Monday, January 02, 2006

The Dead End Road

“That path only leads to a dead end road.” These were words once spoken to me by a priest at a Catholic church that I used to attend. I was twenty years old and just recently met Madelene. I also recently just came out of the closet, so I had a lot of conflicting issues to deal with. Twelve years ago, I was out of control. Madelene had to put up with a lot. (More than she does now.) Usually, when someone first comes out of the closet, they seem to have no direction whatsoever—and if they do, they’re lucky.

I had none. No direction. I was dating two women at one time. I think there was an ex-boyfriend lingering in there somewhere as well. I wasn’t promiscuous--however, I wasn’t a saint as well. This was all new to me, yet, I knew all my life that I was gay—I just never acted on it.

To protect the innocent, I must use ‘anonymous names here’. I remember dating “Tammy”. She was thirteen years older than me. I was only twenty and she was thirty-three years old. She was straight from Texas, and had a sense of humor like no other. After working at the office in New Jersey, my friend Jimmy and I would swing by the local pub for happy hour. There she was--this beautiful “Marilyn Monroe look-alike” tending bar.

“You know she’s gay, right?”
“Her???”
I said, in disbelief.
“Yeah, she’s gay, she lives with her partner down the road.” Jimmy said, with a sparkle in his eye.

I couldn’t believe this woman was a lesbian. I stereotyped lesbians to posses certain traits; a look that would say, “Hey, I’m gay!” Yep, I was one of those people I detest ‘now’. I just sat there and stared at her in awe. Her platinum blonde hair, those big blue eyes that almost look right past your soul, and her perfect teeth smiled at you as she walked over to ask what you were having.

“Hi darling, whaddya’ have?” She asked, as she lit my cigarette before I could even glance at my lighter.
“Oh…Thank you…Umm…Just an Amstel please.”
“Oh, Tammy, this is Debbie, I work with her at my office.”
Jimmy said, hoping to see if any connection would be made. But…she was already taken.
“Oh really? Why Miss Debbie, it sure is a pleasure to meet you.”
She said, with her sexy Texan accent. She shook my hand---with her left hand. She was washing a glass at the time, and only had her left hand available, but for some reason, I never forgot that handshake.

We became instant friends. We hung out all the time. I found myself sitting at her bar plenty times watching her unique bartending techniques---which later on I used myself. The only thing I didn’t have going for me were her double D cups. Oh yeah- she was a bit hit with all the men that lined up for drinks at that bar.

Tammy was still living with Paula. They were going through a rough patch at the time. Paula was planning to move out. Paula worked the night shifts, and of course, Tammy always invited me over for cocktails and dinner, while Paula was at work. Why I felt no guilt about this---I have not one clue. It was over, right? My immature and newly ‘outed’ mind said it was “okay”. What did I know about love and other people’s feelings? I was selfish back then, and didn’t realize I was actually hurting someone else. I was hurting Paula.

Madelene knew that I was seeing Tammy. I didn’t want a monogamous relationship at the time. Madelene being ten years older than me, wanted an exclusive relationship, but I couldn’t offer her one back then. I drove Madelene crazy. I remember once bumping into Madelene while I was with Tammy. This was most uncomfortable. Both knew I was seeing the two of them, and both knew I was ‘confused’. Tammy didn’t care—because she didn’t want an exclusive relationship either. She just got out of a relationship, and wanted to just ‘see people’.

“Well Miss Maddie, sure is a pleasure to meet your acquaintance.” Tammy said, as she extended her arm out to shake Madelene’s hand. She said this in a belittling type of tone. It definitely wasn't sincere. Madelene just shook her hand and stared at her—as though she was plotting her death. Tammy glanced over at me with these eyes that watched every emotion that flowed through my veins. She was wiser beyond her years---and perceptive to other people’s reactions. My mother used to call her, ‘the old broad’, because she acted as though she was some fifty year old white trash broad, with absolutely no couth. Her ability to down five martinis without slurring a word was a talent all in itself.

As Tammy sat there along with Madelene, I had to end this meeting quickly.
“Tammy, let’s go…” I was already driving Tammy around in my car, and had no other option but to take her home. I wasn’t even able to talk to Madelene alone, because she was there by herself, and it was just the three of us awkward birds sitting there trying to pretend there wasn’t anything wrong with this screwed up predicament.

I felt such guilt about that evening; leaving Madelene there, sad and upset to see me leave with another woman. I loved the both of them. I was confused. I had fun with Tammy, however, she was heavily into drugs and alcohol. Sometimes she would even forget my name. With Madelene, we were a lot alike, but we had enough differences to keep it interesting.

Feeling torn and confused, I went to confession. I was raised Catholic, and didn’t seek out other churches or religions. I thought I was stuck ‘being Catholic’. I didn’t know I had options. I remember walking through the huge church doors into the foyer. The church we have here is almost as big as the St. Patrick’s church in NYC. It’s so big and so beautiful—you’d think you were in heaven itself.

I had to wait on a line to get into confession. It was a Wednesday afternoon at 4pm. It looked like a half off sale at Macy’s. There were only women standing on line. As soon as I walked in, their eyes glanced at me. Were they relating to me? Or were they already judging me? I felt as though they knew I was in there to tell the priest behind the gate I was gay. I could just hear their thoughts, “Oh would you look at the dyke who just walked in?” Paranoia got the best of me, and my mind went frantic trying to ‘hear their thoughts’ as I waited there in line---with the rest of the sinners, ironically enough.

Soon enough, it was my turn. It reminded me of my psychiatrist. I’m always the last one to talk to these guys. They’re already drained listening to other people’s problems, and then I come strolling in to talk about my lesbian issues.

“Father it’s been…ummm….quite a while since I’ve been to confession…” I said, not knowing the ‘procedure’ of confessing and the proper prayers or words to say as a ‘good Catholic’ should.
“Child, tell me your sins.” He says, in this authoritative voice.
“Well, I’m confused. I’m dating women, and I don’t want God to be upset with me.”
“What do you do with these women?”
He asked in a creepy sort of way. He didn’t even make it clear of what he was referring to.
“Huh?”
“Well what do you do with these women in order for you to think it’s a sin?”
“Well, I’m intimate with them. I’m dating women, and I’m confused.”
“You know that this path only leads to a dead end road, right?”
He says. What nerve! The man “in the closet” is telling me that my life was a dead end road. Even in the bible it clearly states that it’s sometimes better to be ‘alone’…and not partnered up with someone—regardless of sexual preference.

