10 July 2006

This is serious stuff

Today, Gentle Reader, I am going to talk a little bit about Religion. And I'm not preaching, I'm just talking. Just airing out some confusion I'm feeling. Thasssall. Don't get your panties in a bunch, as they say.

Skip this post if you want to--I don't care. I won't even know because I don't have some kind of hidden counter on my blog to tell me if anyone other than my mom is actually reading the crap I post here. I wanted to get a counter--I think it would be cool to know if I am popular or not--but then I found out you actually had to pay for one, and I am just too cheap for that! Plus, I doubt anyone is reading this crap anyway, so I'd rather not know. I mean, I read some blogs and I am just blown away by their potent honesty. Like the Gallivanting Monkey blog. She has really summed up being a mom so well, that I think, What could I possibly have to say that could top that?

But, anyway, on to Religion.

Here's the thing: sometimes I wonder if I am really supposed to be Jewish. No, don't laugh. I have a couple of shallow reasons, and then I have some pretty valid ones. Here goes:

Shallow reason number one: My maiden name is Roth, and that is German. A lot of Germans are Jewish. Ergo, my family may have been Jewish at one time.

Very, very shallow but also very funny reason number two: My Jewish friend, Kurt, told me once, "your dad is the most Jewish-lookin' guy I've ever seen!" I look a lot like my dad. Therefore, I must look Jewish, too.

picture of my dad with the Lion

very stupid reason number three: I love Matzoh. And Rugelach. And when I made my list recently (which I didn't bother posting but I may have to now that I am citing it) of my top ten hot-hot-hotties, five out of the ten guys I listed were Jewish! Which surprised me. I have always thought I had a thing for Englishmen, but apparently not. Apparently I have a thing for Jewish men instead. Which maybe explains why I used to have a thing for my friend, Kurt. So I love Matzoh, I love Rugelach and I apparently love Jewish men.

Valid reason number one: I don't know if I would call myself a Christian. Seriously. I was raised Catholic, and just this past year I decided I am definitely not a Catholic. Don't laugh, I am being very serious. That was a difficult decision (I guess I like definitions) but I realized I have a lot of disagreements with the Catholic church. I am still very protective--I don't like people who were not raised Catholic dissing the Catholic church for some reason, but I most definitely am not a Catholic.

This decision led me to wonder what I actually am then. I guess I would be a Christian, but the word "Christian" has a very negative connotation for me as of late. Which is sad, I suppose. But the word "Christian" has been hijacked and completely redefined for me to mean a variety of negative, political things. Which is sad, because I think being Christian should have nothing to do with your definition of a good American and everything to do with whether you are a good person. And because I think Jesus, were he alive today would not care if someone were gay or straight, Republican or Democrat, black or white or rich or poor. And he would not care if there were prayer in school or in a courthouse or before a sporting event or anywhere in public for that matter as long as there were prayer period. He would just want everyone to love everyone else and treat one another with compassion and respect, right? I mean, wasn't that, after all, his message?

Wow. So I am probably not a Christian anyway. Because I cannot bring myself to love everyone. I cannot love a pedophile. And I just cannot love these sickos--check out those big grins on their creepy faces while they hold up their messages of hate:


Anyway, so it's not that I don't believe in Jesus. I do. I believe that he lived and that he died and that he taught a lot of wonderful lessons that people may or may not follow. I just have trouble with the word "Christian."

Valid reason number two: I also--and this is much more serious--have trouble with some of the major concepts of Christianity. Like the idea that I can only get into Heaven if I pray to God through Jesus. Why do I have to go through Jesus? Or a priest? Or anyone for that matter? Why does God need a secretary? Why can't I just pray directly to God? Because I do pray. I do believe in God. I just don't tack the little "in Jesus' name, we pray" onto the end of my prayers. Because I just don't understand that part. No offense Jesus, but I'm takin' my prayers directly to God.

God, if you're not too busy, could you give me some sort of sign? Am I supposed to be Jewish? Or Christian? Just check the box, yes or no.

In the meantime, we are having the Lion baptised in two weeks. Jonathan is definitely secure in his Christianity. He has some issues with the word "Christian" too, but he is a Methodist, and they are pretty decent, non-hatin' people. I don't mind if my children are Methodists. Maybe I'll be a Methodist, too.


Anonymous said...

