Category Archives: spirituality

YOU KILLED JESUS!!!!???? Say WHAT?

 

youkilledjesus

Deck the halls with boughs of holly, falalalala la la la la

Tis the season to be a radical bigoted hate filled idiot. falalalala la la la la

I do not understand why this unreasonable hatred still rears its despicable head, especially when this is the season when we are supposedly spreading good will to all. I don’t think that action is to be restricted to just Christians. Isn’t it supposed to be to ALL?

Last weekend in Miami Beach, Florida a publicly constructed menorah and dreidel were erected to commemorate the upcoming holiday of Chanukah which starts this Saturday, December 8  and lasts for one week. The menorah, which has been vandalized on previous occasions, was once again desecrated. In front of the display the words “You killed Jesus” were written on the concrete in big black letters.

Whoever felt compelled to do this deed obviously has not done much study of the governmental structure in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus. Jesus, a Jew himself, was crucified as was the custom of the Roman authority, not stoned according to Jewish law. Yet, you don’t see desecration  of cathedrals where the majority of the communicants are Italian. Evidently, the Italians have been forgiven for their historic part in this event, perhaps because the country became Christianized  under the emperor Constantine three hundred years after the time of Christ.

The roles of the Jews in this action are still being debated. Even the Mother Church has stated an opinion:

The official position of the Catholic Church on this matter was clearly stated in Vatican II’s Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions (1965): “Even though the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ (cf. Jn 19:16), neither all Jews indiscrimately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his passion” (#4).

This news was published in 1965! I guess news doesn’t travel very fast these days when it’s as important as this is. The Jews have been pardoned in the case of the death of Jesus, especially Jews living today, 2000 years later.

Yet there are those who insist on unreasonable hatred of an entire religious group because of what they believe, without any study, happened to THEIR Jesus. Is there any other group of people in the entire world that has held on to such vile beliefs about another group for 2000 years?

The Jesus that I know came to show us the way to a better life. He told us to love one another, to have compassion, to seek the God who is within us all. He told us we could do everything that he did and do it better if we only believed. He told us to share. He told us to have faith and live lives simply without greed, envy, jealousy, and HATE. Some people just aren’t getting that message.

“You killed Jesus” makes no sense. I wouldn’t want to be blamed for something my grandfather did a hundred years ago let alone any relative who lived twenty centuries ago.

Time has come for all people of faith to have an opportunity to express that faith openly without fear. So many are fighting to keep Christ in Christmas. Isn’t it time to keep Christ within us? This country is supposed to be a country of religious freedom for all. It’s about time we started acting that way.

Namaste. Attic Annie

miamibeachmenorah

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Jesus and the Season

Jesus Christmas

I wonder if the people who claim this thought are ones who never let their children talk to Santa Claus, put up lights, or decorate trees. The Puritans tried to abolish “Christmas” centuries ago. It didn’t work then and it looks like it won’t be any time soon that it will work now.

Even the Pope is saying Jesus was not born on December 25.

The observation of the Winter Solstice precedes the celebration of the Birth by centuries. Most people are aware of the Yuletide Pagan roots of the celebration which have been incorporated into the life of the church.

My memory of childhood in my church contains both celebration of the birth of Jesus and celebrations of the secular side of the month. Among my first recollections of early church life is being dressed in pajamas along with two or three other kids and racing onto the platform to get to Christmas Stockings. I remember hearing laughter…something that happened with such scarcity that it was worthy of a memory. It must have been before Kindergarten since I remember the joy of doing this and believing in Santa. It was in Kindergarten on the playground that the first graders mocked us for being babies because we still believed.

I have no problem with celebrating the birth of Jesus. I’ve gone to Christmas Eve services for years. While I have shied away from identifying myself as a card carrying Christian for the past many years, I do firmly believe in following the teachings of the Christ and celebrating the time He spent on Earth. When asked, I would frequently say, “I believe I am spiritual but I’m not religious.”

