Present Tense

To Rant or to Meditate, That is the Question……

I’ve always been a bit self-righteous.  Even as a kid, I had a strong sense of fair-play and a highly-tuned BS meter that I had no problem using, even on my teachers, which didn’t sit well with them and resulted in plenty of very poor citizenship scores on my report card.   That’s where the “self-righteous” part comes in; I’m pretty sure that I’m right, about most everything, nearly all of the time.

I find myself in a place of utter disenchantment with so much of our culture: crappy, soul-sucking reality TV shows, lying, selfish politicians, hypocritical religious leaders, manipulative media talking heads.  I’m sure you have a few more things to add to the list.  Here’s my dilemma: do I ignore it all, go inside myself to find peace and focus, or do I raise, hell; give voice to my feelings of being totally stepped on and kicked around by those in power, who say they want what’s best for us, but clearly do not.

I should say that I’ve never put much of my faith in the political class.  In fact, I have rather libertarian political views, in that I think the less they get involved in our day to day lives, the better.  So, I shouldn’t be disenchanted or disappointed in the reality that has smacked me in the face:  they don’t give a rat’s ass about us.  Oh, I voted; I held my nose and I’m hoping and praying that the folks I voted for will be able to ratchet back the giddy over-spending that has been the norm for the past few years.  A girl can dream, but I have low expectations that they’ll just leave us alone and stay out of our pocketbooks and our moral decisions.  Yeah, fat chance, right?

Here’s my struggle:  how to balance my innate compulsion to rail against what I see as injustice, wrongs, incompetence and just plain stupidity in our culture, with my need to find inner peace and to let go of trying to control what I cannot.  I see how a lot of you do it; you unplug, you disentangle, you drink wine and watch “The Idiotic and Dysfunctional Housewives of New York/New Jersey/Des Moines”.  Maybe that’s a decent plan because I don’t see you ranting on a blog on a beautiful Sunday morning.

There has to be a middle way to express myself, without being overcome and eaten alive by anger.  Jesus and Buddha both preached taking care of your own sins/shortcomings/imperfections and in doing so, you lead by example.  I get it, but it seems as if whoever shouts and screams and “demands” the loudest, commands attention and in turn, takes control of the national discussion.  So, human nature dictates that those of us who feel as if we’re not being heard,  yell louder, get nastier, attack the ‘other side’ as evil and destructive.  A vicious circle.

So, what to do?  I’ve given up the self-medicating that allowed me some oblivious time away from my anger and discomfort with modern life.  I have dabbled in meditation and spirituality and found both to be very calming and comforting, but then I make the fatal error of turning on the news or surfing the ‘net and I’m all fired up again. I guess I’m not any different from you.  We eat too much, we drink too much, we consume too much lousy media, we let it all wash over us and figure that it’s really easier and healthier to just stay out of the fray.

Here is what I’ll ask of you and it’s nothing less than I ask of myself:  carve out 20 minutes of your day to think about what you feel strongly about and then act.  It can be as simple as using your Facebook status to express a viewpoint on something of consequence.  I think that a lot of things are happening in our country because a lot of us are tuning out all of the nonsense because it’s just too painful and draining to care too much.  Take a stand, just this once.  You’ll feel better.

October 17, 2010 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Is that really what God meant?

I’ve been in a crabby mood lately and a lot of it comes from my over-consumption of media and social networks; too much crazy-ass stuff is out there.  My therapist would tell me that I need to react differently; quit with the whole trying to control other people.  She’s right, as usual, but that’s what I pay her for.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past year, exploring religion and spirituality.  I’ve been reading and contemplating and trying to understand how God might fit into my life.  I’m still struggling mightily with what will work for me, in terms of melding beliefs with values, opinions and my own truths.  That’s where I’ve hit a roadblock that’s really been bothering me.

My main struggle is with Christianity, since it’s by far the predominate religious practice in our country.  Most Americans identify themselves with a Christian God and surveys indicate that about 80 percent of us say we believe in God.  I don’t count myself among that 80 percent; while I am coming around to the idea of God/Creator, I don’t identify myself as a Christian.  In fact, I am teetering on the brink of flat out rejecting much of modern American Christianity.  From what I’ve seen and read, Christianity seems in the midst not of re-birth, but of stagnation and regression.

I’m disturbed by the attitude toward  gays, in the name of religion. Gay people are just as much God’s children as any of us.  To be segregated from your civil rights based solely on your sexual orientation and certain religious beliefs, is shameful.  It’s puzzling to me how such cruelty can be inflicted in the name of a loving and forgiving God.  In fact, it makes me so angry, that I’ve found myself saying and thinking things about my Christian friends that I’m ashamed of.  I am beginning to bubble with the type of intolerance and judgement that I’m so disgusted with.  The institutional  religious persecution and rejection of gays in our culture is backward and ignorant.

Here’s another thing that got under my skin.  The praising of God for the rescue of the Chilean miners.  Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it seems as if fervent religious belief shoves aside the amazing capacity of man to invent, innovate, problem-solve and act.  MEN rescued those miners.  I have no doubt that faith did come into play, as they waited underground for that rescue, but their salvation was not an act of God, it was an act of man, science and engineering.  The earth didn’t open up and create a huge stairway for them to walk out of the mine.    It’s unsettling to think that we are so quick to dismiss our intellect and capacity as humans in favor of something mystical.

Near our home in Fraser, Colorado, we had a fairly serious wildfire a couple of weeks ago that had the potential to cause a lot of damage.  It was close to our home and we were warned that we might have to evacuate.  Fortunately, the winds were light, there were extra fire crews in the area and it was contained before it turned into a major disaster.  The crews were very well-trained and worked with military precision.  Today, I’m reading the letters to the editor in our local newspaper and there was a rather long letter decrying the lack of thank yous to the one entity that  saved us all from this disaster:  God.

Now, if I were to follow this person’s logic, isn’t it equally possible that God started the fire?  All I know is that I sat at the end of the cul de sac, watching huge tanker aircraft dropping tons of fire retardant for hours and hours.  I saw spotter planes and helicopters dipping and dropping huge buckets of water on the blaze.  Hundreds of hotshots were on the ground building fire containment lines.  Those are the ones that all of us wanted to hug and to thank.  Perhaps the letter writer’s prayers helped them along; I really have no idea, but I was bothered by the condescending tone heaped on all of us heathens for not publicly thanking God for sparing us.

Maybe I’m over-thinking; being closed-minded.  Could be.  I am in therapy and reading a lot of books trying to explain the meaning of life, so I guess I haven’t quite grasped it all yet.  Here’s the bottom line with religion for me:  it seems to endorse rejecting modern life.  Science, technology and innovation seem to be cause for suspicion and fear.  Mysticism and superstition seem more powerful to some and it scares me.  Religion makes it okay to call homosexuals perverts and deny them access to rights that should be guaranteed thanks to the freedom and liberty promised us as Americans.  God gave us brains, free will, and science to use for our betterment.  He also made some of us a little different; I think maybe that’s a test from God to see how we’d handle people who don’t fit our ideal. Right about now, it would appear that we are getting a D.

October 15, 2010 Posted by | Musings | , , | 29 Comments


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