Category Archives: religion

On a Personal Note

tumblr_msmojqYPa41rly3kto1_500This year I turned 56.  Sometimes it seems young and other times it seems old.  Mostly it feels in between.  My hair is gray by my own wishes.  I won’t color it again.  I wear almost no make up.  I rarely wear a bra.  I know, TMI.  I have a bunch of saggy parts and I’ve lost a lot of body strength, although that could be regained through exercise. I wear what I want, when I want.  Sometimes I sleep naked, and I no longer worry about my husband seeing all the saggy bits. After all, he has a few, too.

I express my opinion more and more, with far less concern about how other people feel about it.  I hope I don’t offend people, but if I do, so be it.  I feel clearer than I’ve ever felt before, and I have less tolerance for bullshit.  I feel like there’s not enough time for crap.  Don’t believe in climate change?  How do you feel about gravity?  Because it’s not a belief kind of thing.  Don’t like gays?  Then we should probably not be friends, because if you write off a whole group of people because you don’t agree with how they live their lives, then I’ll be applying that logic to you, personally.  Don’t like people who don’t believe in your God?  Also should probably part ways, since your religion is your business and mine – or rather my lack of belief – is mine.  I’m pretty sure you’ll get what’s coming to you when you die whether I believe or not.

I know I’m being deliberately confrontational here, and that’s fine.  Because that’s who I’m becoming.  For the first time in my life I am starting to feel strong.  I’m even beginning to see my tendency to cry when angry as a strength, and not the weakness I’ve been taught that it is.  I feel that my point of view is at least as important as anyone else’s, and possibly more important than some – those who take for truth everything they’re told by the biased media, and refuse to find out for themselves what it’s all about.  If that’s you, then maybe we can’t be friends anymore, either.

I’ve spent the past 50 years of my life keeping my own council, staying in the background, and putting everything and everyone before myself.  I have valuable opinions, informed opinions, and often controversial opinions, and now I’m going to be expressing them more.

I’ve stopped expecting people to know what I want and started telling them.  If I need something to be a certain way, its my responsibility to either make it so, or let people know that’s the way I want it.  The kitchen rug needs to be vacuumed?  I used to wait until someone else noticed and did it.  Now I do it myself, or ask someone to do it.  I actually may just get rid of the damn rug and eliminate the problem altogether.  The same with all the crap that needs to be dusted.

All of this is to say that I’m moving to a new stage in life.  I’m crossing a bridge, so to speak.  I’m moving from the me that is all things to all people, to the me that is just…me.  I’m working towards liking those parts of me I agree with, and letting go of the parts I’m not ok with.  I’m acknowledging that if I don’t do something, it’s ok, but the consequences are mine to own.  Slept all day and didn’t do laundry?  Ok, but that might mean the next day is spent doing whatever I blew off to sleep.  I’m’ owning my decisions.

Part of crossing this bridge is acknowledging that I am no longer young.  Not really old, either, but definitely not young.  The world looks at me and sees my gray hair, my well padded body, and my laugh lines and dismisses me as being less vital.  That part is not ok, but I can’t change our society.  I’m actually more vital than I’ve ever been, in my opinion.  I feel more alive than I have at any point in my life.  I could say I just FEEL more than ever before in my life.  In a good way.

In celebration of this change that has been taking place ever so slowly over the past 10 years, I am participating in a croning ceremony at the Pagan Spirit Gathering this year over the Summer Solstice.  A croning ceremony marks the final stage in a woman’s life – something that in ancient times was common, and among more “primitive” cultures still exists.  There are pagan, Jewish and many other croning rituals.  For me, at PSG, the week will be spent preparing with meditation, a sweat lodge, challenges, and other activities, culminating in the ritual at the end of the week.  I’m also selecting a new name, to embrace the “new” me – Macha.  She is part of a triple goddess, the Morrigan, representing war, fertility, earth, and protection.  I feel that this gives a true representation of my self, as I see me.

I only wish that certain people could be there with me – my sisters Laura and Vicki, and my closest and best friends: Cheryl, Susan, Tina, and Teryn (who I haven’t seen in 22 years but is often in my heart), and my daughters and granddaughters: Kaitee, Susanne, Brooklyn, Callie, Charlotte, and Harley, and my daughters-of-the-heart: Meghan, Ashley, and Jenna.  These are the women in my life to whom I hope I am a blessing, and who are a blessing to me.  I hope by embracing this new phase of my life, I can show them not only who I am becoming, but also what great changes await them in the fullness of their lives.



