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Lord Help Us

June 1, 2007

So, lately my fiery Latina wife has been talking about the tradition & beauty of Catholic services, even going so far as to attend a morning mass at her old school’s Church a few Sundays back.  As far as I can tell, she doesn’t really believe in the doctrines of the church, it’s more of a combination of nostalgia for her Catholic upbringing, a love of ritual & sacrament, and a strong desire to find inexpensive pre-school for the Little Baby Cupcake.  I mentioned to her that I believe the only reason religious day-care is inexpensive is because the churches are subsidizing the cost in exchange for the exclusive chance to gain a convert for life in the form of our impressionable (and let’s face it, easily duped) little 17 month old.  But she remains convinced there’s no agenda on the part of organized religion.*

The truth of the matter is, I think my wife may have caught a mild case of Jesus, and she’s not the only one.  Religion is a difficult enough issue for an individual to deal with on a personal level, all the more so for a couple, and exponentially more so when there is a child involved.  I’m deeply in favor of the trappings of Christianity (“do unto others” charitable works, etc), but I don’t particularly believe in the supernatural teachings behind them (miracles, heaven, the power of prayer, etc).  How will this impact the upbringing of the LBC?  Only time will tell. 

Until this matter is resolved, I will pray to Saint Fabiola (patron saint of divorces), for the strength to hold my tongue and the wisdom to avoid picking unecessary fights.

BTW, I’m really getting a lot of use out of this topically arranged list of Patron Saints.

*NOW who’s being naive?

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24 comments

  1. I’m with the fiery Latina wife! Bring on the Jesus (Catholic Jesus) for the Little Baby Cupcake if it means good schooling!


  2. Amen!


  3. “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
    – Gandhi

    I went to a private baptist school in OC for 2 years in elementary school. It’s the main reason I’m no longer religious in any way.

    We are however sending the Twinsleys to a temple pre-school in a couple of years. We looked into some Christian ones, but they weren’t really floating our boat. Downside to attending B’nai Haim: they won’t do anything related to Halloween, Christmas, or Valentines Day. They tout themselves as multi-cultural, but…

    Also, we can’t send them to school with a meat/cheese combo in their lunch. They keep their fridge kosher. Religious stipulations on food has got to be the dumbest thing in the universe. The whole meat/cheese thing was originally due to a lack of refrigeration. We’ve kind of got that covered now people – relax and enjoy a cheeseburger.


  4. Wow, that’s really interesting – I never even though about the restrictions like a Kosher kitchen… I wonder if the LBC will be forced to eat fish on Fridays if she goes to St Monica’s.


  5. I detest being assigned a one-size-fits-all label, particularly by people who don’t know my heart. I am not “older.”


  6. “Do not be critics, you people, I beg you. I was a critic and I wish I could take it all back because it came from a smelly and ignorant place in me and spoke with a voice that was all rage and envy…”

    It is a f***load of work to be open-minded and generous and understanding and forgiving and accepting, but, Christ, that is what matters.” ~Dave Eggers, The Harvard Advocate


  7. Hmm… I like Dave Eggers. But also like criticizing things.

    Decisions, decisions…


  8. It’s amazing the hatred people have for Christians. People like the gentleman who is not religious in anyway due to some event many years ago in elementary school. Open yourself up the thought that maybe it could be different for you as an adult. It’s not about “recruitment” or free toasters. It’s about faith, and any athiest who believes that the lack of God or the Lord is their truth is really only a form of faith in itself. If you do not believe in God, or more specifically, that Jesus died for us, then you also are making that decision based upon a sort of faith. Faith that there is nothing is the same as faith that there is something. Just because you cannot see, touch, feel or hear it does not mean it is not there, or it is there. Athiesm is a faith. If I believe I will spend eternity “somewhere else” other than mother earth, then I choose to believe. For what it is worth to you “Mr. Kinsley” or “Jonson”, I will pray for you. Like Ghandi said about Christians not being like their Christ, there is imperfection in this world. Some people choose to strive for betterment, some do not. I spent a lot of time in New Orleans with people from my church working the help and charging nothing. I never saw a Muslim, Jewish, or Hindu group down there helping. Christians are not perfect people, and some who claim are quite bad people, or false christians. But many of those that I know are good people trying to do things for others, and if they choose to do good for people as well as their perception of what it may do for them for “eternity”, then what harm is it doing?


