An Open Response to “Jay”

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In a response to Entry 60 – Cleaning the Lent Trap, an anonymous person named “Jay” wrote the following: “You are a real idiot! You must be a stupid Baptist whom can’t think for himself. Are you really that shallow?” Now, them’s fightin’ words if ever I heard them. I don’t like to back down from a challenge (at least when fists or guns are not in the picture). Yet, “Jay” left no contact info… so I am forced drop gloves and take this to the public arena in hopes he or she returns (which I know will never be the case). If not, I get a post that states more of my views. Win/win. Now I’m not sure on what point I was being called on, so I’ll cover it all.

First of all, I am a recovering Catholic. Had you have looked beyond this one post you may have gotten my mind set on things. But I don’t blame you; my blog gets dull from time to time. All you were looking for was “why I left the orthodox church.” Ok, I presume it was you, but that’s neither here nor there.

The fact that I broke away from that over ritualized and bureaucratic religion shows I “can think for myself.” I’ve grown up. I’ve shattered the illusion that, though the church may have good intentions (and you know what they make), it’s in for the sole saving of souls. See, many good “Catholic” values (as well as the “Protestant virtues”) were formed out of agendas… priests don’t marry because the church land would have passed to heirs; no red meat on Fridays because of the fisherman’s lobby to the pope way back when; etc.

But see, I believe in God’s word! Read – the dude up in heaven who made us, and gave us a messenger, his son Jesus, to save our souls. Now the closest thing we have to God’s word is the bible – both Old and New Testaments. My bible also includes other gospels from those who lived closer to Jesus’ time (like the gospel of Thomas). The church only uses 4 out of the possible 100’s (see, Jesus had fans), because they epitomize what the church would like to be based upon.

Now, I respect the Catholic Church, the multi-horde of Protestant churches out there and other western and non-western religions. They’ve all had their fair share of good ideas from time to time… but I pick and choose what I feel is right. See, the thing with so many congregations competing (fighting, rather) for God’s grace is that they either all have to be right somehow… or hell is getting really full.

In the bible, it has been made clear the God’s hates a hypocrite, hates liars and posers. I don’t pretend to be what I’m not. I don’t spend my Sunday’s with evil people who think getting in the first pew guarantees salvation. When I find a good flock, I go. My choice. To do otherwise is shallow.

Those who only go on Christmas and Easter because they feel duty bound to do so, then sit and pick their nose, let their kids play Gameboy, and think about what’s for supper are shallow. That’s shallow. That’s saying to God ‘yes, my body is where I ought to be, but I left my mind in the bathroom.” God doesn” t care where your corpse is! He wants to know where your mind is at and whether it’s doing his will. The body ain’t goin’ to heaven my friend – the soul is.

On to lent. Jesus said “do this in remembrance of me” at the last supper, then broke bread with his closest friends. I don’t ever recall him saying “hey let’s all give up something petty for 40 days, then force elementary school students to stand up in front of class and boast about it.” It’s all interpretation. Maybe the people you know are more pious than those I grew up with, but it has become apparent that the Lenten fast has become a novelty. Mardi Gras encourages the bulking up of what ever your about to give up like it’s pasta before a marathon. Faith and will guides a fast, not an overstuffed blood content.

Now, Jay… may I call you Jay? I’m sure that you have your own beliefs and whatnot. And even if they are of the spoon-fed doctrines some fundamentalist sect variety (otherwise you’d not use a denomination as an insult), I respect them. Whatever they are, I respect them… so long as they don’t get in my face. However, “You are a real idiot! You must be a stupid Baptist whom can’t think for himself. Are you really that shallow?”, is not a valid belief or opinion. It is an attack. It is a tossed stone against my person. Had you backed up that slap with some meat, well then that’s sort of ok. Had there just been the beliefs and no slap, that would have been welcome. I’m always up for new views. But this cowardly message makes you no better than what you presume I am.

As for the Kerry bit: IF fact – only one Roman Catholic president AND fact – ashes are most associated with Catholics THEN ashes on presidential candidate + average pea brained voter = one cooked goose. Just an observation.

And the reason I don’t like Kerry is not because he’s a Catholic, but rather he’s a typical democrat! And both typical democrats and typical republican irk the hell out me. He votes one way, then the other when it suits his image.

And what do we call that boys and girls? A HYPOCRITE!

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Ryan Livingston

Ryan is an artist / writer out of Melbourne, FL.

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