Friday, August 27, 2010

The One Where I Rant

::growling in frustration after reading socialcomments on cbc.ca, again::
Okay, people, I'm only going to say this ONCE
 

Science: explains how things happened.
 

Bible: explains why things happened.
 

One does not, I repeat, does not necessarily negate the other. 



The Earth is older than 6000 years old, as scientific evidence has been fairly conclusive in this area. Creating the Earth with dinosaur bones already there for us to dig up is, at best, deceptive on God's part. That is not part of His nature. Not of my God, anyway. 



The concept of the Big Bang does not pose significant ideological difficulties with the Judeo-Christian concept of the origin of the Universe. Both create something out of nothing. I genuinely don't understand why this is an issue. 



The idea that humanity arose out of a lineage of ape-like creatures that subsequently migrated around the globe doesn't mean that there wasn't a point in history where a single, unique individual (or pair of individuals) emerged that acted as a tipping point in the development of the species. Because there probably was. And the whole ape-thing explains so much about so many people!


The details of Genesis are a creation myth. Yes, a myth.  Quit getting your knickers in a knot. 

The definition of the myth is: 

a traditional or legendary story, usually concerning some being or hero or event, with or without a determinable basis of fact or a natural explanation, esp. one that is concerned with deities or demigods and explains some practice, rite, or phenomenon of nature. 

Face it. It's a myth. God probably didn't make the world in six days.  

The PURPOSE of creation myth is less about explaining how the world came into existence, and more about explaining the relationship between humanity and God

The fact that this relationship happens to be explained in the setting of the dawn of time (a story that long existed in the Jewish oral tradition before ever being committed to paper, recorded by an individual who I would assume have very little knowledge about modern physics, archeology or anthropological cultural development) is a detail that far too many people get mired down in. 

You have to look at the big picture. 



God made the Universe. God made the Earth. God created humanity in His image. God smacked his forehead in frustration as we messed it all up. 



The mechanisms by which God accomplished those tasks are explained, in part, by science. He created the natural order that science has uncovered and explained eloquently in it's own language. The same God-created order that you deny by your assertations of, "well, the Bible told me so". 

Okay, I'm done. Carry on. 

::end of rant:: 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Variance of Circumstance

Yep, I'm still talking about our trip. You can read more about it here

Okay, so I'm talking less about the trip per se, and more about where we stayed. We stayed in a campground. It was interesting. I highly recommend it to anyone who's doing some traveling: not only is it relatively inexpensive compared to a hotel, it's also more infinitely more interesting. 



You see, in a hotel, you are in your little room. Alone. You don't necessarily encounter other people who are staying there as well. A campground is different. We were there for five nights. Some people were just passing through and stayed one night. Others have been there much, much longer. 

We discovered after the first day or so that a significant portion of the people at the campground were actually living there. Because you move about the campground going about your routine such as laundry, washing dishes, using the bathrooms and showers, etc, you see a lot of them.



Most people who are living there are temporary workers from other parts of the country; for example, one woman I talked to was from Edmonton. She followed her husband there. She told me every time she saw my kids she felt homesick, missing her grandbabies who were about the same age. 

We had Steven King staying in a decrepit camper across the road from us. I swear, it was Steven King. Okay, not Steven King as much as it was Stuart Redman, a character from his 1970's novel, The Stand. Minus the dog. And none of that Captain Trips stuff. (If you understood all those references, does that mean you're a geek too? The first Steven King novel I ever read was "The Stand". I bought it at Value Village for $2 when I was with my friend Kelly. The book smelled like cigarette smoke. I was twelve years old.)



Okay, okay, the point... 

I found myself humming one of my favourite Carolyn Arends songs, Travelers (The Airport Song).  The song is about... well, traveling. And waiting in airports. Which doesn't necessarily have anything to do with a campground in Regina. But there's a line: 

"There is variance in circumstance 
Direction and occasion
But the truth is we're all travelers
Who have not reached our final destination"

 

that sticks with me. 

