The American Renaissance

Baja Canada del Sur: Comedy and Comment in the Age of Occupation

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Location: Little Rock, Arkansas

found done in needlepoint on Mel's Front Porch: I Pledge Alligence to the Constitution of the United States of America. And to the Republic for which it guarantees, One Nation, Undeniable, with Liberty, Truth, and Justice for All.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


There's a old movie, made back in the eighties, called the Milagro Beanfield War. It's a quiet little film, but one of my personal favorites...the music alone sticks in my head and makes me smile. A capsule of the storyline? A little town in New Mexico against the big developer. And then there is Lupita. Eeee-ho-lay!

Needless to say, I highly recommend it. And one of the characters, old Amarante, at one point has to explain a statue on his altar in his home to a young graduate student from NYC. It's Saint Jude, the Patron Saint of Lost Causes. It got me to thinking.

You see, I'm not religious. Many years ago I settled on the word 'agnostic' to describe myself. I don't discredit anybody's faith, but after so many years exposed to 'Christ or Hell' theology, I sort of decided that I didn't need to be exposed to the threat of Eternal Torment to make me treat other people right. And have honestly been a lot happier without having to deal with the guilt, shame, and Impurity of Woman nonsense altogether.

I have flirted, as I think of it, with several philosophies...rejecting organized religion has not led me to reject spirituality, oh no! In my life, I've found inspiration everywhere from ancient deities to modern philosophy to Kicking Bird describing the trail of a true Human Being. The faiths I find that speak to me the most are the ones that stress looking within oneself, finding the strength to live life well without selfishness, then going from there to be worthwhile to others. As a result, I find myself taking from many religions what I've found to be the truth.

It is an ongoing process -- and it seems easier sometime to weed than embrace. Much of religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam have focused on controlling the actions of the individual, many times in a very detrimental way. Not a one of them seem to like women too much, and I certainly have a bone to pick with the modern brand of Evangelical Christianity that values so much that flies in the face of the very example the life of the Christ was.

Then again, I'm not one to go out and buy a set of furniture that matches! I love the teachings of Confucius, and I love the ancient Shinto stories. I love the stories of Jesus going into the temple and kicking out the ATMs...err, I mean the moneychangers. I love a lot of stories about Jesus, and I sure like a lot of what he said. I read Matthew 23 again not to long ago (actually fully through for the first time for myself, and not excerpted to make a point in a sermon like when I was a kid), and the message seemed to be fairly clear. I'll let you look it up for yourself (just google it); they ought to read it again at evangelical nuchurch.

Hell, the only way Cindy Sheehan falls short of the Sermon on the Mount is I'm not sure you could call her meek. She does have that Peacemaker thing going for her, huh?

I love Buddhism...but I'm underwhelmed with the deification of the Dali Lama. I believe he is a wonderful man in a great tradition, but it gets me hot under the collar when he is used for fund raising.

When your local church (of whatever faith), raises money to pay the preacher, keep the church up, and do things for the local community, that is worthy. When a secular organization does such things, I'm all for it. When an organization gets so big no-one can answer where the money goes? Hmmm. I'm still impressed with Habitat for Humanity; they happily take donations in kind, like building supplies, and if you aren't well-heeled, you can still go swing a hammer for 'em. Probably a lot better than W. I had to wonder what that piece of plywood on a coulpla of sawhorses might have needed with that ten-penny nail he was on TV working into it. The plywood seemed fairly safe for use afterwards...I haven't seen anybody choke a hammer like that since my four-year old sister tried to help my dad build her playhouse. I shouldn't pick on George...least he figured out the pointy end goes in the wood. He damn sure did a better job on that ten-penny than any other job he's tried. Bless his heart.

And so you are wondering why I got sidelined on Shrub talking about my personal feelings about spirituality. I hate to single him out, but Bush is the opposite of everything I believe in, and he hurts my kind heart. He takes lightly the needs of the people of the United States, and he takes lightly the shedding of blood. Whether through military blunders, or creating concentration camps (Guantanamo, Poland, god know where else), or just dragging his damn feet while Americans suffered and died in N'Orleans, Miss'ippi, 'Bama, or turning folks out of medical care, he really seems to epitomize the opposite of what Jesus felt about the 'least' of us. When Congress can meet in an after hours session, and Bush can fly back in the middle of the night to DC to sign bullshit to 'save' Terri Shaivo, what stopped them from emergency appropriations to save THOUSANDS of live, talking humans sweltering and dying in their attics in New Orleans. I'm with Kanye (and Fitty is a victim of his own delusions).

Hey, I got spiritual help listening to Richard Pryor in the seventies. Made me less scared to talk to people not my own color, no matter how I'd been raised. And gave me the first footsteps along the path of realizing no one is holier than anyone else...everyone puts on their drawers the same way I do, one leg at a time.

And oddly enough, this brings me right back around to milagros. I realize a miracle, a milagro, when I see it. That as nasty as this life can be, it's a miracle when a homeless guy holds up a sign on a piece of cardboard in the rain that says Smile (and I did all day). When I had no job, and went to a food bank at a Catholic church, and below a crucifix in the hall was an aged bumpersticker that said "I'm Pro-Choice, and I Vote!" --- milagro. When I talk to my mom, realize how hard she's worked all her life, how patient she has been, what an intelligent woman she is, and how she is still not bitter, it is certainly a miracle, and I pray for a milagro that I can ever begin to live up to her.

I had a thought tonight...maybe it wouldn't be such a bad idea if I got me a little picture of Saint Jude to put up on the wall. Patron of Lost Causes? Si. But he represents the faith that no cause is lost. I'll light a candle for that.


Blogger enigma4ever said...

no cause is lost...ever. have hope....and really nice post- and yes it is a great movie...( I found an email draft that I need to send you- sorry- meant to get back to you stopping by here...)

8:49 PM  

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