At the moment, I'm having a bit of clarity. Or insanity. It's hard to tell which. So I thought I'd try to write. Just write. No set topic, no brilliant ideas, just me, my keyboard, and the voices in my head. (Some of them speak German, at least I think it's German, so we'll be ignoring those for today.)
You might say I've has a lot on my mind. People say that to mean they are going through some difficulty or something, but in my case, I literally have a lot on my mind. My thoughts seem to just run at full speed in 180 different directions all at the same time. It's like when we were kids and we had gym class and the teacher threw a bunch of different kinds of balls into the middle of the floor and said "free play"! Like that, a gym full of kids running amok.
I think some about politics. About how I'm kind of disappointed in our current president that he hasn't had the balls to stand up to the opposition and do what he promised he would do when he was campaigning. I think about how the opposition, in this case the Republican party, has become the laughing stock of the world by letting people like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and James Dobson speak for them. That last one is particularly disappointing as I had great respect for Dr. Dobson and his Focus on the Family organization before they went all political and started using their radio show as a pulpit. (Dobson left Focus in 2003, I don't know if the political turn had anything to do with that, but Focus is much less political now. His new ministry Family Talk, seems, from its website, to continue that political bend.) Dobson was, of course, entitled to do what he wants with his radio show, his organization, and his money, but what used to be a good resource for raising your children and living with your spouse became an ongoing rant about how liberals are the enemy and if you are a liberal, you are evil.
That's not a quote. I don't know if Dr. Dobson ever said anything like that, but that is the tone I got from his politically tainted show the one time I listened to it. And he's not the only one that feels that way. I had a friend, or at least I thought he was, in high school that I hadn't talked to in years turn up on Facebook. We talked Star Trek and high school memories and religion and lastly politics. When he asked me if I was a conservative, I honestly said "no, not in the strictest sense". What I got in reply was a 14 page diatribe about how he is a conservative and as such liberals are the enemy and the enemy must be fought at all costs. And he meant "at all costs", going so far as to imply that the use of deadly force against the president would not only be justified, but applauded. He un-friended me after that.
I don't understand that line of thinking. Nothing is black and white. Nothing is entirely either/or in the strictest sense. Religion, maybe, if you are looking at the broadest definitions of "in" and "not in", but politics, especially, is one big huge stinking pile of grey area. Unfortunately, the powers that be, in the case of the United States that's the Democratic and Republican parties, rely on the ignorance and entertainment-lulled faculties of the average citizen to polarize everyone and keep themselves in power. If people would take the time to educate themselves and vote according to what they truly believe instead of some false sense of "us" and "them", we might all be shocked at how different this country would become.
And speaking of religion and politics.... I mean, seriously people, Christian does not automatically mean Conservative and Conservative does not automatically mean Christian. Too many people are lumping those two together and I don't like it. Especially when movements like the Tea Party lay claim to religion and morality and claim to have cornered the market. Not to mention groups like Westboro Baptist who gladly go around to soldier's funerals to tell people "God Hates Fags" while singing Amazing Grace. Makes my stomach turn.
It's not all black and white people!!! Come ON! THINK FOR YOURSELVES!! Don't let Fox News, CNN, or any other "authority" do it for you. Figure out, for yourself, based on FACTS, not opinions, what you think and feel and love and believe. You'd be shocked at how much happiness that brings to your life.
A few years ago, when I became unable to work, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands. Way too much. I've tried filling the time with projects and hobbies and stuff, but as my condition deteriorates, I find things harder and harder to do. So, more and more it's just me and my brain. I've had the time to think through a lot of things that I thought I was sure I was settled on. To my surprise, and my happiness, I've found that many of the things I thought defined me, I didn't really give a crap about. Other things, that I didn't think so important, have become much more so. And the best part about it is, I AM NOT BOUND BY ANY OF IT! I have found I am free to change my beliefs and opinions about things as I learn more about them and I am not OBLIGATED to anything! It's very freeing.
Take for example, the pro-life/pro-choice issue. (I know some people are going to want to fight me on this, but bear with me. I'll gladly talk about it later if you want, but I doubt I will change my thinking.) At one point I honestly felt that since I am a Christian, that I had to be pro-life. It seemed very obvious to me that "killing babies" was evil and thus I should be against it, that I should vote accordingly, and not many other issues really mattered. Today, after some thinking and reading and just generally looking around, I would have to call myself pro-choice. Now, before you go all righteous on me, hear me out. When I say pro-choice, I am not saying "pro-abortion". I don't think anyone, not even the doctors that perform them, would call themselves pro-abortion and say they "like" it. No one likes it. However, the Supreme Court, with the infamous Roe v.Wade decision in 1973, opened a Pandora's box of crap that cannot be closed. Actually, in some ways, it was a good thing, but that's a discussion for another time. My point is, abortion is a reality in our world and cannot, and should not, be instantly outlawed. The repercussions of doing so would be disastrous. No, we must remain a pro-choice society. What we do need, however, is better choices. What we need is a way to stop unwanted pregnancies from happening in the first place. How do we do that? I don't know. But until there is a choice that can replace abortion, we have to live with it. I don't like it, you don't like it. And I will be the one leading the parade when the last abortion is performed and an unborn child is also a wanted child. But until then, I am afraid I have to be in the pro-choice camp.
