Sunday 4am.

This morning, I sat outside at 4 am and everything was completely, almost mystically still. Absolutely quiet; surreally so. I expected to see Daliesque clocks hanging off the gumtrees in the moonlight. No wind, just a curiously light night time word, filled with stars and quiet.

Some times, some moments, it’s difficult to find the profound and the spiritual.

this was not one of those times.

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I had been inexplicably thinking of the Poet Kevin Hart all night, so on coming inside I pulled out one his books and found this, which is kind of perfect right now.

 

Prayer

Master of light, my God,

Before whom starts tremble

And fall into themselves,

 

Who glows within each thing

Beyond reach of language

And deeper than silence,

 

Who passes through the dark

That draws us towards death

And makes it one with you,

 

Whose light is everywhere

Wherein I stand and see

My shadow disappear.

 

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Girls Just Wanna be Nuns- Seven Quick Takes

1- More Sister Cristina!

After a very very long night trying to night-wean a toddler (much crying. many sads), this is a wonderful way to start the day. 

One of my heathens did ask ‘Why is that lady dressed like bat?, which I think is a totally legit question. But we agreed that she is talented and gorgeous and we all dig curious juxtapositions, which is a good result from the under 10s first thing in the morning.

2- I’m planning to make Hot Cross Buns some time today- I’m a bit of a demon when comes to baking with yeast. I can’t bake a cake to save myself though. We all have our spiritual gifts, I suppose.

3- So, Lent, Nearly over. Ironically the past 40 ish days have deepened my faith and trust in myself as a spiritual being, but not necessarily in the direction of Christianity. I do feel a very deep affinity for Christianity, but I suspect that it may not be my eventual path. It was a dead-cert as soon as I bagged out ‘spirituality’ that I was going to end up eating my words, wasn’t it? While I still maintain my argument in that post to some degree (when you put together your own form of faith then there is no mandate to ‘do good’ unless you place it there) it is obviously a more multi-faceted issue than I initially gave it credit for. Of course.

4- I’ve committed to updating my other blog What The Heck Is Hezbollah as part of performance appraisal thing at work. It’s just sitting there being ignored which is a bit sad as I really enjoy it when I actually make time to update it. Each post takes about 3 days to write though, as opposed to here which is much more…casual, shall we say. Anyway, there will be new things happening there soon.

5- The reason that number 4 falls into the category of work is that, with the current state of the curriculum, we have such a huge amount that needs to be jammed in to any given term that if a student asks about the Ukraine situation for example, I have about 10 seconds to explain it before it’s back to Viking mythology or some such relevant topic. I’m hoping to use it as a teaching tool for current events. So clearly I won’t be able to say ‘fuck’ any more.

6- The boys and I have a tradition where we decorate an ‘Easter Tree’ (hanging decorated eggs and the like) which then segues into a ‘Winter Tree’ (hanging cut out snowflakes and clouds). In the past it’s been made from a dead branch from the bush but this year we are using a branch from our Christmas tree from a few years ago. These kind of ritual synchronicities make my heart happy. It doesn’t take much, really.

7- As someone who doesn’t like change, I’m responding positively gleefully to the knocking down and building up of walls in my house. Light! Windows! Joy!

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Yeah, back to front photos. You get the idea though.

The person you want to be.

Apparently Facebook is old news. All those in the know have abandoned it in favour of… well, I have no idea. Somewhere hipper and more cutting-edge, I expect. It’s just us left on there, sharing memes about cats and the latest buzzfeed questionnaire results. And unless I get to be River Song or Severus Snape’s wife then I’m not interested.

Facebook is not-so-great for me; it brings out the judgmental and critical side that is sadly too often my ‘go-to’ stance. So I often just close down my account for a while ( like right now) which stops me viewing the petitions people sign or the pages that they like, advocating happiness and love, to be a smokescreen for nastiness. I don’t see the man who is a supporter of  for ‘RUOK Day?’ on FB as a great advocate for mental health awareness because I can only remember the nasty, bullying side that he presents at work.

