was enough for him to break and bend some rules of his church, The Catholic Church. And like any gang, once you have been jumped in, you're in for life. I may not follow the rules, but I believe in what the institution was built around. I just do not believe in the representation. When I realized there was no rule with God, when I removed all of the outside distraction, when I looked tradition into the face and spat, when I no longer allowed someone else to tell me how to believe, I found My God again...and I am grateful for that, even though my refusal to follow the rules can sometimes make me feel like an outcast. I have one advantage, I think, over my fellow Catholics. When I step inside our church and pay homage or respect or just to say hello to the best idea we have of My God, I do so without the stigma of bullshit that comes with the process. I go and I worship. I go and I make peace with my sins. I go and I listen for those few moments when Jesus is even part of the discussion (90% of the time its about everyone else) and I save face. And then I eat My God. I consume his flesh and drink his blood...wait a minute...What?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mama Mia Culpa!

Last time I wrote about how I felt about the connection people try to make with their murderous intentions being the calling of God, which dropped into the bucket of doubt, purged almost instantly by logic and the fact God is ALWAYS the reason for things, good or bad. Someone brought up The Virgin Mary in a comment that was certainly a topic in a later post, but I figure, why wait? As stated in earlier post, I am not the best Catholic. To be honest, I am not sure what to call me. My wife, who has studied many religions, including whatever a harikrishna (sp) is seems to think of me as an Episcopalian, or was it a Methodist??? I am not sure anymore. I like to think of me as just Scott, but that tends to make me an outsider to everyone else. 

Religion is so complex and means so many things to each person, it is pointless, if not impossible, to state my case on the matter. I found that, in my own research to discover what I was, I was wasting way too much time of my life trying to slap a label around my faith to feel like I fit in with everyone, forgetting that I did not care one iota what people thought of me. This freed up a lot of time with my day. Faith became one of the first 10 questions in the 20 questions on a date scene, instead of a life-long devotion. Maybe in writing this I will find out that I am really something completely different than a Catholic. My God, maybe I am a Mormon in denial, or an Evangelical suffering from a number of deadly sins, mainly Envy in not having the bank roll that most Evangelicals have. But, for now, I am a Catholic by choice and a believer in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit by soul. Now, about the Holy Mother. 

"I am not a fan of the Roman Catholic church. From their worship of Mary and saints, to their part in the Inquisition on up to today's molestation cases."

For the most part, I agree with this with the exception of Mary. She has been one of the main topics I have argued, defended, countered, fought for and questioned in silence, since I started reading up on my religion. Traditionally, it feels to me like he role in a bit convoluted, depending on where you see her and who is trying to explain her to you. A lot of the time, I like to take other people's thoughts about a subject and apply it as though they were asking me a question. Before posting this, I will nutshell my own interpretation of my faith. 
God removed for now, focusing solely on the two "Real People" in question. If God chose to impregnate Mary, to carry out his will and bring his son into the world to die on the cross for our sins and all, why would we not pay her some respect? Not worship her, but respect her as the vessel of the LORD and conduit between Man and God. If she was chosen by God among everyone else, and appeared to her and spoke to her and allowed her similar gifts to conduct his holy work on Earth, she is entitled for some notice.  Why is it then, when someone insults our families, specifically, our mother or father, we pounce and even kill that person, yet we are so smug to say "You acknowledge the mother of Jesus?" And turn the check as though I just whipped out my penis and placed it on the table.  

And here is another point to consider, Fatima. 

It's not like one or two people claimed to see the same thing here, but tens of thousands of people standing around, apparently dropping acid, so they could all witness the Miracle of the Sun take place as a mass hallucination. Sounded like one hell of a trip, according to the description from people there. I used to dose when I was younger, and I can tell you I never saw the sun move closer to me with a sudden burst of intense heat that should have turned me into a pile of ash. I did see this cat in a CK coffee shop come into the bathroom, where I was having a total meltdown, look at me with a look of death, his eyes hung from their sockets, and I immediately returned to the table to explain to my friend, who was also tripping, that I had just seen a corpse. But nothing about a sun dancing in the sky. I can also tell you, first hand, that some of the explanation is due to staring at the sun for to long. Did it. Did not trip. Had an awful headache for a few hours, but did not naturally trip, otherwise I think we would see way more people randomly staring at the sun. Call me crazy. 