  9. *yawn* Thanks for dropping by with all the cliches, Diego. Oh, and way to drop the hate on all those God-fearing-but-not-my-God people.

    In any case, I do wonder about religious people marrying the non-religious. Like, what gives? Back when I was a Christian, I wouldn’t have *dreamed* of even getting involved with a non-Christian, let alone marrying them. (2 Corinthians 6:14 anyone? Sheesh.)

    Ah well… love’s crazy, no?


  10. Diego makes a few good points; my only two complaints are:
    1) No one’s expressing “hatred” for Christians here. This is a common thing I run into with Christians, a persecution complex dating back to the days of the Romans perhaps. You’re all free to practice your religion every bit as much as I’m free to think you’re being a little silly.
    2) Yeah, I’m sure you didn’t see any Jewish or Hindu or Islamic groups helping out down in New Orleans, but what percentage of America is comprised of members of those religions? I mean, according to this chart, only like .22% of the world list Judaism as their faith, compared to 33% for Christianity. I’m no statistician, but that .22% is on par with people who think the gnome in their front yard is providing spiritual guidance to them, and yet I don’t see anyone raving about the Holy Order of Gnome Followers and their poor reputation on charitable works.


  11. Diego Honeysuckle.
    Best.
    Name.
    Ever.

    If it’s not your real name, have it legally changed to that. It rules! (And no, I’m not being sarcastic.)

    I’d never really thought about atheism being a faith. That’s a very valid point. Strangely though, I don’t really see myself as an atheist, just not into organized religions. Christians believe that to get into heaven you must accept Christ as your personal savior. So, that means that somebody like Gandhi (and I swear, I’ve never name-dropped him this much in my life) didn’t get in? I find that level of theological beuaracracy hard to fathom.

    As for me, I do the right thing to the best of my abilities and hope that whoever’s in charge is OK with that. When you boil down almost all religions over time to their barest escence, they all say pretty much the same things; do unto others…, don’t kill anyone (unless God tells you to), don’t steal, and then usually some crazy-ass thing related to food.

    Do I want everyone to become “atheist” or “agnostic” or “overuse quotations?” No. If some sort of evidence were to come to light that thousands and thousands of years ago all religions were conceived as a huge practical joke, two things would happen:
    1- No one who is religious, no matter how rock-solid the evidence, would ever believe it.
    2- If everyone did turn in their yamakules, crosses and orange robes, the world would resemble the movie Children of Men, but worse. Religion keeps us in line, gives us something greater to believe in, and something to strive for, and that’s a good thing.

    So Diego, thanks for your insights, thanks for praying for me, thanks for going to New Orleans, and thanks in advance on that name change.

    Oh, and Jon… Holy Order of Gnome Followers? Nice work.


  12. Re: “Atheism is a faith.”

    No, I don’t believe it is, but let’s first define the term. The Pocket Catholic dictionary says about faith that it is “[t]he acceptance of the word of another, trusting that one knows what the other is saying and is honest in telling the truth….It is called divine faith when the one believed is God, and human faith when the persons believed are human beings.”

    When a believer speaks of faith, I understand him or her to be acknowledging that their belief structure lacks authority beyond the “word” of God, as purportedly represented in the Bible or other scripture. Sometimes this faith is bolstered by experiences that lack explanation, but the bottom line is that the believer believes because he or she is instructed that belief is warranted. And he or she accepts it, without more.

    When I arrived at my conclusion that a metaphysical god does not exist – and therefore does not deserve my servitude – it was because I stopped accepting the “word” of others (be it my Jesuit teachers, my friends, our President, etc.). I stopped relying on blind faith as a basis for believing that which cannot be proved.

    Instead, I started to think analytically about the notion of an ominipotent, ominiscient, and all-loving God. (My personal atheism was a response to the notion of the Abrahamic God, so I can only speak to what I know). When I applied reason to the notion of God without fear of the conclusion that I might reach, I found a far more compelling basis for belief (or, in my case, non-belief) than I had known when I simply took their “word” for it.