I’m not so much with the grace, apparently.

We click ‘like’ and think that that absolves us of the responsibility to do anything in the real world because surely that’s enough? I clicked like, for Gods sake. Why are children still starving?

But when I have some distance and some clarity and I’m in a light rather than a dark place, I think that FB shows what we, in our hearts, aspire to be. It’s actually a wonderful example of how much love and compassion people really hold inside, even if it doesn’t always manifest itself fully in reality.

See, the fact that people like social justice-type pages shows that in their hearts they want things to be good. I ‘like’ a page that publicizes which  companies avoid using  (evil) palm oil. Now avoiding palm oil is bloody difficult and 6 times out of 10 I make the wrong decision. But I’m aware of it and one day I would like to eliminate it totally from my diet. Our likes are the ‘me I want to be’.

Facebook shows that people are good. They want good things to happen in the world, they recognise that things are a bit fucked and are really happy that other people are proactive, and they are on the sidelines cheering them on. People are actually fabulous, and Facebook is a wonderful example of that.

If only we were always as shiny and hilarious as we are in FB land!

 

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Would you like to write a guest post?

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What do you believe and why do you believe it?

Or, what are you passionate about?

Would you like to write a post for The Aspirational Agnostic?

You don’t have to have a blog, and you don’t have to be a regular reader ( but probably don’t open with that) but you have to be able to write an interesting blog post without being a dick about your world view.

You don’t have to have the same beliefs as I do; I seem to be evolving into a bit of a kook so seriously, no judgement here. But I would like some diverse and interesting voices to spark respectful discussion or just give me something to think about.

email me at theaspirationalagnostic@gmail.com with your ideas. Between 400-600 words is roughly my attention span but hey, it’s not all about me so just do your thing and we’ll see what happens.

 

 

My inaugural ’7 Quick Takes’.

 

  • - This is my first ’7 Quick Takes’, although I’ve been reading them at http://www.conversiondiary.com for years (I’ve been known to comment ‘I REMEMBER HER BEFORE SHE WAS FAMOUS!!’ which isn’t at all stalky and obnoxious). I love reading Jennifer’s writing, and it’s a good lesson for me to remember that I can like and respect someone while disagreeing (a lot, in some cases) with some of their opinions. And as I’ve said before I feel really drawn to Catholicism. Not drawn enough to become one, but still.

 

  •  So, Christians held World Vision hostage and demanded that the organisation change its mind about the decision to employ people in same sex marriages. Because Jesus absolutely said ‘Come to me, little children, unless someone on the other side of the world pisses me off, in which case please go and die of malaria in a shanty with no plumbing. Off you pop’. THIS is why people see (some) Christians as hypocritical, legalistic and nasty. And in this case they entirely have a point.

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  • I’ve been teaching Grade 10s about the Holocaust this week. Absolutely the worst part of the teaching year for me. And the part that really really makes me question an all loving God. I know, I know, just because I can’t understand something doesn’t mean that there isn’t some huge bigger picture thing, but sheesh.

 

  • I’ve had a few emails recently from people asking if I’d be willing to feature some guest posts. This is a great idea for a number of reasons and I’ll write more about it later in the week. But if you are a blogger or even a non-blogger with an opinion and you would like to be a guest poster here, keep your eye out for more info. There’s only so many times you can put up with me going ‘Hey, I believe in God today!’ and ‘Nope, that’s it, it’s all hopeless’ before you click over to FoodGawker permanently. We need some new material, people.

 

  • On Wednesday, my Archie who is now eight, asked me ‘Why is it that when there are lots of girls and a few boys in a show it’s called a girly type show, but when there’s more boys than girls it’s a normal show?’. I showed great restraint and didn’t  launch into a ‘because patriarchy’ rant. I’ll wait till he’s ten for that.