In that campground, there was that variance. Some were there for happy reasons, like us. Some where there strictly for work, like the Edmonton lady. Others, like the family next door, appeared to be living there for other, less joyous reasons. The husband came and went each day in his work uniform, and probably wasn't a migrating worker like the Edmonton people. The wife often cried in the bathroom at night. The two kids were rarely seen, and smiled even more rarely. 

In our life, and in our faith, we all have that variance in circumstance, direction and occasion. Again in Ms. Arends' words: "There are signs to welcome daddies, There are flowers and balloons, Business trips and funerals, And happy honeymoons."
  

I suppose that lesson has never been more vivid in my life. How we can all collectively be in the same physical space, and yet none of us are in the same place.


Our faith, which for all intents and purposes is a never-ending journey, tends to make us occupy the same physical space while rarely being in the same place. It happens every Sunday. Each of us there are at different points in our journey home.



And some are stuck at the airport. Others are in mid-flight, but have terrible turbulence. A few are flying smoothly over a clear, jet-blue ocean. 

It makes me question where I am on my own journey. And who's flying the plane. 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Laundry List





laundry list
noun
1. An item-by-item enumeration.
2. A lengthy, inclusive list of data, matters for consideration, etc., often one regarded as unorganized or showing a lack of necessary selectiveness

God and I are on speaking terms again. We've been ignoring each other as of late, but caught up a little today. As I said my prayers for the people I regularly pray for, I came to realize that I never seem to reach the end on my list.

I thought of our priest who keeps our family in his prayers, and wondered how many hundreds of people he prays for on a daily basis. I remembered what I read about religious sisters who spend many hours a day in prayer, mostly for the benefit of others. I reflected on how my own list continues to grow in length, and occasionally some people "fall off" but more often than not they remain on.

Prayer, I suddenly realized, is like laundry. Just when you think you're almost at the end, there's another pile needing doing.

Friday, May 28, 2010

When Lightening Strikes

I'm writing this late at night when I really should be in bed, but I'll give it a shot.

I often get my news via CBC, either on the radio or online. After an annoying week in weather (you know, where our prairie spring somehow got replaced by hurricane season), I woke this morning to read that a beautiful, old church in the Capital City's core was hit by lightening, and one of the spires collapsed overnight.

Generally, I like to read the comments left online by various readers (and have been known to make a comment or two of my own), but it was with wry amusement that several commentators noted: "God must have been aiming for a Catholic Church, but missed."

After the fifth or sixth time I read that same comment from a different poster, I grunted. Enough, I thought, I get it. Don't make me admit that I agree with you!

Maybe us, as a Catholic collective, do deserve to be smoted by God for the things that have happened in recent decades. Things that have only really come to light in recent years. You know "the things" I'm talking about: Abuse scandals. Cover-ups. Lies. As an ever-faithful Catholic, I find it very difficult to reconcile what I believe the Church is and should be with what appears to have actually happened. That we allowed to happen.

Most priests out there are good ones. A few are not. And it really is truly only a few among the tens or hundred thousand or so priests in the world today. I hate hate hate hate hate that those few have cast so much doubt and judgment on the rest. I hate that I find myself questioning whether or not I can trust a priest. A bishop. The hierarchy.

I disagree with how this whole thing has been handled. I just want the Church to admit that it was wrong, it screwed up, pay the price so that everyone can move on. Instead we get this pussy-foot dancing happening. I believe in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but there are times where one must accept a temporal punishment for their sins are part of the penance.

To do anything less would be.... unchristian.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Puppet Gods





We did the "divide and conquer" thing again on Sunday: we got up late, I really wanted to go to 9 a.m. Mass,  and there was no way we'd all be ready in time. Besides, the kids were cranky and I didn't want to sit through the extra-long Palm Sunday Mass with them. So I went to 9 a.m., and Michael walks out the door as I walk in to make the 10:30 (generally calling questions and instructions to each other while one walks down the driveway).

 As we head into Holy Week, and coming up to the Triduum (my very favourite time of year), often the homilies are about the Death of Christ and the Redemption of Sin, for obvious reasons. Sunday's homily was no exception. 

Father talked about the Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem, but how they turned on Him demanding His crucifixion only a few days later. What changed? I've heard this explanation before, that they were expecting their Messiah to deliver them from their enemies, the Romans. When it became clear that it was not the case, well... I'm sure you know how this story ends. 

