KICKING SACRED COWS

LXIII.

King Tutankhamun's sacred cow
King Tutankhamun's sacred cow

During the night I jotted down a few poems which I was inspired to pen and thought to present as part of a poetry hub. I’d planned to look into my notebooks for other poems penned in the past to augment a poetry hub along the theme of "examining verities from time to time to see if they still are" - a line from my very first webpage 13 years ago.

That theme happens to have been a natural tendency recurring in me since childhood. An early substantial memory of it was times I mentally questioned why the songs in the hymnal received such reverence while any other kinds of music, even if it sang of spiritual things, was prohibited in the sanctuary. What made those hymnal songs "sacred"? I wondered.

I loved the music at church, especially the pipe organ, and I liked to sing. I amused myself during dry sermons by "reading" the hymnal, if truth be known. I mentally "played" or sang the notes sometimes, trying to sing the "parts" as well as the melodies which the sopranos usually carried.

I noticed the names of composers, lyricists and dates of writing each of the hymns were printed out on the top left side of the title lines for the songs. Most dates were fairly current,in my own century, though a few went back a century or so. But none of them was dated between the years 1 and 33 AD! This made me question the possibility that they'd been decreed as the exclusive music choices for Christian worship. That seemed perfectly all right, but by what stretch of the imagination were these so much more sacred than any others?

If those songs which were written as recently as a few years before I was born were OK, then what was so wrong with so-called "secular" music which had encouraging things to say about one's spirit and exhorted folks to treat others befitting a Christian spirit? There was a song - "I'll Walk With God" - which I've always especially liked but it was written for a Broadway musical. Its message seems quite acceptable but it wasn't "approved", though certainly it's as spiritual as "In The Garden", - which I also loved and which was my mother's favorite and which is in the hymnal. Maybe the Broadway composer wasn't affiliated with the right denomination - or even maybe not even the right faith or even maybe with none! After all, the song really doesn't pinpoint those details. I guess it just won't do to just name god without more details! Might be damaging somehow or lead some innocent astray.


In earlier years, at Vacation Bible School, we sometimes were led in singing one called "Two Little Blackbirds" and I NEVER have figured out what that one had to do with anything, in or out of worship. " Two little blackbirds sitting on a hill, one named Jack and the other named Jill. Fly away, Jack, fly away Jill, Come back Jack, come back Jill . . ." and then it was repeated as a second - or third stanza along with some hand movements such as used to entertain infants. But this wasn't a babysitting room while the grownups were in worship, though - it was a "class" for learning about all tthat. Puzzling - very. I kept mulling it over and wondering if something were wrong with me!

I was really confused when the Junior High age Sunday School class seemed mostly devoted to the kids' in the classes talking about the parties and dances they'd attended over the weekend. The teacher seemed more apt to key into those discussions than to answer a timid but serious question about faith which - that one time - I had the temerity to venture. I guess I was still of a mindset that "classes" and "schools" had to do with learning things and clarifying any confusions about them. Whew! Was I living in never-land or what?!


I almost never recovered from the embarrassment, in fact. The aghast looks on the shocked faces of both the teacher and the other class members when I asked my little question convinced me that this was no place to talk about faith and related subjects, even if the sign on the lawn strongly suggested it would be! I certainly didn't have that much first-hand experience with parties and dances, quite frankly, so I felt somewhat as if I'd been dropped out of a space capsule into some kind of unintelligible planet for which I had no affinity or training (nor it for me), although I really had been trained or so I'd thought.

But after that, I just kept my thoughts mostly to myself and reverted to observing the inhabitants as had been my main choice around our dinner table at home where older and wiser heads prevailed. Meantime, I continued to ponder and try to make sense of stuff, and not altogether in vain, I might add, though I must admit that some of my conclusions might have caused even more aghast responses had I shared them too! I still tend to keep them to myself and have only fairly recently begun to present them. I don't want to cause trouble or to make anyone who is sure of everything question it! But I'm getting too mature to fret too much about it if I should ruffle any feathers or alarm any security systems guarding the status quo!


But now, on this particular morning - (and after all, the date is 10-10-10) - and for these and various reasons, now I’m not so sure that this hub can possibly be just some more of my poetry, exclusively, or that I'll even look further for additional poetry for it than the couple of poems I just penned in the wee hours of this date!


I must warn, though, that the entire hub begins to have earmarks of becoming a bit of a rant, and may contain some of the self-worked-out explanations to some of the unanswered questions of my youth.

One thing it isn't: It's not intended to castigate any beliefs or opinions, but simply to open a window for a fresh breeze and respond from my heart rather strongly to comments brought forcibly to my attention this day by someone on a public media whose opinion vehemently castigates those of many others of our fellow travelers on this planet in this or any other day.

I make no attempt to say whose opinions are right, if any, but merely to point out that the claims to be unquestionably right are certainly up for reasonable questioning. When the unreasoning behind such proposals is that people have no right to our opinions, (as if we could stop them if we wanted to much less relinquish our rights to them), is averred by another human person in the process of making adamant declarations of HIS opinion of it, it attempts to strip people of part of themselves as surely as mental castration and does this surgery - or attempts it - by claiming that HIS opinion is an exception by reason of not being his own, but the creator's, allowing him to claim it as being exclusively right above and beyond question or any one else's!

Two little blackbirds make - at least - that much sense! One can see why children are given that anomaly to sing so they'll be more accustomed to absurdity as they grow into the system.


Forming thought,

Which generates,

Nor hesitates

To venture

Out of Darkness' ruts and murk,

It rises up from

Fertile stuff,

It knows the way to clarity.

It's rarity due only to

Sacred Cows' impeding

Thoughts more brave to stave

The Staleness' ruts and murk.


But finally

A path is swept,

A cleansing bath is drawn,

For truth and love and light,

To shine about,

To end the grip of Ignorance

On earth's long tortured night.


______© Nellieanna H. Hay

10-9-10

So, then - It may have been mere coincidence but this Sunday morning I turned on the TV to catch the weather forecast for today and for this upcoming week when I know I MUST put nose to grindstone and get my taxes finished and turned in under the deadline! Not sure whether clear weather or rain would help - but of course, - I definitely need no power outages which could result from unexpected thunderstorms!


In any case, the channel which had been ongoing when last the tube was used - fired up immediately and the programming in progress was well into a cyber sermon in which the guy was saying "YOU DON'T HAVE THE RIGHT TO YOUR OPINION, not if you believe in . . etc.!" I was too stunned to switch to the weather immediately! I needed to see how he was going to top that!


He went on to explain what it was that HE THOUGHT about it and to mock and make fun of anyone who qualifies any strong personal OPINION in regard to his beliefs, applying to the delivery for the sake of common courtesy at least language to make it somewhat bearable. He pooh-poohed that approach as spineless - or worse - and admonished believers to declare as adamantly as he was doing, without any regard for others’ opinions and sensitivities - and without any sort of softening qualifications of what they believe or crack in the wall of certainty, (so long as it agrees with what this preacher believes, being implied). wow. He topped himself, for sure.