The actual number was something like 70 thousand people, all of whom saw something very impressive. The reports did not mesh as far as Jimbo seeing what Galaxy-girl saw, but each saw something miraculous nonetheless. There comes a time in life that you just have to accept our Science can not explain everything and, because of this, not take it to mean that it did not happen. Not being able to explain something is called faith. It's also called a UFO, but this only applies if you are a ScientologistSmurfologist, blue in color and deathly afraid of cats? The Virgin Mary is just a common household name as her son, it just falls on the host to open the door and let either one or both inside for a spell. 


If you want to see what a person's real priorities are, then watch what they do when their life, or the life of a loved one, is in danger. When Pope John Paul II was shot, while the ambulance was rushing him to the hospital, the Pope was not praying to God or calling on the name of Jesus. He kept saying, over and over, “Mary, my mother!” Polish pilgrims placed a picture of Our Lady of Czestochowa on the throne where the Pope normally sat. People gathered around the picture. Vatican loudspeakers broadcast the prayers of the rosary. When the Pope recovered, he gave Mary all the glory for saving his life, and he made a pilgrimage to Fatima to publicly thank her.

(If Mary *is* the conduit to the Father who saved the Pope from his death, then why not thank her? What if, like all things, God is corporate based, which sounds silly but humor me, and Jesus manages the day to day business as the "Managing Messiah" and Mary the mule for all of the prayers coming in? Think about it. We pray to God for everything! even things that doesn't concern him. Do you honestly believe God cares if the NFL lockout ends or not? You think God gave Kanye West the ability to make millions of dollars, while the majority fight for a minimum wage job? Someone needs to delegate the real prayers from the BS pile.)

Jesus said, “[W]here your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:34) Some statues of Mary have real crowns made of gold. The web sites listed in the Notes show pictures of statues of Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of Lourdes wearing crowns.The statues in the pictures are replicas, and their crowns are ceramic and painted gold. But the crowns on the original statues at Fatima and Lourdes are real crowns made of real gold.
(Again, if Fatima happened the way all those hippies proclaimed, it was Mary who appeared to them not God. To compare, it would be like enshrining Mile High Stadium with Jesus, instead of a Bronco.)

Vast sums of money are spent on some special statues of Mary. For example, the statue of Our Lady of the Pillar in Saragossa, Spain has a crown made of 25 pounds of gold and diamonds, with so many diamonds that you can hardly see the gold. In addition, it has six other crowns of gold, diamonds and emeralds. It has 365 mantles which are embroidered with gold and covered with roses of diamonds and other precious stones. It has 365 necklaces made of pearls and diamonds, and six chains of gold set with diamonds
(this is the only one I actually get physically sick about. but, still, this has nothing to do with the Virgin Mary or God, but everything to do with the church and doesn't mean we worship the Holy Mother. It just means our church has too damn much money.) 

So, I would probably be a bad (insert name of religion here) just because I personally feel like the mother of anyone should have some respect. Someone once asked me, "If you feel so strongly about Mary, why don't you observe your own mother in the same light." I told them because last I checked, I had not brought anyone back from the dead, or been nailed to a cross recently. I say recently because there is always that slight delay, the one that shows they actually considered me being nailed to a cross at some point; otherwise, why did I say it? Yeah, I guess that is my point as well.

