Monday, May 9, 2011

When God is Convenient

First: My apologies and many thank you's to each and every person who has inquired about the grain-free life change going on over here. I am still working up to talking about it in this public space, as small a thing as it may seem. It has been a strangely revealing and emotional ride for me. There are no pressing health issues that made us change, but thanks for all your concern!

I have always been drawn to other deeply spiritual or religious people, regardless of the particulars and peculiarities. It seems a simple thing to me to say that my calling to Hera or the Stag King or the Cailleach is not so far from the stirring within those called to Yahweh, Allah, or any other deity. Perhaps this is because one of the most moving spiritual experiences of my life happened in a church at the altar of that most terrifying of Old Testament supernaturals. Sure, the specifics may not resemble each other at all, and the various Forces working through us humans may drive us to do very different things and lead very different lives. But in the end, I recognize that devotion in others.

I also seem to know when the devotion is being faked. Happens to pagans and Abrahamics alike, I assure you.

In the past couple years, I have grown somewhat close to one of my neighbors down the road. She is of the fundamentalist Christian persuasion, but we both homeschool and lead lonely lives at home with our children. This past year we went from exchanging thoughts on the weather and making sure our kids weren't being inconveniences to each other to more intimate conversations about motherhood and marriage. And I finally got to meet her husband when I was invited to their son's birthday party. I'd never caught more than a glimpse of him in the five years we've lived here, despite the fact that he was unemployed for over a year. Apparently, according to his wife, he was embarassed to meet me because he feels that I dress inappropriately. (giant, huge, gaffawing LOLZ) He specifically cited my constant bare feet as an example.

But that's neither here nor there. The real issue is how he uses God to force his will on others, especially his wife and step-son. When he and his wife were first married, she had a car. He convinced her to sell that car by telling her that he intended to buy her a van because of all the carting around of church supplies she is often required to do. Five years later? She was still without a vehicle. "God" had told him that he wasn't to purchase her a car until they had bought the house they currently rent, and that hadn't happened. He didn't tell her this until after he'd sold her car. Okay, I thought. Who am I to question what his deity tells him or why. It's none of my business anyway, right?

His mother, knowing that my neighbor was stuck at home all day with her son without a vehicle in a town that is not walking-friendly, offered to give them her van free of charge AND to pay the first year's insurance premiums so that they wouldn't have to take on any debt. She was promptly turned down by the husband much to the wife's upset.

Then one day my neighbor invited me over to see her brand new SUV. Whaaaat? It was explained to me, by the husband nonetheless, that the reason this purchase was okay was because they hadn't BOUGHT the vehicle--they had only leased it for FIVE years. The wife was thrilled of course, but the whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth.

You see, I truly believe that we are (almost) always given a choice with the gods and spirits. They tell us what they wish us to do, and we follow their instructions or we don't. That's free will, people. Exercise it frequently. But don't you dare use your connection to a higher power to fuel your ego trip and force your will on those around you who love and support you. And LYING about the depth of your connection to that higher power in order to get what you want? This is deplorable on all levels. It doesn't matter to me whether it's the Christian god or the Stag King, I will lose all respect for you.

Obviously, I don't believe for one second that God told my neighbor's husband not to purchase a car for his wife. I believe that this particular man uses his false devotion to God as a way of controlling his wife, his child, and other family members and friends. Makes me wish his wife were a witch.

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