Here’s a scripture that tells us how marriage can actually put us on a ‘dead end road’—so to speak:

Now let me say this, dear brothers and sisters: The time that remains is very short, so husbands should not let marriage be their major concern. Happiness or sadness or wealth should not keep anyone from doing God’s work. Those in frequent contact with the things of the world should make good use of them without becoming attached to them, for this world and all it contains will pass away. In everything you do, I want you to be free from the concerns of this life. An unmarried man can spend his time doing the Lord’s work and thinking how to please him. But a married man can’t do that so well. He has to think about his earthly responsibilities and how to please his wife. His interests are divided. In the same way, a woman who is no longer married or has never been married can be more devoted to the Lord in body and in spirit, while the married woman must be concerned about her earthly responsibilities and how to please her husband. I am saying this for your benefit, not to place restrictions on you. I want you to do whatever will help you serve the Lord best, with as few distractions as possible. ~1 Corinthians 7:29-35

Three years later, I converted to Christianity. The judgments of the church and the ‘you’re doomed’ attitudes left a bad taste in my mouth. God loves all of us—regardless of who we love. God knows our hearts and motives. What right does any human have, telling us that we’re going to have a life that leads into a ‘dead end road’? I was really discouraged hearing this come out of a priest’s mouth; most of all, hearing the priest inquire of the ‘activities’ that were done behind closed doors with the people I was intimate with. I’ll never forget that. He almost sounded aroused as he asked me these horrifying questions. I do believe, whether you’re a priest, nun, pope or anyone on that level of ‘respect’---they are just ‘people’. If you rely on people’s judgments, you will always be disappointed. I had to learn this the hard way. I made many mistakes down the road relying on what other people thought. The only thing that matters to me, is what God thinks of me. And I know he loves me unconditionally. Can a human love unconditionally I wonder?

Needless to say, my relationship with Tammy ended due to the extreme lifestyle she led that conflicted with mine. She did get help, and went into a rehabilitation program. I was proud of her for doing this. We left off as friends. I never thought bad of her due to her life choices, I just know she was going through a very hard time. She was one of the most amazing women I have ever met in my life. She had the ability to make you laugh, even if you were crying hysterically. She had a talent for people—she was intuitive and almost knew what you were feeling. This is what made her an incredible bartender---as well as an incredible person all around. Her drug problem didn’t have a reflection on what I thought of her. In fact, she had to go through that, in order to learn things—as we all do. We all have different crosses to bear, and who am I to judge? I’m just happy I came across such a unique person. I miss her--and would love to see how she’s doing ‘today’. She moved back to Texas, and I believe she got married to a very nice man.

Lately I’ve been noticing that too many people put an emphasis on ‘being with someone’. They’re afraid to be alone. They think if they’re not married by a certain age, that they’ll always have an unhappy life. In my beliefs, if we rely on God, and make Him number one in our lives, we’ll always be headed in the right direction.

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” ~Psalm 32:8

Is it that we don’t believe what God promises? I was guilty of this too. That’s why I walked into confession. I wanted the priest to give me those magic words of wisdom to make my homosexuality go away—so that I can live the ‘normal life’, and get married with children. Did I really want this though? If I went down that path, would my life be better? Would I have ever been able to write? Would I have to run after my kids before spitting a word out into my book or blog? Do you think I would have any time at all for the things I love? Personally, ‘for me’, my life would be very unhappy if I did go that route. For others—that’s “their passion” in life; to raise a family. Everyone has a different path. We don’t have to all cram onto one little walkway.

Never regret your past. It’s what makes you who you are today. I love this next scripture—which helped to remind me that the present time is what we need to focus on:

Don’t long for “the good old days,” for you don’t know whether they were any better than today. ~Ecclesiastes 7:10

Sure we can sit and reminisce about the good ol’ days, but if we can try to enjoy our journey and look forward to what God has planned for us, we’ll probably have a better outlook on life. That was a huge problem for me. I always looked at the past. “What ifs” went through my mind like a roaring fire. I couldn’t get rid of those constant obsessive thought patterns. They flooded my mind and threw me into a hole of depression. Our minds are sometimes our worst enemies.

Back when I was twenty years old, I was very insecure—about everything. I wasn’t pretty enough, I wasn’t thin enough, I wasn’t smart enough, and I didn’t ‘have enough’. Today, it’s much different. Of course I have insecurities that are normal, but I don’t torture myself with thoughts of, “Why don’t I look like her? How come I’m not skinny and a size four? Why don’t I have more money?” It’s immaterial to me.

I used to let what other people said, affect my way of looking at things. I needed to get married by the time I was thirty, I needed to have kids by the time I was forty and I needed to have enough money for my future. Everything focused around money and relationships. I lost touch with God and focused way too much on what ‘everyone else’ thought was most important. I failed, because I didn’t have a passion for other people’s goals.

Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from what we believe; they will follow lying spirits and teachings that come from demons. These teachers are hypocrites and liars. They pretend to be religious, but their consciences are dead. ~1 Timothy 4:1-2

People—mere humans we rely on. We value their opinions and judgments as if they were God Himself. I’ve been to churches where they would say, “Well God hates the sin, but loves the sinner.” God hates? This is news to me. Meanwhile, they have their own demons to contend with. Hypocrites of the church will sit in those pews every Sunday like clockwork and yet not have one clue about what unconditional love is—and how God is “all love.”

Did I have the perfect life? No! Do I regret not having the perfect life? Not at all. If I didn’t go through all that I did when I was younger, I wouldn’t have learned all I know today. Don’t ever regret your past---whatever it is you went through. If God brought you to it---He’ll get you ~through~ it. There’s a reason for everything that happens to us. We just need to realize that relying on other people’s judgment and approval will drive us insane.