I don't think my church is the one "true" church, nor do I think any other man made institution is the proper seat in which to sit my holy arse. I do believe it has the most history (I know, Muslims are older and more numerous) in that there are so many events in history where Roman Catholics tore across the lands, splitting faiths and heads and injecting their faith into cultures that already had an idea of who their God was. I know the bible is writhe with conflict and contradiction, and that is why I no longer see myself as a Catholic as much as a man posing as one...taking from it those values that I deem important to me, waiting, watching, listening and above all looking to the heavens for the moment someone gets it all right. When the LORD God returns to reclaim his people and all least I thought that was my purpose, but then something else happened to me. I stopped praying. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Up in Arms

By now you have heard about the Norwegian, Anders Behring Breivik, who sprayed a youth camp with the wrath of God and, somehow, managed to blow up a government building. At last check, the death toll was 76, down from 92 and I stop and pause. Not to pray for the victims or families as most do. Not to look for the nearest website to bash or console, because my contributions would only infuriate me and those who support this type of behavior. I want to, instead, understand. Sure, he claims insanity, as anyone who just killed a person would, to avoid the needle themselves in 20 years or so, depending on the number of appeals and stays of execution, and a few 60 minute interviews in-between. I get all that. What continues to allude me is how such atrocities can be accepted by anyone, crazy or not, as "God's work".  And forget about this lunatic. I want to know when God's Work changed from helping our fellow man by service and charity, food drives, fund raisers and volunteer work, to killing doctors who assist with abortion, protesting funerals, building anti-establishment soldiers, martyrs, separatist and holy warriors who have acted on behalf of the same God I believe in. My God.

As a kid I was never privy to the bloodshed that the Catholic church has engaged in since its institution in AD 326. I, like many other Catholics, was completely in the dark about my religion and ignorant to its openly smug presence in world politics. Ignorance is Bliss. Remember this, for I will revisit it a few times in this post both directly and indirectly. As a kid, the stories were just that-stories. As I grew older, those same stories started to impact people, fueling them beyond their own will, driving them to do great stupid feats like spend millions of dollars on billboard signs promising the date the world will end for example. Then I started to question. Not my faith, for that was an unwritten commandment thrown in by priest on Sundays; but, question my religion. My first Eyes Wide Open moment that I can recall was the Branch Dravidian's.
Koresh, He's not just the Messiah, but the whole Big Shebang!
The long and short of it, A fellow thought he was the true Messiah, convinced some people of this (Ignorance is Bliss) apparently had sex with a 76 year old woman who dubbed him as the second coming of Christ, and then went to the funny farm for taking an ax to the side of the skull of a fellow who claimed he was the real Messiah. Turns out, both of them were wrong as they are now dead. One by fire, the other by blunt force trauma to the head. As a side thought, being Jesus is awfully painful. I always believed that God spoke through us and through our actions, but I never thought we would take that to a whole other level of disrespect and cause to be total jackasses to one another in the name of one man's interpretation of another's "gospel". I think someone should send a memo out and reeducate God's Purpose to the willing. 

And maybe that is the problem, people are not willing to learn what they think they already know. Poised to remain ignorant to the outside world, because in order to contribute to society one needs to know what certain guidelines mean and why rules for said guidelines exist. God, in my opinion, did not want bloodshed then or now. I'd imagine if he had wanted to keep the streets paved in gold rather than with the blood of the innocent, he would have intervened with his own son's public murder. But he didn't, did he. Instead, we are told that this was God's gift to us all, to have his son die on the cross for all our sins, even those who have yet been born to commit since, which, by the way, you get a fresh sin by proxy fetus. A sinner before you take a breath, how is that for a warm welcome to the world? But I can see the moral dilemma in giving your only human Son to a pack of wolves. The teaching here is that no matter what you do with your life, try being God of the Heavens and the Earth, but standing by powerless in stopping a rather gruesome demise for your kid. It sets the gold standard for life. Forget about baptism You can even set aside your religious differences, because The God, just allowed mortal man to murder his only son. Now, go live a live and serve me always, which is not a bad deal. Live and love and treat others as you would want to be treated. Do this, and live forever. Sounds like a deal. 

