Saturday, June 16, 2007

Does this Bible Belt Go With These Shoes?

Disclaimer: I don't want to offend anybody so I will try my best to refrain from lumping all Evangelical Protestants as crazies, but I can't promise anything right now. I'm emotionally charged. Now, I know none of you are Baptists, let's see we got three Catholics in Pop, Clem & TFMD and Margeaux who I would consider a non-practicing 1/2 Jew & 1/2 secular Christian, but I forget...are you half Catholic?

Let me first tell you why the Evangelicals are on my list then I'll share all of my emotional religious baggage. Okay, here it is goes - my friends who own the theatre opened a new show on Thursday's nights. It's an award winning off-broadway show that was praised oddly enough by both Rolling Stone and Christianity Today magazines. Think Andrew Lloyd Weber's "Jesus Christ Superstar" with a Southern vernacular. They performed it this Thursday to a small crowd. 6 people walked out in the first act. 3 emails were received complaining that the work was not scripturally accurate, and one guy complained about "all the talking" that the Jesus character dialogued. Everyone thought this was going to be wildly popular as we are in the South where God, Guns and Country is the order of the day. Now, it would seem the Evangelical set doesn't appreciate art, even art with a positive message and really don't like their Jesus humanized. Analogy is certain too highbrow. The show was supposed to run 2x a week for 3 months - now the producers are weighing artistic integrity over the bottom line: basically scrapping the entire show or performing just the music from the show in a concert medley slapped together on the fly.


Now, to my personal emotional baggage...my Dad's family was raised Pentecostal. My Dad rejected this religion. I occasionally went to Pentecostal church with my Dad's sister, because she sang and I liked the music. Then as I got older, meaningful conversations with my Dad revealed that he was basically an agnostic. This Aunt tried to influence me as a teenager, but by that time I'd already rejected her brand of Christianity, mostly because I couldn't reconcile inflammatory language (nigger & faggot to be specific) with Jesus. I was called a blasphemer by her for wearing a Lolapalooza tee shirt with three little Buddhas. (Of course it's not blasphemis to a Buddhist)

When I started college at the Jesuit university I learned that the Pope had formally accepted evolution. I brought this up with my Aunt at dinner with her family. I was told two things: 1) the Catholic Church would lose all it's members over the evolution vs. creationism stance (which it didn't) and 2) that she didn't want her kids to hear such God-less talk as evolution. It was a good experience for me to attend college with the Jesuits b/c it proved to me that one could believe in God and NOT be crazy, but compassionate, educated and not threatened by questioning faith.

My Mom's side of the family were Baptists. Her family was just as rigid. As a college student I was involved in a discussion with an Uncle who told me fossils were put on Earth to test Man's faith. How can you argue with that? He also had some interesting theories on the "mark of the beast," which basically meant that fate was turning it's wheels to prepare for the return of the Anti-Christ and evidence was everywhere: like how we now have a cashless society, with it's heavy reliance on ATM's (beginning of the end) barcodes in your license plates (beginning of the end) gov't issued black helicoptors (beginning of the end.)

So all these experiences have shaped my view of the world. Do I believe in a diety...most times no. Have I stood in a Catholic Church raising my voice to the rafters singing in choir and felt something? Yes, I can't articulate what I felt. Was it the presence of God? I don't know, but I felt connected to humanity. I have felt that same feeling at some pretty debaucherous rock concerts. Do I believe that Jesus was the messiah? I believe that Jesus was a man of high character and the world would be a better place if we all practiced the values he represented.

Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster I got that off my chest!
Scarlett

1 Comments:

Blogger Margeaux Kramer said...

Mr. Kramer's older sister recently got engaged (read: the day after our wedding). Her fiance has decided to join the Lutheran church the family attends back in ND. I have decided that I am done going to church and that on our next trip to visit the in-laws this shall become known. I am now going to become the black sheep of the daughter/son-in-law crowd b/c I now refuse to go to church. Would they prefer I go and do what I did last time - text message my friend throughout the entire service? Sure, the newest one to join the family has to make the rest of us look bad! Jerk! (I say that with a smile on my face)

I have very odd views on religion. Most of it shaped by the fact that I grew up in a town with an assload of hypocrites. I respect people who actually practice their faith and make it a part of their lives. Those who use confession as an excuse to be an ass the rest of the week - they are the ones I can't stand.

To conclude, I am 1/2 jewish, 1/2 irish catholic. At the end of the day, I prefer to just be me with no religious affiliation. However, if Darth Vader were using the force on me and making me choose, I'd choose Judaism.

4:47 PM  

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