Thursday, March 16, 2017

My Wildest Fantasies Are Theological Discussions

     Hey there, stay-at-home mom.
     Are you both intellectually unstimulated and looking to hone your feminism skills?
     Are you both filled with righteous indignation and really obnoxious?
     Guess what:
     What I recommend is fighting with people in Facebook comments.

     Ha, ha. Just kidding; I would not recommend it to anyone. While I like arguing with people on Facebook, we all have heard stories about the abuse that goes on in Internet comments, and I don't want you to sue me, so don't do it. As for me, I primarily argue with my friends who are thoughtful, polite and awesome, despite being WRONG, WRONG, WRONG!!! Engaging in debates online I have learned quite a bit from my comment-section opponents, and have had people tell me that they also have learned things from me.
     One argument I find myself in with some regularity is the wisdom over the value and or truth held within religion, or as it is more commonly known in comment section, "Religious People Are Bigoted Backwards Morons Who Inflict Suffering On Others". These kind of Facebook debates are some of my favorites because they are a rare opportunity for me to engage in philosophical discussion. This could almost never happen in my off-line life. Though my regular companions are certainly thoughtful and philosophically astute, neither Amani nor Warren have a lot of experience with words more than three syllables, so the depth of our discussion is fairly limited. Essentially, Facebook debates are a way to engage in a thought provoking theological conversation that doesn't devolve into requests for grapes.
     This is why I want to debate Ricky Gervais. Well, I don't want to debate the ACTUAL Ricky Gervais, because he seems descend fairly quickly into insults when debating theists, but I do want to debate the imaginary Ricky Gervais that has been living in my head since I saw the real Ricky Gervais debate Steven Colbert on the existence of God. The good news is that I can! In fact, I have been debating pretend-Ricky-Gervais all day.

This is how it would go:

Gervais: “If we take something like any fiction, any holy book, and destroyed it, in a thousand years’ time that wouldn’t come back just as it was. Whereas if we took every science book and every fact and destroyed them all, in a thousand years they’d all be back, because all the same tests would be the same result.”  (That part's not imaginary. That's how Gervais ended his debate with Colbert, with congratulations from both the audience and Colbert).

Me: Sure, I think a lot of people think that way: religion is flighty and trivial, and science is irrefutable and permanent. However, history would suggest that the opposite. One thousand years ago, even 5,000 years ago, there was religion and it is still very much the same: forces beyond the comprehension of man witnessed through the elements of nature and humanity; the essentials of kindness, gratitude, justice, and sacrifice; the connection between music, people and the divine: the importance of quite reflection. It seems to me that the essential elements are all there. On the other hand, just 500 years ago, people were pretty sure that sickness was a result of imbalanced humors. One thousand years ago, people thought the sun went around the Earth. Science is changing minute to minute. A very large part of what society accepts as scientific "truth" is the result of greed, political agenda, bias, human error, or ignorance. Both religion and science are developed by humans, and humans mess up a lot. That is guaranteed to be the case in 1,000 years as well.

Gervais: Wow! What a well thought out argument. Given that I said that thing about fiction and textbooks in February and it is now the middle of March, your answer was worth the wait. You have given me a new perspective on religion.

Me: Yes, I have that effect on people.

Gervais: You should be the one on Colbert. Let's go right now!

Me: Hooray!

Then I meet Colbert and he and I high-five the whole interview and fly off into the clouds in his hot rod.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

My Lenten Activity Brain Dump: How Liberals Do Lent

     Obviously, we started with chocolate chip pancakes for Maudy Tuesday, because will be a cold day in Hell the day I skip Fat Tuesday. Warren and I WENT TO town of Fat Tuesday, and Amani suddenly decided 9a) she hated happiness and (b) chocolate chip pancakes weren't her thing (aka: hating happiness). She opted to eliminate the middle man and go for straight chocolate chips. (That's my girl!)
     We skipped Ash Wednesday because I wanted to remind God that I am a terrible person, but that's over with, and now I am in it to win it.
     This is what I got on the docket for Lenten practises:

(1) I am trying to do some kind of God-related activity with Amani and Warren on Sundays. The first Sunday we sorted through the Seeds booklets that Amani gets at school. They are cute little pamphlets . They are from Pflaum Publishers, and each contain an activity that corresponds with each week of the Liturgical calendar, They literally take about 5 minutes, and Amani really likes them.
Huh. I also just noticed they have free online activities. I shall check those out and report back.

(2) Amani's preschool also sent home a Lenten Calendar from Creative Communications. We followed a similar one for Advent, and I am hoping to at least do one or two activities from here. One thing they suggest is a Jesus tree, which, from what I am reading, is a lot like a Jesse Tree. If we end up doing that I'll let you know how it goes. If you end up doing it, will you let me know?

(3) We are going to make pretzels. We did this last year, and they were awesome, so we are going to do it again. One of my friends asked me what pretzels have to do with Lent, and I was all, "Wow. You really don't know anything about our Church history, do you?" Naturally then had to turn around and I look it up on Google. The short answer is because it looks like arms folded in prayer. If you want the long answer you can read it at the page I read. Or you can read this page, which I am including mostly because it refers to "holy pretzels" which I find hilarious.

(4) Last Sunday Amani and I made a prayer hand, that we are now using to guide us through bedtime prayers. I got the idea from a few Pinterest pages I follow, but I think the things I chose to focus on for each finger are not really working for us. I chose to focus on "Those Closest to our heart", "Prayers for God's guidance", "Things we are Thankful For", "Confessing our sins", and "Prayers for ourselves". I think I was too focused on making it fit with the correct finger, rather than things that will spiritually feed Amani. It's going fine. Amani is kind of into it, although I think that's primarily because we lay in bed together and cuddle while we do it. She does not like prayer- or being made to do prayer- or doing prayer with me. I don't know. Anyway, it's going fine, but I think I need to tweak it a little. Right now I feel like it is a little overwhelming. I'm thinking our new prayers will include (1) People and animals we love and people and animals who need help (2) Something we are thankful (3) A place we saw God (4) A way we helped (5)Something we will do better tomorrow. It feels a little simpler.

So, that's what I got rolling around in my head for this season. We'll see how it goes, although I'll be damned if we don't do those pretzels. They were GOOD.
What are some things you are planning on doing for Lent?