Paganism

Dec. 21st, 2015 09:14 pm
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Cleopatra's Needle)
When I was little, I had a love of night time. The feeling of God in the velvet darkness of an autumn night, and the crispness in the air in the early summer morning just before dawn, the stars beginning to come out our the clouds passing over the moon. This was a way of reaching out to the Creator and creation that I understood.

When, as an adult, I read a description of the Egyptian goddess Nut, she resonated with me. This was similar to how I thought about God, this was the imagery I responded to.

I prayed and thought and prayed some more, and decided that maybe the Egyptians were right.

I spent some time like this, reading as much Egyptology as I could get my hands on and my head around.

Eventually, more praying and talking lead me back to the faith of my fathers. I still respond well to the imagery of the sky and of Nut, but feel it's more an aspect of comprehension, of communication with the Ineffable. I also have better understanding for both my own religion and other people's.
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Candle)
As a member of the Church Universal, I tend to think of my personal faith as being linked to the community. Thus I love hymns like Faith of Our Fathers, which I have mostly sung while celebrating Mass in abbeys ruined during the dissolution of the monastery and I love the knowledge that I can go into any church in the world and join in and by in a real as well as technical sense a part of the community. The feeling of Communion, of continual unity with other Catholics, is wonderful.

Anyway, this means that although it might not be the first thing some people think of when they hear 'personal religion', I will be answering this in the form of the Nicene creed* (what we say on a Sunday, in the translation currently used in the English speaking Catholic church) with annotations.

I believe in one God )

Lastly, I often talk about the joy of being Christian, I have the LJ interest 'being an Easter people', focus on the light from the Paschal fire warming the church both physical and metaphorical. So I leave you with this thought from the prophet Joel:

Be glad, people of Zion,
rejoice in the Lord your God,
for he has given you the autumn rains
because he is faithful.
(Joel 2:23)




*yes, that's the one which was written at the first ecumenical council, popularly known as the council of Nicaea, where St Nicholas punched a heretic in the face.
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Three-quarters of George Washington's he)
Which I thought was quite an interesting question, mostly because it never occurred to me that people might not be interested.

My first thought was 'well, I got interested in politics when I realised that was a thing I could study and it could be fun, and then it was' which isn't right. And I thought about how we didn't have a lot of money growing up, but honestly, as a child I always had enough to eat, a roof over my head and plenty of books, and thanks mostly to the generosity of others I went to beautiful places to learn beautiful things, so I never felt that I was that badly off.

Then I looked a bit further, and I really think this is a cradle-Catholic thing. I mean, I know there are cradle-Catholics who think differently than me, but in a church universal, that's bound to happen! And of course, other religions might have the same effect, and I'm not claiming that religious people have the monopoly on this kind of upbringing! But it does have an effect.

I'm talking about turning up and hearing '“The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”'(Mark 12: 29-31), we hear 'Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.' (Romans 13:8).

We hear 'When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, neither shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. And you shall not strip your vineyard bare, neither shall you gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner:' (Leviticus 19: 9-10) and 'Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.' (Acts 4:32-34)


Now I know there are problems with taking bible verses out of context, and other people read and interpret differently - but when you start from a baby hearing 'God is love and anyone who lives in love, lives in God' (1 John 4:16), and see your church community turning that into feeding the hungry both literally and metaphorically, it's a pretty easy message to internalise and not a bad roadmap for life.

It's not just me, either: when Colin and I first got together, we were in church and sang this hymn, with which I was previously unfamiliar, and he leant over and said "This is what Christianity is about to me":
Will you let me be your servant,
Let me be as Christ to you?
Pray that I may have the grace to
Let me be your servant too.
ghoti_mhic_uait: (Judith)
There's a song that we sometimes sing at children's liturgy at church. Today being Christ the King, we sang it, and it reminded me of the words Judith used, which I rather prefer:

Who's the king of rock'n'roll, Re[*]?
Who's the king of space?
Who's the king of Mickey Mouse[**]
And who's the king of me?

I'll tell you:
J-E-S-U-S
He's the king of me
He's the king of rock'n'roll
and Mickey Mouse and space


[*] Her name for Andreas
[**] In case you, like me, thought Mickey Mouse was Jewish, apparently Disney have always been careful not to be too firm on the subject of his religion

(It's usually the jungle, sea, universe and me, in case you are lucky enough not to have encountered the song, and were wondering.)

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