    That’s why I think Diego Honeysuckle is wrong, but I will reserve judgment until I hear a response.

    PS: I won’t waste my key-tapping on the not-so-subtle moan of modern Christian persecution. That’s just laughable.


  13. Wow, I seemed to open up a can of worms. Sorry to bring an opposing opinion to the blog. I will work to be respectful; I am guest in Jonson’s blog. First: CuRoi? Why is “yawn” the first comment from you? I sense a little bit of sarcasm:) I hope your in your daily life, you don’t start every conversation with a condescending remark. I would feel bad for you.

    Christian or not, the 10 Commandments are pretty good rules to live by, so, Mr. Kinsley, I like what you’ve said about “keeping us in line”.

    Chuck, you are a good and thoughtful man, but when I was speaking of “faith”, I was speaking to the “belief” that Jesus was the savior, versus the “belief” that it is all BS. Maybe, maybe not. There is no physical evidence of God, and the savior, as there is that none exists. You “believe” that to be true, but you really do not know, do you? If you have solid evidence in fact that God or Jesus did not exist, then it could be presented and alter everything. Until then, you “believe” it to not be true. I “believe” a lot of things not pertaining to God, religion, etc. Does not always make them so. I believe we will live in eternity somewhere, and not simply fade to dust. Although I have no evidence physically, I choose to believe and have faith in God, because eternity is a long time.


  14. Alert readers of the jonsonblog (are there any other kind?) will note that this blog entry has been amended, something that has only happened one other time (removing a thoughtless comment about a co-worker’s wife, at the timely request of a mutual friend).

    Causing offense may, it turns out, be my core competency. In the future, I’ll try not to assign labels so blithely, I understand that while these decisions between the missus & I are my business, for everyone else their religion & upbringing are a personal matter.

    That is all.


  15. Although our blogs are ours to post what we wish, we cannot do so without consequence. Nothing that we say, much less publish, is. I’m not preaching over here (no pun intended); I say the wrong thing regularly. I know that your intent was not to be hurtful, but your words were. If you want to continue this conversation, so that we might understand each other’s hearts and minds (this is not a Ninja-like attempt to give you my “testimony”), I would be happy to do so off the internets.

    I find you to be one of the funniest people I know, one of the most entertaining writers I know, and a person with one of the biggest hearts I know. Today you showed yourself to be one of the strongest men I know. Thank you.


  16. All this over whether the little LBC will wear a uniform or not wear a uniform to school! My my! No matter where she goes to school, religious or not, she will be an amazing little person because she has wonderful, ethical parents.


  17. I don’t know them personally, but this much thought over attending a good school? I bet they are great parents. And, kudos, for MARRYING a fiery latina. We should all be so lucky:)!


  18. I lured her across the border with the promise of jobs & a new future in El Norte!


  19. Niiiiiccceee! Any sisters?


  20. Tragically other gringos got them already.


  21. Ay Caramba! Chinga!


  22. Do not make the mistake of feeling like religion deserves respect. It is a foul stain on modern society and we should all be ashamed of ourselves for allowing religion to have as much power as it does today. It is 2007 and we should be busy learning new things, curing diseases and furthering technology. Why take steps back with archaic superstition? Atheists who give respect to religion are just as bad as those who believe these ridiculous things. Thinking is better than believing every time.


  23. William, you are an intollerant and self righteous individual. You choose to be critical and unaccepting of things you do not agree with. Religion is not a “stain”, it is man’s way of connecting with their beliefs, regardless of their denomonation. Perhaps people believe that the ability to “learn new things”, “cure diseases”, and “further technology” are gifts from their god. Regardless of what someone thinks, the end benefit is good for all of us. You are an angry person, who lives your life critical of other people unlike you….just a hunch.


  24. Mr. Kinsley: Although I don’t know you personally, and, in fact, I don’t even know if or how you know Jonathan, I have long been an admirer of your comments on jonsonblog. If you wouldn’t mind adding the word “Some” in front of your sentence “Christians believe that to get into heaven you must . . . ” I would then say that I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said. Also, with the addition of that one little word, my admiration for your comments might develop into a full on cybercrush.

    Jonson: Interesting how folks engage over this topic. I don’t think you’ve had this many comments since you blogged about going pee at work.



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