This is something I shake my head at and wag a finger or two of shame towards, but these kinds of things only make me less confident in humanity, they have nothing to do with my faith and believe in God. Now, openly molesting children in the church I grew up in and wishing I could be a part of...this is a focal point in corrupting my faith through obvious cases that are quietly hushed behind closed doors and settled out of court for outrageous sums of money, and then have the priest in question not barred from the faith or subject to any number of punishments that the church itself imposed during the crusades. No, these men of the cloth get moved from one place to another with a slap on the wrist. Now I begin to tremble. I wag a finger to the churches as I pass them by. I shake my head at their smug faces and I brandish a stiff finger towards the house of My God. I could never have anyone inside my home who has been suspected of molesting a child, let alone my own; but, these men ask their guest to forgive as God forgives...My god, ignorance is bliss.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In the Beginning...

There was light and then there was dark. My mother has been a Catholic since the moment she took her first Catholic breath in a Baptist Hospital. She grew up wanting to be a nun and she learned the prayers, the rosary, the stations of the cross and how to stand and kneel and sit down without being told to do so, or without looking from the corner of your eyes, like me, hoping the guy next to you is not waiting for you to direct him. Then she had sex at a young age and decided some things were worth cherishing, but your virginity wasn't one of them. Even though her self-esteem faltered many times after this initial contact and her vow not to have sex out of wedlock was pretty much kaput, her faith never waned no matter how many marriages she would eventually have. When she got pregnant with me, by a man who was not her husband and pretty much removed from the procedures of responsibility in having a child out of wedlock, her mind and soul was already suffering the sin of womb murder. The details are sketchy, but the short of it is that she had an abortion prior to me and swore to the LORD that if he forgave her, she would never ever commit such an atrocity again. So, she had me alone. Raised by a Catholic family with very little money, no man with a good job to support us and personal sacrifices lined up for miles on end because of it all.

The first sacrifice was swearing out motherhood in hopes of finding someone, anyone for God's sake, to take on a single mother of two. The second sacrifice was giving up her confidence and self worth, for men who were willing to take on the challenge. Men who I would have rather thrown stones at, while buried up to their neck in sand, or whom might have wanted to touch me inappropriately if left alone with them for too long. Sure, there was one guy worth the time and effort, but he was not the brightest Cock in the Hen house. His marriage to my mother ended with her chasing him out of the house with a butcher knife, because he had abruptly divorced her while long hauling to someplace in Texas. He had met a wealthy woman who wanted him all to herself, promising money and fine cars in return for his heart. His plan was to marry her, take her money and then come back to my mother. Sounded good on paper, but he might have explained himself first, before authenticating things for his sugar-mama.

My mother cried a lot of tears and prayed and prayed through many more tears, asking life's questions of Why Me? What am I doing wrong. LORD? Why have you forsaken me? As I grew older, her determination also grew more emphatic, more determined to prove "them" all wrong and completely misplaced in that her choice in men never changed, just her methods. And with each marriage came a new set of misbegotten failures that drove her closer and closer into that niche that is all to common in the mid-south, where you come to a point in your life and say to yourself, "I can climb no higher. I can drive no further. I can no longer see the light at the end of my tunnel." and just give in to the flood. A place where regret festers inside of you until you grow old and complacent and angry at the slightest thing. This is also the place where "plain sight" becomes a milky film across your cornea, like a cataract that causes you permanent blindness. Where you are smiling in the mirror each morning, but the sad sack in the mirror chooses to grimace back instead. This is the purgatory of your human existence. The place souls go to die of mind and body, but relish in spirit because the spirit is the only thing that remains within you.

