flower of the cucumber tree
And today I learned the Amendment for gay marriage did pass. I got my info last night from someone I thought was pulling for it, but it turned out she was not. I got too confused on the thing, as I suspect a lot of people did. To vote against it was to vote for it. It's like AIDS in that way. Negative is positive. Whatever. I have an idea it was strategy to make it confusing. Doesn't matter. I don't have any objections. It's a new world. About 30 years ago somebody from Europe asked me if I thought something like this would ever pass in America. I said, In about 50 years. He didn't think it would at all. Things are changing really fast now, another tradition broken and a new precedent set. Yesterday I went on about Baptists and their general inability to accept that any point of view not their own is valid. That one will have to come crashing down too. Religious traditions are the hardest to crack. And they will crack. This marriage issue is a good wedge to get the process rolling. I don't say this in rejection of Baptists, but because I appreciate Baptists, though having an intimate affinity I am able to see the belief that only their way is the true way undermines itself. Like if I went about believing my opinions were fact, I'd be logjammed in the head and operating on scant information, or facts, considering opinions are not facts. If they were, they'd be called facts.
I've been thinking a lot over the last few days of a bit of a longing I have to go to a Primitive Baptist church from time to time. Can't go occasionally. Have to go all the time or not at all. I can't do that. I can't profess to believe the virgin birth in the way it is interpreted. I can hold with it looking at it another way, that the conception between Mary and Joseph was without lust. That way I'll go with it, but not with a fairy tale. I have no problem with Joseph as sperm donor. I have no problem with the Holy Spirit being a part of the process. Of course the Holy Spirit was there. So what, he got to watch. Big deal. That's the least of what the Holy Spirit has seen. This is earth, after all. We all have bodies made of the earth and the ways of the earth. I see no reason to deny it. It's the spiritual body, the soul that manipulates our physical forms like a hand inside a hand puppet, which is dead without the hand. The hand, of course, is consciousness, the soul. I'm not able to make an oath to adhere to 17th century protestant theology. I may agree with much of it. Nonetheless, much has happened and collective human consciousness has advanced rather remarkably since then. I cannot bypass the 20th Century as if it never were. I believe it is the greatest century civilization has seen.
The cliche used to deny the 20th Century is that Nietzsche (19th Century) wrote that God is dead. So believers go crazy that somebody said God is dead. A whole lot worse than that has been said. And so what if somebody said it. That doesn't mean it's a fact. So a German philosopher said it. It's the same as if anybody else said it. To people who have no connection with God, God is the same as dead, sure enough. God responds to the people who believe. Evidently, it takes believing to make the connection that God responds to. I can't see my mind, but I believe it is inside my head. It's going all the time, but I can't see it, can't touch it. The brain can be touched, but I'm inclined to see the mind a very thin membrane over the brain, very thin, electrical currents, very fragile, nebulous. I don't know about research about the brain, couldn't even read about it with understanding. I'm going by my own experience with my own mind and the minds of people I know, as well as my pets. They have mind too. I am not going to take for an authority on anything about God a philosopher who investigated truths, but never went as far as to reach the Truth. Nietzsche could not see far enough. Like before I found that God indeed Is, I could not see through the smokescreen of religion to the consciousness on the other side.
Another problem I have with church of any sort is that I'm expected to toe the line when it comes to being like I'm supposed to be to be a member. Like I have to tell somebody from time to time, I don't do s'posed to. I don't even respect people who do very much. That's getting awfully nit-picky, given that American culture is absolutely about conformity to the way of the mob. Supposed to is so high school. I'm not in high school any more. Jehovah's Witnesses at the door one day were showing me a book full of pictures about the history of the world or something equally profound. One said, "What does this look like to you?" I said, "A children's book." I was informed that Americans have the reading level of 4th grade. I said that may be so, but I'm not one of them. They asked what I read. What could I say? Adult books. Oh shit! XXX He must buy his reading at "Adult" book stores. He must be a pornographer. This guy reads adult books. I encouraged them to leave. They quit coming by here soon after that silly encounter.
One of the aspects of the Primitive Baptists I appreciate the most is that they are not missionaries. They don't go around asking people if they're saved. I have found that the Primitives in Christendom are the only ones that speak to me. I love a good Primitive Baptist meeting. The singing primarily. The preaching sometimes is good, too. Every one I've heard passes the test. That is, they speak with the authority of the spirit. They tend not to bring politics into the meeting house. I have a great respect for many of them as Bible scholars, in the real sense of the word scholars. When I talk Bible with one of them, it's from a learning perspective on my part. I may or may not agree with a given interpretation, but if I don't agree, it makes me investigate why, because I'm facing somebody who has really studied it, not just thought about it. I am happy unto tears in a Primitive Baptist meeting. The spirit there speaks to my heart. The people there I have a heart feeling with. Still, I have the issue that I am on my own path, a pilgrim on my own way. I can pass through churches, but I can't lock down to one. I can't give my decision making over to anyone. I'm going to go to the liquor store when I want to buy some Wild Turkey Rye, and I don't need anybody telling me they heard I was seen coming out of the liquor store with a bottle in my hand. Yeah, that's right, I did leave the store with a bottle in my hand. I took it home and drank it. It's in the trash now, empty. Then you can't be a member of our church. I already knew that. I don't conform to coffee house political correctness either.
In the way of thinking that I am supposed to view myself a worm in the dirt, that's easy enough when I consider the cosmos, God, reality. But I don't hold with beating self-esteem down to wormness because some theologian in the distant past made a good case for it. It's about humility, which is itself, and it's not wormness. My friend Jr Maxwell was the most humble man I've known, most genuinely humble, meaning it from the heart, and with understanding. He did not go to church. I am able to see value in people in church and people out of church. I can't give all my attention over to one bunch of people who call themselves the good, and turn my back to people they might call the bad, when I don't necessarily see it that way. I have friends who are not in the way as well as friends who are. I believe an honest atheist is more honorable than a hypocritical Christian. I don't want to be surrounded by people who believe just as I believe. I want variety in the people I know. I can respect a man with prison in his past as much as anybody considered righteous. Every individual's relationship with God is his/her own; it's private and not to be meddled in.
I do better on my own at anything. I've always worked alone and lived alone, that is, since I've been on my own. Last week, Justin helped be build a frame for the new painting. I didn't know what to do. I'm so accustomed to making frames by myself that having an assist I didn't know how to handle. That's how it is with my spiritual life; it's mine of my own experience. Somebody tells me the Buddhists are invalid, or the Hindus are devil worshippers, I say, go on and believe it if you have to. I call that thinking unconscious colonialism. What I'm getting at is I see God in a very different light. For me, God is not a judge sitting in a cloudy courtroom counting my sins, making a list, checking it twice like Santa Claus. For me, God is the mother hen with the chicks under her wings. The God I know loves me so much that my sins aren't even something to notice. They take care of themselves by karma in an ongoing way. My God loves me so much I can't even imagine being able to love so much in return. Having a physical body is hindrance enough, let alone my psychology that is a barrier in itself. God knows that. God is patient. God knows very well that a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do. It's not like we're in spirit form, unless we are and don't know it.