Just bitchin'

Faithless

Been bumping heads with so many Christians lately.

I find this odd, because I consider myself a Christian, and, even if Man invented religion and splintered it into so many sects that it bears no resemblance to its first and oldest emergence, the basic tenets should remain as touchstones for all.

In the trauma that is the Trump administration and the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, however, a different kind of light is beginning to shine on my personal beliefs. This is of no interest to anyone other than myself. Still, I feel compelled to write it out.

Because that’s what I do when I feel the need for comfort or clarity or a clarion call.

So…

There is a sense of entitlement that pervades all major religions; a conviction that yours is the best of all possible paths to reach the highest spiritual destiny. It takes a certain amount of enlightenment to acknowledge that your private path is really only ‘right’ for you. It takes a certain amount of tolerance to understand that all the divergent paths that bolster millions of people and are dissimilar to yours, are still and always viable, valuable means of spiritual direction.

Many intellectually grasp this. Few practice it.

For most, the strictures of their religion are the guiding principles by which they try to live. No one succeeds completely, but, when faced with conflict or a major juncture of your life, you try to apply these principles. They form the part of you where honor and dignity and compassion intersect. How much effort you put into living according to these precepts when the chips are down is a defining aspect of your character.

There’s a lot of bad out there. It’s hard to watch. It’s hard to know there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s hard to know that the only recourse you have is to set an example by holding yourself to your personal standards. It’s hard to realize you’re not the best example. All you can do is try.

The catch is, the people you see as reprehensible think they’re doing exactly what you are: setting an example of how they wish others would live.

I’ve been angry and confused and upset about the things people have said to me and posted on social media to me. These are people who think they represent the highest and best that faith has to offer: God’s law. They blast me with their Christianity and make it clear how sad they are that I don’t fall in line behind them and support their beliefs so they can be that much surer of those beliefs themselves.

It took a headline from the Associated Press in the wake of a hurricane to break through and shed a little light on my troubled musings. The oversized type caught my eye.

Black, white, rich, poor: Storm Harvey didn’t discriminate

And I understood.

I wish for a society that would treat people the way Nature does. Indiscriminate. Colorless. Shorn of faith and creeds. Equal. In a way that says all the outer trappings…the accents, manners, ethnicity, positions and possessions are ultimately unimportant.

That’s not necessarily the way God does things, nor Jesus. Not if you listen to the Christians who’ve been haranguing me. To them, there is…and SHOULD be…preferential treatment for those gathered around the cross at church every Sunday.

So maybe I’m not a Christian after all. Maybe I’m merely a person of conscience and spirit.

I hope so.

I think I like that better.

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Just bitchin'

There Be Monsters…

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I’m amazed to say I can identify with Donald Trump. I’ve long considered myself arrested at the emotional development of a twelve-year-old. And I hate to lose. And sometimes I’ll lash out like a child when provoked. And I have bad hair days (well, okay…Trump has a bad hair life, but I’m trying to make a point here).

I can identify with Hilary Clinton, too. I’ve struggled in male-dominated areas of endeavor and had to over-compensate with harsh repartee and an iron glare. And I hate making mistakes. And sometimes I try to cover them up because I think no one will notice, or maybe time will rob them of their import.

I can identify with Ted Cruz. Canada’s a pretty cool country; I’ve always enjoyed my jaunts over the border.

I can identify with Bernie Sanders. I sometimes feel if I don’t make my mark on the world real, real soon, I might not have another opportunity. You don’t want to check out with so much left unsaid or un-given that regret is the last thing you taste.

But as just, plain me…an unsung, American citizen of voting age, I can’t identify enough with any candidate running for President to feel good and hopeful about electing them into office.

There’s always mud-slinging and a battle of wits in every presidential election, but this time it’s different, because all I’m hearing is the volley of insults and accusations being lobbed across an insurmountable, ideological distance from one party to the other.

I’m scared.

I don’t want any of these people in charge of something I do love with all my heart: my country.

My immigrant parents raised me to cherish being born here. They were politically active in their own way and staunch supporters of whomever attained the office of President of the United States, because they said anyone who did so was worthy of respect, whether or not you agreed with the platform upon which they stood.

I’m the first to admit I’m politically challenged. But this is the first time I feel as though I’m watching a clown show…a sit-com…a farce…

There have been times in the past when I’ve voted against a candidate rather than for the one who received my ballot. This time that cop-out option doesn’t feel available.

There is no lesser evil this time around.

Like an ancient map of the known world, truncated and proscribed by a sea of horrors… there be monsters.

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They circle us and lick their chops and are slippery and hard to see. And they bite at each other with abandon. And we don’t know what will happen when we’re immersed in their treacherous waters.

And I’m scared.

Really, truly…

…like never before.

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