Remember the priest I went to confession to? Well he was charged with sexual molestation. He molested young boys in his parish. The whole town was stunned at the news that they heard. My family was shocked to hear that our own priest was among the many Catholic priests that committed this crime. All the people in our town were talking amongst themselves of the horrible sin that the priest committed. “How awful for our priest to do this terrible act on our children!” the people said as new ears caught word of this news. It made headlines in the news, and soon enough, more and more spotlights have shown upon other priests that committed the same crime. More families came out in the open accusing other priests of doing the same thing. The ripple affect had taken center stage. All of the priests, who had taken part of these sad crimes, confessed and apologized on numerous occasions. People all over were throwing every stone they can get their hands on. Remember, no sin is greater than another. We all sin, whether we think it is big or small, a sin is a sin. We're human--and that means we have weaknesses.

Jesus goes on to say about casting the first stone, and judging others based on the sins in their life. I’m sure most of you know this story, but those of you who are not familiar with it; I want to share this with you from the book of John in the bible.

“A Woman Caught In Adultery”

Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and Pharisees brought a woman they had caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, stone her. But let those who have never sinned throw the first stones!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. Then Jesus stood up again and said to her, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” ~John 8:1-11

My point is, we’re all human. We all judge to some extent sometimes. Everyone falls short. I know I do, and it’s just sad when people have to remind us of it. Let’s focus on our own crosses to bear and stop the judgments that are passed around so freely. Let’s start loving one another more and being more open-minded to different ways of living.

If we continue to judge and criticize others---then this quote would be appropriate…As the priest said to me in ‘his closet’,

"That path only leads to a dead end road.”

67 comments:

Saur♥Kraut said...

Oooh! I get firsties today!

An excellent, well-written and well-thought out post, as always. There are some parts I don't entirely agree with, but it's another work of art and I really respect you a great deal for your in-depth and honest self-analysis.

She was straight from Texas, *LOL* An unintentional pun...

green said...

I found it interesting when you said you were Catholic and then converted to Christianity.

Having never been Catholic, I find this interesting. Isn't Catholicism part of the Christian church?

Anyway, the point that you make about us all being human and therefore imperfect sinners is so true. We all have our crosses to bear, and some bear them better than others.

I think that the scripture you quoted were very relevant.

Another very well written post, ~deb. Thanks.

Mike said...

Kudo's again on the post. I was wondering if this was a priest who was going to get caught on molesting after hearing he wanted intimate details during confession.

Chloe' Gardner said...

That was wonderful Deb- I'm so proud of you for how far you've come. We've all had confusion reign and wreck havoc in our lives during one point or another. I'm glad you didn't give up, or listen to that horrible priest. I'm glad you listened to God instead and became the person you are today :0) *Hugs*

Stacy-Deanne said...

Damn Deb was this a post or a book? LOL! I'm just kidding I really enjoy everything you write about even if I don't always comment. Believe me, I'm here a lot. Stay strong, sister.

kathi said...

I'm gonna e you. Love you.

kathi said...

Believe me darlin, your book is NOT homework. It's pleasure, totally and completely.

~Deb said...

Thank you Kathi!

The Stevo in H-Town said...

Now ~deb...You know I ain't no priest or nuthin' like that but wouldya mund fillin' ME in on the details..whenya committed those sinz....what wereya wearin'?...

Anthony said...

If you pause on the road too long, you'll get run over.

Bhakti said...

Whoa! Deb, you know I love you, but I can't let this comment go by without saying a few words: (you wrote) Christianity does stem from Catholicism....

Sorry, but this statement is false. "Christianity", by it's very suffix, denotes absorption in 'Christ'. The first 'church' was the Apostolic Church, which, of course, was enabled when the fledgling community of Apostles was told to "Go and make disciples of all nations" (Mt.28:19), by the Holy Spirit. This unified Apostolic Church is (obviously) defined in the Apostles Creed.

It is my belief that Jesus wanted a unified 'church' to spread his message. However, as humans will be human, His teachings have been bastardized, dissected, and chopped up to meet the aforementioned human's desires to be 'the best' of all religions. That's a shame. The Truth that we are seeking is right within us. This is shown in the Bible over and over again, yet most 'churches' tend not to teach this. Perhaps the people doing the preaching are not yet Self-realized. Here's an example of this Truth--off the top of my head: "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus now taking the form of the Holy Spirit. The "spirit" that the New Testament is talking about is (in my experience) That which is breathing us; That which is making our hearts beat; That which was already there when we were born, and will remain when we leave our bodies.

Catholicism did not precede Christianity. Catholicism is a mere branch of the entangled web of the humanized teachings of Christ.

I loathe quoting the Bible, because, like I stated in an earlier comment, the Truth of the Bible is found in the space between the words, just as the Truth can be found in the space between each breath we take; each heart beat, the silence between each spoken words, etc. In other words, all of these words that I've written are actually useless in finding the true experience. There is no truth in words. There is only Truth in direct experience.

Cheers,
Bhakti

Bhakti said...

OOpsy daisy--I forgot to mention how much I enjoyed this post! Yikes!

Alright, I have to go put my soap box away...

G'nite!

Genna said...

Deb,

You always inspire me! I think this is your best post. I loved this. It is beautiful that you could share this history and insight with us.

I totally agree with what you said. And I am glad that Madelene hung in there with you. I wish you a very, very blessed year.

(((HUGS)))))

~Deb said...

Stevo: Hmm…Are you my old priest incognito?

Anthony: True…very true…

Bhakti: Thanks so much for your comment. The statement isn’t false---both religions focus on “Christ”----Christianity is based on the “word” of God—which is written in the bible. I do believe that we must interpret it correctly; God speaks to us in many ways. What’s most important is our ‘relationship with God’---not what some priest tells us ‘how to pray’ or ‘when we should go to church’. Being a “Christian” for *me personally* means that my relationship with God is personal. No priest or pastor can tell me, “Hey, this is right, and this is wrong…” Because he is human. Humans are inadequate---so I go to the source.

I also do not pray to Mary, the mother of God. I do believe in her and respect her, but I don’t worship her as many people who are Catholic do. I do not pray to the saints nor worship them as well. A lot of people who are Catholic rely on the saints for many different reasons.