I hear ya, Erin. I am a confirmed Episcopalian and I love all of the cool things Jesus did and taught but I have a lot of problems with religion, too. For instance, the whole Resurrection issue. Ummm, I have a really hard time believing that Jesus was alive,then he died, like dead as a doornail, no heartbeat kind of dead and then 3 days later he wasn't. That one, in the literal sense, is just too much for me. I prefer to think of the Resurrection as a metaphor. A metaphor for how you can be re-born (god I hate that term and all of the baggage that goes with it) if you live your life according to the example that Jesus set. Guess what, one of my Episcopal priests said that its perfectly ok to think like that. Phew, I was kind of sweating that one.
I also have major issues with the Bible is the word of God thing. Ummm, how can it be the word of God if it was translated like a million times by people who may or may not have been the best advocates for God. Maybe they left some stuff out or put some stuff in that doesn't really belong there. I prefer to think of the Bible as a really long version of Aesop's Fables. Good life lessons, you know.

Don't sweat the whole religion thing, Erin. Trust me, it is far more important to God, Jesus, Mother Nature, Allah, Ras Tafari, Buddha or whom ever else you may pray to that you are spiritual as opposed to being religious. In my little world, Meta God could give a rats A** what church you belong to as long as you are living the Golden Rule.


girlysmack said...

Wow--that was an awesome, awesome answer to my question! Can I end all this rhetoric once and for all and declare you my Goddess? When people ask what religion I am, I'll just tell them, "Oh, me? I'm a Leilien." I like the sound of that! It's like alien... but not quite.

Anonymous said...

yes, you may kiss the ring :)


Anonymous said...

First of all - wow, what great writing! I'm going to have to read this amazing post and Leila's amazing response a couple more times before I can absorb it. But I must say that though I am very very lapsed I am a Catholic at the core, not necessarily because I believe but because it's all I know to believe! And somehow, I like to say that I am a Catholic. Whenever I need to, I can call upon God, and I feel his influence more and more as I age.....

girlysmack said...

Thanks, Mom! :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, I forgot to mention earlier that I think people confuse church with faith. Faith and/or spirituality are what is important. Church is just a tool with which you can deepen and practice your faith. Church, in my humble opinion, is just a vessel to be used in your relationship with whomever you pray to. It is also a great way to meet and spend time with like minded people. Church (or organized religion, for that matter), is optional, faith is not. But that is what is so special about faith. It can lie dormant for years, you may feel like you have abandoned it or lost it and yet it is always their waiting for you, like a long lost friend. You can question it, challenge it, ignore it, deepen it, explore it and share it, but, in the end it is yours to do with what you want.

Anonymous said...

OK, so now we know at least your family is reading your blog! I have to agree with Leila. That resurrection thing always had me confused. And the bible being the word of God - he didn't write it so how do we know its his words? The whole celibacy thing for priests, who's idea was that actually? A pope, not God's.

Just keep trying different religions until you find the right one for you. My friend Paula was a devout catholic, teaches in a catholic school. I believe she recently became a Quaker. We are behind you and support whatever you choose.

Aunt D

Lesley Jones said...

Here's my unrequested input... Why through Jesus? Jesus is God, thus the concept of the trinity - Father, Son, Holy Spirit. One God - three forms. "No one comes to the father except through me." - John 14:6. As for the death and resurrection... that is part of faith. Trust in His word. As for whether or not your Jewish via heritage, well I can't answer that. What I can say is that the Jewish faith does not accept Christ as the Lord. They believe he existed, but that he was a mere prophet. So there's a decision you have to make with that. Christianity is defined by one thing - acceptance of Christ as saviour. As for the hate - you are correct, Jesus did not approve of or agree with hate... however, he did draw lines between right and wrong. He turned over tables when he saw theives peddling goods outside the temple. As a Christian, is not our job to judge everyone... it is our job, per the Bible to hold accountable those who claim to be Christians. God will be the final judge of all, though. Occassionally our kids do something wrong... something clearly wrong that we do not agree with... that does not mean we hate them... as a Christian statement of something as wrong should not be portrayed as hate... though I will definitely 100% agree that a large number of people who claim Christianity definitely cross the line and move toward hate. And some day they too will have to stand before God and be judged for their own sins. "Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone."

Lesley Jones said...

Oops, I wanted to clarify... My quote "Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone." was directed at those that are "haters" that Erin described in her post. Disagreement is ok, hate is wrong.