Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Matter of Faith

Todays's Scintilla prompt is to write about an experience with faith.

I was ten years old the first time I saw my grandfather stand at the pulpit. This handsome, good-natured man transformed into a scary figure. “Damnation and Hell await those who do not believe!” I was stunned. I already knew I had to mind my Ps and Qs around my mother’s family, who lived their lives at a more conservative pace; they did not smoke, drink, dance or play cards. Visits with my mother’s family were sporadic because lived more than a day’s drive away. When I was small, my brothers and I attended Sunday school while the adults went to the service, but now I was old enough for the sermon. At home we attended the staid Presbyterian church, where I often daydreamed, but I did not nod off with my Grandpa at the pulpit.

His flock was engaged by his ranting and scripture quotes, and many of them eagerly skittered to his pulpit when he called for souls who were ready to be saved.

Saved from what?

I envy the faithful, those individuals who yield control of their souls, who believe in the intangible and freely raise their arms and shout, “Praise Jesus.” I don’t get it.

Yet I also envy those who staunchly commit to not believing. I believe in God. I think we should believe in something (just in case), but my faith is nebulous, undefined. I've tried to be one of the faihful, bu my wolf slaps her tail and the sheepskin falls off.

I feel like a foreigner at family reunions; so many of my relatives place their fates in the Lord’s hands, and let the Lord give them a blueprint for their lives.

Consequently I avoid theology discussions with most of my mother’s family. I attend church services when I visit, and I mumble the prayers and sing the hymns at the appropriate times, but in the back of my mind I wonder how much of Christian ideology is fiction. The Bible is a series of stories through multiple voices translated from archaic texts. It’s the human story whose major themes are the basis of western literature. But is it the absolute truth?

I believe in spirituality, but cannot agree that God condemns all non Christians to one way tickets to Hades. The whole concept does make sense.

In The Crucible, and there is a line by Judge Danforth defining people as “either with us or against us.” The black and white either or ideology limits ys humans. We’re all children of God, whoever He or She is. Each culture finds a way to finding Him.

God exists in the interstices of life, as in the marginalia Medieval monks scribbled on the Illuminated Manuscripts.

To quote Hafiz
“God courts us with the beauty of this world."

Here is an exercise: read a story from a Holy book of your choice. Let that inspire your writing.

Happy Writing.

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