Christianity and Catholicism are similar in the ways of “Jesus is the one who died for our sins”…But as far as “religion” (I don’t even like using that word) I think the reason why I went into Christianity was because they had more enthusiasm for God. It wasn’t so redundant going into mass every Sunday. When I walk into a church that’s ‘spirit filled’----it makes a big difference on my outlook.

I quote the bible because I live by the word of the bible. I also interpret the bible and many people may bible thump me right on my head---but I have a relationship with God that tells me, Jesus died for “me” and “you” on the cross---to pay the full price for all our sins. The ‘good word’ of the bible is just that…good!

Thanks for your thought provoking comment!

Genna: Thank you. I always get inspired with your posts as well. Being that we’re from the same faith and we have a personal relationship with Jesus, it makes it that much easier to get the grips of ‘religion’ off of us, and cling to God. Thanks for your encouraging words! {{hugs to you too}}

Pieces of Me said...

Hi! I actually came over here from Romey's! I have also converted to christianity...I was catholic. I never understood why we had to pray to mary or saints or confess to a priest...I am glad I made the switch! I am sorry for what the priest told you but it seems like you are a smart, strong girl...good luck with everything...TTYL

The Stevo in H-Town said...

myfathercanplaydominoesbetterthanyourscaaaannnn...



Pope Joan

Leesa said...

~deb: Sorry that you had such a bad experience in the confessional. There are bad eggs in every religion, and I am not sure the priest knew enough about Catholic doctrine or compassion to be helpful.

I have experiences some bad eggs myself, and the stench can turn one off to religion altogether. Glad you found a comfortable alternative!

~Deb said...

Pieces of me: Welcome—glad you stopped over. That’s another thing! I didn’t want to confess to a priest anymore. I feel that we can confess with our mouth & heart to God, and know that we are forgiven. Thanks for bringing that up…and thank you for your comment.

Stevo: Myfathercandowntwelveshotsofmoonshinequickerthanyourscan

~Jenna Bush

Leesa: Well, I guess he was just ‘human’ himself. I’m not blaming my conversion because of that alone; I just didn’t believe in all that Catholics due, re: praying to saints and Mary…etc. There’s bad eggs everywhere you go…which is why I no longer rely on people to reinforce my faith in God. Thanks Leesa!

The Stevo in H-Town said...

I guess I set my standards too high when it comesta preachers, priests, evangelists, etal., Them bastards better live an exemplary life before I consider anything that comes outta their pie-hole az "gospel"...

Yourz truly,
Jay Did
and
Cyn E. Cal

The Stevo in H-Town said...

Btw, How inda Hell duz a priest "pray for your forgiveness" with one hand"?...jus' askin'..

Casually Me said...

Those priests they have the background, and the reputation to serve all of your pedophillic needs. Kidding. You have your world together, let them be jealous, not judge.

Danielle said...

Happy New Year gurl, I have to go finish reading the post now!

SignGurl said...

I'm glad I read through all of the comments today.

I also took notice of your conversion from Catholicism to Christianity. I have always been confused by this statement. I have several friends (including my husband) who are Catholic and refer to my Christianity. I was taught in the church that if you believe in Christ and his teachings, you are a Christian regardless of your denomination.

I went through all of the classes to be able to be married in the Catholic church. I can only say that I was treated as a heathen and was considered religionless even though I was very much a part of my own church. I'm not sure why I was made to feel that being less than Catholic was considered a sin. Needless to say, I did not convert to Catholosim nor do I attend a Catholic church with my husband.

I hope this didn't come across as rude as it's not meant to be. I'm just confused by the attitudes and teachings of the Catholic church. My church teaches that we are all one people worshiping one God regardless of our church affiliation.

Thought provoking post, Deb. Thanks!

Bhakti said...

Deb, I didn't say that I loathed the fact that you quote the Bible, I said I don't like to quote the Bible...specifically because, like I said, the Truth of the Bible is so beyond it's words. So beyond semantics. Don't get me wrong, I love the Bible and read it often.

As far as your 'Christianity' vs. 'Catholicism' beliefs, I've already said what I think, and I'll leave it at that. I'm not going to argue with you over (organized) 'religion', which has about as much to do with Jesus as my left toe.

BTW--I am not Catholic, and I often pray to Mother Mary and many of the Saints. Not because they are deemed to be 'Catholic', but because they were Self-realized and annihilated the ego in such a way that all that was left was God and God alone.

It is my experience that nothing exists in this world but God. Nothing but God. Love.

Bhakti said...

Hey, BTW--I just checked my Dictionary of Religion, which is a reference book I use often in my work--and it clearly states that Catholicism is a subdivision of Christianity:

Catholicism the largest of the three major Christian subdivisions (Catholicism, Protestantism, Orthodoxy).

Let me offer you the definition of Christianity:

Christianity Christianity is the religion that honors Jesus Christ as its founder and as the object of its worship.
The three largest branches of Christianity, in order of their numerical strength, are traditionally given as Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox.


Again, I did not propose these definitions as a defense on my stance. It's just that facts are facts.

green said...

~deb and bhakti: what a can of worms I opened with my original comment!

But I do need to add this:

I agree with bhakti in that Christianity did not come from Catholicism. But Catholicism came from Christianity, probably when Constantine decided that Christianity was now the official religion of the Roman Empire in 300 something AD. I think That pronouncement made many people "Christians" in name only. People who used to worship all of the gods in the Roman pantheon. I think that's where Catholicism gets some of its very paganistic qualities and traditions. And that's why the hub of the Catholic church is in Rome...

Now when you say that you converted from Catholicism to Christianity, perhaps you mean converted from Catholicism to Protestantism, which indeed evolved from Catholicism with Martin Luther, yada yada yada.

But it is true that our denomination does not matter and that we are all Christians if we believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, yours and mine.

And ~deb, its okay to be a Bible Thumper. After all, if we as Christians don't defend the Bible, who will? And yes I know the Bible in and of itself does not need a lame human defense but I think you know what I mean.

Bhakti said...

Hey GREENY--I wasn't labeling Deb as a 'Bible thumper'. I said (myself a Christian), that I loathe for MYSELF to quote the Bible. It's too personal an experience for me to quote it--merely because the words, to me, are not the essence. The essence is the Spirit (Shakti) that flows through the words while in private contemplation. I don't EVER expect anyone to see my point of view by merely quoting the Bible. That's futile.