Creationist Vocab Lesson

Last night I went to a lecture at Purdue with my oldest and youngest sons.  That in itself is a rarity – having two of my children in the same place at the same time.  However, getting them both to an esoteric lecture was even more of a rarity.  The lecture was good, although a bit over the head of the Moo.  The eldest enjoyed it though, as did I.

The speaker was PZ Meyers, Evolutionary Biologist, atheist, and blogger.  His talk was about his experiences with creationists and how insubstantial their arguments are.  He used a vocabulary lesson as the springboard for presenting his arguments and their’s, as well as the research to back up his opinions.  I found the discussion to be very educational and surprising at the same time.  Many questions were raised, and he answered many of them, but some remain.  My questions are still present, but rather unformed.

He spoke very briefly about the need to educate kids in evolution, but my mind immediately went to the problem I have historically had with public school.  While the schools are supposed to present a non-religious point of view, and are not to preach any religion, the truth is that most schools fail miserably at this.  While there are no blatantly christian classes, the undertone to almost everything is, in fact, christian.  Winter programs have Christmas carols, Easter is a big thing in the primary grades.  Trying to find a Cub Scout or Brownie troup that isn’t overtly christian is virtually impossible in this state, or in any other state I’ve lived in.  PZ’s answer to this – teach them math.  He pointed out that students who have good math skills are more likely to be critical thinkers.

I don’t think this is particularly helpful in practice.  The foundation for kids is laid in the early grades.  There isn’t another real chance for making a real impact on them until they’re in college, and for most kids, they are too entrenched in religious ideas to really think critically about evolution vs. creationism.  In fact, even adults who do engage in daily critical thinking (I know many who are in IT, where critical thinking is…well…critical) fail to understand, or even attempt to rationalize away the science.  I’ve had more than one person tell me that carbon dating is completely fallable, and can’t be relied upon.  I’ve been informed that the behemoth referred to in the Bible is a dinosaur, thereby proving that humans and dinosaurs co-existed.

And someone at the lecture asked me why I homeschool.

I have to rant..

Just a little bit.  Then I’ll shut up again.  I am really irritated with all things “Christian” right now.  Apparently, unless you’re a “Christian” homeschool parent, or a “Christian” parent, or a “Christian” whatever, you are doing things hopelessly wrong.  Honestly, it’s like a badge of honor they wear.  “Why yes, I AM a CHRISTIAN parent.  How did you know?  Was it my “I’m saved and you’re not” attitude?”

We are parents of the non-Christian variety, and there are a lot of us.  But before I go into that, there’s also the question of who is a Christian.  Apparently, non-Catholic Christians don’t consider Catholics to be Christian.  Why?  I have no idea.  It’s an ongoing discussion between me and a friend about what a “Christian” is.  I say it is someone who believes that Jesus is the son of G-d.  He says there’s more to it than that.  Having been raised Catholic, I had always considered myself Christian – aka not Protestant – until I converted to Judaism.   Going by his definition, Christians barely account for half of the people in the US but they are the most vocal group.  If the civil rights leaders had been as successful in their political rhetoric as the Christians are, we would have had a black president in 1950.  Christians, of the non-Catholic type, account for 52.2% of reported religious believers in the US.  Catholics make up 24.5% of the population, with 14% reporting no religious beliefs.  That leaves the rest of us.

We’re not bad parents.  Or members of society.  Or drivers.  Or students.  Or Teachers.  Believing that some dude let them nail him to a tree and refused to stay dead does not make one a better anything.  Treating people with respect, being kind, doing the right thing…that’s what makes a better person.  Doing it because someone tells you to – in this case Jesus – only makes a person obedient, not better.  Doing it because it’s the right thing to do makes a person better.

I belong to several homeschool groups.  I belong to unschooling groups, secular homeschool groups, Jewish homeschool groups, and Pagan homeschool groups.  And, guess what?  They all want the same things.  They want happy, literate children who grow up to be contributing members of society who think for themselves and are responsible individuals.

Really, what else is there?