CHANGES – Part Four
(This may take a bucket of tea/coffee or water
This is something I have not always been aware of, on the contrary.
Yet, as the years went by I realized how much I was still a prisoner of the tyranny of a church that run my life in insidious calamity… A Christian, righteous church, that imposed great moral/ethical/behavioral/biological-sexual standards which, in my experience, lived up to almost none.
Not only did not practice what it preached, it broke my soul as a child with examples of blatant cruelty, with it’s sexual abuse and the hypocrisy accompanying the entire set of circumstances (carrying over until the Vatican decides to step up and get real) while in boarding schools; Where, the well-being and hedonism of the nuns – in general - was translated into physical and emotional/intellectual abuse. Where the “representative of God on Earth” was a degenerate pedophile and the nuns, his heartless/unscrupulous co-conspirators!
That, for me, was the Catholic Church, Christianity – where only one Mother Superior, an another nurse/nun and kind Monsignor Balaguer made life barely worth living to the ripe age of thirteen.
It was also the Christianity of a barbaric History, with its conquests and domination. With its destruction of cultures…I stopped going to church in my mid-late teens. There wasn’t too much to be proud of as a “White Christian” (notice I left out “female”) – I did not want to be associated with such bunch of disembodied, neurotic/delusional derelicts - not that I had the "vocabulary" at the time.
So, their only daughter, my mother, married my father – whom has been strongly rumored was Jewish, by a "malicious" (?) sister-in-law – but the Catholic Church wedding pics and my mother “swear” otherwise (this was in the late 40’s!).
Due to some horrendous mishap (as only God knows the truth), with my mother pregnant, they separated seven moths after their union, to make it a lifetime hobby to hate each and consequently me. One in a covert way, the other in an overt one… which is of little or no importance, as the results after time are one and the same…
My mother being a divorced “hasy” now, was expelled by the (ever forgiving) Catholic Church; ends up re-marrying a Presbyterian, whom, in exile, seeks to find spiritual comfort in his own mother tongue – and forever becomes entangled in the establishment and subsequent preservation of his “ethnic” church.
A typical Sunday for me as a child, would be to attend Catholic mass (as every other day)in boarding school and, if allowed to leave the premises for some fresh air – which was rather seldom, as apparently my behavior did not warrant such privilege (I spoke up often enough – and paid for it!), I would have the opportunity to attend another service at either the Methodist Cathedral or with the visiting ethnic Presbiterian pastor… Whom, later, with the now newly establish church, in the new country, eventually found permanently a place to emigrate from Holland (happened to be living there, also in exile).
Some far more insidious abuse was now taking place at home, the wise new pastor, aware – suspicious of it (as it was soooo obvious!) came himself to “ask me/confirm in person” when I was fifteen… ‘til today, he has done or said nothing about it. Covering up for his “main man”- deacon and “compadre”, and also trying to spare my "churchie" mother - sacrificing the child!
My life was greatly shaped by all these experiences. These same experiences today, made me "return to church", albeit not an RC one, but a Christian one never-the-less, where thus far, I feel I can express myself and I am heard…
She listed for me what else they were doing besides worship, and I volunteered to be the photographer for the “Blessing of the Animals” – can’t be THAT bad I told her, if you welcome animals… (how biased am I ?!), and also to participate in the Social Justice Film Festival Committee, which is more to my liking – doing, instead of giving sanctimonious lip-service and “beatic” appearances.
Clearly, religious practice is only one part of Church, and how we conduct life in our communities is another.
Reeeeeeeally? Maybe not!
If you stop for a few minutes and think of it, you will notice that most of our social behavior/actions stem from one or another precept/dogma/theology of one religion, religious sect or another – and they are completely intermeshed with the dark side of themselves (and each-other) – which are the result of centuries old interpretations and attributions we, humans, mostly man – mortals – have given to it all…
Therefore, it is in our hands to change it all.
"Tomorrow" - as the sun of this day goes down - always holds the promise of a better day!
It is not in the “political arena” and with financial grants that societal changes are going to occur. No way – it is within and from our Religious Institutions – educating themselves and the individuals in it.
As ignorance, naiveté or even innocence stemming from illiteracy, contributes to the true huge and “ongoing evil”.
Illiteracy and poverty that are the sources of so much pain and suffering – of so much “slavery” and meager, squalid situations not only around us – yes, around us – and in all lands around the world, in refugees camps… a lot of it, incredibly, cemented in useless tradition dictated by archaic religious beliefs (Keep ‘em ignorant and hungry and you can do as you please – applies well here, as it is also a widely used political tool too).
I call that "Silent Terrorism" - I know... it sounds sooo strong...
We live this, we breathe this - every minute of the day.
The Church, as the seat of the community is as “dictator of social norm”. Be that a Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, or any other.
Just as with feminism, we must re-mold, re-new our thoughts and behaviors within our churches, within their theology and create permanent truly “evolutionary” changes. Compassionate, loving changes. Changes for all living beings on this earth.
We women, must "reclaim" the churches.
We must reclaim the churches as “the seat of our communities” our social/political/economic/literacy centers.
There is a reason these places “hold soooo much power” over us.
We must cease that power and create a fully integrated, just society we can be proud of.
PS.: And, do not get me wrong - the mere whisper of the word "Christian" still sends shivers up my spine - and it will for as long as it continues to be used as a shield of aggression and superiority.
A recent Stats Canada survey showed that 50% of Canadians are currently illiterate! Going backwards, are we? Apparently this is "on account" of the recent number of illiterate immigrants and those adults that have never admitted to it! This, speaks volumes by itself.
The Feminist Theology course, of course, is "refreshing" all this history... I have the feeling this will be a remarkably cathartic experience. Last night we viewed the film "Arise and Shine" - The "Educade" film, on the Ecumenical Decade - All Churches (World Council of Churches) in solidarity with Women 1988-98, following the UN's Decade for Women ... I believe produced by the Methodist Church. We had some veeeeery interesting exercises and small discussions, as well as couple more man!
Peace, love, harmony, joy and laughter to you my dear ones
Next post: Religion “everywhere”…. How different Religious Institutions jockey for position in our lives… Subliminal, suggestive - catching flies with honey - ahá - mhmmmmmmm!