Stardust & SuperTed
When I was a child, God was male. A magical man-like being that lived in the sky.
I was terrified of him.
I used to sing in a church choir and remember each Sunday the Vicar would say "You MUST be born again!" and every Sunday I wondered frantically how the hell I was going to get back into my Mum's tummy and be re-born.
When I was 7, I stole a SuperTed soap from a friend's bathroom and the next day at school I asked another friend, who I knew was pals with God, what would happen if you stole something? "You'll go to hell." she told me. I was petrified. I asked "What if it was just something really small?" and she said "It doesn't matter, you'll still go to hell". So I sobbed for weeks and prayed to God each night begging him not to send me to hell.
God, is dead.
Because, what I associate with God is this controlling, fearful, oppressive bullshit that causes fear and war and terror. God left my childhood with a darkness. I want to hug that 7 year old me that believed she would burn in hell.
I want to hug every child and adult the world over who is controlled by religious fear. Fear of whomever 'their God' is and what punishment awaits them. Or even worse, what reward awaits them for handing out punishment on God's behalf. It's dictatorial insanity. Why divide by fear when we can unite, as people of Earth?
Then, I discovered science. And thermodynamics. The first law of thermodynamics states that no energy is ever created in the universe and none is ever destroyed. Energy is constant. So when we die our energy continues, at one with galactic infinity. When stars die, they explode and blast out matter that then creates new stars and new planets. New life. One big cycle. Everything connected. Every atom in our body came from the nuclear furnace of stars. Stardust. We are.
I believe in energy. And through science I discovered my spirituality.
I believe that when you behave with compassion, with kindness and with love, you create positive energy that is sent out to your surroundings. When you say something nice to someone, it makes them feel good. The same works when you speak in anger, with disregard or contempt, you create negative energy and that is also transferred.
Some people say that that force, that energy, that infinity, is God. I think ultimately, every religion, spiritual belief and science text book are the same thing, when you take them to their highest possible level. God, Energy, The Universe. But when people label things; Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Paganism, then it becomes competitive and elitist. "My religion is better than your religion." "My God is better than your God." It's outdated. We've evolved past these segregated rules. Our language has evolved, our understanding, our scientific knowledge and our compassion. I love and respect kind people. I don't care what labels you want to give yourself or which religion you do or don't follow.
For me, this endless energy, radiating every particle of every single thing we know exists, that's not God. It's something far more beautiful and I can't possibly give it a name or a label. It just is.
The Universe. We're all connected.
Seek out the positive, the light, and be kind.
Peace and love to all.
Middle Fingers To God
gone are the days where i prayed to god for forgiveness
when i begged him for help as tears seared down my face and i struggled for breath
i prayed for happiness and freedom and most of all death
do you hear me 'god'?
you did so little for me that i resorted to praying to you to take my life
but you didn't answer.
you didn't answer anything.
the church told me you loved unconditionally
that you loved your 'children' you gave life to and blessed
where was my love, god?
did you forget about me?
because I received nothing from you but silence.
i've been told about your stories and tales
of Noah's Ark and Joseph's coat of many colors
but you know what i think?
i think they're bullshit.
you've done nothing but cause the world misery and pain
your time has come to move on and fuck up somewhere else
you never sent a son down from heaven to cure the world
you sent down a test subject with the same caliber as a middle school science project
and i'll tell you the results.
you fucked up beyond belief.
no man ever died for my sins
he wasn't crucified for some shitty fifteen-year-old kid thousands of years in the future that can't even get through the day with out medications
and if he did, then his death was fucking pointless.
funny, when i'm forced to listen to the pastor's prayers
i don't use your name, or your shitty son's
i replace them with the names of celebrities.
i get it, it sounds disgusting.
but when you look at the fact that they've done more for me than you ever will-
it doesn't seem so unbelievable.
it sounds fucking insane
i prayed for you to collect me from this earth where i was suffering
to relieve me of what i couldn't handle
but you left me.
you left a thirteen-year-old boy contemplating suicide to fend for himself against his raging demons.
you left him all alone.
not even his so-called christian-based mother did anything.
you know what they say,
actions speak louder than words- especially those never spoken
maybe I should thank you,
for a part of this,
because through it all, now i can at least stand by myself with out your assistance, that, lest i remind you, i never had in the first place
now i know how to fight and survive and i owe it all to you
aren't you proud, sitting on your clouds in the sky,
looking at this bruised and scarred masterpiece you've created
but I've got something for you, god.
