How I Lost 12.5 Pounds & Regained My Soul

Naked, as in truth, and uncensored, I share my daily quest to survive as a woman and artist, while dealing with the complications of a full life, meddling in politics, loving my children to excess, totally permanently married and on a never-ending diet. While my soul is in constant need of repair and redemption, I struggle to do the right thing. In the meantime, let's all double the love. (Love, not sex, you fool). All posts are copyrighted material.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Maybe this is why so many seek spiritual comfort outside of organized religion...

Good morning, my fervent little dandelions~

Several years ago, to my husband's horror, I did become one of those Internet ministers. That's right. I can legally marry or bury someone - as long as they have a marriage license. What possessed me to do this? First of all, I have found that many couples who want to get married cannot afford the cost of even a small modest wedding. There's nothing like 'free', if you know what I mean, and that was my original intent.

Of course, I also deluded myself into thinking that I could perform a lovely ceremony for people - either with their vows or not - out in nature. It is so beautiful here that imagining people getting married with the sun shining and the sea of greenness here in the Willamette Valley made me feel happy. At the time I also had a group of people who were dependent on me in some ways, and I felt like I was already giving spiritual counseling in some ways.

Besides, as difficult a subject as religion is for most Americans, with our super-opinionated beliefs about how other people should think and worship, I thought young couples could at least avoid religious conflicts while getting married. Okay, so I've never used my Reverend designation, but it certainly empowered me in odd ways.

But here is the kind of thinking that has me riled up today:

Pope says pro-choice lawmakers should be denied sacraments
By Jack Chang
McClatchy Newspapers

SAO PAULO, Brazil - Pope Benedict XVI kicked off a historic five-day visit to Brazil on Wednesday by sending a tough anti-abortion message that sparked a hemisphere-wide debate over the Roman Catholic Church's efforts to influence politicians.

In answer to a question about Mexico City's recent legalization of abortion, Benedict indicated that he would support Mexican bishops if they were to decide to excommunicate lawmakers who voted for the law.

"It is part of the code," Benedict said, according to reporters aboard the plane. "It is based simply on the principle that the killing of an innocent human child is incompatible with going in communion with the body of Christ."

The Vatican quickly clarified the pope's remarks, saying that he may have inferred from the question that Mexico's bishops had already taken action against the lawmakers, which they hadn't.

But the seeming support for excommunicating Catholic politicians who buck the church on abortion overshadowed Benedict's arrival in Sao Paulo on his first trip outside Europe since he became pope in 2005.

To those of you who just thought, "So what?", let me tell you why this is relevant. If you go to a Roman Catholic mass and do not take Communion, you are essentially a spiritual leper. People begin to question your value as a human being, and you might as well hang your head in shame. Now divorced and re-marrried Catholics, Catholics on birth control other than the rhythm method, murderers, liars, cheats, and other sinners are not supposed to receive Communion on the honor system; however, if your priest knows you, he can also withhold Communion.

I am not sure what happens if you do any of those things and then confess, repent and get forgiven, but it seems like being remarried might be a continuing sin in that sense unless you remarried and then divorced again. You see the hazy line here.

As I was christened Roman Catholic, although half Episcopalian on my father's side, and then was 'sent' to church by my mother by the time I was old enough to walk there with my sister, I always felt conflicted. We had the weekly requirement to attend mass plus the days of holy obligation, and my mother rarely went. In addition to her other flaws, this one alone convinced me that she was going to hell in a handbasket of her own making. I dragged myself to church even if I had the flu, as I was terrified of hell, her obvious fate.

Yes, I wanted to be a good little Catholic girl, but there were always so many temptations.

Oh I never committed the kinds of sins that would have sent me even to purgatory, but the emphasis of the RC church that one has to be 'perfect' and 'chaste' in order to be worthy, I believe is as close to blasphemy as it could get - if one truly believes the dogma the church serves up to its followers. Attempting to become perfect, you see, would be attempting to become God.

In other words, to put we earth bound creatures into the same category as Jesus Christ or God the Father? From a purely traditional standpoint, this is an arrogance beyond comprehension. Even the Vatican's latest attempt to skip all the traditional rules and time constraints of qualifying for sainthood (in order to accelerate the proclamation of Sainthood for the last Pope) show the signs of hypocrisy in the church.

The Papal luxury and indulgence the Popes live within is surely ungodly on its face and a holdover of the times when the Royals ruled around the world. Queen Elizabeth's visit to Washington this week further highlights how ridiculous all of this pomp and circumstance really is.

Who is she but a woman with a fortune that was inherited? I'm sorry, but even my ancestral, cousins-many-times-removed, connection with her via Queen Victoria doesn't impress me. Okay, so my occasional delusion that I should be treated like a princess or a queen makes more sense, but that's about it.

My greatest argument against the church's stance on 'when life begins' and 'when cells really become a human being' is not based on dogma. Any being that cannot survive on its own is not a human. Sorry, but it isn't. It is a mute point, really, until it is more than a few dividing cells. Even embryos cannot be consider human beings. Yes, they can be considered live cells, just as viruses or bacteria can, and the promise of a human being is held there, but that's all.

One day perhaps science will tell us when the soul enters the body. We know when it leaves, but until then?

My pro-choice stance is based on the sad fact that human beings already born are impoverished, sick, and dying and their children, their many born children are already suffering by the millions.

Just about everyone seems to enjoy or practice sex, but let's separate body functions and biological urges from spirituality and the creation of a child. If you believe in God, then you probably also accept that these are God-given urges and desires. Therefore, I again state that those who truly oppose abortion should be the biggest proponents of not only sex education but birth control.

Unless and until the Roman Catholic church promises to provide the support required for these unborn fetuses to survive in some humane way after they are born, I will not ever support the church's ban on abortion. There is no doubt that I love children probably more than most people, but I don't love them blindly.

I never had an abortion but I was also fortunate enough not to get pregnant when I was unable to support a child. Yes, the first pregnancy was inconvenient, as my husband and I were burdened with student loans and other obligations, but I am more than grateful that I never had to make that decision. I would never judge others who did.

A woman terminating a pregnancy is suffering enough with her decision on every level, and it is between her, her doctor, the father of her child and her god, if she has one. It is no one else's business. Ever.

To the Roman Catholics out there who follow the Pope? I will admire and respect you when I see all those pregnant young woman living at your house, along with the other women with their infants, toddlers and young children while you help support, nurture, care for and educate them. If there aren't several of these women and children living at your house already? Why you are the worst kind of hypocrite.

Until all the children in this world are well-nourished and taken care of? How can any of us possibly judge a woman who knows she cannot properly care for a child? And what about those with genetic defects, concerned about passing them on, or incest, rape and compulsory marital sex that results in pregnancy?

Let's leave the 'judging' to God, Allah, Zeus or whatever you want to call the Great Spirit in the Sky, okay? And when you and I are perfect, why we can start to levitate and with a much better vantage point, it will be much easier to judge others.

Just my take.

Clark County Diva



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