Sunday, June 19, 2011

Theology with Dad

One of my very earliest memories is playing in the ocean with my dad. I was probably four years old, must have been southern California. We were out in the water up to his waist. He was holding me under the shoulders, my feet dangling in the water, and as each wave approached, he'd ask, "Is this one too big?"

And I'd always insist, "No, Dad! It's not too big!" Then he'd hold me up so the wave would hit me at chest level and I'd shriek in delight. Again and again, "Is this one too big?" But nothing was too big as long as my dad was right there.

A few years later--I think I was eight or nine--we were hiking together. I don't know where we were. I remember a lot of trees and the visible rock was gray, not red, so it couldn't have been near where we lived on the Arizona Strip. My father is a fairly quiet man, doesn't typically talk unless he has something pretty important to say. So hikes with Dad were usually extended silences, punctuated with profundities.

On this particular hike, I remember him saying to me, "Right now is what's happening right now. It's not the future; it's not the past; it's now. And that's where we are."

That's present moment awareness, which Mormonism doesn't especially emphasize, but my dad was thinking about it, and talking to his eight-year-old daughter about it. Lots of good memories of hikes with Dad, especially the ones where good theological discussions developed.

Dad was more sympathetic and understanding than my mother about the depression I struggled with as a teenager, because he struggled with it too. I remember one day in particular during my junior year of high school, when the thought of going to school was just overwhelming. My mother wasn't home that morning. "Can I take a day off?" I asked Dad.

"You know better than I do whether you can or not. Do you have any tests or anything?"

I didn't, so I had permission to skip school that day. Dad invited me to come along with him on his route as a rural mail carrier. I did, packed up some homework to do along the way. "You still the smartest in your class?" he asked as I finished up a trigonometry assignment. Smart. Of all my insecurities, I never doubted that I was smart, because my dad had always said that I was, for as long as I could remember.

There were several times when I rode along with Dad while he delivered the mail, but this day stands out in particular for the discussion that developed. Ironically, I can't remember the specifics of what we talked about. I know the story of Abraham being asked to sacrifice Isaac was in there, along with the Chronicles of Narnia. Mostly I remember the feeling, the connection with my dad that this was something important that we had in common.

My dad and I don't see eye to eye on much these days, religion and politics in particular. The theological discussions stopped long ago, but they are still some of my best memories. Hearing Dad speak at my grandmother's funeral last fall helped me realize--or perhaps just reminded me, actually--that my dad is a very spiritual person in his own way. It's drastically different from my way. I believe it's based on several inaccuracies. And yet it does still seem to work for many people as a means of evoking the sacred.

And I can respect that.


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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Saturday Evening Blog Post

It's time again for the Saturday Evening Blog Post at Elizabeth Esther's blog. The first Saturday of every month she invites bloggers to share their best post from the previous month. I decided to share my special Mother's Day post about Honoring the Great Mother and the sacred feminine. Hop on over to discover some new bloggers and maybe share a post of your own!


If you enjoyed this post, I hope you'll check out my new blog.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Comment Highlights 6/02/2011

 A couple of my favorite comments from the last few weeks.  

From Diana on Honoring the Great Mother
I venture, for myself, that the necessity for a female deity is rooted in the need to overturn our society's views and restrictions on women. The female body particularly has never been venerated in our lifetime; its functions, uses, needs, desires, and appearances have been controlled by men. Learnings about goddesses and coming to recognize the divine in ourselves is a significant part of many women's paths.

For me it has nothing to do with forcing a human gender identity on deity, since I am an atheist. It DOES have to do with the liberation of my sexuality, my physical appearance, my will, my voice, and my power. There is a reason that the modern goddess movement arose hand in hand with ecology and feminist movements.

My power (with all that entails), and that of many women throughout history and currently, has been squelched. Learning goddess lore and honoring these archetypes and legends is one way for me to get past that.
From Riparian Church on Why still use the word "God"?
I think that the statement that "God is love" is one that resonates with your post here.  The idea that this is flimsy-ish might not mesh with the striking hard-headedness of the statement.  If God is no more and no less than love, then this is simply a way of saying that of all the things / forces / powers in the universe, there is one and one only worthy of human worship: love.

And though it sounds sentimental, I'm not so sure.  Science is finding out things about the energies that hold things together that we might as well call "love" as anything else... what do you call it when the energies of the human race seem not only to be connected but to be effectual at accomplishing and causing and moving and even healing?

Love's as good a term as any, I guess.  

Call it Andrew if it pleases you.
If you haven't already, you can check out my most recent post at Main Street Plaza: "We do not need more members who question every detail." Thanks so much for reading!


If you enjoyed this post, I hope you'll check out my new blog.