Now, I respect people's beliefs. I even understand and share a few of them. I've had training in depth of the belief system this guy was advocating. Nothing wrong with that on the whole. I’ve also read and studied other belief systems, many equally dogmatic and stony.

I’ve known one Christian minister who dared to give serious ear to an oriental belief system which he knew intimately, having been both an art student and a missionary as well as mastering the Japanese language there, where he gleaned insight to recognize a rich spiritual value in their culture with which he hoped to enhance his own sermons. When he returned to the states and his own congregations, however, he was almost literally ridden out of town on a rail for daring to suggest such a thing! So much for considering anything ELSE. This morning's TV sermon's message was not unique in that in fact.

But is it - must it be beyond people’s grasping to realize that if one thinks something, it IS opinion, and it IS personal opinion? It has been personally thought out or else it has come into one's awareness in the form of thought presented by someone else from some personal perspective or from a group's explanation and interpretation of some other opinions previously postulated. And then it has been accepted and adopted individually and personally via whatever personal capacity to accurately interpret and understand meanings in order to make a decision about it. It may then become adopted as a PERSONAL "experience" or revelation, ignoring the process of sorting through it and weighing it against the personal background, interest, sense of "need", or any other PERSONAL device for forming OPINIONS and espousing causes.

The result is that the person has finally chosen it as a valid and acceptable personal opinion or interpretation, as opposed to a vast array of others which may or may not have crossed his field of awareness and may have escaped notice, and therefore either acceptance or rejection. Such a supreme presumption! - to insist on having been singled out for the ONLY valid information imparted among millions of souls and which somehow was simply poured into one's consciousness unexamined by oneself, directly from god!

But choices are inevitably made regardng "what" TO BELIEVE and what not to believe, which already puts them at risk of being less that correct to the extent claimed. These are personal choices, though often made under considerable duress, it seems. Once made, THEN the chooser may justify the choices as being handed out by divine decree to him/her as one of the lucky ones.


Once accepted, then, if it involves a moral code of behavior, it may even be observed "in action", so long as the person is diligent, doesn't backslide too observably and is good at keeping occasional deviations or backslides out of the limelight; or else is inclined and good at making a big deal out of periodlc public confessions, so as to clean the slate and then proceed back out into next week's realities to repeat the procedure. There is no limit on repetition of this process. I know a person who "goes up front" and confesses EVERY Sunday. One would think a new pattern would eventually click in, unless the standards are too impossible to reach - in which case, perhaps it’s less her fault if she can’t live up to them than it is their fault for setting the bar too high. Or perhaps she has too high an interpretation of the requirements. One must admire such dedication and diligence, I guess. It would be gratifying, though, if it seemed to "take" a little more each time in actual everyday practice! Or at least to accept the limitations of one's own perfectabiltiy and to actually rely on god's grace to overlook them!

But civilization has been built upon such motivations, conquering more of the basic primitive urges we may have shared with the "lower animals", though at times one wonders who's the lower! But we can't fault such progress, I suppose. Still, one wonders how it is that the very same sequence of misbehavior is still so rampant, given the longevity and adamant persistence of these singularly true and irreproachable tenets for most of the historic occupation of man on the planet? It's a "puzzlement" - as the King said to Anna.


But in the process, how is it that the personal OPINIONS one has accepted "in good faith" seem to become bold-faced declarations from an all-powerful, loving creator and the human declarers claim theirs to be the the ONLY possible, everlasting, correct ones leaving no doubts whatsoever? At least one would suppose that being vessels of such wisdom might have improved the world a mite! Oh, yes, not to forget, - that question has a built-in catchall reply, which is that another high power over the planet with opposite goals and principles - the Devil - gets into the action. So when things go amiss as they often do, "the devil made it happen". Certainly no one else is responsible! And if some other group claims to have THE god in their back pockets, why - that's probably the Devil masquerading to deceive the poor misguided heathen.


Doesn’t it ever occur to people that really these credibility-stretching assumptions may not be so, at least not in total? -and that others' OPINIONS (which they also think are the ONLY valid ones) are at least statistically as possibly valid as the one held by oneself? Isn’t it possible that somehow all these OPINIONS may have some kernels of truth but none has all the truth, more than likely and that man in his foolishness HAS stumbled across truths none of which explain EVERYTHING?


Of course in order to be so bold as this morning’s cyber preacher and not be accused of supreme egomania, the personal OPINIONS must be delivered as not having derived as creations or from observations of one's own but as coming straight from god, making it imperative for any others’ personal OPINIONS to be severely denied the right to BE or coexist. Never mind that many other equally adamant opinions circulating the globe claim the same source just as adamantly and with as much certainty, though with different names for god, which is not too surprising in other lands with other traditions and languages. Names are merely symbols of whatever they mean to convey (not the reality of the entity itself which simply IS regardless of the name we may assign to it for our own convenience in thinking and in speaking of it) and so there are, of course, different words for the same entity, even for people agreeing that they are referring to the same entity they perceive in their heads, so when switching languages from one to the other that entity is perceived and conveyed by ether word! Why, then, is it so difficult to conceive of a supreme being whose IS-ness may be named differently in different cultures and conceived of a little differently as well, in keeping with their own heritage and imagery? We don't all have access to the same imagery for visualizing these things, which may be why it's best to just omit images and focus on the qualities.


That others don't think to at least find out about our god, how we visualize and name the diety, so as to be able to call theirs’ a name in their languages which can be claimed as simply translations of ours for the god who is claimed to be the one and only - is it a serious error on their part or is it on our part? Or - or - or - are all names for the diety amiss? And who in the world has the facts here? Not I.


In any case one can notice or deduce that often the main messages and systems supposedly delivered by the different presentations of god sound suspiciously similar! Most all have half the populations, men, as the masters and a select few - priests (almost invariably men) as the all-powerful keepers of the purse-strings, with a small group of elite male advisers supporting their authority, if not ready to do battle or at least declare unfitness for any deviation from the proclaimed dogma,- give or take a few current conditions affecting the basics and the details one way or the other. I mean - it does seem that the female half of the populations in some areas may be so naturally threatening to their men’s position of authority that they must be kept subdued with greater diligence and covered from head to foot in heavy dark garments, barely able to peek out and see where they’re going, much less what is going on. Almost seems a case of "methinks thou doth protest too much!" Scared rather than sacred is what it appears, much less the faithful carrying out god's instructions.


This morning's preacher fellow also went so far as to claim that this dogmatism he advocates is a big draw for others into the fold, rather than turning them off, as those with a softer delivery argue. Well, sure. There are lots of folks walking around who PREFER blind validation to having a reaching searching open mind of their own! It spares them the huge burden of responsibility for their own actions and frees them to act as they wish so long as they follow the rules and confess when they goof up, including failure to submit usury to the coffers, or stepping out of the "party" line or questioning their children's singing about blackbirds in bible school. Let me add that the term "party line" has had special meaning for me ever since Junior High Sunday School. "Dance program" seems fitting too.


It's ok if they want to think that. In spite of the preacher's declaration to the contrary, people do have personal choice in what they accept and buy into!

What seems absurd, though, is the extreme to which this kind of believing is willing to go in order to assure itself top billing all over the planet! Or is it that these sweeping assertions are made in a desperate attempt to bolster up and to keep up the front of unwavering rightness - and so, the automatic wrongness of everything and everyone who doesn't agree totally?

