Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

I hope everybody had a wonderful Easter. More appropriately, I hope you enjoyed your day off gorging on ham, potato salad, and fountains of endlessly flowing chocolate. Although I'm a little too old for egg hunting, I did chase a bunch of hoodlums through the neighborhood with a BB-gun. Baby Jesus would have been proud, since I had originally given it up for lent.

Over the past few years I've become one of those Holiday Catholics. You know, the people that only go to church on Christmas, Easter, Ash Wednesday, and so forth. The thing is, I sort of slipped away from Catholicism many years ago and started going to a non denominational church where they sing happy music and every one's always so happy to see you, and they have a happy choir, and a happy band, and the Pastor smiles, and people talk, and there are no paintings of Jesus, or Mary, but if there were any, I'm sure they'd be happy too. I was shocked when I first walked into one of these brightly lit, so called churches to see people talking, smiling, clapping, and singing. What the hell is going on here, I remember thinking. Why aren't these heathens spontaneously combusting into flames for these acts of sacrilege? And where is Jesus? Who stole Jesus?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Catholic churches and ceremonies, it is quite the opposite, particularly if you are from Latin America. Let me explain, I'm sure you've all heard of the infamous Catholic Guilt. Well, Hispanics are infamous for adding a little flare to things, as I'm sure you are aware (Who do you think invented spinning rims?). When you go to a Hispanic mass, you are made to feel that you were the one who just killed Jesus. The churches are large cathedrals decorated with somber remembrances of Christ. Every depiction is of him either on his way to crucifixion, or the brutal sanguinary act itself. Jesus is almost always bleeding, and there's always a good one, or two, of Mary holding his lifeless body after he had just died and been stabbed in the side with a spear for good measure. It is always extremely quiet and hundreds of candles adorn the entire church, but mostly at the feet of statues or in designated areas where people are encouraged to light more candles and pray. Usually the only uplifting paintings are symbolically on the ceiling or stained glass windows high along the towering walls. The artwork in these places is out of this world, but so are the attempts to instill copious amounts of guilt and fear. Also, there is never any air conditioning, so you go in your Sunday best to sweat like a whore in church (how convenient). I often wonder if that effect had more to do with strategy than economy.

With all these practices, images, and traditions so intimately interwoven into my religious upbringing and branded to memory, it's no wonder my affair with another religion didn't last very long. I suppose I either became too guilty, or became increasingly suspicious of all the damn happiness. Surely, something was awry, nobody can be happy all the time. And electric guitars? Gimme a break, a dead giveaway of Satan's work. I never did get to the bottom of why lightning bolts didn't rain from the sky to disintegrate all those happy do gooders, but I'm sure they'll get theirs eventually.

My issues with the Catholic Church are probably similar to most people's, like confession, praying to saints, and priests not being able to marry. I have to admit though, I never really believed in those things anyway (well, confession yes, but not to strangers). I guess I've always known that your relationship with God isn't dependent upon those traditions, so following them was never a necessity for me.

Needless to say, I'm still looking for a cult a church with the right combination of good natured people with common sense and an understanding that faith is not defined by anyone other than yourself, and certainly not by tradition, sex deprived pedophiliacs, or a bunch of dudes in funny hats who are more concerned with politics (or who has a bigger hat). Whether you call it salvation or enlightenment, we all have an innate and undeniable desire for our spirits to want a connection with their origin and each other. And I believe that that origin is Love, which many people refer to as God. It's really funny to me that people spend so much time looking for God when he already resides in all of us. When asked if he had found Jesus, Forrest Gump replied, "I didn't know I was supposed to be looking for him". I couldn't have put it any better Forrest, funny how the mind can get in the way sometimes.


Ginormous Boobs said...

I am the same sort of Catholic...actually worse because I pretty much only go at Christmas when I'm home with my family.

I do enjoy it that one time of year though...

Krissyface said...

I am so on the same page as you. Your post made me laugh out loud...Roman Catholics also make you feel like you're the one who killed Jesus and continue to kill him metaphorically because of all your dirty dirty sins.

I have flirted with other religions as well (in NY there is a wonderful church called "Unity" that sounds a lot like the one you went to), but something keeps bringing me back to Catholicism. On holidays, of course. Like you.

It's kind of like that old, tattered sweater that you know looks ugly but just can't throw away because it just feels right.

Mike said...

Come on you need to sweat those sins out.

Mr. Poopie said...

boobs - I hear ya girl. Many of my family members have either become Lutheran, or stopped believing altogether. Kinda makes Christmas a little less Christmasy.

krissy - Absolutely! Interesting how comfortable and right with the world that sweater can make you feel sometimes.

Mike - Lol, I need to sweat them out about as bad as I need to walk the desert for 40 days.

karla said...

Start a new religion! I'll join. No questions asked. G'head, base it on whatever you want, I'll just sign up without reservation. I'm ready for a change. Don't invite Tom Cruise, though. He's creepy.

GMoney said...

I think your blog on this subject was dead on. There are a lot of things that the Catholic Church believes in that can seem a little magoo...I however attend catholic mass on a regular basis and go to confession at least once every other month. I think that the bottom line of this whole church "thing" is summed up by your quote, "Whether you call it salvation or enlightenment, we all have an innate and undeniable desire for our spirits to want a connection with their origin and each other", and this, for millions of people all of the world is the Catholic Church. There are great communities and great teachings within the Catholic Church and I strongly believe that your experience in any given church and with any given priest can determine the feelings you have toward the Catholic Faith. So remember: priests, parishioners, church ushers etc. are all human beings and have the same sins that we have, choose your church wisely and listen attentively and you will get as much as God wants you to get out of the mass. I always ask myself this one question before every's really a statement " God show me today one thing in this mass that will make me the best version of my self" because that is really all God wants for you. So weather it is at a church with electric guitars (I don't recommend this solution) or a catholic mass remember Gods plan....Become the best version of yourself.

G Money OUT...