11/17/05

mind if I go out on a limb here..

This is really really off topic for me. Something I don't often discuss with such abandon.

My religion.

Here ya go..

Im Roman Catholic.

I don't get to church as often as I'd like. I mumble my way through half the songs when I do go. I don't come from a touchy-feely, sing-song, tell the world church. As a matter of fact, sometimes I still get thrown at mass when something I remember clearly speaking is being sung.

I'm probably your basic, run-of-the-mill RC. I think the pope is generally ok, for what he does. I think sometimes he should just keep his mouth shut about certain things. I understand that faith and doctrine sometimes mean he has to open it - but seriously, don't.

I think any preist involved in a sex-scandal should be hung, drawn and quartered. I would absolutely NOT sit through a Latin mass, I don't care how beautiful you think it is. I have sinned, we all have. And I fully understand that my sins will come back to haunt me. Although being saddled with a snoring dog might just be payback.

I have read enough of the bible to know that theres a whole lot of mystery surrounding it, I've questioned what I've read and not recieved decent answers.

But as a whole Im very happy in what I've found.

Now I realize this may come as a shock to some of you, but apparently I'm the first Roman Catholic some of you have met. It happens.

I don't particularly care about the selling of alcohol at the Civic Center.
Quite frankly I think theres better things in this world to spend your time on.

One of those things being making this world a better place. And not in a religious way either. I'm not particularly interested in wether or not you've accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal savior. Although I have been asked myself many times. And no, not just here.

Let me tell you of a group in NYC. They call themselves the "Black Israelites." They stand on the same street corner every day, usually with megaphone in one hand, bible in the other. They quote and quote from the book as if it were going to startle you into realizing what an asshat you've been all your life, and maybe you should start following them. Well, its usually the megaphone that startles. But they, like many others, have found a way to interpret the Biblical passages as proof that God (G-d to all my Hebraic brethren out there) never intended man to love his fellow man. Well, let me rephrase that - the races to love the races. They are the biggest race-baiters I have ever met. With megaphone in hand (and permit in pocket, so its all legal) they harass those who walk by with tales of "The Good Lords intent for the White man to be separated from the Black Man."

Yeah, ok... I'll happily separate myself from anyone yelling into a megaphone.

But as far as anyone can tell, theyre fairly nice to those whom they believe they are supposed to be nice to.

And as far as I see it, thats pretty much what it's all about.

We have 10 rules, 10 whole rules which apparently very few people make it past the first 3.

Lets review - to clear up any interpretation problems now:

1. I am the Lord, your God...
Yes, yes you are.
2. You shall have no other gods besides Me...Do not make a sculpted image or any likeness of what is in the heavens above...
Well, to be honest - Im not much of a sculptor, besides - how can you sculpt the unknown, and unknowable?
3.
You shalt not swear falsely by the name of the Lord...
Whoops... on a daily.. hourly.. basis.
4.
Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy
I keep tryin, but work does not agree.
5.
Honor your father and your mother...
I guess Jesus was one of those easy teens. I wasn't.
6.
You shall not murder...
So far, so good. Im not saying anything more than that.
7.
You shall not commit adultery...
If I don't want my wife breaking #6 I won't.
8.
You shall not steal...
Well, I don't.. anymore.. does a paperclip count? Again, see comment on #5, and deny you were ever young.
9.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor...
Nope, no reason to. They seem to screw up pretty well on their own. Besides - every man (and woman) should stand accountable for what they do, wether to themselves or to the world.
10.
You shall not covet your neighbor's house...
I dunnknow, dude's living pretty large.. As far as I see it, this one is about being happy with who/what/where you are. And remembering it could always be better, and it could always be worse. Be thankful.. oooh, concept.

So theres your 10 commandments. To me, they seem pretty straight-forward. With the exception of variations on wording in different translations, the song remains the same. And it all goes back to that golden rule.

Do unto others as you would have done unto you.

And because Im just that darn literate, in the Wiccan Rede the words have changed but the song remains the same. "An it harm none, do what ye will."

Its a little thing we used to call Personal Responsibility, which suffered grevious injury when the woman sued McDonald's and won for her own spilt coffee.

Now all Im saying to you folks out there who are non-Roman Catholic, Im here. Im not doing much, Im not eating babies or smearing blood on your doors. (2 things I've heard, the first as a joke; the 2nd as a confusion with the story of the Hebrews escape from Egypt and slavery)

My wife is not wearing a "Jewish Star/Jewish Cross", although she has heard both.