To me - unguided as I am - it would seem that god to whom they ascribe their opinions really needs no such "help", although within the system, that question has been provided an easy answer, too. It's claimed that god chose mere mortals to speak for him. And as though to be certain this seems plausible, this entire belief system was supposed to have been spread and accomplished by the "foolishness of men". I just hardly know what more need be said or done except a modicum of humility along with the foolishness, perhaps?


I don't prefer to kick any sacred cows but sometimes it's tempting, especially when they are being big bullies.



Living fully

In the Now,

No Sacred Cow

pervades.

I'll not avow

What I can't know,

No formula invades.

I'll not deny the truth I feel

Though I dream and hope and

Wander through Elysian fields

Where enlightenment steals

And carries me o'er yonder.



But I come back home

To Earth to roam

So long as I dwell here,

Feet on the ground;

To LIVE my life,

This vital time around.



______© Nellieanna H. Hay

10-9-10


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30 comments

alternate poet profile image

alternate poet 6 years ago

Wow, you didn't just scribble these down without thinking then ? I like them a lot, like the sentiment too, and I like the idea of explaining where they were born, I might just steal that idea :)


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Hello there, AP. Sometimes I just write what I feel or what occurs to me in a flash, but no - I don't scribble down without thinking. Do people actually do that?

;->

Thank you for the high praise of appreciating my ideas behind them & of attempting to incorporate their inception as background presentation. It's good to know that people's ideas didn't rise as crisp, clear edicts but that they grew organically as a person grew. For you to consider "stealing" the idea is most flattering, though I didn't actually set out to do that to the extent I did it & I don't necessarily advocate it as a practice. For one thing I like leaving interpretation more open for others to read into my simple poems what fits their own experiences and current perceptivity. If anyone happens to care about mine, it's not too difficult to track them down from the overall body of my self-expression, which suits me better. I'm not trying to hide - but neither am I interested in spilling all my guts. LOL And I really never just love to explain myself. LOL. At the very least, it opens vast probabilities of being misinterpreted & forever stuck with the misinterpretations!

Thanks so much for your attention. I am definitely going to read your hubs. I popped over there and immediately noticed a sympatico.


SilverGenes 6 years ago

This is an exceptional piece on thinking and lack thereof. I will read this more than once. In fact, I'll need to read it several times in order to give it the attention and comprehension it deserves. The phrase on Sunday mornings that always gets my attention is "God wants..." How these people are selected as God's personal secretaries and interpreters is beyond me.

As far as logic and opinion go, this is one of my favourite stories: My daughter was attending a Catholic school and the time for confession was drawing near. Grade six graduation was almost upon us and the priest was taking no chances in anyone slipping by without confession. Usually, people in this group chat about what sins they will disclose and 'impure thoughts' is a tried and true when you can think of nothing else. However, my daughter was not impressed with the system and decided to take another path. She entered the confessional and stated she did not wish to confess. She was told it was mandatory. She told the priest she was Jewish. It made sense to her - Jesus was a Jew. The priest then questioned her going to this particular school if she were not Catholic and she drew the sanctity of the confessional to his attention. Slam dunk. It's fair game - if one is going to promote ideas as truths, allow no deviation or consideration for others, there is always a checkmate. Harmony, however, is an entirely different game. Thanks for this kick at the sacred cow :) p.s. I was a teacher in one of those church classes and we did discuss faith and welcomed questions. We often had several valid solutions, too!


Christopher Price profile image

Christopher Price 6 years ago from Vermont, USA

Oh Nellieanna,

That pompous pedantic preacher sure got you pumped up Darlin'!

I wrote to fellow hubber Freya a few weeks ago that I can't understand the conflicts religions and their followers insist on creating when most claim to believe in ONE GOD. It must follow that what ever we call Him/Her/It we are referring to the same entity and just using different names. Wanting to kill our brothers and sisters because their form of worship is a different method or flavor is worse than ridiculous.

And telling you you have no opinion is dangerous. Obviously!

Write On!

CP


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Sacred cows and pompous asses seem to go together, as love and marriage are alleged to do. I don't buy that one either!

That old saying "extra ecclesiam nulla salus" refers!

I believe in heresy and original thought! LOL!

Actually not much progress would have been made in our human history if we all bowed down to other people's opinions and negated our own experience as so many would have us do.

I so like the idea of kicking sacred cows - right out of the park! Except I feel sorry for the cows - it's not usually their fault that they get regarded as sacred, after all!

Love and peace

Tony


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Alexandra - thank you. It was an outpouring of thought, for sure! From a vague sense of wanting to express it more gently, this sense of what feels to me like a holy quest for deeper understanding, which is not an irreverent challenge to the god of the universe, whoever or however existing, which I realize is beyond my human comprehension - - to the stirring of my firm resistance to the preposterous self-important claim that we have no right to think or ponder - even as the bible says, to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling" - NOT saying to swallow some other human's dictates, hook, line and sinker!! - Well it griped me and it gripped me beyond endurance to resist writing stronger words in prose, in spite of my normal avoidance of religious and political hotbeds! I'm well aware that It's bad enough when people in power demonstrate a will and intent to strip people of their secular rights and cram their own agendas down our throats - but doing it in the spiritual realm where willingness and real intention of each soul must be the primary criteria - well that got to me, not really for myself because I don't buy into that - but obviously, it has a tremendous effect on many people, both those who do accept it and those who do not but are still searching earnestly for peace with it.

I love your daughter's sensible reaction to the demand to confess, of all things. I know a little but fairly little about the Catholic system. I thought that the provision to unburden one's heart in the privacy of a confessional was rather good, though. I didn't realize it was not a choice! How sincere can it be if it necessitates "coming up with" some sins to present, whether or not one feels guilty? Or is that the purpose - to engender guilt? I suppose it is advantageous for the church, if not for the person. Sheesh.

Perhaps what is more concerning to me is that it becomes a game, then, in any of various ways, it sounds like One example is encouraging planning a strategy to satisfy the mandatory requirement to confess something for which one may not feel the least remorse. This "sin", if indeed may be imaginary - so that the real sin is created in needing to misrepresent the truth just to satisfy a church requirement to confess sins! Oh wow.

Another bit of gamesmanship it inspires is as your clever daughter did, beating the system, exposing the loopholes, taking the ball and running with it - to win the logical play. It's even appropriate to use gamesmanship terms as you did to describe this - "fair game" - "slam dunk" - "checkmate" and to describe how the opposition team's carelessness lost them the game, in essence. How far can it be from a spiritual experience and soul-refreshment when it inspires an alert and sensible young person simply to play it like a game? It's surely the furtherest thing from soul nourishing I can imagine but I't's surely the wisest course for her to take, the setup being what it is - and if she wants to be part of the setup. In any case, it says little about the truth and purpose of the church's spiritual leadership. Sad.