I do have problem with those who criticize others for incorporating centuries of tradition into their celebrations or refuse to accept that there are people other than Christians who have their own celebrations during this month.

I sometimes question myself about my growing intolerance of what I perceive that American Christians have become. I know it means there is something I must hold within my own thoughts that I can’t accept about myself. I’m working on it. I see people who are leading increasingly more compulsive lives based on what they are being “taught” by their leaders. I see lack of acceptance of the beliefs of others growing by the year. Everything I believe about what being a Christian means is being questioned and set aside by those who are using Christianity as a prop for their own agendas. Just looking at the mega churches with their mega contributions going into the mega salaries of their leaders should be enough of an eyeopener to see that there are perhaps more ulterior motives behind their behaviors. Telling people that Jesus is the ONLY reason for the season eliminates the joy felt by millions of others sharing this space and time.

More peace and understanding is achieved when we open ourselves to the celebrations of others than when we insist on the exclusivity of a few days in December. Joy and good tidings are spread when we share, not when we try to usurp a few days for only ourselves. Namaste. Attic Annie

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The Reunion of Shirley and Jennie

Whenever I see videos like this one I am so moved by the idea that all creatures are capable of love. How could any scientist or animal behaviorist prove else wise? I’ve seen it in dogs staying with owners who are injured or other dogs, ducks who  remain with mates, cats who adopt baby bunnies…You Tube is filled with such videos. How can we be so blind as human beings not to notice relationships around us because “only humans have spirits”?

Shirley and Jennie were truly fortunate to find each other. It is the story of a friendship that never died. Their undying love for one another is obvious. It is a very moving story.

Shirley’s handler must have had a feeling of pride beyond anything I will probably ever feel when he said, “I don’t know who the first one was to put chains on Shirley but I am the last one to take them off.” What a blessing to know you helped free another sentient  being.

I am jealous that I feel that I have never had a friendship as close as this one. Such friendships are truly rare and a blessing. Perhaps there is still time to be able to feel such joy. I can only hope. Namaste Attic Annie

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We Make the Angel Tree Project Successful!

I have participated in our church’s Angel Tree Project for the past five years. I’ve gone from buying presents for my particular angel to wrapping presents to working at the table where the parents hand us their numbers so we can bring out their gifts.

Over the years, the situation has become ever more streamlined. The parents were in and out in five minutes or less yesterday. A waiting area is set up with coffee and cookies if a whole bunch come at the same time. Everything is run like a machine. One family comes into our room at a time. The parent hands us the number they receive at the first table, we double check at our table (my job), we call out the number and “runners” walk behind the screen to where the packages are all bagged and numbered in order. They bring the presents out from behind the screen, the parents pick them up and go out the back door.  1 – 2 -3.

It is all over in three hours. Any clients who are unable to come to the church on Saturday can pick up their presents at the agency with whom the church partners for this project. It is one church and one agency. It is manageable and much more personable.

Some of the parents have to bring their children because there is no one to care for them. The younger children don’t really understand what is going on. The older children get a sneak preview of what “Santa” will be bringing a week from now. There’s no way that bicycles can be hidden. The smiles are from ear to ear.

More than one parent broke down crying when they received the presents. These are people who have no way of buying anything for their children. Someone in the family, father or mother, and sometimes father and mother, are chronically and in many cases, seriously, ill. They are in survival mode. There’s no money for extras. One young woman hugged each one of us to show her gratitude. She was so relieved her child would have something under the tree.

Our team leader makes certain that every child has something. Every year all the angels have been taken from the tree. This year there were ten left hanging. I started last year to donate money instead of taking one angel to insure that everyone gets what they wished for. Several others have taken to doing the same thing. The leader and the co-chair see to it that they personally shop for all those who were not chosen. If all angels are chosen, she shops for those who don’t get much to give them a little more. She is determined this project will be a success for all the children.