But something Father said has stuck with me, and I admit has troubled me. He said that people often treat God like their own personal puppet God (his words, not mine), expecting them to deliver them from their problems. In fact, Christ came to deliver us from our sin.






At first, I nodded my head. It made sense. I mean, I understood it with my brain. We can't rely on God to fix our own  personal problems: He has equipped us to do that more or less ourselves. I have know people over the course of my life that have sat back and expected God to fix their lives, and then blamed Him when nothing happened.


And I mean, there is nothing saying we can't pray for wisdom as to how to solve our problems, on making the right choices, or praying that we receive a little divine testicular fortitude courage to do the right thing.


Absolutely. I wholly agree with this homily. God doesn't fix our problems, He fixed our sin.  Case closed.


But then my heart whispered: What about your children? 


And so I said to my heart: What was that? Speak up, please.


And then my heart reminded me of all the times I spent on my knees, praying for Abby to be healed. Knowing that it probably wouldn't happen, but also believing that miracles can and do happen. I remembered my anguished cry when I started bleeding in my first trimester with Rachael: "Please God, let me at least meet my child." How many breathless prayers have I whispered for my children, my spouse, my parents, my friends and my community?


Sometimes God does fix our problems. We usually call them miracles. Pretty sure that's the definition of a miracle. Or at least, we'll call it Divine Intervention and consider the matter settled.  Either way, I don't expect Him to just... poof... fix something, especially if it's a mess I have skillfully created myself.  But I don't think that asking Him to fix my "problem" is in itself... well, a problem.


Is it?

Monday, February 22, 2010

For Sale... ?

Yesterday, I walked through a big mall in Capital City (the city where I grew up) for the first time in forever. I had the girls with me, we were just killing time waiting for Daddy.

Now, maybe I'm just getting sheltered living in a small, comparatively conservative city these days. I have walked though the mall at home fairly recently, and don't remember being overwhelmingly shocked.

I was quite shocked walking through this particular mall. Some of the store fronts have very nice displays... one in particular had a nice assortment of bath and beauty products.

Most clothing stores, however, were horrifying. They were equally appalling for children, teens and adults. They screamed the same message, over and over.

"I am for sale"
... as in, "My body is for sale".

I've noticed that it's getting harder and harder to buy clothing, even young children's clothing, that's modest. And by "modest", I mean no cleavage, no belly buttons, no bum cleavage, and something that hangs slightly from the body instead of being skin-tight. Not unreasonable, I would think?

But it's hard. I don't think anyone needs to see my three-year-old's "cleavage". Try buying a dress larger than a 3x that doesn't have a plunging neckline, spaghetti straps, or a tightly-fitted bodice. No small task, I tell you!

Lingerie for eight-year-olds? Why? We encourage our children to dress like they're going clubbing when they're in grades 1 and 2, and then we're shocked and surprised when they are sexually active at 14 or 15.

I often buy used and second-hand clothes for my kids, and gladly take hand-me-downs for the sake of economy. However, I find that I am increasingly purposely buying older-style clothing for my children because I have difficulty finding appropriate attire for them in the "new" clothing section.

I have been giving a lot of thought about modesty lately. What does that mean? I know several people... evangelical protestants, mostly... who only wear below-the-knee skirts because they feel that they are compelled to do so by the Bible (they generally site Deutoronomy and 1 Timothy). They have a two-fold concern: firstly, that women should dress differently from men. They feel that this means that women must wear skirts, always and never pants. I see many flaws with this argument, none of which I feel like I want to get into right now.

Secondly, and this one interests me, is that they feel that it's more modest for a woman to wear a long skirt. Certainly, there are immodest skirts out there... I saw several in that mall. But the idea of what constitutes modesty intrigues me. It's so... counter-cultural. We are not taught to be modest anymore. Do we even know what that means?

Do I know what that means?

More on this later.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Begining

If you're reading this, maybe you've been to my other blog, All Our Needs Are Special. I created this blog, A Prairie Catholic, because I find my musing increasingly revolve around my faith. I wanted a place where I can examine them.

And so it begins.