YOU DIDNT MAKE ME.
I MADE MYSELF.
YOU NEVER PAINTED A SINGLE BRUISE ON MY BODY OR SCAR ON MY WRIST.
YOU HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS RIPPED CANVAS I MADE BEAUTIFUL ALL BY MYSELF.
ALL. BY. MY. FUCKING. SELF.
HOW DARE YOU SIT UP THERE LIKE A DEAD-BEAT, GOOD FOR NOTHING DAD AND TAKE CREDIT FOR WHO I AM.
YOU LEFT ME TO DIE IN THE DARKNESS
BUT THEN WHEN YOU'D SEEN WHAT I'D BECOME YOU WANTED BACK IN ON THIS MASTERPIECE.
BUT THATS NOT HOW THINGS WORK, GOD.
BECAUSE NOW WE'RE ON MY TERMS.
you had NOTHING. to do with this.
because i made it here all by myself.
and i know one thing's for sure:
you didn't create this world.
this world created you.
Motion for a United People of Earth
My fellow brothers and sisters of Earth, I give you these words in a time of great need for great change.
This change is global.
I ask you to recall 100,000 years ago, a time in which sovereign societies consisted of only several dozen citizens. 30,000 years ago - tribes - and we have now somehow surpassed the 100-citizen societal mark. 10,000 years ago, and civilization is born - along with empires, and greed, and ego. Suddenly a sovereign society consists of well over 1,000 members, spanning hundreds and thousands of acres in jurisdiction. Gradually, over time, the size of each average civilization exponentially expands in space and occupation. Now sovereign societies span entire so-called "continents." And here we are today, with sovereign societies such as the United States, European Union, and People's Republic of China. Hundreds of millions of humans all adhering to the same systems of policy, the same structures of law. Would it not seem only natural, given the nature of past events, that the future of civilization on Earth as we know it is truly global? - that it exceeds the geographic scope of continents, effectively uniting all bodies of land constituting what we know as planet Earth? Perhaps you disagree with said rhetorical question. That said, consider my case. Specifically, consider the necessary mechanics and agreements for a fully functional, thriving global society. The aforementioned imperatives are ultimately contingent upon a relatively small number of laws. Perhaps you dislike the word "law;" that's fine - you can use the word "expectation," or "right," or "guarantee," or "protection," or "power," or the rest. Let's use the word "right" in this case. I am making the case that every single being alive on Earth at this time is owed assurance of these rights. But let's be even more specific; let's exclusively consider "human" rights, and let's be as minimalist and efficient as possible with the inference. I will speak intuitively. One immediate, global human right is health. Physical and nonphysical health. Another is knowledge. Education. Yet another is safety, security - which encompasses living shelter as well as martial protection. Perhaps another such rudimentary, global human right is that to time - that is, to the freedom of being able to spend one's time - the quantity of one's life - in alignment with one's soul, one's true purpose and the passion emanating from it, rather than spend one's time simply to make ends meet - to survive. I don't have much time so in response to said global human rights, I yield the following prospective solutions. My solution to the right for time is the solution already well underway, which means technology handling all the dirty work, so to speak, and affording humans that much more time to create and explore rather than toil and grind. My solution to the right for safety is a global tax that gets allocated fairly and justly to the areas and citizens most in need of making such ends meet at any point in time. My solution to the right for knowledge is a global tax that makes effective, true education free and available for everyone. Lastly, my solution to the right for health is a similar such global tax that makes quality healthcare free and available for everyone. The anarchists, capitalists, and conspiracy theorists at this time will probably contend that these solutions to these issues are economically inferior to the status quo (or something not so far from it), and to that I respond, simply consider the possibility that humankind investing such capital and resources into humankind itself, and ultimately into Earth itself, warrants an astronomically greater expected value than what continuing with the status quo (or anything not so far from it) warrants.
Thank you for your attention and support.
May we all prevail.