It was not a surprise that there were angels left on the tree. Our church has been experiencing a loss of members. Couple that with the economic situation, not every member of the congregation can afford to participate as in years past.

Our leader tells us there are families in our congregation that for them, this is their Christmas. Instead of exchanging presents among the family members, they contribute to the children in this program. Now THAT is the Christmas Spirit.

The children who accompany their parents never complain about the size of the bundle for them. There’s no whining, no temper tantrums, no, “Is that ALL”?  My Christmas is very small now that I do not live anywhere near relatives and my son is half a world away. In many ways, the three hours at church on a Saturday morning being a part of such a team IS my Christmas. I leave at the end feeling a warmth that I consider my true present. Namaste. Attic Annie

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I Do Not Handle Change

I do not handle change well. I eventually get used to it and adapt to it but that does not mean I react to it well at all.

I do a poor job of analyzing why I prefer to be “set in my ways” even if my “ways” are not serving me well at all. My early childhood, for example, was one of constant change. My mother’s sister lived right next door to us. As an infant, my aunt took me in while my mother had surgery and recovered. Those days I should have been given a chance to bond with my mother were not afforded to me. About the time that I became accustomed to living with my aunt (I have no idea how long) my mother recovered enough to take me home again. This lasted from what I understand about  eighteen months, give or take, when it was discovered that her cancer had spread to her bones. I became too much to handle so back I went to my aunt’s home where I remained until my mother died two months before my fourth birthday.

My father brought me home and there were a series of temporary housekeepers until his sister came to live with us when I was five. She was in the home for less than a year when she also had an operation and spent an extended amount of time at another sister’s home during her recovery. About the same time a full time housekeeper/child sitter was found who arrived around eight in the morning and left around seven at night. She lasted for about ten years so at least she was a constant but she had the warmth of a robot. She was just there.

When I was six and in first grade, another of my mother’s sisters had a stroke and died. She had tried to get my father to allow her to adopt me. I’m thankful she didn’t. I saw her every morning at school that first year when she combed my hair and tied my bows. These are things the housekeeper didn’t seem to think were necessary to do for me. Then my aunt was gone.

There were several other significant people in my life along the way who just disappeared including several male friends, a fiance, and a husband. Add to that the deaths of aunts and uncles and the divorce of the aunt and uncle who lived next door. In college there were three different schools and a change in majors before I finally graduated, along with the death of my father when I was twenty one.

Details of that part of my life are not necessary to share at this point other than to point out there was a pattern of losses to my life. My son is still a part of my life but being separated by half the world does not make the relationship an easy one to maintain. If I didn’t try to stay a part of his life, it would be easy for that relationship to end as well.

That being said, there is another separation occurring in my life. Almost seven years ago I found a church home unlike any other I had found. There were many opportunities to join classes and groups and really get to know the other members. There were social opportunities. It was a place where I felt I belonged. I echoed the same thoughts of many others.

Other churches i attended were a show up on Sunday morning type of congregation. If I was lucky, I learned the name of two or three other people who went there. That was not the case with this one.To repeat,  I felt like I was home. There was a warmth and acceptance that was lacking in my life that was being filled after too many years to count.

Since I am not a political type person, I was unaware that a rift was developing. There was major dissension occurring. A large percentage of the congregation was unhappy. The most visible ones were in the choir. Today was the last Christmas concert. Those who had not already left had stuck it out to perform. It was the final performance for many of them but no one is talking about who is remaining and who is moving on. I asked one member and she said, “I guess we’ll find out on the eighteenth to see who shows up to sing.” She, like all the others, is not committing. The choir director resigned as of this last performance and many are going with her. No one is talking about if the pianist is leaving as well or not. A few months ago the board resigned en masse and a new board was elected. It is not a pleasant situation.

I tend to draw into my shell when I am faced with a loss. I have been invited to go with those that are forming a new fellowship. I would feel invited if I did, but it seems about half of those I know are remaining and are trying to rebuild. I freeze in situations like this. In ways i want to just get things over with and see how many are still around after January 1 and how many are gone. In other ways, I don’t want to open my eyes and face the reality.