The confession I mentioned in a Protestant setting is a voluntary - and public - stepping out of the pew at the end of the sermon when "the invitation" is given to either come forward and accept the offer of salvation if one has never done so (while the choir or congregation sings "invitation songs" such as "Just As I Am", admitting what a nothing that is), - or to step forward if one has previously accepted the initial invitation but knows one has sinned since then, as a confession to god and in the witness of the brethren. The exact nature of the sin is not required to be revealed so that it's left to the fertile imaginations of the entire congregation! It may be the most delicious part of the service for the typical gossipmongers present! LOL Oh!! human nature is so HUMAN! LOL.

YES - I know there are many sincere teachers who do respond to sincere questions from their students. And how this is handled has more effects on the students than the actual information involved, perhaps.

Each of us is affected by the experiences we've actually met in the formative years, especially. I'm glad for those youngsters who can at least feel their thoughts were respected and their personal value validated by being respected by a teacher like you. Hopefully that experience encouraged them to seek and recognize their own truth so as to become more and more self-reliant in their spiritual journey, as well as their secular.

The contrary message is that the person has no value and is, as some of the hymns declare, a "worm". Somehow this contradicts all the rest of the spiritual message of love, unless one is willing to equate loving and being loved to being shamed, diminished and denied or to administer that kind of "love" to their loved ones. Can't help but wonder how much such messages contribute to the prevalence of domestic violence and other assaults upon people - out of "love", either claimed or implied.

Oh well, that's stretching the scope of this discussion and I've already gone out on a limb far enough! :-> Thanks for the prop-up, my friend!!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Christopher P - thanks for reading and commenting, my friend. Yes, I guess you're right - it got me pumped up! You wouldn't know it, perhaps, though - that I am always super-aware of this kind of affront to human dignity. If I don't speak or write of it often, it is because it's so very self-evident all the time anyway and because my own history of successfully dealing with such people/person-in-particular reached closure for me personally to the extent that my only inclination to discuss it is if and when I see a possibility of helping someone over a similar hump. I normally don't grab a banner and wave it or jump on a bandwagon and join in the general chorus of opposition to bullies - but this specific timing and this specific - as you so aptly described - "pompous pedantic preacher" spoke up when I was already primed to incorporate the subject of sacred cows into a hub of poetic nudging to use clear thought and personal integrity -(which is being integrated within, in my definition) to simply counter-balance such stuff.

But once I began writing - well - you see where it led! LOL. I'm not dangerous to him specifically - but thinking, thoughtful people whose motives are truth-seeking - ARE dangerous to his breed. We needn't use their kinds of scare-tactics and malicious maligning of others in order to do it, though. That's always been my concern: how to oppose and still retain one's even-keel and true spirit. I had to do that in my own personal struggle in order to know I'd won what was most valuable out of it - myself, as I really am, not as fury and resentment might have altered me.

So I strongly hope the struggle for human integrity doesn't give in to the easy temptation to lose it in the process.

You are becoming so dear to me. Thanks for the great encouragement, CP!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Tony - dear and wise compatriot! - haha - yeah they do go together like peas in a pod, don't they? This is good, though - keeps them out in the open where they can be watched and countered as needed. It's the insidious, hidden forces out to steal free will and make people think they're helping - who should be the greater concern!

You're right about love and marriage NOT being securely and inescapably linked too. There is ample evidence all about that marriages exist sans love and vice versa. Whether or not it's in the best interest, either way, of offspring may be debatable but whether or not one can exist abundantly without the other is not.

Well, heresy implies that god decreed things one refuses or denies. I don't really give pompous preachers touting their own opinions that much credit, frankly! LOL - But original and productive thought gets my full support to the extent of my full capabilities! haha. As for god, I'm no mind-reader. I see creation, which expresses a lot. I just don't attempt to fill in the blanks. Seems like that's at god's option - whatever and whoever that may be. Meantime - I'll exercise my options - thinking among them.

It's so. Human progress requires good and independent human thought. Unfortunately it seems that once progress is underway and especially when its productivity seems assured, human demigods see fit to squelch further original thought in order to grab, secure and maintain their power and control over the goodies. Elsewise some independent thinker might happen along to challenge that right to all the good stuff at the expense of those who helped create it and keep it coming. Sad, but true. We've a plethora of examples in every town, county, country and international entity we've allowed to grab the reins and run off with the carriages.

Honestly - I hesitated to use "sacred cow" for the avatar of this plea for thought. I respect and have no quarrel with those whose beliefs sanctify cows as a symbol of their faith. I surely don't blame the cows! Symbolism seems to be a necessity in many nooks and crannies of human experience. In fact language itself is a prime example. So are sports teams' mascots and colors. So are a dozen red roses for m'lady and pipe and slippers for m'guy. We express so many things symbolically it's a language all its own. She KNOWS what his roses mean. (one of two things, - LOL) He knows what her setting out the pipe and slippers means. Our hearts beat the faster when "our" UT team's longhorn, Bevo, or Dallas Cowboys' big Silver Lone Star appear. We're instantly engaged in the exchange of the idea symbolized. So if a sacred cow is the symbol of a faith, more power to it, if it's a benevolent one.

It was the symbolism of religion - or any tradition, for that matter - gone amuck which I wanted to suggest with an avatar, though and it needed to be a familiar one to have meaning. I chose the obsolete sacred cow of King Tut to illustrate it because I didn't want to suggest that those in the Hindu religion were targeted - not at all!!

I need not accept or agree with someone's beliefs in order to respect them. And I hope they don't feel they must agree with mine in order to respect me. That's the heart of the message really. To respect others' ideas and beliefs so long as they don't try to cram them down my - and others' - throats. That's where the line needs to be drawn rather than at the threshold of different beliefs - in my humble opinion.

And that pompous jackass crossed that line and got me kicking! LOL

Thanks Tony - for a great response!!


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago

I hope you know me by now Nellieanna! I may be a cow kicker. Well don't worry folks -your cows are safe. If a "religiosity" student gets carried too far away from the Golden Rule I may kick a sacred bovine. WE WILL- DO UNTO OTHERS AS WE WOULD HAVE OTHERS DO ONTO US! That is THE law of Christianity and everybody including Christians will be held to a harsh critique about it! That's GW Bush G. Washington, and Gee everybody better treat each other right! God bless you Girl!


VagabondE profile image

VagabondE 6 years ago from Hitting the road again

Just the term "sacred cow" is disrespecting a religion. I only listen to God and ignore man's social organizations with all their legalism. I live a simple life and invite all to seek the truth for themselves. Life is really simple when you free yourself from the "rules" someone else so conveniently gave you to make you a part of their group. I like your questioning nature, Nellieanna. I hope to be as wise as you some day.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Micky - thank you! Unfortunately "religiosity" moves one step further away from the Golden Rule than formal religion already is. Faith and religiosity are on the opposite sides of the spectrum, I fear.

Talk is cheap - it's the DOING unto others as we would have them do unto us which defines a follower of Christ. If that Golden Rule were the ruling principle in practice among his followers where and as it most certainly should be, there would be no cause for complaint and no need for any cow kicking. Many cows are lying down on the job!

Let's hope that one main principle of Christianity catches on among the followers finally because it IS Christians who must be most accountable, since it is they who claim to follow Christ, who laid down very few other rules to define his followers. That one pretty much encapsulates them all by its breadth and depth.

