Category Archives: Religion

An Agnostic’s (Creed?) Query

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An Agnostic’s Creed Query

Who knows, in the end,
what will be good fortune, what folly?
We make our choices, take our chances,
drawing straws that synchronicity turns long
or misfortune cuts in two.
One person’s good luck
is another’s ruin—
life, perhaps, being the biggest lottery
while the lord of games sits above
in his windowed cage, viewing the results
of his design. The wheel? Blind luck,
but part of some larger mechanism
rigged to keep the house functioning
for purposes that the faithful, those addicted to the game,
repeat like a litany, still pulling the slot handle, sorting the cards,
assuring themselves, over and over,
that they are taken into account.

 

 

The prompt today was “folly.”

Tree of Faith

Tree of Faith

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Please click on the first photo below to enlarge and read captions that explain the pieces.

For any of these creations, I could be beheaded in Saudi Arabia. Then crucified for the poem. This holy examination of self is not tolerated in some countries, or by certain factions of our own. This is what we are trying to guard against in a democracy, but its guarantee in our constitution is not, evidently, a given.  It must be fought for over and over again. That open eye of the Madonna was never more called for in our country.

This poem and these retablos are dedicated to   Ashraf  Fayadh.  Please click on the below link if you doubt the veracity of what I say above or if you want to see an example of why it is so important for us to continue to embrace diversity in thought , faith and culture:
https://thegadabouttown.com/2016/12/10/speak-out-for-ashraf-fayadh/

The prompt word today was “mystical.”

 

God’s Assembly Place

God’s Assembly Place

Leaving the Masons’ Lodge behind,
there was Mrs. Shimer’s cool dark little house
and the grade school slides to pass,
then spirea bushes to pull the petals from
before I reached the mysterious brick church
nestled in trees across from the lumber yard.

The sign said “Assembly of God.”
Everyone else said, “holy rollers and speakers in tongues,”
but they threw the best Bible school of the summer.
My mom let me attend them all: Lutheran,
Community Bible, Seven Day Adventist, Assembly of God
and our own Church––Methodist.

The Community Bible Church called us Jet Cadets
who made progress through the skies
by attendance and memorizing Bible verses.
The Methodists had the best art supplies,
but the Assembly of God
had that aura of mystery–
as though God had assembled us all there for a special purpose.

Because I had heard what went on there
when I wasn’t present,
I was the Nancy Drew of vacation Bible school,
looking fruitlessly for clues
as I made do with Kool Aid,
peanut butter cookies and
mimeographed pictures of Bible stories to color.

Then every day, the short walk home again
through that bridal path of spilled spirea blossoms,
with faith that tomorrow
religion just might turn into that great adventure
that I knew I was born to.

Thanks Whimsygizmo for leading me to this prompt with your wonderful poem. Readers, if you want to participate in the Writer’s Digest prompts, find them here:
Poetic Asides

Flip Flop

th
flip flop

the sound  of ease
and summer

not much to slip into
or out of

sand between toes
and other cracks

released in sleep
to gritty sheets

grinding our sleep
and clogging up washing machines

long gone the days of high button shoes
and the shoe horns that went with them.

Waist cinchers
give way to bikinis

and bikinis
to nude beaches

half of the world
flip flopping

rubber soles
and swinging breasts.

flip flops
taking the place

of gasps
as stays are tightened

the other half
burqas and Jimmy Choo

these differences
in freedom found

and freedom
found too slowly

find release in
collapsing towers

conceal, reveal.
flip flop.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/flip-flop/

He

The Prompt: Hindsight is 20-20—What if you had the power to rewrite history? You do.

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One of 15 creches I’ve made using material I’ve found on the beach

He

would have married the girl and had children
and been less overt with his teachings
of peace and love too radical
for a world immersed in their opposite.

He would then not have changed the world, perhaps,
but  only lived in contrast
to that power popular among those who needed it
and effective in keeping those adverse to it quiet.

If he had married the girl, the world would probably have ended up
pretty much how it has anyway, but he might have had a different ending.
Grown old, had his cronies over to talk about the good old days,
converted water into wine and served them loaves and fishes.

Mary Magdalene would have danced for them in their memories,
and all of his grandchildren would have listened in awe
to hear the tales of how he walked on the water,
bade Lazarus to rise from the grave.

He would shush his cronies as they started in
with tales of how he smashed the souvenir stands
and threw the money changers out of the temple.
Not stories for young ears not quite ready to learn revolution.

And all of the ill done in his name might have happened anyway,
but at least he would have had a good life.  Would have suffered less.
And some other savior might have found a way to save the world
that would have worked.

Note:  It has been so long since I’ve been able to pingback that I’m posting this even though I wrote to the weekly prompt today instead of this one!

For a more remarkable poem that might have been the prequel to this one, but was actually written first, go here.

The Sweet and Bitter Lie

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This is one of 15 creches I’ve constructed of unaltered natural items I’ve found on the beach. For some reason, I am captivated by the gentle side of Mexico best symbolized by her obsession with the Virgin of Guadalupe. I’ve seen motorcycle leathers with an image of Guadalupe on the back! I’ll publish pictures of the others soon. I know. A seeming contradiction to the words I’ve posted below, but perhaps one or the other view is just a sweet little lie!

The Prompt: Sweet Little Lies—As kids, we’re told, time and again, that lying is wrong. Do you believe that’s always true? In your book, are there any exceptions?

The Sweet and Bitter Lie

I think the sweetest little lie we tell ourselves and our children is that of a beneficent and caring God. This belief and the religion that stems from it  is our way of comforting ourselves. It is totally aside from reason. How else could we look at a baby turtle struggling to swim for the first time plucked up and swallowed by a hungry pelican, or a baby suffering with cancer or a horribly deformed child and think, “This is the product of a caring Father?” We all must conclude, if we make use of our senses at all, that nature is impartial and serves only its own cycle. There is no kindness in nature, other than her beauties and comforts; but even they all serve a purpose: to survive against all odds, and to kill or at the very least to depend upon the death of other organisms in order to do so.

I do acknowledge that Religion is probably necessary for many who do not think far enough to recognize the sweet lie. For those who use it to create more compassion for others, I applaud the end. But right now it seems as though religion is being used more as a weapon and political ploy than for the “good” side of its coin.

I don’t know how I align my agnosticism with my belief that there is some sort of incredible synchronicity going on in the world. This is a topic for another day, I guess.

For other posts on this topic, go here: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/sweet-little-lies/