528 Words on Stardust
Made the world
After the Big Bang
The universe was
A melting pot of
Quarks and gluons
"No, God created everything"
"Chaos was the beginning of all"
I don't care at all if they say I'm wrong
I won't say they're wrong
Maybe they're right?
We can all have our own beliefs
No one says we can't believe
That Prometheus gave us fire
Instead of lightning striking a tree
And Nu Wa created humans
Instead of evolution
It really doesn't matter
I don't understand why
A petty argument like this
Can destroy lives
Hurt innocent souls
It really doesn't make sense, does it?
How me being Atheist
And you being Christian
Can bring our world into turmoil
Atheists don't have to hate religion
Christians and Protestants are not natural enemies
Buddhists and Daoists can be best friends
Religion doesn't make you who you are
Is in outer space
"We must be
The first to reach there
Destroy the Russians
Destroy the Chinese
Destroy the English
We must be the first"
What is the point?
All will benefit all
Technology and science
Can be our strong point
But the barrel
Can hold as much as
Its shortest length
Are stereotypically insulting
But so what?
Russians do have long noses
Chinese are bad drivers
Americans do eat a lot
The Italian do like to sleep
But that doesn't really matter, doesn't it?
Doesn't make who we are
Are a lot to write
But who says
That they have to define us?
That we can't be friends?
In a natural poem
My words flow
They fall into holes
And I have to drag them out
Or they'll turn into
And then the whole cycle
Of friends, wars
Will start again
Maybe it'll be better
If there was no religion?
If there was one religion?
If there was a central government for the world?
If no one stood up?
If everyone was the same?
Maybe dystopian novels
Have it right
Maybe we should divide
Everyone into factions
Or leech color out of the world
And have nothing that we had in the beginning
But everything we have in the end?
I think that
We should continue living
Band together to survive
Share tears and fears with friends
Find another way of living
Give this world a final chance
I don't want to dream forever
Of a time when nothing barred our way to friends
To alliances, love, marriage, equality
Understanding and forgiving
If you can't understand, try to understand
Don't ever kick something away because you don't get it
On the way to discovery
Many inventions are born
You have to listen
Listen closely, listen carefully
Then you will understand
And by understanding
You'll know what it's like
To be Christian
To be a Democrat
To be Communist
To be Australian
To speak French
To be gay
And when we understand
And when there's acceptance
And when there's friendship
The Real and the Ideal.
Trapped and confined but you scoff that it could be so, for you. Everyone in their abstract and obtuse musings on how the world works. A laugh released from the shallows of your imprisoned lungs on the basis of the thought from a mind held captive by bone, in a body that has lassoed to it : a soul. Does this intimidate you or perhaps shock the ego you live on through the days ? Because this is only an unfortunate beginning, the beauty is how you break these down.
The reality is that you'll live and die, the idealistic thing here is that you'll make some impact, legacy, inspiration to the masses, or a change no one knew to make. To explain: reality isn't cruel, cold, harsh, favorable, disgusting, or any other adjective that your mind can construct for your tongue to dispense. No, reality is just ; reality isn't rooting for any of you, it is one of the components of time. Now the idealistic attachment to life is any and all adjectives as the direction the life can go is infinite by many regards.
Can reality be idealistic? Surely, in the ways that many devote their being to certain faiths, in the way that individuals dedicate their lives to causes, and in the way that some will sacrifice their quality of life to increase the quality of those around them. Does this make religion the only means of creating an ideal reality? Absolutely not.
Many individuals make humongous impacts in the realm in which they work and allow the overflow of their bounties aid the upbringing of others, without tagging a particular religion to it. You see, religion can help you define what your love is or what it should be dedicated to, unfortunately it also aids in defining what your love shouldn't be or geared to. That's not ideal. It's not ideal to say hating anyone for anything, especially when the idea behind it is : the views of other men should tell you how you are and should be.
The reality is : you will assign yourself to many realities that are defining, beautiful , and ultimately rewarding. The reality is : you will assign yourself to many other realities that are disappointing, disgusting, and will make you feel rock-bottom. Is either ideal? Fortunately as the devil's advocate (I don't know Lucifer personally, but we all know this is a phrase) you can find purpose in both of those paths. It's ideal to be what you want to be, but it's also ideal to not completely starve from failing when you can succeed in another facet.