But guess what? I can change my opinion an hour from now and not feel guilty about it. I am not obligated to hold on to this belief just because I have it now. Free thinking is an amazing thing. Don't let your mommy and daddy or your friends or your church or your television tell you what you can and can't believe. You are your own person, so be your own person.
I wish someone had given me that advice years ago.
If I were to lay out for you how many things I think differently on now than I did 5 years ago, you might be surprised. Or not. I know there are some at my church that might not talk to me anymore if I told them some of the things in my head and heart.
Religion? Do I really want to go there? Well, why not. OK, so the way I understand it, Christianity is supposed to be about "Love your neighbor" and "Do unto others" and all kinds of goodness like that. However, lately, it's become, at least in the eyes of the general public, about "you can't do that" and "I'm rich because God loves me" and "God is on my side so of course I'm right". And even worse, it's about "don't talk to them, they're not one of us". From what I read in the Bible, Jesus Christ spent time with the sick and the poor, and prostitutes and tax collectors. A long list of people who weren't the right kind of people. How can you tell someone about being a Christian if you only talk to other Christians?
Guess what? I have a friend who is an atheist! (*SHOCKED GASPS*) I know right? It's just the most awful thing ever, isn't it? And guess what? That person will probably never change their mind and become a Christian! (*GASPS FAINTING HEART ATTACKS*) And guess what else? That person will continue to be my friend for as long they choose to be. (*THUNKS AS EVERYONE DROPS DEAD TO THE FLOOR*). Sure, I pray for this person, a lot. And they know where I stand. But I am not going to suddenly start putting any kind of pressure on this person to change their mind, nor am I going to stop talking to them because they won't. That's not how people should function. There is no "Us" and "Them" on this planet. Our lives are all interconnected and interwoven and being selfish and bigoted and racist tears that fabric and fucks it all up for everyone else.
Yes, I cursed. Sorry, but I couldn't think of a stronger word.
And that's another tangent I'm about to go off on. Cursing. Out of respect for others, I try to keep my four letter words to a minimum. But sometimes, these things just slip out. I don't like it when others curse just for the sake of cursing. I watched a movie the other night that turned my stomach. The story line was... well a little meh, but the premise was clever, however, any enjoyment I might have gotten out of it was totally overshadowed by way over-using the f-bomb. Real people, even when they use it, don't use it that much. However, that being said, there are times when no other word can serve the same purpose. Sometimes things are fucked and should be labeled as such. Does that make me a bad person? I don't think so.
But I'm not going to try to incorporate an f-bomb when I lead prayer at church any time soon.
But people shouldn't worry about being all nicey-nice around others when they really need to let it out. There are things that I feel should be off limits. As a Christian I try not to use the name "Jesus" as a curse, (but that's off limits for me, others should decide for themselves what is off limits), and I try not to curse in front of my kids. Not because it's "wrong", but rather in our society it's frowned upon for a 3 year old to say the word "shit".
It's how people talk in today's society. True, some see it as rude and impolite, but honestly, everyone has heard the words, and most everyone has used the words. I remember my dear sweet grandmother once let out a stream of cursing that would embarrass a sailor. So I say, fuck it, let's curse if we feel like cursing! Sometimes, another word just won't convey it in the same way.
That reminds me of a joke I heard Buddy Hackett (you youngsters will know him as the voice of the seagull in Disney's "The Little Mermaid") say once about cursing. When someone breaks their foot, what are they going to say "spring is here"? No, they're going to say "BLEEPUS H. BLEEP I BROKE MY F***ING FOOT!"
Here's a joke I told my kids:
A teacher was telling her class the story of Chicken Little. "Chicken Little told the cows 'they sky is falling!' But the cows ignored her.Chicken Little told the geese 'the sky is falling'! And they laughed at her. Then Chicken Little ran to the Farmer and said 'the sky is falling!'" The teacher turned to her class and asked "And what do you supposed the Farmer said?" Little Jimmy raised is hand and said "I suppose he said 'Holy shit! A talking chicken!'"
Ok. enough ranting for today.