Of course "everybody" are not sworn followers. They surely need to see better examples of the Christian practice of the Golden Rule in order to notice or be convinced that there's any appreciable difference.

I do know you as a kind person and I respect you highly!! You don't just talk the talk!

Thanks for the visit and excellent comments!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Vagabond - Actually it is not my intention to disrespect anyone's beliefs though I may not choose them for my own and might be unable to do so, in good conscience.

I don't presume to make judgements on what is right for others, though I feel rather strongly that if someone professes a belief which by its nature sets itself forward as a guideline for its followers' lives, and encourages others to embrace it, they are accountable for following and demonstrating it,- not by my authority but by their own profession of it. Saying one thing and doing the opposite is disrespecting it themselves and misleading others as to what it is.

Yes, your lifestyle is close to the simplicity practiced by the greatest spiritual leaders themselves. It's seldom that their so-called followers who introduce the legalism and demonstrate the diametrical opposite of those whom they claim to be following choose real simplicity for themselves. There is often only lip service to it and demonstration goes in the opposite direction, as they become involved in dictating the rules they invent to control others and in managing the "business" of the religion to their advantage.

When a sacred cow begins to BE the object of worship rather than the reminder of if, things are out of hand, in my humble opinion.

Yes - most of the legalistic rules of "religions" are no more than bonds to bind others to the human beings at the helm, riding on the reputation of someone who did demonstrate a simple life of dedication. Of course, they want followers - or else why do it? It's a profitable business and gives great power. Simplicity doesn't seek those rewards. The truth has no price-tag or initiation into an organization requirements. It's to be found by each of us who honestly seek it.

I'm an admirer of you for your courage to just BE and live life simply. Thank you for the good comments and compliments. Now I will have to try to live up to them!


SilverGenes 6 years ago

Nellieanna, I just wanted to let you know about a couple of points. The Catholic church changed the rules of confession so that it's no longer mandatory - up until Vatican II it was something everyone had to do before mass so school kids lined up on Fridays thinking up sins. Now, it's up to the individual to determine the need EXCEPT in school prior to graduation (when there is a mass) and other such important occasions. You are correct in the assumption that it was perceived as a game by many and certainly by me. As you know, I am not a reverent person when it comes to organized religion and you are quite right that many of the practices in this oldest of the Christian churches were and are in place to create guilt within the hearts of its followers. It's all about control. If you can create guilt and hold the keys to salvation, you have control and this equates to power. It's no different in any organized religion that claims to be 'the only way'. I've often thought of it like MLM. Those at the top stuff their pockets with reward while those in the ranks recruit constantly in an attempt to better their positions and swell their ranks. It's a terrible model for the growth of the soul and one more suited to multinational corporations. I could go on about why then I would put my daughter in a Catholic school but that would mean a rant on the public school system and the changes it has undergone over the last several years. Sigh.

As for humanity being naught but 'worms' otherwise known as sinners and not worthy unless ___ (fill in the manmade blank), that doesn't say a lot for the intelligence of one's perceived supreme creator. Perhaps we would all do a lot better living together on this very tiny planet if we stopped allowing anyone to tell us what our god says, means, or wants. Can you imagine if we spent as much time supporting the inherent goodness in ourselves and our neighbors as we do now in separating ourselves?

The Protestant confession as you describe it sounds fraught with difficulty and I can see how it could engender 'sinful' activities just by its nature. It is rather ingenious, though. Better than TV! How on earth did we come so far from what we were designed to do and be on this planet? Perhaps by listening to someone who claimed to have the ear of the gods...


Leafy Den profile image

Leafy Den 6 years ago from the heart

"One thing it isn't: It's not intended to castigate any beliefs or opinions, but simply to open a window for a fresh breeze and respond from my heart..."

As any intelligent person would see that this is exactly what you have done. The problem with some people is they view any kind of questioning as kicking the cow when no kicking was intended. I love what you said about hymns as well - what ordains one song a sacred hymn and another not? I don't like to be disrespectful of other's beliefs either but cannot help but wonder when I see how people make up rules as they go along and then treat the rules as if they are sacrosanct. They bend rules for themselves as the situation seems fit, also.

Thank you for a wonderful, intelligent and thought-provoking hub!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Dear Alexandra- thank you for the clarification about the confessional requirements and other fine-tuning. I had no idea one way or the other, actually. However I married a much older Catholic widower a couple of years after my own life was fragmented. We were married 6 years. He was liberating to me in many ways. Since I was a divorcee, though, he was not allowed by his church to take communion.

My acquaintance with the sacrament of communion was limited to Protestant practices which vary from denomination to denomination & I'd had exposure to several denominations. In some it is almost a seasonal event, in others it is every Sunday. In most it is expected that the member examine his or her heart and present it unblemished in order to properly receive communion - at the risk of extra condemnation at the judgement day for doing otherwise.

Well, I was aghast at one small church - actually the only one for hundreds of miles for ranchers in my ranch area - and where the lady who confesses weekly is a member among the small congregation. The ministers and members all drive many rocky miles to gather at this church for services in a little ghost town on Sundays. On one occasion the visiting minister announced that non-members would not be permitted to take communion (though it was normally a matter left to personal conscience) and that any member, even of the Baptist persuasion) who was not specifically a member of THAT Baptist congregation would be likewise prohibited! Occasionally hunters and small-tract owners do attend. I attended there many Sundays as a child though we were members of another denomination.

The "reasoning" (if it may be called that) - for this high-handed edict was that only "local" members would have been subject to scrutiny & observation by one another during the week so as to KNOW if their hearts were pure enough to be allowed to partake of communion!!!!! As if that entire presumption were not enough, the members there -the "locals" - are all ranchers living on large tracts widely separated by many miles so that almost the only time they see one another IS on Sundays at the services - unless they assemble to repair the building at rare times or pitch in to help at shearing time! Some drive there from as far as 50 miles from "home" every Sunday. No one is spying on anyone. And this was long before the area had a glimmer of access to the internet!! So the most probable clue that they get that anyone may have misbehaved is when someone presents him or her self for confession - which occurs after communion is passed among the members.!

Such is the warped mentality of so many arbitrators running around loose!

Anyway, after I'd been accompanying my husband to his catholic church for a number of years of that marriage, it became known to him that he might be permitted to take communion if I were able to produce proof that my first marriage was "untenable" so that the diocese could nullify it. Of course, that would put my two children's birth status in the eyes of that church in legal jeopardy, but I cared more for his peace of mind - he was getting up in years and it mattered to him. My children, almost grown by then, had chosen to be estranged and to deny me under extreme pressure, besides.

So I applied my considerable effective efforts to produce the proof needed. I obtained testimonials from numerous people who had known me during that first marriage (in which a goodly amount of religious pressure was successfully exerted to keep me docile, by the way) - and all of them were glad to testify to the fact that the marriage was indeed totally untenable and that I had no choice in its ending, being nearly destroyed to accomplish it.

So we met with the diocese, presented the evidence and he was readmitted to full church rights once more.

I even attended more than one Catholic "silent retreat", which were pastoral & peaceful but held no religious attraction for me. I planted a tree there in honor of his first wife.