To be sure, the Bible is a sacred text. My entire point is that it doesn't need to be defended by mere humans. It will stand on it's own without any help from mere mortals. Defense of one's religion is futile, because all paths lead to the same door. Nothing exists but manifestations of God.

I trust that Deb knows I am not attacking her here. I have been a theologin for my entire life (well, since I was 8), and I was merely stating the historical fact that Catholicism is a subdivision of Christianity. Catholicism came to the fore during the Protestant Reformation period.

Bhakti said...

See, this is why I told you that I would never discuss politics or debate religion with you. So, this is the end of my stance on this issue.

Whatever gets you there, gets you there, and that's all that matters.

Much love,
Bhakti

green said...

bhakti: I know you weren't labeling ~deb as a Bible Thumper. I used that term becasue she used it. And there still is nothing wrong with that, either.

I'm sure ~deb will realize that yo were not attacking her - she's an intelligent woman, afterall. I was just trying to provide a little clarification to the "which came first debate".

And I agree that the Bible can stand on it's own without help from humans.

But I will agree to disagree with you (without starting a debate, here) when you say that "Defense of one's religion is futile, because all paths lead to the same door. Nothing exists but manifestations of God."

Prata said...

Oh joy...this was interesting. Now I was all prepared to go on and say somethin' smart, but this is what I came up with....

Isn't the bible...a man made work? Yeah..I'm certain it is. So let's ask then, if that holy spirit thing that I see tossed about in the 'good book' guided these people to write what they did; what changed first your god or humanity?

Nice posting by the by, and the comments were impressive. ^_^

~Deb said...

Bhakti: You said:

"Christianity is the religion that honors Jesus Christ as its founder and as the object of its worship."

This is what I believe. As a Christian, I believe that Jesus has died for me, (us) on the cross for our sins. How complicated is that? Doesn't have to be. I didn't take your comment as argumentive at all. I'm no bible thumper, I just quote scriptures in the bible because either they're a great reference or the fact that it's one of my favorites. There are some beautiful scriptures in the bible.

I don't go by "religion", I go by Jesus. That's all. You can call me Christian, or whatever you'd like---as long as you know that my love and faith is all in Jesus----He is the only way 'for me'.

Thank you so much for the interesting comments!

Prata said...

Ack. Left out a whole paragraph! What part of the game is that??? lol

Not being a very learned individual...and being distraught by that whole christian thing *geeks out* what other religions say, 'we are all going to the same place...and that place is my deity's place...you just don't know it yet.'?

I know mine doesn't. So eh. I'm a little disturbed at that kind of mentality.

Bhakti said...

re: Christianity is the religion that honors Jesus Christ as its founder and as the object of its worship.

I didn't say that; that's the definition in the Harper Collins Dictionary of Religion. I do believe this, though.

re:I don't go by "religion", I go by Jesus. That's all. You can call me Christian, or whatever you'd like---as long as you know that my love and faith is all in Jesus----He is the only way 'for me'.


I didn't label you as 'Christian': You did in your post. You know I hate labels. There are no boundaries anywhere. There is only consciousness.

And Greeny: But I will agree to disagree with you (without starting a debate, here) when you say that "Defense of one's religion is futile, because all paths lead to the same door. Nothing exists but manifestations of God."


The above comment is my experience. I LOVE the fact that you circumvented a debate by agreeing to disagree. I honor your integrity and intelligence. Thank you.

Bhakti said...

Prata: For clarification-- 'We are all going to the same place...' There is no place to 'go to'. What we are searching for is right here, right now, within our own hearts. Enlightenment is only a breath away. We already have That which we are searching for.

(Sorry Deb, so much for not discussing religion) F*ck--

*all points bulliten*: Anyone who wants to know my spiritual experience can visit my blog. I must leave Deb's comment section alone.

I'm a dyke.
I'm a Christian, a Hindu, and a Jew.
I have come from That which created me; and I will dissolve back into That which created me when I die.
It's not complicated at all.
Only the mind--thoughts--complicate things.
Enlightenment is a no-brainer,
literally.
Aum (Sanskrit version of the Greek Amen).

Cheers eVeryOne. ;)

Crassius Maximus said...

Nice, important, post. I just wish I could find something more meaningful to post about other than football and chicks' asses. Oh well, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go work on my 7 step drop after I look at some porn.


On the serious tip, being born a Roman Catholic, the Catholic religion made me feel not worthy, and always guilty of something.

~Deb said...

Prata: Yes, a lot of people go by that faith---that all roads lead to Rome. That’s “okay”, if they do believe that. For me, it’s different, because my faith leans on Jesus is ‘the only way’. And that’s just “me”. I don’t condemn or look down upon anyone who believes or practices another religion, but I do get a little perturbed when someone tells me the definition of what my religion “should be”… It’s all a ‘personal journey’ for everyone---for whatever they believe in. Thanks for your comment Prata!

Bhakti: You said, “I'm a Christian, a Hindu, and a Jew.” Yet you don’t like to be labeled. Hmm. You’re a bit of a walking contradiction if you are going with those three religions----“or”------you must be Unitarian. I’m not labeling you per se, but if I say, “I’m Christian”-----that means, I believe that Jesus died on the cross for me---and that He is the only way to get into heaven. (BUT—that is just “my” belief.) For someone else, they pray to Allah, they worship Buddha or they simply follow another doctrine. Above, you gave us definitions of what Christianity and Catholicism is. I’m not sure what book you referenced to—I believe it was the ‘book of religion’, but to each person, their “religion” or faith is a personal matter. My relationship with Jesus is a personal matter. I don’t fall back on Allah when Jesus doesn’t agree with me and I don’t pray to Buddha when I feel Jesus isn’t answering my prayers. He’s never once disappointed me…but people have.

Intelligence doesn’t come from reading many books or having ten million degrees. In my belief, it comes from the wisdom that God gave to us. To seek to learn more, to be open to more and to love more. Wisdom and discernment are the two things in order to obtain intelligence. It’s not to be fickle in one’s faith in too many Gods.

