Letters: An Inevitable Conversation

Japayuki: A Novel

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

As for me and my house…

Recently, I have found myself delving into my “faith” more than ever before. I have always been the inquisitive type verse one who blindly accepts the teachings of others, and when we talk about the areas of religion and politics, that raises an eyebrow or two. My parents were Democrats, so naturally I was expected to be a Dem also. My entire historical family tree was Catholic, so I was expected to be at Sunday Mass. And for the most part, I caved in and attended despite knowing well the history of the Catholic Church. Men after all are simply men; some do actually attempt to make a difference, while most are content to just follow along like chattel to an inevitable death. In my predominantly Hispanic neighborhood, and in my predominantly Hispanic schools, to ask questions, especially the types of questions I asked, was to risk upsetting the dominant white political structure; to ask the “religious” based questions I asked was out and out blaspheme. But I always knew I wasn't upsetting, or worse, insulting God. She loved me! I knew She did. And I knew, early on, that all men are corruptible, from the school teacher, to the politician, to the priest. I somehow made it through school, and on graduating, I left home immediately, enlisting in the Navy. I was now in heaven. I explored the world in more ways than one. I didn't just visit other lands, I ran through them absorbing as much about the country and the people as I possibly could. I attended every kind of religious service I could get into. In Italy (of all places), after attending one of the most ordinate services I had ever, I heard whispers of “another” Mass later that evening. The unsanctioned Mass was in a private residence with many in attendance. It was unsanctioned because it was one of the foundational Catholic charismatic movement meetings complete with waving hands, dancing and singing, and speaking in tongues; it had it all. The only thing I could liken it too was a Pentecostal service I had attended. Now those folks knew how to praise God! I learned quickly that there is a big difference between the churches of Man, and the church of God, that is, people who could gather anywhere and just believe and rejoice in Her!  The structured and incorporated religions on the other hand, simply want to sell you God and Jesus, and thereby salvation; pledge your membership, pay your tithes, sponsor a potluck now and then, and you were home free. But again, men are corruptible. It is in their nature. It is an inherent trait that some men use well, especially those who are charismatic enough to make God work for them. The creation of the Catholic Church, the ordination of the first Pope, and the eventual commercialization of the church was not surprising to read about; the Protestant break-a-way credited mostly to Martin Luther and his Ninety-Five Theses, likewise made for interesting reading. Of course, the inevitable appearance of the mega churches and their mega rich and famous, multi-millionaire celebrity “pastors” and their diva wives are the ultimate in (tabloid) reading. But this was the lighter side of my religion research; this was the readily available fodder. Digging deeper, wading through the ancient doctrines and published papers and letters I found what I had only heard about. The formation of the organized church by misogynistic, money and power thirsty “church fathers.” A church that came to dominate nations wielding the cross as a deadly weapon. Now, the darker side of “religion” developed clearly, and as you will read in Letters, is the foundation for today’s continued misogynist attitude, not only in the church, but in society as a whole. It is why men continue to practice violence against women.

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