Questions and Answers

In a conversation with my oldest son Richard yesterday, I mentioned that today I understand why my FIL never wanted to go anywhere.  Richard said he’s getting to the same place, because after you commute all week for years, all you want to do weekends is stay home. Today, while looking through one of my old journals from when I was gainfully employed, I noted that I had expressed the same sentiment in 2001.

I’m happy I kept journals although the entries are mostly about doing and not being… you know, read this book, saw this movie, with the odd mention of one of David’s automobile accidents.

For most of my life, I was doing and not being, what the philosopher Blaise Pascal called “ceaseless rounds of activity,” which we do to avoid answering to the big questions. Now that I am retired, I can take time to be, although this week I will be doing a lot of doing…..

Of course, if you belong to a religion, as I did for a very long time, you have the answers provided, as I did in the form of the Baltimore Catechism.

The first question in the catechism is ‘Why did God make you?’  The answer I had to learn before I could make my first communion was, “To know love and serve him.” That answer still works for me, however, knowing is the hard part.

I loved the Church but left it in December 1973 because I found positions on subjects like birth control and marriage left me out in the cold. While some people can remember where they were when the news of the shuttle failure or JFK’s assassination came over the wires, I can remember where I was when Humanae Vitae was announced…on a back road in Hawaii, driving home from Sunday mass. It took me five more years to leave my abusive first husband, however, eventually, I did.

The result was a tailspin or a free fall, that landed me in the Episcopal Church where I eventually met David who was as ardent in his religion as I had been in mine. Today, he is not, however, he looks forward to visits from Brother Dunstan, our Benedictine friend, with whom he discusses religious matters.

David and I left the Episcopal church when the argument between conservatives and liberals tore the church apart. David is also estranged from his youngest son who has decided to become an Anglican (ultra conservative) priest.

Meanwhile, my daughter who was sad because we left the Catholic church, has spoken with several priests about rejoining, and been discouraged each time, mostly for the same reasons I have. She and her husband have gone to the “dark” side and joined the Methodist church, Mom’s old church. (LOL).

In the interim, we have all discovered we believe in a Higher Power who is the God of your own understanding.

I was thinking about this yesterday, because I read a chapter in Lost Enlightenment, by F. S. Starr about the history of the schism in the Muslim faith, the Sunni-Shia split which occurred in the eighth century. Starr notes the animosity was so great, the problem exists today in the form of IS which is largely Sunni, arab and ultra conservative and Shia who are everything else and more tolerant of anything but Sunnis.

The “my way or the highway” attitude has never worked, as Eric Cline noted in 1177 the Year Civilization Collapsed, which occurred before the worlds “great” montheistic religions formed and began beating everyone else with a stick.

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On a happier note, granddaughter Joy who graduates with a Science of Agriculture degree from Virginia Tech in mid-May sent the photos below. In her book, cows are the answer.

 

 

 

 

14 thoughts on “Questions and Answers

  1. If only we could all simply accept and love one another the way God loves and accepts us. Blessings on you both.

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  2. You deserve praise for discussing a topic that often is taboo. My religious background is like yours except for the variety. My mother was a Christian Science First Reader (closest thing they have to a priest or minister) and I was indoctrinated early and often. I came to find most of the CS stuff unbelievable.

    I’ve sought “the truth” about religion for many years. I never found it, but about 8 years ago I found Unitarian-Universalist philosophy, which sounds a lot like what you arrived at. I’m not recruiting. Beliefs are up to the individual. But I did find a strong area of agreementl.

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    • Many of our friends belong to the UU church. One of my good friends from Georgetown became a UU minister. She married a man from her native PR who had been a Jesuit. He left her for another man after he decided he was gay. L had been raised RC. You can imagine the turmoil she experienced and we her friends observed. As someone once said…this is a funny old world.

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  3. I think I am getting to that point of not wanting to go anywhere, at least at this point in time. My dear hubby, whom I lovingly refer to as “ants in the pants man” hasn’t. He seems to be even more active now he is retired and wants to follow the path of the nomad. In a way that’s good because I am encouraged to travel still, and once we are on the road I really do enjoy it but getting there, now there’s the rub. It is nice to look back on one’s journals, wish I had done it a long time ago but have been diligent for the last several years. Lovely photos of your granddaughter.

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    • So funny, when I met Gregg, he suggested he took you places to satisfy your “wanderlust.” Good to travel once in a while, but I like my own bed. At the moment, I’m planning a trip to CA in September-October to see kids.

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  4. So you are posting on Mondays now? Good thing I visited your blog today.
    About three years ago, David and I had a very long conversation about God and religion. We were so discouraged by the sex abuse by Catholic priests and the acts of terror waged by the Muslims.
    We decided to declare ourselves atheists and we removed all the religious artifacts in our home. People who visit us can tell ours is a secular home, not a religious home now. And we feel very good about that.

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    • Generally, I try to post Mitvolk and on the weekend. This week is a bit odd because we have so much to do.

      David and I each believe in the Higher Power of our understanding. Given we know no more than that about what each believes, that’s enough for now.

      As for abuse by some members of the clergy, in every religious group, have this issue. On the other hand I have known some really decent people of each religious group, even WiCCA.

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  5. There has been and is much strife in the world in the name of religion which is the opposite of what is intended. It is hard to understand but has made me give up on organized religion. I am happy doing my thing in the world with peace of mind in my decision.

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  6. I love reading these entries of yours where you discuss past and present realities. I miss the old book of common prayers….the rhythm of the words, the cadence if you will. Here our Episcopal church isn’t used any more, and the Anglicans moved next door and use the Methodist rec room. What a mess.

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    • Do you know the story behind the ‘Book of Common Prayer”? It was created to enforce orthodoxy on all those ‘Calvinist’ i.e., Puritan dissidents who moved to the US for religious freedom…your ancestors and mine. I think the 1929 prayerbook is less restrictive.

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