Friday, October 06, 2006

Various and sporadic

Rachel over at the Big Dunk wrote recently about the New Age, and her ulitimately frustrating experience with that belief that God is in each of us, and if we just look hard enough we can manifest The Divine. It was thought provoking, as her stuff usually is, and I found myself agreeing with lots of it, even though it sounds more, well, more theologically conservative than I think I am. But maybe that's the part of me that thinks that progressive Christians can't really stand FOR anything without marginalizing other people, and that's a belief I'm trying to let go of.

And, her post reminded me of this thing I wrote as part of a cool writing workshop a while back. (Sheesh, how bloggy and self-referential is THAT. "As usual, I was reminded of ME and my WORK...." Bleh.). This is part of a much, much, much longer piece, but it sort of stands by itself. Anyway, here it is:

My upbringing was mainline protestant slash secular humanist, with a strong helping of Midwestern practicality. We were in church every Sunday, of course, but it was always more a social and social justice enterprise than a spiritual one. In fact spirituality was a little suspect, a little goofy. My dad joked gently about his mother, a prolific pray-er. He told me and my brothers, “She would pray out loud for hours. Around the world, for everyone and everything, all the way down to Aunt Elvira’s toenails.” I guess it’s no wonder that praying out loud, whether to ask for help or to seek consolation, to rejoice or to give thanks was not exactly encouraged in my family. We prayed before meals but other than that, prayer was left to professionals.

No one ever suggested I pray if I was confused or for help in making a decision. I never saw anyone lift up a spontaneous prayer in a moment of anger or despair. No one consulted the Bible for guidance. Not long ago, when I told one of my brothers that I was sad we did not pray when we were growing up, he disagreed with me. “But when dad was baking bread every week, that was prayer.” By which I think he meant ritual, and also the sort of the spirituality that can be profoundly felt while creating something, especially in the kitchen. But that’s the kind of spirituality that relies on the human, the kind of “spirit” Oprah talks about, which means the powerful source of energy within each of us. Don’t get me wrong. I believe in that too. And I’m grateful for a childhood in a home full of the smells of good, good cooking. But always the question hummed just below the surface, “There’s something else, isn’t there, beyond what humans can create?”

In other news (and somehow related to that last question, although I didn't intend it) Finally saw An Inconvenient Truth tonight. I am now ready to change the world.

Moms and dads (and anyone who loves great writing about spiritual things) - Rachelle the Urban Abbess is now doing a parenting blog. I'm already putting some her kick-ass advice to work. She's the real thing.

Also, thanks all for your prayers for Jeff after his accident. He is doing much better after two days of R and R and is heading back to work on Monday. Keep him in your prayers, still, as he re-remembers bus navigation. Still no word about what's going to happen to the van, but the body shop guy is in favor of totalling it.

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