Religion might make your life more redeeming, it might give you a huge sense of purpose, and it might give you guidelines for continuing a life of the good and safe. I would propose that perhaps finding spirituality is more redeeming. Your heart singing is irreplaceable and a body of politics formed around other's interaction with the spirit of holiness is definitely not going to just instantly make that happen. Religion has it's purpose, but an ideal life is absolutely not dependent on it.
Your shell lives during this state taking the damage and putting in the work, but your soul embraces both this and the flip-side of eternity. Find that which gives you cause, even if sometimes it means you hold your halo up with horns.
Tips For The Serious Candidate
Any close friend of mine would probably describe me as a go-with-the-flow kind of gal. I play well with others, don’t much care where we eat or what movies we see. Yet, there are still a few things I simply cannot abide, and will not do. Take political discourse, for example. I enjoy discussing politics about as much as – oh, I don’t know – falling out of a moving car...which I have actually done (it’s even less fun than it sounds).
Whenever an election year rolls around, I have to put on a Hazmat suit before I look at my social media feeds. The venomous spitting and mudslinging that goes on among “friends” turns Facebook and Twitter into “anti-social” media at it’s nastiest.
At the gym, I’ve already threatened my workout buddies that, if they don’t put the political arguments on ice, I might have to start drinking every morning. If you see me on the elliptical with olives floating in my “water,” you’ll know that I’ve reached my threshold.
My distain for politics is especially ironic considering I once ran for public office which, to be perfectly honest, wasn’t even my own idea. [Disclaimer: Not all politicians are perfectly honest, but you can trust me]. Without my knowledge, there was a group of politically active citizens in my town who had been vetting me - some were friends of mine, some I didn’t know. Meeting with their approval, I was approached to be their candidate in an upcoming town board election.
How I came to be on their radar is not an interesting story. Suffice it to say that, back in those days, I agreed to nearly every volunteer request and sat on a number of boards and committees.
In any event, since they asked me and believed in me, I felt it was my civic duty to accept. There were other reasons, too, but none so compelling as my inability to decline a call for help. (Please refer back to the previous “volunteerism” statement).
My story does not have a happy ending (or perhaps it does, depending on your perspective) because I lost the election. I did, however, gain a wealth of knowledge that I’d like to share with anyone willing to throw his or her hat into the ring.
So, without further ado, I’ve put together this handy-dandy campaign management primer called “Tips For The Serious Candidate.”
Lesson #1: Clean Up Your Act
The day before I publicly announced my candidacy, I completely sanitized my social media by deleting anything that could be twisted, misconstrued, exploited or spun negatively in any way.
Depending on one’s lifestyle, potential embarrassments are easy to spot. For example, if you have a habit of posting underwear selfies, or worse yet, tweeting photos of your “equipment,” you should know these will reflect badly upon you (regardless of how magnificent a specimen you believe yourself to be). If you post offending remarks about the opposite sex, your next-door neighbors, fat people, skinny people, religious groups, children, animals, the elderly, trees…you should probably delete those, too. Most rants, no matter how well intended, should probably go bye-bye as well.
This should all seem fairly obvious. However, as we’ve learned throughout history, some candidates are either too egotistical, or too dim-witted to know what’s considered inappropriate. Mainstreaming oneself is the name of the game. You want to appeal to the masses. If you think that’s manipulative or disingenuous, you would be right. But if you plan on running for office, you’ll to have to get over it. Those votes aren’t going to cast themselves, honey.
My social media was all very tame. It wasn’t so easy to see things that might be interpreted as transgressions or cause embarrassment to me, should they be made public. I had to pour over everything with fresh eyes, looking for possible landmines. There were some things that stood out more than others, like a photo of me enjoying a 2-liter mug of beer at Munich’s Hofbrauhaus (which, incidentally is where Hitler was rumored to do his best thinking). Delete. There were some photos of me in swimwear. Delete. Cleavage? Delete. How about those jokes or witticisms that one wouldn’t understand unless they knew me personally? Delete.
