gangrel_pri: (abstinence)
Bear with me here, I’m trying to reconcile several ideas that have been bouncing around in my head and make them a cohesive whole.

I guess a lot of this comes back to one core concept, religion. Specifically Christianity.

I know I’m rare among my friends in that I remain on fairly good terms with the church I was brought up in, which may just be due to me being raised Presbyterian rather than one of the offshoots of the Baptist movements or straight up Catholicism. I was brought up in a church where we were challenged to question our faith, to argue and discuss concepts; basically I was raised to think as well as feel, and to reach my own conclusions. Admittedly, that isn’t true in every Presbyterian Church, but they’re also one of the few that isn’t about to schism over Order vs. Ardor.

I suppose half of what’s really bugging me is the gross generalizations I keep reading on LiveJournal and the News-Leader, where I see people making assumptions about all Christians or all gays, all conservatives or all liberals…To me, it’s so sad to see us compartmentalize ourselves into so many pockets of “This is my domain, no one else is allowed in.”

I wish we could see the commonalities that connect us all. One of the very basic statements in Wednesday night Logos was “I’m a child of G-d, please treat me that way.” All three Abrahamic faiths hold a creation story that claims we as humans are G-d’s own creation, and pretty much all of the Western Mythos include similar tales of creation by a divine being. While we could spend eternity arguing over whether or not these should be read as literal accounts, the over all point is this. We are all born with a spark of the divine within us, by whatever name we give to the Divine. And that’s why I get pissed off when we start going after the person instead of the idea they’re discussing. I hear you say “Love the sinner, hate the sin” in the same breath with “You’re going to hell because you don’t believe the way I do.”

In truth, any time we read a Holy Book, we interpret what we read through a frame of our own beliefs, the morals we were raised in and now follow ourselves. When we meditate or do seekings, we filter that information into words and feelings we can understand. As much as I’d like to believe in a universal truth, I’m firmly convinced that each of us is a religion unto ourselves, disproving Milton’s statement about “No Man is an island”.

I could bring up the doctrine of the Priesthood of the Believer; paraphrased, it states that what you read from the bible FOR YOURSELF is the correct interpretation. I could bring up that I find it odd that the LDS Church got involved in denying marriage rights after they had to change their own views on marriage during the charge to get Utah statehood. I could bring up the silliness of the letters and comments I read where one Christian tells another Christian that the other is not a REAL Christian because they don’t subscribe to the same basic dogma. But I won’t because I don’t want to judge people I’ve never met based on anonymous comments on a message board, or blanket statements from a national body that doesn’t really speak for all members of the organization. We’d do best to take each other as individuals, Children of G-d, Children of Zeus and Hera, Osirus and Isis, hell, even children of Vishnu and Shiva.

I suppose what I’m really trying to express here is that forcing your belief onto someone else is to disregard their spark of the Divine. Not all non-Christians are evil and damned, nor are all Christians drooling mouth breathers. I know so many good people from all different faith experiences who live their faith and show by example what it means to be a child of G-d without the need to condemn others for their relationship with the Divine. Because all to often condemnation from either side on the other is not from love, but a way to elevate one’s self over someone different who one doesn’t understand. Perhaps if we realized that the greatest thing we can do is love everyone the way they are rather than the way we want them to be, we can actually break out of the divisions that separate us.

But then, maybe I just have a set of rose colored glasses on.
gangrel_pri: (Default)
Bishop Bruno issues statement
on the passage of Proposition 8
Bishop J. Jon Bruno of the Diocese of Los Angeles issued a statement on November 5 concerning the passage of Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative that amends the state constitution to define marriage as only the union of a man and a woman, therefore outlawing gay or lesbian marriage.
Bruno, along with Bishop Suffragan Chester Talton and Bishops Assistant Sergio Carranza and Robert Anderson, joined bishops of the six Episcopal dioceses of California in publicly opposing the measure.
Text of the bishop's statement follows.

I call upon Californians who supported Proposition 8 to make an honest and dedicated effort to learn more about the lives and experiences of lesbian and gay humanity whose constitutional rights are unfairly targeted by this measure. Look carefully at scriptural interpretations, and remember that the Bible was once used to justify slavery, among other forms of oppression.
It is important that we understand that we are a state that lives with freedom of religion - and freedom from religious oppression.
In my view, and in that of many Episcopalians, Proposition 8 is a lamentable expression of fear-based discrimination that attempts to deny the constitutional rights of some Californians on the basis of sexual orientation. It is only a matter of time before its narrow constraints are ultimately nullified by the courts and our citizens' own increasing knowledge about the diversity of God's creation.
Too often the road to justice is made deeply painful by setbacks such as Proposition 8, which nearly half of California voters rejected. But as our new President-elect has said, "...let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other."

