Tag Archives: religion

Speaking of Heaven

I have not heard from the theologian who cast doubt on the possibility that those who commit serial sin (he was referring to homosexuals, I was thinking war mongers, money changers and churches that cast judgment) will see heaven. I think I know the answer to the question: yes, they will know heaven. They will also know hell. We all do.

My understanding of existential reality tells me that time is extremely fluid and relative to the immediate experience. A minute can be a moment or a millennium, depending on whether you have a limited time to be with someone you love or you’re sitting at the traffic light at the junction of IH-10, Fredericksburg and Woodlawn.

Feels like Heaven, Feels like Hell
There will be moments that pass immediately, only to be remembered forever – the first time ever you saw her face. Moments like that are pure heaven – complete focus on a blissful experience. Then comes the moment you last see her face – grown cold, hard, vengeful. May you never know such hell, but you are likely to come upon your own.

The virtues and cautions embedded in our holy writings and the best of our secular canons can indeed, carry you to heaven. No human experience contradicts the wisdom to know God, honor parentage and love your neighbor as yourself. Do as the good scriptures instruct, and you will know more bliss than blisters. You will have love in your soul and nothing to trouble your heart.

“Or Else”
Indeed, fail to live up to this standard, you know – be human, and you will experience negative consequences. “Treat the Earth and all that dwells thereon with respect,” the Native American 10 Commandments. To the Commandments of all faiths, I would add “or else.” Because if you steal, or kill, or use sacred language profanely, you will experience excruciating consequences. If the system discovers your crime and prosecutes with jail and other penalties, that hurts. But even in the event that no one else knows of your crime, it does not go unpunished. Your consciousness is damaged and no matter how desensitized your heart may be, the Shadow pays you back with Hell.

We do little heavens and hells all day long. The big ones mark us. We may be taught, and live to redeem whatever big sin, but we remember it. And we are certain to know the weight of a grandbaby in our arms, quiet evenings with close friends, spectacular sunrises and other spiritual oases that remain with us for the rest of our days.

The Flashback Dance
Before I died in May 2010, I would talk about “The Flashback Dance.” Knowing that time is relative, I imagined that a person’s last moment of consciousness must seem to be an eternity. If, as reported, one’s “life passes before my eyes,” that last moment will be filled with heavenly memories or hellish recall.

My experience in 2010 did not match the myth. Despite the “Real Story” I have no memory of the moment of death. But then, I am not dead – despite the indications that may have appeared on the instruments of the EMTs or emergency rooms that attended to me (again, I have no memory of this), I came back to life, the incredible medical team at North Central Baptist stabilized me and brought me back all the way to full capacity. So, my lack of a Flashback Dance is no proof that it doesn’t happen.

No Need to Wait – Heaven and Hell are at Hand
As I went through old journals yesterday looking for material for a new edition of SavajCards, I lived through some heavens and hells all over again. I recognize the value of Hell, how it does what it can to indicate how off-track we can get. I don’t want to live through another one, not as big as some of those, so I’ll watch my path and heed the lessons, whether inscribed in a bible or taken from experience.

Mindin’ My Own Morals
One thing I’m sure I won’t do – I won’t tell you where you’re headed, heaven or hell. It’s none of my business, and I am in no position to judge. I’ll warn you if I see you approaching a cliff – I’ll support you in acknowledging yourself and seeking your true bliss, but I’m not tellin’ you what to do or what it may bring. And I suggest that Dr. Gagnon and his students follow a similar policy – mind your own morals (just a suggestion).

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The Truth about Legal Marriage: None of Your Business

We simply must divorce marriage from religion, and religion from the law. Religion is private, the law is public.

You are free to worship as you choose, and practice whatever moral code you wish as long as you do not harm or deny property to someone else. Your sexuality is none of my business, and the sex lives of our fellow citizens are none of our business.

The law is a public commodity, available to all citizens and residents of this nation. If two people are allowed to join in a shared partnership with intentions of remaining so for the remainder of their lives, it makes no difference what gender either person is.

Religion is held by individuals, often in relationship to a religious order – a church, temple, parish, denomination, sect, ashram, faith, circle, whatever. If two people are to exchange vows in front of an assembly gathered in a church, learning of and agreeing to the covenant of marriage with the blessing of that community and their deity – that’s none of our business. It’s a private ceremony. The couple asks the congregation for their blessing and support, and that blessing and support may come with a mutually-held moral code.

The law does not make a marriage last, and neither does religious ceremony. The relationship between two individuals evolves. The community can influence the interactions and decisions the couple make about the relationship, but it does not keep them together nor tear them asunder. So family integrity may be supported by religious belief and fiscal consequence, but it is most certainly not assured.

Thus make no law you cannot enforce. Do not deny couples the right to be together when one is sick. Do not deny couples the right to make a long-term financial commitment, such as a mortgage, together. Do not discriminate against another solely because their morality and views do not agree with yours.

It’s a simple matter of respect. You would not tolerate a ban on heterosexual marriage no matter how many hearts have been broken, people swindled, children traumatized or infidelities committed in the name of marriage.

Now, let’s stop arguing about the stupid stuff and fix the nation.

Wages of Sin

The Catholic Church reaps what it hath sown. I will say this, and those who know the Book will cite my folly, but there is nothing in the teachings of Jesus as they have survived that suggests nor commands celibacy. What little I know of the Bible, I know it isn’t reliable except for two things: it can be used to justify all sorts of inhumanity, and the grace and redemption of Jesus teachings survive to justify all kinds of humanity we aspire to and some achieve.

However, celibacy is an abomination. We are created with a powerful id that far exceeds any necessary procreation. It drives us to great art and very embarrassing stupidity, but it is who we are. If certain persons choose to forego sex out of devotion, so be it, but build it into a global institution and enforce it for generations and I guarantee we are not the first to experience clerical perversion. The role of celibacy in the Church has been a corrupting influence throughout the ages, a patriarchy that enslaves women and damages faith we surely need.

Without true faith, we cannot imagine peace. Without spiritual awareness, we are damned to endless war, cruelty, slavery and crime. The grace of assembling to celebrate love and kindness, to share resources and concern for one another, to sing of our highest aspirations – this is a necessary magic that could bring heaven on earth. Such celebration of our virtues is our only hope and far too important to entrust to evil empires of religious administration.

I’m sorry, but institutionalized Christianity – particularly as expressed in the Holy Roman Church – has proven disastrous. Reform this time must be complete, must overwhelm entrenched wickedness, must resurrect the Goddess and it will take centuries. Pray that the species survives to see the day, celebrate our confidence to utter such a plea, and act accordingly.

Ebb & Kander: They had it comin’, they had it comin’ all along