"We who have the Spirit understand these things, but others can't understand us at all. How could they? For, 'Who can know what the Lord is thinking? Who can give him council?' But we can understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ." ~1 Corinthians 2:15-16

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths." ~Proverbs 3:5-6

I don't seek understanding of 'this world'---for the mere sake of science vs. spirituality. It's conflicting, and it will always be. But, who made science to begin with? They now did scientific studies that show that there has to be a higher power for our creation. God created science in "my belief"---so no matter what science and "intelligent people" will say to me, my wisdom relies on God. I believe we're not "of this earth"---God is not "of this earth"...We have another home that definitely isn't *here*. Thank God, right?

Let me ask you this though… If you practice being a Jew, then do you believe that Jesus was here on earth at one time as the “Messiah"? If you’re practicing Hindu, do you still believe that Jesus is the only way to get into heaven? If you’re a Christian---you *must* believe that Jesus is the “only way”. That’s what Christianity is based upon.

I appreciate you commenting- and no-- I don't mind you taking up a blog space--my blog is your blog! :) Thanks for the healthy debate, and I think your side of it was insightful, and it gave me a better view of where you stand. {{hugs}}

Crassius: Football is very important. All the wings and beer have me in a spiritual euphoria! Bring it on!!!

Bhakti said...

No offense, but judging from your last comment, I truly believe that you have NO IDEA where I stand. I wasn't being literal when I said I was Christian, a Hindu, and a Jew. Accusing me of religion hopping is absurd. I don't see nor experience any difference in consciousness anywhere. If you don't want to call me a Christian, that's fine. But it makes no difference to the fact that He lives and breathes me every day of my life.

Again, you don't get me. Your comment above reveals that to no end. Like I stated above, there is no 'getting into Heaven'. Heaven is right here, right now. Directly behind the thinking mind.

The reason I wrote "I'm a Christian, a Hindu, and a Jew" is because I was infering that it makes no difference what anyone calls me. I know the Truth in my heart. It doesn't need to be justified by others. Nor do I expect others to understand my experience.

I can guarantee you that what I am talking about with regard to my experience of the Truth can not be learned from a book (I explained this to you in an email when we first started corresponding). Everything I thought I knew was shattered when I experienced Self-realization within my own heart. There truly is nothing in the world that exists besides pure consciousness. Nothing. That is my day to day experience. Everything I look at, hear, see, touch, and smell is a manifestation of God. So is everything else. The physical pain that I feel is nothing other than pulsations of God energy that has taken the form of pain.

How can we 'get' that which we've always had? It's like the deer who searches day and night trying to find the source of that beautiful musk he smells, when, all the while, the musk was coming from within his own being. Stop searching for Heaven...it's already withih.

Bhakti said...

Just found this: It’s not to be fickle in one’s faith in too many Gods.


This statement makes no sense to me because there is only one God. The One has become many, and the many have become One.

~Deb said...

That statement was only made because you 'referred' yourself as a Christian, a Hindu as well as a Jew. I took it literal, because I had no other option---you didn't make that one clear. I apologize for 'not getting it'---text can be such a demon sometimes. :) Mere text can be misunderstood a lot of the times.

So with that---I do apologize for that.


Thanks!

Bhakti said...

I don't expect anyone to understand where I'm coming from--it took me from age 8 until age 33 to understand it myself. It's beautiful, that's all I can offer. Everything else is just mental fodder.

Let's change topic: let's see, how's George W. doing these days? :P

You might want to stay off of my blog for several days. (I've posted my new 'Cat of the Month' and I don't want you to sneeze!

Love to you, Deb...our hearts are being beated by the same ONE, to be sure. (Unless, of course, you're using a pace-maker; then I'd have to beg to differ.)

marcy_peanut said...

Jeez, Louise...I saw sparks flying out of my computer screen. Maybe you two should just challenge each other to a good old fashioned dyko-rama wrestling match and get it over with!! ;)

~Deb said...

What is it with you STEREOTYPICAL dykes???? (I SAY THIS IN JEST!) They always seem to have ten cats, a u-haul, chain wallet, a mullet and closet full of flannels. (EVIL LAUGH HERE) sorry......

Marcy: I would love to challenge her to a wrestling match, but I'm not sure if she's ready to see the ~face of God~ yet... *wink*

LisaBinDaCity said...

No one should judge our paths, for better or worse they are ours to navigate...

~Deb said...

Again...it's a 'personal thing'....I do agree. But if you say you are one thing---then stick to it---but if you are of another religion---then so on. I see where you're coming from. Thank you Lisa! :) Only God is the one to judge.

Bhakti said...

~Deb...are you implying that your ass flattened on the wrestling platform is the face of God? That sounds like blasphemy to me. *wink--oh crap, I just got an eyelash in my eye...*

Ever try to type with one eye shut?

woeiqh hiohgn oih o oih qoa b nvpob w ngoaba woiaeyboahfg;la pa aoy; aodoyva lo!!! LOL!!

*pulls eyelash out of eye*

By the way, Deb, when did you say I'll receive that check for 'shaking up the comments section of your blog'? My breast implants are this Thursday. Can you Fed-X me the $100?? Will you send me $200 if I promise to shake things up on your next hermaphrodite post?? I'll just say I play for both teams at once, or something.

For instant enlightenment, please click here*

*Click link with caution as you may be thrust into a never ending spiral of unadulterated Bliss.

Bhakti said...

ps "Only God is the One to judge."

Uh...hello!!! Can anyone say JUDGE JUDY?????

marcy_peanut said...

Which cave in the Himmalayas did this Bhakti character walk out of, anyway??

Is it me or does she sound like one sexy chick (based on her intellectual prowess...not her dastardly avatar)?

~Deb said...

My @ss flat? Never... Never... Baby got back here! (__|__)

If you're willing to let me pay for your implants, then my parnter and I have rights to "play with you"... Keep that in mind. Thau shall not get implants paid by holy roller bible thumpin' dyke and not share. ;)

It sounds to me like Marcy is your 'alter ego' by the by...

Bhakti said...

"Alter" ego...as in a church alter?

I love church. I used to play guitar in the Saint Mark's Church in NYC. It was funky. Wow...the spirit moved through people like a tidal wave at that church!!! Wowie Zowie...