Most of this stuff was on Facebook and could only be seen by friends, right? Wrong. When you run for office, somehow everything has a way of becoming public and you can’t be sure whom to trust, even among your friends. Which brings us to…
Lesson 2: Trust No One
I learned this lesson the hard way. There was a reporter who befriended me very early in my campaign. Let’s call her Beyotchne. Beyotchne would call to chit-chat. She’d show up at events and make small talk. It was all very innocent, I thought, and she seemed very supportive in a “we women have to stick together” kind of way. Girl power!
I had no idea that all those innocuous conversations were actually interviews. It didn’t take long to see that Beyotchne was not a stickler for fair and balanced reporting. Rather, her agenda was to make me look like a moron. Don’t believe me? Here’s an example: Beyotchne asked me how I planned to spend Election Day. While going over my full schedule, I also lamented that my children had dentist appointments, which could not be rescheduled. When Beyotchne ran the article, it outlined all the candidates’ Election Day programs: setting up phone banks to call constituents, visiting the senior center to schedule transportation for people who needed rides to the poles, canvassing neighborhoods for last minute votes…the lists went on and on. Then it said, “Anita Rotondi Rosner will be taking her kids to the dentist.”
Lesson #3: Go Through Your Closet
For the serious female candidate, political apparel is challenging. When a man is stumping, all he needs are a few conservative suits and a comfortable pair of walking shoes. If he wants to look casual, such as when he’s munching on a hot dog at the county fair, all he needs is a polo shirt and a pair of chinos. When he wants to look like a hard-working common man, he simply removes his suit jacket and rolls up his shirtsleeves. Women can’t get away with that.
Before I hit the campaign trail, my niece, Lina, and I went through my closet. I enjoy being comfortable, and only dress up for formal occasions. The result: a wardrobe of peasant skirts, sundresses, jeans, tank tops, T-shirts, flip-flops and ball gowns. None of these were practical for my purposes. So we went shopping.
After trolling rack upon rack of professional attire, and several trips to the dressing room, it became abundantly clear that, unlike the Geraldine Ferraros and Sarah Palins of the world, I cannot rock a suit. We tried every cut and style imaginable. If the suit had a boxy silhouette, it devoured me. If it was form fitting, I looked like a naughty flight attendant. I’m just not built for business, if you know what I mean.
Lina and I finally managed to put together a collection of skirts, blouses and conservative dresses (all of which I hated). And what about the shoes? Darlings, you can’t wear flats with a suit or a dress, so it’s all about the pumps. Have you ever canvassed a neighborhood or marched in a Columbus Day parade wearing high heels? No? Trust me, you wouldn’t like it.
One more note about going through your closet: if, while you’re rummaging around back there, you come across your old KKK uniform, or an illegitimate second family that your current family knows nothing about, please rescind your candidacy immediately. America will thank you.
Lesson #4 – Work With What You’ve Got
My town is predominately Irish and Italian. My co-candidate, John, and I were running against two men. One Irishman. One Paisan. My maiden name is Italian. I married a nice Jewish boy. John (also Italian) insisted I use both my maiden name and my married name during our run, hoping to attract Italian constituents. It’s hard to fit “Elect John Filiberti and Anita Rotondi Rosner for Town Board” on anything smaller than a zeppelin, but we managed to squeeze it onto our campaign materials. In the end, I swept one part of town, the one with the largest Jewish population. Lesson learned, although by whom and for what, remains unclear.
Lesson #5: Rules Are For Suckers
Our fifth and final lesson revolves around the most uncomfortable 30 minutes of my life. The League of Women Voters traditionally organizes televised debates every campaign season. My team totally downplayed the event in an attempt to keep me relaxed. They were unsuccessful.
I’d seen debates on television. That was the extent of my preparation. Naively, I believed it would be better not to appear too practiced. I simply wanted to answer questions with truth and authenticity – this was my first mistake. I should have rehearsed sound bites and delivered them with the off-the-cuff aplomb of a skilled Oscar winner.
Upon entering the debate venue, we four candidates were seated on the stage. Our opponents surrounded themselves with canyons of three-by-five cards, arranged in piles. John opened up several file folders and fanned them out in front of him. Me? I brought along a piece of paper and a pencil, just in case I wanted to jot down some notes. Remember that Sesame Street tune “One Of These Things”? Yup, I was the one thing not like the others. Not only was I the only woman on the panel, I was categorically out-papered. So, listen up…even if you don’t need notes and have a memory like a steel trap, bring tons of documents to look serious, official and intimidating. Voters love that.