The spirit. Many refer to this as the holy spirit, but I beg to differ, for if this personal self-loathing pit of despair is holy in any way, then someone direct me to the nearest hell hole, because this place reeks of self-hate under the guise of God washing away your depressive bi-polar stepping stones. The last resort before said person either cracks under the pressure of fear and loathing, or snaps and sprays a crowd of campers in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit with his or her righteous semi-automatic rifle. For now, I think my mother is harmless, but that could change at any moment. All she needs is the right nudge to set her pilot light aflame, either for good or total chaos. Sadly the latter is more likely, because she has had plenty of opportunity to make good of herself and chose to give herself to a stranger instead, which kind of brings this story back to the beginning for her. A circular flashback to illustrate one of the nagging notches in my belt of doubt.

Which brings me back to myself and my foray into finding My God. I might not have been directly hampered with all of the emotional letdown that my mother endured, but I was collateral damage and sometimes I wonder if collateral damage can more often than not, exceed the impact of the blow itself. I was just a kid who heard things or seen some things when no one thought I was looking, and most time it faded as I quickly found another mode of distraction. Little did I know that these bits of worry had lasting effects on me as I grew older, otherwise I would have consulted with my Yoda doll or any number of imaginary people between the ages of 5 through 12*. Surely one of them was a brain in psychology who could have offered some insight on the effects my mother's emotional failures would have on me as a Catholic. Nonetheless, I was cool without my biological father and the failed attempts by eight others who came after him...literally.

My one and only parent, the keeper of my well being and growth as a young boy, into a young man and eventually into the father I am now, was an absolute flake with no desire to be anything more than what she thought she could be, which, in a longsighted view, was an exclusive prostitute to whoever wanted to pay her for her services. And I know that sounds harsh, but the truth is an ugly bastard child who was raised by his grandmother and uncle while his mother worked at gas stations and hotels and at snaring men in her free time. A question: If my life was meant to be a constant struggle and my existence of no importance to anyone other than those people whose lives I ruin by occupying the same space as them, why was I too not aborted? Why does God want me here? Was I  meant to be the sacrificial lamb to the child who did not get a chance to live before me? You see, these questions pop up now and again because when I push my mother to the edge, she reminds me how I am only here because she killed a fetus before me. As though my birth was her retribution and her offering to the LORD. "Here, thy God. Take this child as forgiveness for the life I took from you."

I had wondered about His Plan most of my life, until the day I brought life into the world myself. A Daughter, a bundle of joy that lights the face of all who see her. Even my uncle and mother, who have given up life and parade around like zombies without direction, instantly lite up in smiles and laughter whenever she is around. A face with the most amazing healing ability with just one little giggle. On my worse day, I can come home and plop onto the sofa and wish for something blunt and heavy to smash me on the head, when she runs into the room, arms wide, face wrinkled with the best smile, screaming jubilee as she grabs hold of my neck and squeezes it with her little hands, and then plants a quick little kiss onto my lips.

"Hay Daddy!"
"Hello baby-girl." I will say to her.

And nothing else matters in the world, except those moments we share together on the couch, be it a half hour episode of "The Wiggles" or just staring at the info screen with the underwater theme. Then I start to piece together the meaning of sacrifice. God's Plan always seems to find its way back to that sacred place where we all store our faith, no matter how long the void seemed to exist. We just have to look for it. Not constantly, because we will end up in that personal purgatory I mentioned earlier, but aware enough to know that when God reaches out to you and taps you on the shoulder and whispers to you with his mysterious ways "I did that." will know it's Him calling and not another imaginary friend from your past.

And yet, my own faith continues to subside and part way for the logical side of my being, the constant questioning that makes me the monkey thrown out from the rest of the shit flinging colony because I wonder to myself most times, is there really a God? If I were to treat my thoughts like a pie chart, I would say I am mostly 80% in the wedge marked "Believes in God" 10% in the slice that says "Total Bullshit" and 10% in the piece that states "I don't know, but there sure as hell better be." Here is a graphical representation of my waning jittery faith. It's pretty big, but what do you expect with faith?
And thus my journey begins.