I don't need any alter egos...I've got enough toys in the attic to suffice for quite some time. Anyway, I would never spell 'Himalayas' with two m's. That's just wrong. She's obviously a dyke from the wrong side of the tracks.

If a town has no train tracks, does that mean their are no slums?? Is it the train track divisions that create the slums? I don't know. I'll have to sleep on this one.


BTW--I was just reading your comment to Prata. I hope you weren't inferring that I was saying how your religion "should be". I'm only speaking about my journey, which is WAY different than yours. Totally different. There are some parallels that we have talked about in the past, but we're on different paths.

Bhakti said...

In closing arguments for the evening, I would like to just say, ~Deb, I dislike the image of you being 'perturbed' by other's views (probably mine, in this case). Shakespeare was right to say, "To thine own self be true." That's all any of us can do. No need for anger. Just be true to yourself and forget everyone else. It's all good.

PSS This is the LAST time that I 'debate' this stuff with you on your blog. I know you said that you were happy that we had this little debate, but, you know as well as I that it is all TOO personal of a subject to be bantered about like a yo-yo on acid.
'Nite!

Miss 1999 said...

You've been tagged- see my blog for details!

Wenchy said...

You never dissapoint. Great post as always.

~Deb said...

Bhakti: Oh come on, do we really have to go into religion and politics on MY blog? *hehe* "Alter" ego. I like that! And no------no anger on this blog. I forbid it! ;)

Miss 1999: Bleckk...

Wenchy: I do...I do...ask Madelene. (Thank you sweetie)

Mella said...

Wow. You're a straight-shooting, powder-keg style writer. Kudos!

When it comes to debating & my faith, I tend to take a similar stand as you. (Actually, I tend to hate debating, religious or otherwise. I'd rather sit around drinking coffee and absorbing the conversations buzzing around me.)

While I don't agree with everything you've said - I certainly don't agree with the child molesting robed priest (monster) either. I try daily to entrust my life to God and His will. I accept the gift of His son and I firmly believe that God is the only Judge.

~Deb said...

Thanks Mella...I appreciate your comment. As far as the priest, yes it is an awful thing he did. But remember---we are all human. We're all weak to some extent. The biggest thing to do in this world is to 'forgive'---which God has done for us. Ever watch these mothers who lost their child to a cold blooded murderer, and they go to the jail to visit the man----to forgive him for what he did? That to me is truly an amazing thing.

kathi said...

Is it safe to come in now?

Bhakti said...

~Deb--how could you NOT think Shane is just the greatest thing since sliced bread???? Blasphemy!!

Prata said...

@kathi

It is never safe to come out. I would hide we are under seige? Oh, wait..sorry that's Gaza. Forget that part. ^_^ hehehe

@~Deb

Thanks for that little tidbit of information there! I was just curious. As I'm sure you already know, I'm a Zen Buddhist so the talk of deities and what not are a bit outside my realm of intellectual capacity. To some degree or another, I'm sure Zen it otuside the realm of some people's intellectual capacity.

@Bhakti

Right here....right now....Zen. The 'good book' doesn't seem to be overly concerned with right here...right now..because that's earthly and beneath the metaphysical aspect for which it was apparently written? Is that not true? The human heart is fickle...when hurt...our emotive response is to rebel. When shown love, our emotive response is to become closer. Seeing love within something that h urts us is not an emotive response, it is the rational mind at work. So looking within one's heart seems to not be the answer one should look for now is it? Again, unlearned. Just curious. We can debate this on my blog...that goes to all of you, if this really is such a debate. I for one don't have a problem with debating the deity. It's rather interesting, I just find the reliance upon a deity for 'being a good human' is not, in my mind, the way of a wise man (or woman).

In general (@all) I am quite aware this little line of questioning and opinion may provoke someone, that's all well and good that's not truly my intent though. Can we fight now? huh? huh? lol

Later Days

Bhakti said...

DEbbie~Deb--you don't mind if I discuss religion with Prata on your site, do you?? LOL!!

(and for everyone who doesn't know: DEB AND I ARE FRIENDS!!!--regardless of the fact that she thinks Shane looks like a little boy.)

Prata--when speaking of the heart, I'm referencing the Heart Center, which is beyond emotion. It's where (in my expereience) the Truth exists.

I have studied Zen, however, what I spoke of what Christian Mysticism (think Thomas Merton or St. Theresa of Avila).

I'll visit your blog.

DEB: Wish me luck today...I have to go put my Shane attitude on!!

PS I just got off of the phone with the new Pope and he contends that you were correct: Christianity does stem from Catholicism (as does the rest of the universe). That's just his belief...

~Deb said...

Prata:

The “good book” does concern the ‘here and now’. All rules apply, and which we can all live by. (In my belief as a Christian)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths.” ~Proverbs 3:5-6

I live by this ‘today’…

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." ~Hebrews 13:8

I live by this ‘today’…

Having an emotional response is human. Standing up for what you believe in, is your personal right—to defend what you believe in, yet respect others beliefs as well. See, in your belief as a “Zen Buddhist”, it’s okay to think that the bible---or ‘the good book’ is all doctrine from the past---and only applies to the past. There are so many good things in this ‘good book’ to live by.

This passage alone is great even for someone who is Buddhist.

"Finally, all of you should be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate when people say unkind things about you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God wants you to do, and he will bless you for it." ~1 Peter 3:8-10

I think this applies to everyday life as well.

Bhakti: Not at all—knock yourself out. (Well, not in the literal sense.) Yes, Bhakti and I are buds…so we debate kind of freely…in case other people are wondering if we’re having a holy cat fight.

Good luck today….with that retro pen. Remember, NO coffee date, and NO dinner date…always keep it a ‘lunch date’…it just ‘sounds better’. *wink*

Bhakti said...

Are you infering that the Retro 51 is a...er.....uh...bad gift? (I would immediately run to the alter with someone if they gave me a Retro 51 fountain pen--some people like good wine, I like a good pen). You think maybe I should have bought her a white gold, diamond studded ring?? LOL!!!

Did you delete one of my comments? Sorry 'bout that. In hind sight, it wasn't too cool, was it? *face has turned a bright shade of red*

Mella said...

~deb: I couldn't agree with you more, that forgiveness is the cornerstone - it's the entire purpose behind Christ's life on earth.

