Fig Tree

6 Mar

Wow. It’s good to have one second to finally come back here and post. I’ve been busy working on other projects, mainly through the rescue I volunteer with, as well as keeping up with the daily grind.

Some quick updates:

  • My current Dietbet is going well. I am down about 2.6lbs from last week’s initial weigh-in, which puts me at around 37% to goal. Feeling strong! I am integrating a lot of interval running with weight training where I alternate cardio with strength for 5-30 minutes at a time. 
  • Vanna is dealing with the snowy weather in usual Vanna fashion. Other words, snow is not her thing. I’ve never had a dog so vehemently dislike snow on the ground. I have to admit, it makes me jealous to see a ton of pictures of dogs prancing around in snow banks. Vanna just stands there with a face the clearly reads, “Bitch, please.”
  • Interviewed for a job this week. I know. It’s been forever since I’ve even had a call. It went well. One of the guys who interviewed me called me “Mary Poppins.” I’ll take that to mean that I am AWESOME. 
  • Finally, we ordered and received our wedding invitations this week. I’m seriously not the type to get all caught up in it, but having it in writing does make it seem a bit more real. 

I guess the big thing that’s going on in my life right now (since it is in a standstill) is that fiance and I are attempting to get back in to religion.

Religion is a hot topic in our apartment. both of us would be described as secular or agnostic humanists. We believe in, first and foremost, science, learned morality, and reason. I have been set in my ways for years. But I question it from time to time.

In undergrad, I took a philosophy of religions class where I was introduced to Aristotle’s “Unmovable Mover.” Basically, I believe that the world was created through explainable forces found in nature and through evidence. HOWEVER, everything has a beginning and a creation. Skip the idea of how the earth was created or when the Sun became what it is now. Forget the milky way and then other galaxies out there. There had to be something that created the first atom. And after that first atom was created, something had to move them. What was that unmoved mover? Was it God? Maybe. It was obviously something bigger than we could imagine. 

Now, does that Unmoved Mover have an immediate effect in my life? I tend to believe that it does not. At least, not in the way that most religions would want me to think. The second question then is if I should worship this Mover. And again, my answer is no.

So, why religion now when I clearly do not harbor any beliefs in a Christian or major religion Gods or Goddesses?

Why not?

After many years of on-and-off yoga practicing (it being “on” now), I have taken away much from my practice. Mainly that I have the power to change my life, to send powerful thoughts out in to this universe, and to be at peace and harmony with myself and with others. I’ve always loved the ending to yoga where many teachers recite the “May the light inside of me recognize the light inside you.” This Namaste greeting is Hindu, but it could very well be Christian. I remember, in high school, hearing the “God created man in his own image.” Wouldn’t Namaste be the same as this Genesis passage? We recognize the divine, the soul, the power, the light? Even if we do not believe it to be holy, there is a bit of something special in each of us that made us worthy of evolving from that one atom to the extraordinary creature we are today.  

With that though in mind, I have been practicing religion for years, albeit, a warped version. So, when the fiance wanted to go back to church, I agreed with reservations. I do not want to let go of my humanist viewpoints. And I certainly don’t want to be pressured in to traditions or idolization that jeopardizes my views on the Unitarian Mover.

I tried Catholic first. Actually, to be honest, I wanted to go shopping right afterwards, so I agreed to go to church with my fiance. I know that many Catholic churches provide stimulating, engaging conversations about God and man, but the sermon we heard was maybe the worst poster child for a dying religion. No wonder that the majority of the pew-sitters were between 50 and 90 years old.

Our second stop was Episcopalian, or Diet Catholic. It was a good compromise for the two of us. Fiance wanted something similar to the Catholic religion that would have the tradition, the rituals, and the power. I wanted a religion that embraced the social justice versions of my beliefs. And I felt like, at least with the church we visited, we got it pretty right. You have to love a sermon that praises Illinois for getting one step closer to gay marriage while also promoting a march downtown against gun violence. The liberal in me sang some high notes. 

But the sermon is what really got to me. The guest celebrant spoke on the idea of Jesus and the Fig Tree in which Jesus curses the fig tree because it has no fruit. I’ve heard that before. In fact, I remember a joke in a bible study class I took in high school where the leader mentioned that “God hates fig newtons.”

What I missed was the second part of this passage. Basically, a vineyard owner comes and asks Jesus to delay his curse for a year so that he could cultivate the tree. Obviously, this was a call for Jesus’s people to go forth and procreate… but it’s a pretty good metaphor for living.

And the celebrant at this Episcopalian church gave a great lecture on how God (or, in my case, forces unknown to me) grant each of us time. While we may see our purpose as done, it often is not. We have time to make changes in our life. To see the world, make amends, be the difference, etc. Unlike the tree, we do not have a due date, but we all live with the knowledge that our time will come to an end through our hands or others. 

Pretty awesome. 

i think that fiance and I will go back to that church this weekend to give it another go. Hopefully it also provide fresh and enlightening thoughts for the week. 

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