Tag Archives: religion

Losing my religion for equality…by Jimmy Carter

Losing my religion for equality…by Jimmy Carter.

I’ve shared this all over, but I wanted to put it in my blog so I could keep it to remember.

This man.

The amount of good he has done in his life is astonishing. And his perspective here is wonderful.

I wish I could meet him, just to say thanks. Instead, I think I’ll write him a letter…by hand. By heart.

The Beplatitudes

You’ve all read them. Pithy statements about the meaning of life, how to be kind, how to find joy, blah blah blah. Blah. “Your most prized possessions are your unspent years”, “Happiness is like a butterfly…”, etc. etc.
I particularly like the “author unknown” ones, which generally means someone has spliced some words together from the ether and doesn’t want to quote themselves.
There’s nothing wrong with these things. They are good for coffee mugs, scented candles, even the occasional T-shirt (though I still prefer the one that says “You’re just jealous because the voices are speaking to ME!”).
But when they come from someone who is supposed to have a deeper understanding, well, they just piss me off.
It’s like going to hear the Dalai Lama speak and having him come out with tra la pop sayings. Or having the Pope say something like, “God loves you”. Or a famous scientist say something like “You are a caterpillar, growing into a butterfly”.
I know, if you love something, let it go, but there really should be a restriction on letting some of these sayings go. Especially if you are a person who provides guidance.
I’m thinking of a minister I knew once. Every word out of her mouth was some sort of prayerful platitude. I found it made me feel distinctly unChristian, as I cheerily contemplated ways of making the noise stop. Yes, I know, you have to speak to your flock in ways that they can understand, but all of us were over kindergarten age and well past the age of believing in unicorns and magic bubbles. We sat, in various states of discomfort, on our wooden chairs, being told cheery slogans instead of thoughtful commentary.
Maybe I expect too much. It’s probably because I am still agog at the mystery of a religious calling. As a nurse, I know what a vocation means. It invades your DNA. Now, even though I can no longer legally call myself a nurse, I still react as a nurse.
But I know, also, that sometimes my nursiness has limits. Sometimes I don’t feel the magic, you know? Sometimes I react with an ugh, or an I don’t want to help, not this time. And I wonder about ministers and priest and such and how they manage to make the magic every service, every contact. Do they?
When I was a nurse, I took my profession very seriously. I regularly upgraded, studied constantly, tried to be an expert in the field if I could. I was probably insufferable, but at least I was well-informed. I expect the same thing from other professions, especially those that involve a vocation. So I expect religious leaders to rise above the coffee mug sentiments and pull out something wise. Some do, and they reach me, deeply, and make listening to them worth the uncomfortable seating.
Some, like this lass, just drive me to write murder mysteries where people are pushed off cliffs while the murderer recites the quote about the road less travelled. And tosses the T-shirt after the body. Or maybe a coffee mug. All the while hollering, “And they said you can’t take it with you!”

Revisionist history, or embroidering around the edges of life

Sometimes, being a fiction writer has its disadvantages. Too much imagination has led me into all sorts of trouble. It’s just too easy to imagine alternative endings to various stories, and you know, some people just don’t like that.
I got into trouble last night at a church event, in fact. We were discussing the oncoming Holy Week events and the reading of the Passion this Sunday. One of my friends will “play” Judas.

So, of course I had to open my mouth. I always felt sorry for Judas. I mean, here he was , sort of set up for doom, I said. If he hadn’t done what he did, poor Jesus would end up wandering around at age 50, thinking to himself, “there was something I was going to do, but what was it again?” (like many of us in our 50’s).

I was chastised for sacrilege. Probably fair enough. But still.

In my defence, I have to say there’s a part of me that is always questioning things. I feel sorry for Mary, for example. I mean, she gives birth to this magical kid, and honestly, how does she cope with it – the staring from the villagers, the toilet training, for heaven’s sake? Did Mary have to bribe him with the equivalent of Smarties? Was the young Lad a good kid, or was he a bit cheeky? All of these practicalities aren’t dealt with, and unfortunately, my mind fills in around the edges with scenes. I suppose , if I were good, I’d just leave it alone, but I don’t have that kind of mind.

The same thing happens in all sorts of settings. I go to the coffee shop and overhear part of a conversation and embroider a life around the speakers. I read about a famous person and want to know about the other parts of their lives.

I believe part of being a writer is being endlessly curious about people and things – why does water behave that way? How do you make material out of loose wool? Can you balance angels on the head of a pin? How many?

Often it’s purely mental play. Some people do crosswords. I make up stories.

But perhaps I should learn to keep my wonderings to myself. Lest I offend the hearer.
Alternatively, I could write under a pseudonym. Any good ideas for one out there?