I've always had a strong inner faith, in spite of bombardments including quite a few years at a fundamentalist sponsored school, where much participation was mandatory. I was ok with it and, in fact, since it began not too long after the Jr. High Sunday School event, I welcomed their willing supply of somewhat plausible answers to my questions about their faith. However, when my sister plucked me away from there to "save" me from that "dreadful fundamentalist influence" - I easily let go of it, so I suppose it also had failed to supplant my natural instincts about our universe and its ruler. Neither did I wholeheartedly buy into my sister's "religion" of social status and just using good manners in lieu of faith. But after her death and anger with me for claiming my rights to decide what to do after graduation, I was too easy a prey for domination again and that is how I got into an 18 year marriage which the diocese could later declare untenable. For me, it was a mixture of dedication to my personal goal of being a good wife and mother, submission to a tyrannical husband, but always pressing the subcutaneous discovery of myself again - which allowed me to survive the most limited kind of life ending with worst kind of punishment a mother can have as a result of a perceived (not outright) defiance of his repressive control.

So, you see, I am a tough ole broad who isn't in the least eager for more of that, but who managed to emerge pretty much intact & fully capable of living onward from that time 38 years ago, during which it has been a most productive time well spent, I think. And my simple faith is unshaken and matured from when I was 12 in that Sunday School class. It is summarized: "There is no problem!"

Sure, the road is bumpy - but the ride is worth it!!

:-) Hugs!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Exactly, Leafy Den. But it's some sort of a game in which "Hoyle's Rules" are said to apply but the players have to bend and break them to suit situations. Can't much blame them for trying to live with sometimes impossible demands infringing on their free will on one hand and their free will support demanded for some purposes from "on high" on the other.

Parents are put to the test to teach their kids to submit and obey edicts which may or may not fill the bill and so - also to think, cultivate their minds - and even look both ways before crossing the street - despite the protection of a crossing guard and the all-seeing protection of the god who is always there for them. So confusing.

One set of rules demands NO thinking on their own and another demands they stand on their own two feet, look before they leap, bring home good report cards, resist temptations beyond relying on god's keeping them away! They must "just say no". But if they took to heart total trusting in being always protected, they'd be the first to succumb to any suggestion to take drugs, engage in premarital sex, participate in bullying, - whatever! After all they're not to be thinking and discerning things for themselves, but trusting 100% in being cared for. So if it's suggested, it must be OK, right? - uh uh Obviously they have to make exceptions either way they turn, so is it any wonder they are fragmented almost to the point of schizophrenia if they submit or if they don't so that they sometime pursue extreme measures to be free of the shackles and confusion?

Logic is frowned on - why not? It openly & freely questions authority. Logic, after all, is a human product of THINKING. Dangerous stuff, thinking - if one wants to control and rule over the thinker.

OH WELL. I've ranted enough. I guess my bravado in publishing this is justified. The responses are gratifying and I thank you for yours!


dallas93444 profile image

dallas93444 6 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

After much study and reflection as to the whereabouts of crows and the preacher: I decided to rely on the crow, as she flies straight - as the crow flies, it is five miles... to the church! As the preacher goes, it is unknown how far...

Great insights and observations..!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Most insightful comments, Dallas. There's an even quicker path . . .

Thank you!!


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 6 years ago

Nellieanna you have expanded my mind, my thinking but not my beliefs. I once was a Christian man. I took my dip in the baptismal waters of promise and beliefs of followers of Christ. I went to Bible College for one semester, studied the Bible and marked it up with yellow marker to highlight and preach from it to new believers.

I had the hands of fellow parishers laid upon my head and shoulders and prayed for to stop any sinning ways I had at the time and put my life in the hands of JC.

After almost 10 years of seeing the hypocrites in and out of church, pastors with thousand dollar suits and accompanying silk ties and patten leather shoes preaching to lost souls and at the same time taking offerings for whatever cause they could drum up. I knew it was time for me to fellowship outside of the church and so I have.

I am spiritual and I talk to God and yell out loud at times and in the stillness of my heart I find peace and calm and all is well with the world. I no longer wear suits and ties unless I attend a funeral parlor or a wedding:0) The spiritual actors on the church stages in America will continue to pull the wool over many followers eyes, but no longer over this cowboy.

When I see pastors now with toll free numbers to order up their CDs, books, crosses and whatever else they deem as sacred. I am dismayed that their flocks continue to flock and be suckers for punishment to ill afford these things.

Yet they do and continue to keep many of these pastors on knob hill with riches, while the flock scrapes by and tithe to their Church (pastor). Okay okay I am on a rant and will stop. Religion and me don't see eye to eye any longer, yet I am at piece with my soul and my maker whomever that may be.

I am with Merlin there is some pagan in me to, maybe even more than I know. Hugs to you and thank you for this great share. It will open many eyes to see the light. Big hugs coming your way:0))


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

Nellieanna, you were obviously already as a child ahead of your time, noticing all those contradictions and anomalies. I’m on your page with this. The message Jesus gave to this world has been used, misused and twisted by intimidators and power-seekers since the day he died on the cross.

For 35 years I was a devoted Christian, for 18 years agnostic, for 6 months back to Christianity, and then, rudely shocked and disenchanted by a gospel preacher, I am now a very-very sad Christian knowing that most Christians have no clue what they are doing. “Forgive them, God, for they don’t know what they are doing,” was the prayer of Jesus while he was dying on the cross. I bet he never stopped praying those words.

I’m getting old in my corner, watching, observing, and knowing they are missing the point totally. (Not to talk about other religions, although Buddhism contains a lot of wisdom).

I love to read the Bible, but my interpretation of the scriptures is way above the comprehension of 99,9% people who call themselves Christians. They are suppose to be like Jesus – they are suppose to keep on changing themselves so that they can become more and more like him. If we study his personality, his actions while he was alive, we’ve got to admit that if all of us were like him, this world would have been a ‘heaven’. Sadly I know many atheists who are like Jesus and besides my mother not one Christian.

Yesterday 10-10-10 I was terribly upset about exactly the same thing that disturbed you. I also wanted to ‘rant’, but then I remembered my favorite quote: Eagles don’t catch flies.”

Another rule of my own: “Adults should not behave like children; they should lovingly allow children to be children.” But guess what Jesus said: “Adults have to become like children in order to enter the Kingdom of God.”

So I better shut up, before I get stoned :))) ......... Sorry for this sub-hub on your page :)) I love you!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

As always, thank you Nellieanna, for another wonderful hub. You put a wealth of truth, warmth and clear thinking into it.

I agree with saddlerider and am of the same opinion. I was born into the Roman Catholic church. I also asked a question, when looking back was reasonable and I found the answer in the meantime, but instead of an answer I was stood outside the door. In those days you felt like dying and prayed nobody of the other teachers came by.