Prata said...

@~Deb
Well now...I don't think that the bible is a thing of the past, I simply find it flawed. The reasons for this are well..numerous and mostly for a believer, cosmetic. The thing about Zen Buddhism though is that I don't believe. Belief is not the word I would use. Zen Buddhism is not a religion (some say it's just a philosophy even joy and if that is true then we are atheists) of faith.

I'm not saying there's nothing good in the bible either. In fact, the bible has elements of buddhist thought in it, Zen Buddhism is not mutually exclusive from belief in your god either; however, individuals such as myself must question the validity or sanity of that.

Concerning some of these quotes from the 'good book'. Jesus was a man. No one seems to disagree with that; aside from those saying he never existed. I can't prove he didn't exist so I can't say he didn't...however, all those that knew him from the 'good book' which I know to be rooted at least in part in historical accuracy said he was a man. I have no proof of his divinity; however, for or otherwise. So, I can not accept that he is eternal.

The first quote, seems to speak of.."beyond all logical thought follow your god". We see where that got some people who refused to believe now don't we? I'm not saying that is the intent, but it does come across that way. At least to me, and I'm a pretty rational individual.

The quote from Peter. I'm sorry, but didn't the 'good book' talk about how god destroyed the wicked (those that spoke ill or did not follow the god's plan)? Belief and obedience through fear does not really seem like a loving individual. And the 'good book' still changes from one frame to another as humanity changes. Not that your god said this is the way it should be and then people followed suit. There was already a prevailing change in the way humanity functioned. So, have at you? lol

What I mean by this is, I lack a certain amount of rational and logical explanation. Without that I can not even begin to comprehend the hipocrisy that is christian history.

And that above statement isn't meant to be provocative..it's just truthful. It is not however the fault of the entire christian community (that I can prove) that the history of this religion is what it is. I hope that doesn't make this even more goading I'm really not trying to be that way..or argumentative for that matter.

Prata said...

@ Bhakti

Understood! Thanks for that clarification.

@~Deb

I'm forgetful today. I forgot to also mention about your book of Peter quote. Yes, for the most part that quote would be useful..if it were not bound in the idea of a deity being the reason for doing it. By doing it because that is what your god wants, you remove the responsibility of self. You now have a scapegoat when things do not go well. Or if you misinterpret what something means...'god said so' is a very good excuse. It is the frailty of humanity that makes this possible, a frailty/flaw built into the humans by a creator that then blames humanity for its mistakes in the design.

~Deb said...

Bhakti: Ah, a pen, a diamond ring—what’s the difference, right? *wink* Yes, I had to delete one of your comments. You know---you’re the FIRST person I had to delete one of their comments---*only because* it may have offended one of my readers who comment on here on occasion. Bad bad bad girl! I still luv ya though!

Mella: Amen!!! I definitely believe that without forgiveness, we’re only hurting ourselves. Thank you for that comment!

Prata: Yes, Jesus was a man. It goes beyond that for people of Christian faith. He was much more than a man to us…He was a teacher, the son of God and our Savior. Some people do not believe---and “that’s okay”…that is your right. I have had experiences where I have encountered a spiritual miracle—if you will---but even before my ‘spiritual encounter’----I always believed.

Jesus said, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me and believe anyway.” ~John 20:29

Blind faith is what I went on, and now I have faith that is ‘real’ **to me**… You definitely have to read and interpret the bible when it comes to ‘those will be destroyed’. Most of the bible speaks in parables. A lot of people do not understand the full concept of the bible---I still don’t…but if I pray for understanding before picking up the bible, the words jump out at me as if I understood every bit of it. It’s truly amazing. If I don’t meditate and pray before reading the bible, it is all Greek to me. So I understand your confusion about the quote from Peter.

I don’t take what you said as argumentative, Prata---I just know that you believe in something that is not of my faith. That’s “okay”. I respect your faith, and I would never try to convert you in any way. The truth is, it’s all about blind faith. Science and the belief in God---faith---will never coincide---ever. It’s conflicting. Science vs. spirituality is a huge debate. In my belief, we are not ‘of this world’. Just as people who believe in the five pointed star---the pentagram if you will---the five elements symbolize wood, fire, earth, metal and water…which are all “of this world”…God is not. If you pick up the bible and read Job 38:1-39, you’ll find God’s answer to that big debate of science vs. spirituality. It’s really interesting—even if you’re a non-believer in the Christian faith.

Humans will always make mistakes. We are inadequate at birth. If we were perfect and flawless, we wouldn’t need God at all. I’m responsible for my mistakes. This I know. But remember, forgiveness is a huge step towards loving one another—and not forgetting to “forgive yourself”. If we don’t forgive one another and ourselves---we are only hurting ourselves. Believe me, without forgiveness, God will not forgive you…Once again---*in my beliefs*…

Thanks for that thought provoking comment!

blackops said...

Wow, you said a mouthful there and raised a few issues that I think would take too long for me to address here in a comment section. However I will keep in mind all that you have said. I will at least speak on one issue. I was raised in the Catholic and still attend masses and very much a part of workings of that parish. From the time I was an alter boy to my ties to the church now, I have never found or run into a "bad" priest. I have been VERY fortunate to know some of the greatest priest and most brilliant men. However this is only MY experience. I often run into those who weren't as fortunate as me. Why that is, I dont know but as you put it there is a reason for it all. I will end it there. Like I said, Im in and I'll be back.

~Deb said...

Blackops: I’m not saying that there are all ‘bad eggs’ out there. There are corrupt pastors in the churches I go to. Believe me, it’s everywhere---only because ‘we’re human’. We’re not perfect. It’s great that you had a wonderful experience---because it didn’t leave a bad taste in your mouth. With my experience, that priest who asked details of my intimacy with a woman creeped me the hell out! Not only that, but there were other weird things happening in the church where I went which is yet for another blog. NOT to say that every church is like this. They keep a lot of things under their hats where I used to go, and it’s just ‘too shady’ for me to turn back there now. I was raised in that church—I mean, baptism, communion, confirmation---except for marriage of course. They would pass out on the alter if they saw two women walking down an isle.

Anyway, thanks for your comment, I appreciate your input!