At the start of the debate, the representative from The League Of Women Voters went over the rules: We would have two minutes to answer each questions. During those two minutes, we were to answer the question asked and only that question. We were not to use the time for any other purpose. There were additional rules, but I can’t tell you what they were, because after I heard “two minutes,” my brain went out the window.
Each time a question was directed at me, my eyes darted to the timekeeper (making me look shifty). Then my response would tumble out, riding on the stream of a single breath. I’d complete my answer with seconds to spare. Only then would I inhale and relax my butt muscles. Unlike other candidates, I did not use my time to clarify something I said earlier or to rebut someone else’s remarks. Nor did I ignore the question entirely to barf out my own agenda. I left the debate grumbling that my parents, who taught me to play fair, had failed me by doing so.
In the end, there is comfort in knowing I fought a clean fight. My campaign was honest and civil. I told no lies, threw no punches. I wanted to make things better. I learned what’s important to people and took their concerns to heart. I had the full love, respect and support of my family and friends. I tried. I did my best. And while I may not have prevailed, I gained more than I lost.
The Hermetic Cull(t)
I ask you to invest your imagination with me, momentarily, to unbridle your brain from the coached mundane. To set a kooky course for a parallel universe, where this extraordinary world is mirrored in all things.
All things, except, the ability of every sentient being on that planet to utilise magic. A gnostic licence to tailor the material world to their own individual wants and needs. The body, the partner, the home, the health, the knowledge, the wealth. The material happiness required to live that life, on that planet, without the need for transitory suffering. A birthright from the Godhead. Now imagine that this birthright was diluted from their consciousness for the gain of a select few. A covetous group of warlocks who rose to power, through supposed intellect and meritocracy. Their hoggish justification? If everyone were witches and wizards, no one would be left to carry out the slavery of paid labour; building their castles and servicing their private jets, managing their stocks and mining their natural resources. To fight the wars needed to perpetuate their choke hold on the planet; keeping the sacred sites of the ancient craft under their total control, whilst continuing to divide and conquer the global populous as a chirpy bonus. To discover new technologies used to enslave the masses further; from caffeine to nicotine, glossy magazines to bright white phone screens, all set for a night of dread filled horror dreams, and then psychology, with ever evolving terminology, for the ones who can't sleep. To find new cures for all the dis-ease, physical and metaphysical, so the workforce and armies could march on undeterred and strong. Or simply to entertain all of the above, and themselves, through song, film, picture and painting. All the while they, amounting to just 1% of the total population, lived a life of unimpaired ease in outstanding luxury, whilst enjoying in abundance all the beautiful things their enchanted world had to offer. The more than capable alchemists who made up the rest of the 99% believed, through centuries of preconditioning, that they were born for this life and it was meant to be tough, that they had no real power of their own, and the most brilliant part of it all, they didn't even realise they were slaves. Quite the contrary, they worshipped their masters for their veiled mercy, and their shining example on how to behave in a world of such hardship. The hermetic nobility kept their magic a staunch secret, of course. There were ways and means of climbing the ladder to their lofty perch, but the path was dimly lit for the multitude. But through all the years of social conditioning and conspiracy, their was a flame that flit deep within the souls of their fellow man, that the elite mystics could never extinguish. A constant and troublesome niggle, that there was something more to their lives, a key to a door they had not been shown. A science of soullessness and religions of subordination were offered up to answer their questions, but to also subversively mock and put down, any grasps at their limitless potential for magic, that esoteric artistry that wasn't really esoteric at all, it was free and available to all if they only chose to illuminate their own existence with it.
I'd want to be a wizard in that world.
Ignis aurum probat; “the fire tests the gold.”
When ancient Roman blacksmiths refined gold, they would do so in a hot fire.
Thus was born!
A Latin phrase used when someone’s character is being “refined” by adversity.
It’s fitting; church services used to be completely in Latin, and though I wasn’t lucky enough to have existed at the time, I can still imagine how incredibly confusing it must have been to be a kid enduring Sunday after Sunday watching a strangely-clothed man yell at you in gibberish.