Jesus went in ordenary clothes and look at the pomp of the Catholic church. Also they are one of the riches churches and there are so many poor people. How come? I also, like saddlerider, contact God directly. Rather live according to the ten commandments then running to church at every ting-tong. Also I recent the priest are not allowed to marry. They make it as if marriage and family was something dirty. The biggest controversy and absolute lunacy is in Ireland the woman who has just given birth has to go to church and confess her sin. It doesn't matter if there are ten ft of snow out there. Also, to use contraceptives is a sin. Are these people who write all these law real. I better stop otherwise I still will be writing tomorrow.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Nellieanna. When you get to Heaven they are not going to know what to do with you. Their first instinct will probably be to suggest to you that you might be happier in another place. But after further consideration the decision of the Celestial Judicial authorities will be that you should be given a very special position, and commissioned to rewrite the rules for living based on your own unique perspective. Perhaps even the angels can learn new viewpoints. Keep up the good work.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Ken - thank you for your own story. Your life is certainly a variegated canvas!! No wonder you have such a treasure-trove of personal experience from which to draw and to bring us inspiration, excitement, food for thought, delight, smiles and admiration!! Amazing human being is what you are!!! Thank you so much for the expansion you have given this theme!!

I need to explain that I had NO intention of changing beliefs -- either way, not belief to disbelief nor disbelief to belief. I know better, for one thing, and have no desire to, for another.

I was merely sharing my own disgust with hypocrisy and misuse of people's eagerness to believe and their unguarded vulnerability to preachers claiming to be God's or Jesus' spokesmen. These phonies pad their own Armani suit pockets with the penance they extract from the gullible who are sincerely seeking their salvation through messages that don't honestly come from "the source" - but arise from their own unprincipled souls, using whatever manipulation, intimidation, fright tactics and lies in order to accomplish their own agendas which they can master. Granted, some are better masters of the tactics than others. The lesser ones wear suits off the rack - but they’re aiming for Armani or better. They all could be taking their cues from the textbooks of other mental and emotional abusers, including gouging politicians & abusive spouses. Machiavelli comes to mind. Surely they practice “the end justifies the means” - & in the case of the preachers I’m targeting, the “ends” belong to themselves.

At the end of the examination of all this pitiful manipulation, the means that jump out at me is belief. To believe in anything is a choice, as though it were optional. Belief has little to do with faith in my opinion. Faith suspends "knowing", which believers claim. They have to “believe in ‘this” in opposition to “that”. It implies that truth is divided against itself. Of course - to one set of belief, all the other are lies. But each one makes that same claim. Each claims to be “chosen” by the creator and claims the creator rejects all the others. wow. So believers must claim to KNOW whatever version of the unknown vastness they've come up with or accepted from out of the sea of contradictory "beliefs". Logic alone would dictate that not all these contradictory "beliefs" can be 100% TRUE because of the contradictions inherent in them. Faith has no need of such antipathy - because “in good faith” it knows it knows nothing to fight about. So what's a person to think or do?

Faith, to me, means to admit I don't KNOW the unknown and unknowable - but that there IS some explanation and whatever it is, is OK, even if it has no similarity to anything “beliefs” claim. It may be that the “something” is a “nothing” though all this evidence seems like something. But it’s made up of tiny bits of energy without form which are subject to constant uncertainty and change. So who am I to say what IS or IS not? It’s not a matter of choice. Believing one or another explanation can’t change it. But it is OK and if it's OK, then it is OK. Success or not is on a level far and away beyond my choices! Thus, my personally arrived at faith: There is no problem.

At that point I can focus on what I DO know and what I CAN do, and that is knowing that kindness is what I appreciate getting, so it is what I should give others who would surely appreciate it as well. It's knowing that building up is more positive and productive than tearing down. it's that every moment here and now presents choices and that choices set off a follow-up which will have inevitable consequences - determined by the underlying motives and direction I’ve launched, so I need to try to base my choices on positive motives and be ready to make corrections as I follow through, because new factors are constantly presenting evidence that the course is working or that it's not, along with opportunities to make corrections or even to redirect the course.

Living is a constant evaluation and re-evaluation process which is at work even if it’s not a conscious effort. We can adjust our course for better consequences of actions, and - most importantly - making ourself better inwardly, setting off paths to consequences by our choices and standards. In fact - the net result should be a noticeable raising of one's personal standards, which will seem to radiate better influence around one than an opposite course of life does.

As for other people's choices and courses of action, I am fully aware that 1) I cannot dictate or control them 2) if I'm taking care of my own thoughts, actions, influence and destiny I WON'T HAVE TIME TO TRY TO TAKE OVER ANYONE ELSE'S!! Fortunately, community improvement IS a matter of individuals' improving, one by one, so "doing me" is the ultimate anyone can contribute to the net result for the group one is a part of, from the family to the town, country, world and species. “Doing me” may include doing charitable things, but mostly it’s being a good example of the Golden Rule.

It's wisest to work on the one person each person CAN change - oneself - than to meddle in everyone else's courses. Making general observations about what one sees going on has some value - like George Carlin does, like I guess I just tried to do - but then what has the greatest impact is seeing those whose total dedication to DOING what they claim is good shines out to inspire and lift the overall quality of life & upgrades the species. I think of people like Mother Teresa and others who administer to the needs of others without taking more for themselves than required to keep going. Not that everyone should do that degree of service, but there are countess private examples of people doing what they claim is good and doing it daily right where they are, using tools available to them - whether it's healing, knitting, cooking, writing or driving a bus.

Beliefs will persist, contradictions and all. And contradictions will fester into anger and fights. Does no good to fight them - in fact - it only adds to the furious fray.

But when they involve criminal elements - the usury of "tithing" - as you describe it, Ken; the deliberate misleading of the innocent by the powerful to the detriment of persons and families, there is cause for alarm, perhaps. I won’t begin to mention other serious crimes against the persons of followers that make the news.

But the beliefs themselves - the bodies of ideas - seldom openly teach or preach that kind of result. Those are openly taught by satan-worshiping, I suppose. But the tendency for believers - fanned vigorously by their controllers - is to go to extremes and begin to hate and want to hurt those who don't agree with them and to subject the to the same forms of control to MAKE them agree. What a contradiction! Can anyone’s true agreement result from force and manipulation?

It leads to eruptions and eventually to events like Jonestown or Iraq, 9/11 or hate gangs and killings. Differences tend to divide and divisions tend to become self-protective - with the idea of “get the enemy before he gets us”. When bigots fan the flames of the differences - they gain momentum and heat and build pressure to the bursting point. People become charged up enough to take up arms to kill those who have other opinions - - or else they take up words to demonize others’ opinions before they grow!!

Well - I apologize for all the many words. This is one reason I usually keep it out of words and just try to demonstrate the caring I feel. But I am saddened to observe the unnecessary animosity and misunderstanding among peoples of the world - and can be maddened by the likes of that preacher trying to subdue people to go along with his agenda, masked as being God’s.

When the momentum raises the furore to the point of killing our own species for things as intangible as whether they think Jesus or Mohammed or Buddha had the answers, , when at the onset, we might have noticed that those individuals were not in much disagreement. They all recommended the equivalent of the Golden Rule and personal responsibility. When they're bro


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Darling Martie. Your perception is so keen. I am most grateful for your input. As for me as a child, it's necessary to see how it was, I guess. Five grownups with strong convictions as well as amazingly open minds, all talking animatedly and little me listening - or else little me being alone for vast periods of time, cogitating, amusing myself with whatever creative projects I could devise. I began school at 4-1/2, and not just in a classroom of my peers - but a one-room school with 8 grades taught by one teacher. More listening most of the time. I was the only first-grader in the room.