 

  •  I’ve noticed lately that most blogs that I comment on have a moderation policy. I’ve never felt the need for one and I’m wondering if I’ve just been lucky when it comes to polite and generally good- mannered comments here, or if it’s because I don’t automatically go TROLL!! when someone doesn’t agree with what I’ve said. (I hope that this doesn’t jinx me and unleash floodgates of crazy).

 

  • I quite like this ’7 Quick Takes’ thing. It’s a place for all the ideas that aren’t really worth a whole post but that I’d quite like to share. And it means that I’ve posted twice today so I’m practically a professional blogger.

 

 

 

For more Quick Takes, visit http://www.conversiondiary.com.

Love Mica

You know the standard feeling that you are not doing enough for the poor of this world, and even though the number of World Vision sponsor children that you already have is a source of occasional marital strife and your friends already call you ‘J’amie’*, and even though you feel stretched to your limit you realise that if ‘stretched to your limit’ includes adding a whole new wing to your house then you’ve still got a hell of a lot of wiggle room, and you go onto the sponsorship website to ‘just look’ and the first child that appears is called ‘Love Mica’ and your fourth child is actually called Micah and he is happy and healthy and loved? Yeah, you go ‘Ah, well that clears that up then’ and sponsor that child too.

And me, being me, goes ‘Wow, what a wild coincidence!’ except the wishful part of me thinks that that it might not be…

 

*It’s an Australia thing.

My Micah

My Micah

Pick a side.

We humans really love to pigeon-hole things.  It seems to be part our nature.  We need to see things in black and white, as an either/ or proposition. Uncertainties, or hazy gray areas make us uncomfortable.

Despite the fact that so many things in life are part of a continuum; from health and sexuality to simple things such as our favourite movies, we still insist on absolutes. Political affinities, food choices, whether someone is a ‘good’ or a ‘bad’ person, we like to know just where we, and other people, stand. But things are far more complex than a simple tick in a box indicating a preference.

So, I’ve been wondering, do people who claim affiliation with a particular religious tradition needs to believe in everything that it entails?

Or, to make it all about me, if I claim to be a Christian does that mean that I have to stand by all of the claims of Christianity? My intuitive feeling is yes.

But I find this bit tricky.

If I don’t take on the whole package, am I absolutely not a Christian? Maybe a semi- Christian. Spiritual but not religious? I know that if someone tells me that they are a Christian then I assume that it means that they believe that Jesus was the son of God, sent to die for our sins, etc.

Catholicism has always appealed to me ( and I’m looking forwards to staying here http://www.jamberooabbey.org.au   in August) but adding another layer of rules and stipulations to the fairly basic traditions of Christianity that I already seem to have a problem with clearly isn’t going to work. I can’t even stick to a basic ‘to do’ list without feeling tied down and controlled by ‘the man’  so adding the idea of purgatory, etc seems, how do I say it? Totally arbitrary and random.

At its most simple, surely a Christian is a ‘follow of Christ’; someone who believes that the words that Jesus is supposed to have spoken were revolutionary for their time and still have a resonance that speaks into our modern times.

I get that. That makes sense to me. If we took the red-letters and let them meld into our hearts then we would be transformed and so would our world.

The dying for our sins bit?

Hmmm.

Even though I’m no longer a Materialist, and stories of reincarnation (not PC in Christianity, apparently) and NDEs have caused me to think that there probably is an afterlife, these testimonies indicate a general all loving God who doesn’t discriminate according to the Holy Book that you follow, if indeed you follow any at all, or which geographic region you happen to be born in.

Those that have had Near Death Experiences overwhelmingly report profound changes in their beliefs and what they see as important- not towards legalism and lists but towards overwhelming acceptance and love and a general sense of one-ness (I’ll add a list of books that I’ve found particularly informative here to my reading aspirations page soon) which I think point less towards a complete set of truths within one religion, and more towards a basic, matter of fact thing called God, which we, being general pigeon-holey categorizing types of people, have divided up into factions and separated into us and them.

As we do.

Which seems to be essentially the opposite of what the all loving God intended, but we will be difficult, won’t we?

 

 

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