But all jokes aside, I really do have nothing against religion. Although I myself am not yet willing to throw my hat into the ring of “does he exist or not” I am still able to respect the point-of-view either side has.
“But!” you may say, “that opinion is trite as fuck and doesn’t really say anything at all.”
Yet, it is.
Because I don’t know, maybe I’m not smart enough, not decisive enough, to say:
“Fuck you! My God is the one that exists, you shit!”
I mean, yes, I went to mass every Sunday like most people here. And yes:
It was fucking boring.
But I did end up finding something beautiful in all of it.
I joined the church choir when I was 16 or so; for no real reason other than I liked music and singing and I figured it would make my Sundays happen to suck a bit less.
And oh did it ever!
But besides that, now that I was forced to pay attention (so as to know when to sing and when not to; I mean, if I just happened to belt out “JESUSSSSSSSSS” at an inappropriate moment I assume my choir membership would be revoked fairly quickly) to the parishioners, I really saw them for the first time.
The parishioners. The people who came to what I though of as a silly little gathering every Sunday, not out of some obligation, but because they wanted to.
It was something they believed in.
Fuck, it was something they loved.
And I finally realized how everyone here was tested every day. By stupid little fucks like me, who made fun of their beliefs, their lives.
And soon something odd happened.
I started to enjoy every Sunday I spent there. I started to love the people, love the service, love the moments spent in this tiny choir on a rock in the middle of the ocean.
That was the day I really learned just how fucking important respect is.
Respect is what keeps shit like the Crusades and the Spanish Inquisition from happening. Respect is something everyone deserves; no matter what the fuck you happen to think about them.
I eventually did have to quit the choir because I went the cliché drug-abuse route; but that’s a story for another time.
Still, even though I now spend my Sundays alone, I still admit to pretending that I’m there for a few moments every week. And although I don’t really feel like I deserve to be there anymore, for those few minutes I still like to pretend I do.
For a few minutes, I’m singing songs about loving your fellow man.
For a few minutes, I’m singing songs about being forgiving, compassionate, and humble.
For a a few minutes, that fucking fire gilded me into something beautiful.
Shit, for a few minutes every Sunday? Love was very, very fucking real. And the only thing I happened to be?
Just one more person;
just another simple soul who happened to deserve a bit of it.
Serf’s Up: Do What Thou Wilt
Imagine the finest human being you can conceive of. We all know what qualities would be present in such a person, so let us speak of the main quality which would be noticeably absent: self-important vanity.
Now imagine a limitless sentient being worthy of being called a God. We all have an idea of the qualities such a being would possess. Surely, the Personality of such a Being would be a billion times more balanced than that of the finest human being who has ever lived.
Thus, it follows that a Godlike being would have a complete absence of those unwanted traits, vanity and self-importance.
Yet my Monotheist siblings of all Tribes and Nations keep telling me:
NO, HE ABSOLUTELY HAS THEM.
I have read the Holy Books of each of your One True Religions. Long have I studied and pondered. Your God is known to me. His defining trait?
ABSOLUTE VANITY AND SELF-IMPORTANCE. The very last things we would want in a parent, sibling, teacher, friend or leader.
At one point in Humanity’s development, we had Kings, because we were childish, violent, and felt we needed a strong paternal hand set over us. How did those Kings get their unlimited earthly Power?
The Monotheist Priests claimed that GOD had given it to them. And GOD, after all, was the KING OF KINGS…
Today, regardless of creed or lack thereof, we all know this was arrant nonsense fit for children, and regardless of our personal politics, most of us can agree that we do not wish to live as serfs under a feudal lord. Though our world is imperfect, we can at least improve it slightly, thus “democracy”.
So I am honestly confused by my Monotheist siblings when they define Absolute Perfection, or “Heaven”, as: LIVING UNDER A VAIN, SELF-IMPORTANT ABSOLUTE KING FOR ALL ETERNITY.
Will I, like the Devil, quote scripture to back up my claims that the Abrahamic God, in particular, aka YHVH, is as vain and given to anger as a 10-year old child? I need not quote; just open your Bible to any random page, and behold proof.