Dad was a disillusioned Mennonite, who practiced the principles of that very simple-living, honest, hard-working belief, but he had his own beliefs which he once explained to me as "no church would let me in their doors if they knew my beliefs". I suppose a questioning nature came naturally to me.

Mother was a life-long, dedicated Methodist who never voluntarily missed a service, taught classes and belonged to the Missionary Society. Her beliefs were demonstrated, not vocalized around home. She never urged or imposed them on others. But as an infant I was baptized into her church and went with her to church every Sunday when we were in town. Sometimes at the ranch we would drive to Pumpville, 25 miles way over rocky roads to attend the Baptist Church there. She also later took my niece and nephew to Alpine for the Baptist Encampment there - but a lot of that was so she could paint in the mountains there, which are gorgeous.

Her religion was steady, quiet, and constant. She lived the principles, always doing good for those less fortunate - on a personal level - going to them to bring them cheer and maybe a meal. She had no prejudices when it came to status and had friends among the elite and the dregs of the town. She did have a few reservations about Catholicism - haha. But her Methodism hadn't been that far from the Reformation, I guess - and still included elements of opposition to that other church.

So i was exposed to a variety of ideas - and I have a very active mind. It was almost inevitable that I would start to notice and question, though for the most part I saw myself as in error in the case of differences - an attitude, I am sure - encouraged by those three elder siblings on a fairly constant basis! I truly hardly saw myself as having any status whatsoever, which is an attitude which still colors my self-appraisal, though I grew to feel I have value which doesn't necessarily rest on status! LOL

I appreciate your sharing as well as your loving support!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Wow, hello, hello! What a roller-coaster ride you've had in discovering your personal faith! But you did! And that is what shines through in your kindness and appreciation of others!

Oh yes - one is appalled at the wealth of the churches as they plead for more pittance from their followers who are often almost unable to take care of their own, but are pressured into thinking they must tithe or go to hell. I have to call that usury. They must pay a ransom for peace of mind.

The tithes they pay are then used to build bigger churches, buy finer robes for the priests or preachers, whether lace and crimson silk or Armani suits with crisp linen shirts accessorized with expensive designer silk ties (as Ken mentioned). And people are still at the brink of or in poverty all around just beyond the well-tended church grounds, struggling to make ends meet and condemned for trying to alleviate the misery at the pub or even in their own marriage beds.

Brings us to the next contradiction, as you mention the one about the requirement for married people to do nothing, in essence, to consummate their love and certainly not to prevent conception!! The church needs more generations of supporters, after all. But then the poor producers are made guilty of sin for having avoided contraception and produced more fodder for the feast at the top. No nod is given God's exhortation to "go forth and multiply" . No reference to procreation one way or the other is mentioned for the New Testament except from the late-comer apostle Paul who had killed Christians prior to his joining. And even then he only wrestled with his own lust and longed for celibacy to curb it. I suppose in the New Testament days, it wasn't expected that the world would go on that much longer anyway! The second advent was expected at any time, thanks to John's visions of it.

So now, over two millennia later, followers mustn't use means to prevent conception at the risk of hell's eternal fires and are demonized for conceiving, surely with a similar penalty- unless more than the tithe is given to even things up. Something dreadfully amiss in that logic, methinks! Let's just say - I can't buy it. But, then, I'm not out shopping for it either.

Well - I know what you mean! I am still writing tomorrow-LOL. Started yesterday and I'm almost getting writing cramps from further writing in response to the incredibly wise and enlightening comments which keep coming! It's most refreshing and gratifying! Keep them coming! Thinking and expanding our understanding is healthy!

Thank you, hello, hello - for yours, my friend!!


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

ah Christopheranton . . . your tongue-in-cheek is always refreshing and spits out pearls of wisdom! I love and admire you for it.

And if that anthropomorphic scenario of what IS should turn out to be IT, I, for one will feel most comfortable - either choice of "places" in the company of so many other persons I know and love. Each of us has struggled with understanding and sometimes has run into such glaring anomalies with the current setup that we are impelled to seek for deeper truth.

The bottom line I've discovered is that all the truth possible in this universe is not accessible to our human means of perceiving it but I'm satisfied that TRUTH does not depend on our ability to apprehend and fully conceive of it, much less on our being able to assimilate and internalize it for our very own. It is not a flaw in truth. Not a flaw at all, in fact-but a limitation of this existence which I begin to think is there for good reason. Our faculties ARE perfectly suited for perceiving and internalizing our own plane of existence, which further suggests to me that on a higher - or lower - plane of existence, should we be introduced to one, the preceptors provided us for that existence will fit it as well. It also suggests that our job now is right here and now, doing what we can to improve our own and our coinhabitants' stay here and lessons learned from it. If an occasional "peak moment" happens in which we get a glimpse of a more enlightened nature, all the better. But then-its back to the everyday assignment of living here and being as good a human as possible during our brief existence here.

In mine, I've been a shy creature, disinclined to govern anyone but myself - almost to a fault. I let others come or go as suits their needs, even those I prefer to have near me. I encourage them to think for themselves and pursue their own dreams and ambitions, and I hesitate to suggest what they might aspire to even when I think I perceive it. I routinely refuse or ignore opportunities to rule or set rules. So if I should be expected to do any of the things you suggest as a possible decision of the Celestial Judicial authorities as my duty in that "place" I shall have to start soon to bone up on methodology and leadership skills. If that were the place I'd be, I'd hope to continue to be a learner and thinker and maybe even allowed to write a few poems or make some sketches to try to capture the truth and beauty there & to amuse the other inmates, - sort of like I've been doing here - up till now, when I stuck my head out and got into this swirl!!

Thank you for lightening it up! Hugs.


gr82bme profile image

gr82bme 6 years ago from USA

I love the way you write. Not just your stories but the way you take the time to really answer peoples comments. You are truely a Great Hubber and I am pround to be following you.

Thank you so much for your work and kindness to all.

Tina


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Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Dear gr82bu - thank you and please forgive the delay in finding your comment and responding. I must have meddled with the stats somehow so that I wasn't getting recent comments. I hope I have located & corrected that. I looked to see if I had any unapproved comments pending, so thankfully I found this!


skye2day profile image

skye2day 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

nellieanna Hello sister. This is a riveting writing. I love your poetry. I will need to come back to absorb your truths that you have eloquently put in an amazing hub of love. May God Bless your journey. You touch many hearts I am sure with your gift. Great to meet you. I was led to your hubs by an awesome comment you made to a fellow huber.I do not think it was by mistake. The Lord led me here. Thank You! Hugs to you nellieanna. Love the pen name. Keep on sister.


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS Author

Aw, thank you, gracious skye! I am most honored and pleased that you visited and appreciated. It's not a pen name though. haha I was christened Nellie Anna but legally combined the two names in order to keep my maiden surname as a middle name when I married my beloved George. I've enjoyed it combined ever since. Thank you for liking it.

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