Friday, December 28, 2012

God-talk and other matters

I've written over and over here about my religious or spiritual beliefs, how I've largely discarded the Catholic faith of my childhood and delved more seriously and intently into Buddhism and the more mystical sides of Christianity. If you were to ask me what I believe and whether I believe in God, I might say very inadequately that I perceive God to be Love and that this Love infuses everything and everyone in the universe, that there is no end to this Love and that life is eternal, that we are all connected to one another and to all things animate and inanimate.

World without end, amen.

I have also mentioned here that god-talk makes me squirmy and that evangelism and fundamentalism -- any kind -- makes me nearly nauseous, and that when I begin to read it, I stop. When I hear it, I can quite effectively put on a bland face, shut down my mind and go elsewhere -- the poetry of Emily Dickinson, perhaps, or the lyrics of a Bob Dylan song. I recently became uncomfortable when I read a blog of someone who lives in Newtown who called for more God in schools, so uncomfortable that I removed the blog from my blogroll and decided that I couldn't read it anymore, couldn't stomach it, really. I don't know what the deep psychological underpinnings of this discomfort might be, but the older I get the more I yearn for light, for the lightness that comes with authenticity, and the older I get the more confident I feel in recognizing this authenticity. Sometimes reading and listening to god-talk is like drowning in a murky river, slick weed tendrils wrapped around you, errant branches scraping your flesh, the light above only occasionally piercing through.

A bit of that light pierced through today when I read a blog post of an 86-year old man, a retired minister and father of another friend of mine. The title of his blog is Singing the Hymns and I am grateful for this authentic blessing and so look forward to reading more of this man's thoughts and words.


  1. What a great link Elizabeth.Thank you for it. I too could not stomach the talk that if God was put back in schools perhaps the tragedy could have been avoided, as well as put God back, it will deter another horrific incident as Newtown.

    That and perhaps if the teachers were armed, that would have prevented it as well.


    I do attend a Catholic church as you well know. For now and not often as of late. And I like you, tend to lean more to the Buddhist/Christianity side, I just am struggling a bit on how to walk with the two. Maybe the new year will show me the way.

    Love to you my friend.

  2. Elizabeth, Thank you for this link and another voice of reason. Organized religion and I parted company a very long time ago, yet belief in being part of the greater whole grows stronger, constantly. After my initial burst of tears, I could not be witness to the self-serving, knee-jerk responses to the Connecticut tragedy. First, we grieve. Maybe later we find answers, maybe we don't. xo

  3. I keep thinking about the John Lennon song wherein he says, "God is a concept by which we measure our pain."

    The god talk makes me feel angry. Angry and slimy and hopeless because as long as we keep bringing god into the conversation, nothing real gets done.

    Ah. Sorry. Just me.

    Love you, girl. I do.

  4. God talk sounds to me like the noises grown-ups make in the Charlie Brown cartoons: mwa-mwa-muh-mwa-mwa.....

    Last week I shared a meal with four of my sisters, and because the right-wing Fundamentalist Christian sister was there, most every subject was taboo lest a shouting match would begin.

    We talked about — believe it or not — whether knitting should be taught in the public schools.



  5. Hey Elizabeth. This is thought-provoking -- thank you. My thoughts on evangelism are that it should involve how lives are lived, not as much as words. You know I am of Christian faith. But I also believe that if more people would just love people and be kind-hearted, there wouldn't be such an aversion, you know? Kind of like the Grady elders always tell me -- "Let your light shine, baby." No, that's not a scripture but it's definitely a good word.

    I love being able to be myself but still create a space that welcomes people who don't share my beliefs. That's cool with me. As long as we have love in common, it's okay. I think that's the whole point of everything anyway.

  6. Someday over cake we'll talk about my religious definitely requires cake to get through it. I like the link you've shared, what a special thing for him to leave his children.

    Also, in case you didn't subscribe, I replied to your question on Max's blog.

  7. Trying to live according to the Light - so much harder than plugging a prayer into the five minutes before class begins. If authenticity and integrity were subjects in public schools, I'd say yay!
    Interesting link - thanks for that too, Elizabeth.

  8. kindred spirits, eee, to the bone. oxxoxoxoox

  9. wow..I din't know you felt this way...isn't that funny how I never got that from reading your posts.... I must have missed a big chunk of your blog somewhere along the line. I am in total agreement with everything you say...Nauseous is a good word for the way I feel about it when I let myself think about it...god talk has become just another big business....and is seeping into every pore of our being. Sometimes I watch a politician on tv and I think to myself "If he just doesn't say god bless America at the end I would vote for him / her"...still waiting...

  10. I suppose part of the problem I have with god-talk is that the kind wise type just doesn't get much air time. It is like someone turned up the volume for the fundamentalist god-talk , don't you think? I'm looking forward to more musings from Harold Walker Jr.

  11. Such a refreshing perspective. Thank you for sharing it. Jill Filipovic shares a similar perspective. You can read it here:

  12. My feelings on god talk are similar to yours. I stopped using the word god a few years ago, because the meaning had been so corrupted for me by my childhood. I tend to say "the divine" or "divine creator" to myself, but use "god" with my children to simplify things.

  13. My condition is in the same condition your condition is in.

    Love. Love. Love.



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