I know all about the history/herecy/lunacy/spoonacy(sounded good) of the Holy Roman Catholic Church. I too have heard tell of the vast resources of wealth and information to be found in the Vatican Archives. I once thought I heard a calling, but realized it was only to be less of a schmuck and more of a mensch. Not a problem, Im doing the best I can.

I don't believe the Pope is the devil incarnate, although the Burger King guy might be. I think your faith is something you live, not talk about endlessly. (again, black israelites - lose the megaphone.) As the Hulk (Hogan) once said, "Train hard, say your prayers, and take your vitamins."

Hey, it worked on me back then. I was in fighting shape.. if I was fighting a battleship.
Where Im from people of all faiths come together at one place, at one time to share in something special. Something almost magical. We call it Bingo.

I have been to Bingo games at Catholic Schools & Jewish Temples, and I can tell you - all the faiths of the world are represented, and when the balls start popping - the hardest thing to remember is the Golden Rule. But in the end, the monies collected go back into the parish, the temple and the community. At my RC school growing up, a portion of the money went towards ministries in 3rd world nations - to provide food and clothing, and a larger portion accomplished the same goals right in my very neighborhood. My parochial school took part in UNICEF fund drives, where a small milk box dedicated for donations was handed out to all students who then brought them home and left them in the family areas. Change was dropped in, but the end result was far greater than the money portrayed.

I have met with, and been instructed by Catholic preists from all around the world, and laughed with ones local to my home. A stand-out happens to be one Fr. Cappuccino - yes, you heard his name right. Long before Starbucks made the name a household word, we were all taught by Fr. Mocha Latte/Fr. Espresso/Fr. Coffee. He made the whole "Be like Jesus" thing seem fairly obvious, easy to do yet easier to screw up. But that was ok, because as long as you could keep trying to do the right thing, someone understood.

Might not be your parents, but eventually you would be understood.

To this day Fr. Cappuccino continues his work in the community (which thanks to Google, I can easily find - The Divine Search Engine?) making the community he is in easier for seniors and those with physical limitations to navigate.

In short, Rome is just a place, the Pope just a man, the Bible a book, the words within just that - words. It all comes down to wether or not you want to be the kind of person you can Google years from now and feel blessed to have even known them.

Yes, Jesus was here. It says so. Not in the book, but in the earth. Call him Jesus, call him Yahweh, God, G-d, or Phil for all it matters. The importat part is that you understand that all whoever is up there wants for us down here is peace and quiet, a life of love and joy, and grief and sorrow in proper proportions.

When we get up there, whatever happens happens. Theres no sense in trying to polish your resume to the diety holding the video camera.

Maybe the Catholics are wrong, maybe the Christians are - maybe the Black Israelites are right. Or the Jews. Does it matter if you've been a decent human being? Probably not, because believe it or not - I have it on good information that there is no Hell.

Yeah - you heard me, no Hell.

Hell is just an endless replaying of your life, over and over and over. Except you get to watch it. You watch the same mistakes endlessly, you see where you went wrong time and time and time again. Hell is regret. Hell is the knowledge that you never became as good as you should have been. Hell is knowing you could have been better.

Purgatory is the same thing, just in a shorter time slot and edited for content.

And heaven is knowing you were as good as you could have been, you did the best you could with what you were given.

Of course there are levels to it all.. I have to belive there is a special place in Heaven for those who are addicted and afflicted. And specialized regions of Hell, where perhaps Hitler sits in a steel showering chamber, with a small window that looks out on a canister of Zyklon B, living the life of one of his victims.

Im not saying Im a great Catholic.. by no means would I even DARE to think it. All Im really getting at is that our wants, our needs, and our reason for the faith are not all that different. It's all in how we interpret the words. But even still - the end result is the same.

I hope this will be the last time I write about this, as it is a topic which seems to set the world afire.

I could have gone on longer, but I don't see the point. With any luck - this will dissapate into the ether and long be forgotten.


3 comments:

Ms. Elenaeous said...

Get out of my mind!
Seeing as how you touched a lot of what I was going to post today I will have to wait a day or two to add my personal experiences my family and I have been encountering in the last couple of days. Is the moon full or something? Looks like I may have to rant on the French instead.

RoanokeFound said...

Yes the moon is full, which is probably why I went on this fool's errand to begin with. Actually, I like you to post today about it. Screw the French!

d-i-tz said...

Ask...and you shall receive...even if its just from me.

Why don't we ever have this conversation face-to-face?