The Story of the Standard God is available in all languages and in all cultures across the globe. It is a child’s story, fit for the Ruling Class to encourage, in order that there will always be a steady supply of Serfs to serve them.
The average intelligent Monotheist stopped thinking of “God” in this slavish, forelock-tugging fashion around the 17th Century. I quit around 1972, when I was 14 and a half. I had read the Book; I had absorbed the story. I called on the God of my Fathers, and was not answered. That is, unless the silent answer was:
“Now, kid: begin to read and study ALL the ‘Holy Books’ of the entire world…you might wanna begin with Buddhism 101. If you do good at that we might can get you into Taoism. This Crowley stuff? Oy! Above your pay grade. Maybe SOME day, bubbe…”
I remember the America I was raised to believe in.
It was so much simpler in those days. That America was one in which you never heard about the police shooting a defenseless man because the color of his skin. That was an America where it was still safe to go to the movies or school, and you never knew that words that were stamped across the back of that crisp new dollar bill were evil and egregious.
I remember that fateful day in April of 1999 when the world got a little bit darker and just going to school got a little bit scarier. I remember the tall, gaunt shapes all garbed in black, and looks on the faces of the ones covered in blood, running from the floodlit halls that were so much like the ones that I found myself in every day.
Fast forward two years later, and that day that none of us will ever forget. That was the day when everything changed, that was the day that the hearts and minds of America turned to ice, and the ideals that our founding fathers fought for disappeared from the shores of our freedom-soaked land forever.
America no longer looks anything like the one that I grew up to believe in. This once great nation that we call home no longer holds any semblance of the one that parades gloriously through the halls of history and glory.
The America that we know now is one of ignorance, fear and animosity. It is ruled by an elite few that care little for those that they govern, and it is inhabited by the scared, ignorant and apathetic, who have no knowledge of true democracy or freedom.
I spent years studying the works of our Founding Fathers. I cannot count the nights spent pouring over the "holy" scriptures of those men who would have sacrificed all to throw away the yokes of political and religious tyranny. The America that they hoped to form was one of absolute peace, prosperity, religious tolerance and freedom. Even just a short browse through the works of incredible men like Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and John Jay quickly shows you that the world that they sought to create was an incredible one - one that looks nothing like the America that we see today.
Today, the America that we find is one of absolute religious intolerance, as well as intolerance and discrimination of every other kind - sexual intolerance, racial intolerance and discrimination, gender intolerance and discrimination; the list goes on and on.
We have lost sight of what our Founding Fathers most hoped for: a world where each man was the master of his own life, and cared little for the inner workings of the lives of his neighbors. A quick read through the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Federalist Papers or even the inspirational works of Thomas Paine quickly paints the picture of the America we were meant to be.
We have allowed an elite few to skew that vision for us. Instead of electing members of our society - the men and women that live and work along side us and amongst us - we elect the well-connected and well endowed criminals, that are as detached from normal life in America as a Martian would be.
We no longer look to elect men and women who emody the ideals of our Founding Fathers, wise and stoic men, with free hearts and even freer minds; great men who sought to create a Utopia where all men would be free to follow the pursuits of their greatest passions and hopes.
We now live in fear and animosity. We judge instantly based on the color of skin, rather than the "content of character". We allow violence and intolerance to operate as the norm across our country, and turn an eye to the violence that would have raised the country into arms for change only a decade past.
It is time for us to come together, to remember our history, and to stop the track of destruction that we are most certainly on. We must remember our true heritage, the dreams of our Founding Fathers, not the tiny slights and differences between our churches and our cultures.
America is only great when it is united. What can we hope to achieve when our streets are rife with violence and corruption, when our children are just as likely to be killed in a school attack as a car wreck? What kind of greatness or pride can we ever hope to hold when we live in a country where men and women are killed just based on the arbitrary basis of the color of their skin or who sleeps next to them in bed? How can we hold our heads up high when we murder those who do not believe in the same creator as our neighbors and our friends?
If we ever hope to be that America that great men like Thomas Jefferson sought to create, we must reform. We must elect men and women who truly represent the people. We must put people in power that have a purity of heart and a strength of character. We must fight to pull down the fear and tyranny that has been sown into the very fiber of our culture. We must fight to reclaim the America of so many decades ago.