The concert today was outstanding. I am praying that other voices will be found to rebuild the choir. I loved to sing as a child but years of strep throats and allergies have long ago left me with a range of maybe five notes and even those are scratchy. I have to remain in the pews. I am just hoping there will be enough of us remaining to rebuild. I  understand that change occurs and growth occurs and death occurs. I just wish I didn’t have to be a part of it. Namaste. Attic Annie

 

 

 

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Saturday: Study, Facebook, Country Music and Willie Nelson

This day has been lazy but productive. I decided to review the first three sessions of the class I am taking on “The Christ in the Bible” and prepare for the fourth. We are not using the book shown above but the title was close. I will readily admit that I have very little background for such a course involving metaphysics and I have more or less been in a fog of non-understanding. Since starting the course I have purchased a couple of reference books which I tackled with zeal today. It was with amazement that I realized that some of the material was actually sinking into my slowly mummifying brain. I know I have a much better understanding of the material we are going to cover tomorrow. Too bad it’s only a five week course.

I am a Facebook addict. I spend much too much time sharing links with others whom I have friended. I  was really disturbed when I read today that come next March, Zuch is closing down FB. However, I also found a site that says it’s a hoax. I have reconnected with so many friends I am really sad at the thought that this might actually happen, which it may or may not do.  It’s strange how a single question or a brief hello means so much. It’s the primary way I communicate one sentence at a time with my son. It’s how I saw my Grandbaby’s first picture…all seven centimeters of the tiny body which has to wait six more months to make the grand entrance.

I also spend way too much time playing the computer games. The only one I really compete with my friends is Bejeweled Blitz. I don’t use any extra game aids or the Phoenix unless one of my friends passes my score. Then I pull out the guns and rev up the mouse to see if I can crawl to the top of the chart again. Some weeks I stay up there, others I just don’t seem to make it after my score is passed. As of this time, I’m back on top probably only for a few hours.

A few weeks ago we discussed The Tao of Willie in my Sunday class. I thought it sounded intriguing so I ordered on Amazon. I wonder if Willie Nelson is aware that his book is selling for $0.01 with $3.99 shipping charges. Somebody must really want to get rid of a bunch of books. The price inside the cover says the price is $20.00. I haven’t read all of it, but what I have read today has been good. If it stays as good I might even write a letter to Willie to tell him how much I appreciated it. I’ve never thanked an author before. There’s always a first.

Over the past few years I’ve been introduced to a lot of books on life among which is The Tao Te Ching. It’s one of those books you can read in one half hour and study for a life time. Willie’s book is his take on the Tao. I’m learning that it’s OK to learn what other sages have tried to show us through the ages. We are here to learn, so we might as well open ourselves up to as much knowledge as possible. My thirst for help in finding my way is as powerful as staying out in the sun too long without water on a hot Texas summer day. There is a definite need stirring within me. I regret it took me so long to start my search to quench my thirst.

Since I was reading Willie Nelson I decided to listen to country music. I don’t usually listen very long to that station but many of the songs are Christmas songs and its bringing back memories of a year and a half of my life when I loved a young man who loved country music. We had two very interesting Christmas times together, but that’s another blog. Namaste Attic Annie

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I am not a Christian

I am going to have my roof replaced starting Wednesday due to hail damage. For whatever reason, I have found talking with the sales rep for the roofing company to be a very enjoyable experience. How I ever thought I could or even should start talking to him about my religious beliefs totally astounds me. He was a complete stranger until last week and I have only seen him a total of three or four times. But I have been close to his last call of the day and he is beginning to unwind so he takes a little more time just to chat.

A couple of days ago he was here to measure my roof line. When he finished that, I just started chatting with him on non-business related topics like we had briefly done a couple of other times. Part of me says he’s just being a good salesman but another part says he just likes to talk. He and his wife parted ways in December and I think he gets a little lonely.