J. Jon Bruno
Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles
gangrel_pri: (emogoth)
Some interesting reading. Problem being I still don't buy the Xtian mythos. However, that article and the old Presbyterian report on sexuality from my youth provide hope for the future.
gangrel_pri: (duo)
Before I get into my thoughts for today, I must remember to inform [ profile] gothic_oreo that I wasn't hibernating, I was in torpor. There is a difference;)

Ok, what has made me really irate today, besides drunken college students, itchy eyes, and a roommate with Whooping Cough? (BTW, I'm not mad about the cough. I'm more irritated with the doc and the pharmacy for taking so long.)

Where to start... )
Hmm, religion and Boy Scouts. Lovely.


Jul. 8th, 2002 12:19 am
gangrel_pri: (Default)
Why is it people get so offended when I start talking about changing my religious affiliation? Would people get upset if I suddenly declared myseld Buddahist? Why is going monotheistic such a crime? Yes, I'm pagan. I have been for 7 years now. I was Xtian for 18 years prior to that. Why is it such a big deal I'm getting interested in Judaism? Why can't I explore what it is I believe in peace? Hell, if you want to nail it down, I always thought that the various pantheons were just aspects of a greater divinity. No one ever said that God couldn't do something like that if God so chose. Or more to the point, what if the great divinity I've been pondering the past 26 years is nothing more than connective tissue? I've pretty much discounted Xtianity, since a good majority of its current dogma has no real relavence in my life. I've studied Islam, but again, most of it bears no real relation to what and how I believe. It does, however produce spectacular art and Arabic (the written word) is quite possibly the most wonderous thing I have ever seen. The problem I keep running into with paganism is hubris, as so many people I know get in these "my psychic penis is bigger than yours" debates that detract seriously from my enjoyment of practitioning. That and a real lack of desire to learn and experement among those I have talked to on occasion. Personally, I'm reaching a point in my life where I'm ready to explore other vistas. Polytheism will still be there whether or not I decide to leave it. And you can take me out of polytheism, but you can't take polytheism out of me. The things which I would take with me would be A) a sense of responsibility for my own actions, B) a love of learning and discussing what it is I have learned, and C) ways to create my own reality. One man's magic is another man's minor miracle.
I guess it just irks me that people seem to think I'm a bad person for trying to find a way to grow in my faith rather than stagnating in something that I've been growing beyond for a while now. Just as Xtianity is no longer where I belong, I think paganism is something that I'm fitting into less and less. I bear no ill will to those who follow it. It was where I belonged. And there are others who will still need it when I am gone. I just have to follow the path I need to follow right now. I have no idea where i's going, but the road is always interesting.
gangrel_pri: (Default)
Ok, I swear I'll tie all this together by the end, but...
My morning at Temple Israel and the Library )


Apr. 8th, 2002 02:02 am
gangrel_pri: (Default)
The first part of this will possibly piss people off, and the second part will bore people to death.

