Losing my religion?

That’s me in the corner…..

I have been thinking why things annoy me. Most of the time people don’t really set out to annoy me – I get annoyed with them. Then I get upset and they will never know. If you think about it you are flattering yourself if you think people sit around plotting how to upset you, if they are they are INSANE and that is very different from you thinking they are setting out to annoy you each day. In my world #babybernie ‘tries his luck, and I’d rather have a curious child with spirit than some over-compliant-void-of-any-va-va-voom wet blanket.

Here we go, stick with me this is a stream of conciseness that is masquerading as an ordered blog post….¬†

1. There I was taking part in a celebration of Mass at the top of a mountain in Greece with a bunch of Essex people in 2003. The Essex people were all members of the Roman Catholic Church my family are part of in Grays, in Essex – that is in the UK BTW. I had gone to be with my Dad and was actually having one of the most relaxed and calming times of my life. To be clear, we were in a beautiful hotel ‘at the top of a mountain’ not sitting on a rock wearing clothes with ‘North Face’ written all over them.

2. As you know I LOVE the internet and everything that comes with it from cooking to porn to opinion to art to disagreement to ex-partners that married someone better looking than me. Something that turns my stomach are people who jump to quote the Bible at every given opportunity. “Matthew tells us in Chapter 3 vs 8-24 that eat and we will have nourishment” and they say this with an air of righteousness. Well that is the way it happens for me.

3. I carry a medal from Lourdes in France that my father brought back for me. In fact he leaves one in our house every time he comes, he puts one quietly on a shelf or in the bathroom cupboard. I started to carry one in my bag, not on the off chance that Mary and Jesus will save me, help me jump the queue at the super market or other such divine intervention.
I have it because my Father has a great conviction and faith so this medal connects me to him, even more than that now he knows I have it in my bag he feels he has helped me. This type of connection is more important for me than something material or physical.

4. Meditation. When I look back on 2015 I am sure that the hours I have spent meditating and running will be one of the best uses of my time for my body, mind and soul. Sitting still and allowing my head to be clear does more for my sense of faith in the myself and the world than chanting prayers. it is not the chanting, praying or people getting together that does not sit with me. It is the “worship” that makes me feel uncomfortable.

5. I sit down in my chair and look at my mate Steve sitting on a chair on a little raised platform. He has some soya milk in a carton next to him and has taken his shoes off. We are waiting for an angry and direct Chinaman from the 15th Century to arrive. He is getting via Steve later tonight

6. On the hillside in Greece Father John was saying Mass, his warm Irish voice was like a blanket around the group. This group of people were all my parents friends, actually they were my friends too. Kathy had been at College with my late Mother where they trained together as teachers. Roy is still one of the smartest and most generous human beings I have ever met. On this same trip in 2003 we were sitting in a bar at 11 o’clock at night looking over the mountains and drinking Irish coffees. I asked him what the secret of his marriage was, his reply was “It’s not me, I suddenly realised one day that Margret was never going to let it fail, so I started to take part too.” I can’t imagine Roy not ever taking part 150%, I often think about his comment in relation to my own marriage and can see how he became vulnerable and open to grow his relationship.

7. “Mummy, God is watching you”
A friend’s child said this to her on more than one occasion. This is where Faith and Religion get confused for me. I think that when people have Faith they are both solid and open, when people are very religious I feel llke they are running a program. I have met and worked with many people who are Monks, Nuns, Priests and Rabbi’s and Leaders in their own Muslim or Hindu community. I was brought up Catholic so that is where my experience is strongest. The people I consider to value faith over religion did not act like they had some thing others did not, that air of ‘connection to Christ’ that they know you can get too if you to if you play your cards right. Of course there is every danger that this annoys me because I get so evangelical about some things – like Google Apps, Sharing Economy and porridge. I have just had a little think about it, several people I follow have the word “Church” in their Twitter bio and this works like a bond – others have “follower of Christ” and I think these people are going to judge me, launch a nuclear weapon or get me to drink their Kool Aid.

8. So Latao arrived and started to channel through Steve. There were around 20 people in the room and I quickly dropped any worry of being upsold to a Tony Robbins show, sacrificed or covered in ectoplasm. My trust of Steve Trister is very high, he drove us very fast to hospital when #babybernie was about to arrive – that kind of high. So when he is sat on stage channeling Latao it does not seem that wacko. The advice that people receive is straight forward, ‘take it or leave it’ and solid. Even if Steve was ‘pretending’ he is still making a positive and unattached contribution to us.

9. Father John looks up into the midday sun and places his hands over the simple cup that contains ‘the blood of Christ’ or wine if you prefer. He prays and says out loud something about faith and the line ‘help us to accept things that are beyond our comprehension’ – that line made sense to me right away. Maybe the combination of being with that community, in that beautiful place and being calm made the moment. As Latao urged me to “stop over thinking everything and just do it” that made sense too.

10. Questions are important.

In both places there was a sense of connectedness and community over compliance and obedientce. I have always thought it important to challenge, question and be curious, however ‘following and worship’ don’t sit well with me, arguing your point because “a book says” – even if I LOVE that book does not work for me either.

I often say a little prayer to myself as I put #babybernie to sleep, probably for the same sentiments I carry the medal from my own Dad – I do ask myself why I say that prayer, it does contradict a lot of what I have written here, and you are welcome to take me up on that – this post is a thinking out loud thing – not a religious manifesto.

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