Anyway, how it came about I’ll never know but I started talking with him about my church and my beliefs. I don’t usually even share those topics with life long friends.  It was crazy! I told him about growing up in a very conservative Lutheran church. When I was old enough, I learned I was a LUTHERAN. I referred to myself as a Lutheran and connected all of my religious beliefs with that name. We did not refer to ourselves as Christians. My close friend was CATHOLIC but my father didn’t forbid me totally from associating with her. It just wasn’t encouraged. She wasn’t referred to as a Christian either.

When I began dating my first fiance, I went with him to his church and became a Disciple of Christ. I married in that church. (Not to him) I was a Disciple. We moved to Connecticut for one year and back to Illinois for the next year and we were Congregationalists. After trying to find a fit in Texas, we settled in to attending the Cumberland-Presbyterian church. After the divorce I no longer felt welcome in the couples oriented small CP church so I tried the Methodists. The large church downtown had a huge singles group so I tried that. I immediately sensed I was in a meat market. There were too many women dominating the activities who were prime rib or T bone for me to be comfortable. I have felt my entire life that I’m more the equivalent of hamburger…still hot and juicy but not prime category.

I decided to go to the Methodist church close to my home. I attended church there but was not involved in any activities. After almost two years, I decided to join the Bible study group before church. I was at the same time dating a guy named Jim. The class was made up of people my age and I was welcomed since I brought Jim with me to the activities. It only took a little while for me to realize this was a COUPLES Bible study. When Jim and I broke up, I sensed from the other women that I was no longer as welcomed, especially if I chatted with any of the other men, the HUSBANDS. I was there long enough for my son to be confirmed. Other political things were happening in the church with which I couldn’t agree, and, at the same time, I was getting more and more unwell so I soon stopped going to church altogether. I was no longer a Methodist.

I became unchurched for twenty years. It was during that time that I realized there was a definite change in the climate and many more people were calling themselves Christians as opposed to the names of the founders of the churches they attended.  There were now Christians everywhere. As I said earlier, when I talked about religion with people I would say I believed I was now very spiritual but did not consider myself religious.

Back to the present and my chat. This guy opened up about this theologian who lives not too far away who professes to anyone who will listen that he is a Christian and a SOUTHERN BAPTIST. I happen to know this gentleman although our paths have crossed only a few times. The roofer was sharing that this man USED him to meet with the insurance adjustor and for all the preliminary paper work and then the following day there was the sign of another roofer in his yard. That reminded me of the Christian contractor who did a miserable construction job in two of my rooms. I had hired him at that time because he was a Christian and I trusted him. I paid him before I discovered all the half-a&^ errors he made. He never did come back to correct the work.

It was then that I blurted out that I did not consider myself a Christian. He got a very startled look on his face. “I wouldn’t be able to say THAT,” he said. I explained that the older I got, the more dismayed I was with the people attending the churches I did and the protestors of several different causes who hold rallies in the name of Jesus to spew their hatred and condemnation. All of these people wear Tee shirts and wave banners, and bracelets and crosses and rings professing what good Christians they are.

My faith in the ONE GOD is as strong as it will ever be.That does not mean I do not believe in Christ. My faith in him has matured and gotten stronger in the past six years than at any other time in my life. I totally believe in following his teachings, but I have found myself feeling uncomfortable around the loudly proclaiming Christians whose actions I observe speak to me in volumes much louder than their words. I guess it would be the Christian thing to do to accept them and love them completely anyway. I’m still working on that.

My cousin was a devoted Joyce Meyer fan. I like to listen to Joyce occasionally as well. She really resonated with me when she said the following:

Sitting in church every Sunday does not make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes you a car

I really am a Christian. I am just not religious.  I just can’t call myself that if it means being like so many of the others who have come crawling out of the woodwork.  Namaste. Attic Annie

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