Ok, Papa John's is fucking pissing me off right now. Our customers are either stupid fuckin' students or even worse, stupid fuckin' rednex. There is no such thing as a nice fuckin' customer. They all want a special, they all want to bitch because of something I can't fix, and worse, they all want it right when I'm fuckin' in the middle of cleaning. And I'm really pissed that Dave is sucking Steve's dick to get hours, and then calls off constantly, usuallly due to a hangover. I've had bronchitis for a few days, and was told to come in anyway. Now Steve has it, and guess what? He called off. Fuck Steve.
And while we're on the subject, FUCK FUNDY XTIANS! If I have to hear one more time about how the war in Israel id the beginning of the great Tribulation, I am going to go POSTAL! First of all, do the research. The references cited to the "Rapture" are in a whole different book than the story of the Apocolypse. And in answer to [ profile] gareon's friend's contention that America is the whore of Babylon (not that I don't agree), oh please. Considering that most American fundies give that role to the freakin' pope of the Roman Church, to me this suggests that to those who claim to know the will of God are really just delusional fuckheads with a narcissistic complex. Although my major problem has always been with the complete disregard to any beliefs other than their own warped perspective (case in point: last time I went to a bible meeting the concentrated on specific words rather than the overall meaning of the passage they were studying), this new hypocracy is pissing me off. What they seem to forget is that any philosophic reading, nay, any reading, is subject to interpretation, filtered through individual perception and predjudice. Or they forget to take things in the context they were written, as it was filtered through the author's particular perceptions and predjudices. God did not once ever just sit down and say "Let there be BOOK!" I'll give you the 10 commandments, but even then, when I was researching Judaism, I found a nice little thing about how Genesis was written by at least two different authors, and how some of Deuteronomy was suspect to revision. (Read Karen Armstrong's _History of God_. She can cite more sources than I can can rattle off right now.) And while we're discussing revision, look at the KJV, subject to the fairy king of England's revision to suite his need to prove the divine right of kingship. Now the Qu'aran, at least, has the history of being written by people who actually personally knew the founder (with the exception of what the Prophet himself wrote.) Problem being that when they organized the damn thing (pardon my sacrelidge), they didn't bother to organize it very well. It has a bad tendancy to repeat itself. And the bible itself is incomplete.
Anyway, I've vented my frustration now, so I'm signing off before someone smites or rebukes me.
gangrel_pri: (Default)
Today just dragged on and on...I hate my job, but at the same time I'm comfortable there.
Let's see, finished up my Intro to Islam book, now working my way through Judaism. After that comes Sartre and Freud. Then I can relax with a nice Neil Gaimen graphic novel. All of this reading and what I find is that I really don't like the followers of JHVH. I mean, I agree with some of it, but I find myself disagreeing with minor points here and there. However, I'm getting a better understanding of the viewpoints, but I don't agree with them. Some of the proofs they use are soplistic at best, and outright ignorance at worst. And all of them have so much in common, but prefer to protest based on differences. Like, well, Jesus....
But really, all of them share the same deity, the difference is in interpretation. Jews, for instance, believe that the laws are there for a reason. Xtians believe that Jesus supplants all the laws, and all you need is him. So, let's see, I accept Christ, all my sins are forgiven. Am I free to sin all I want to then, knowing that it doesn't matter? Or do I follow all the laws and go to hell if I fail in my task? Or Islam, where all things follow the will of Allah? I'm beginning to see why JHVH was god of war...all of his followers fight.
All I can tell is that I must be seeking some new revelation, since all I seem to be reading is philosophy and religion texts. I mean, I'm happy being pagan, but I miss the some of the structure I had growing up. Not to much,m because ritual is it's own problem, but every once in a while, I would like a clear set of sirecives that make sense. I guess it all comes down to "Love your neighbor as yourself." That's where I agree with Judaism, that our bodies are a temple, a gift given by the divine. And I agree with Islam that science and research can only lead to new appreciation of what the divine has created. Perhaps what I'm striving to prove here is that behind all the masques, the divine is one whole form, with several forms that lead us onwards. Unfortunatly, no one seems to buy that, other than me. Mainly because people have justified arguements against situational ethics. But, by the same token, situational ethics is closer to where I am.
Why can't I get a burning bush, or better yet, a big flaming arrow?
gangrel_pri: (Default)
well, thanks to one of my LJ friends, I now see that hatred and ignorence are alive and well in the US. All my x-tian friends, please forgive my sarcastic title, but it really irks me that people feel free to condemn me for something that I personally argue that GOD in GOD's infinite wisdom created me this way. Take it anyway you want to. Being Pagan, I'd argue the GODDESS route, but it would be a waste of time. And whoever wrote the condemnation of Witchcraft was a fucking moron who wouldn't know their ass from a hole in the ground. What I did enjoy was the thought that most pagan/Wiccans are well educated, humble, discreet people. Infer what you will from that about the Christians spouting that bile. Or how about their assertaion that there are 4 religions? Neo-Judaism, Xtianity, Satanism, and Witchcraft. They lump several thousand years of Eastern thought and belief in with Witchcraft, and then say that Mohammed was 100% full of BS. What the hell? I'm going to hell because I bothered to get an education? I'm going to hell because narrow minded zealots turned me off to what should be a peaceful religion? I'm going to hell because of an aspect of my personality? I'm going to hell because I'm not as narrow minded as they are?
My favorite was the article about how schools today are teaching sodomy as birth control, and how a majority of GLB people have STDS. For a big profile, look up Phelps's or go to a campus near you to hear Brother Jed. Last time I saw him, he had a sandwich board covered in damnable offenses. Other than the fact I am not a woman, and I am also not a lesbian, most of them are things that I am or have done. His little 8 year old girl told a friend of mine that since he was a fag, he was close enough to being a woman.
We yell about schools overseas teaching children to hate Americans (and were not talking MExico and Canada here), but yet we feel free to teach our own kids how to hate people for being different. I fail to see the difference between the social injustice of the Taliban and what these Zealots would do given the opportunity.
And the next time a Xtian tells me that he is persecuted for his religion, I will laugh in his face. While he is free to believe as he wishes, I fail to see how keeping schools secular is persecution. Religion should be taught at home, at church (coven, whatever), or by parents. And most teachers have their own beliefs. But belief is best shared by example, not by screaming.
I'm sorry, I seem to have been ranting.
HAve a nice day, and remember to condemn anyone else you talk to who doesn't agree with you.

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