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Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Church of Freethought sapere aude!
(Autopoiesis,in our relation to the Ground of Being)
(...Build, therefore, your own world.-RW Emerson)
I’ve never been amenable to “Joining”, overall.
This is especially true, regarding Religion.
Dogma has made me uncomfortable…if not Nervous…for as long as I can remember(at least back to Kindergarten at the Lutheran School).
Accepting things…without reflection…on “Faith”…or at the insistence of Authority(Man, or God’s)…has been inimical to me from the earliest appearance of my Mind.
Neither of my Folks were “Joiners”…and my Mom possesses a Rebellious Streak(which receded, for a time, during her post-divorce re-ordering).
I remember, at the “Fall Festival”(Halloween), at the Lutheran church, being incensed at the Narrowmindedness, regarding the film,(Disney’s “Fantasia”) and at the reaction to my brother’s home-made Devil costume.(I was in 2nd grade)
Nevertheless, my folks tried to get us ”involved” with at least the social aspects of the church; “lock-ins”,”youth-groups”, and the like.
Although I was unaware of the whole controversy at the time(being a young child), this was the occasion of something of a revolution/civil war in the Lutheran Church(see: “Seminex Controversy”)…the Conservatives won…at least in the 2 Tomball churches.(“Pastor Ashe”, whom I liked, was run off…replaced by a conservative, and ultimately mendacious, Toad…who ended up running off with church funds…and having affairs with parishioner’s wives…thus was my first introduction to the differences between liberal and conservative…and of my first experience of Hypocrisy).
My experience at the 2 churches went downhill, from there…both leaned far to the Right….and I chaffed under the restrictions and pious pronouncements…most of which were revealed as Hypocritical.
The Feeling was one of Inquisition, and Hypocrisy, although I couldn’t have put words to it, at the time.
While my brother and I were moved into Public School, for my 3rd grade year, we continued for some years to attend one or the other church…leaning more towards Salem….untill I was around 12-13.
The Divorce put an end to all of this pretending, finally.
For the rest of my youth, I only attended church…of any variety…to please my paternal Grandad(Catholic)…or for Funerals and Weddings, and such…and, once I was gone from school, to try to get closer to sundry Girls.(lol. I reasoned that if the Preachers, themselves, were such Hypocrites, why shouldn’t I use the gatherings in such a way…as I never, not once, pretended to be a “True Believer”.)
From the time I was 13, or so, I was interested(in an academic sense) in Religion…the 4th volume of Campbell’s “Masks of God” was on the table, at home, and I read , and reread, it many times, over the years. This opened me up to a whole world of comparative Mythology(I was into Bullfinch, Greek and Roman, before this…but didn’t think of that as “religion”, till later.)
Philosophy and Comparative Mythology, have been my “Academic” Focus, from my early Teens…but I never had the feeling that any of it was Real…I was Agnostic.(still am)
At best, these Stories were in reference to some amorphous Thing behind things, that could not be nailed down, as it were.
The Absolutism of these Institutions turned me off.
….especially the newer “Nondenominational” variety….all the falling down, and unquestioning Belief in whatever the various Preachers were on about….Ugh!
There was, already, no room for me, in this milieu.
Post High School(and Post “P”), I was Friendless, mostly…in the Deeper Sense. I had Acquaintances.
I attempted Organised Religion a few times…under the hypothesis that one could meet folks either in the Beerjoint(Drunks), or in the Church(another sort of Inebriation(!)). This is all a part of the Alienation I’ve been on about…no Place for Me….Homeless.
My Home was in Books….and outside of that, there was no place to Belong.
I’ve Pined, for most of my life, for an analog to the Salon…or even the Beat “Cold Water Flat”…the Greenwich Village.,,Soho…etc.
University was a large disappointment , in this regard…(probably due , at least in part, to my choice of school).
So I am not, and have never been, a “Joiner”.
Strict adherence to a Fundamentalist Doctrine, religious or secular, rubs me wrong.
So I’ve always been a somewhat Singular Entity….and, remember, these Formative years were the late 70’s and the 80’s!...the Era of Fundamentalist Resurgence, in Religion and Politics and Academia.
Everywhere I went, I either created…or had a hand in the Creation… of my own Scene…always by accident.
….until I came here.
Way out here, there is a small population…and, therefore, a Lack of “Raw Ingredients” for a Scene…
With the advent of the Web, I have searched for local(more or less) instances of Weirdoes and Freaks…
With little luck. The German Freethinkers, and the Adelsverein, who Settled this area, and who’s family names are evident everywhere, out here…have given way to the more AngloSaxon Fundamentalism…(see: Michael Lind)
The Liberal Tradition in the Texas Hill Country seems irrevocably Lost.
As I’ve said….even the Democrats are Republican.(!!)
What a surprise to happen on, first, the Houston Church of Freethought(1)…then, something called Unitarian Universalism(2)… congregations of which there are 2 in Kerrville.(60 miles, one way)
I had heard of UU, before…but never looked into it…having long ago grown weary of the minor distinctions between the myriad flavours of Xianity.
Since these 2 were happened upon as a result of a search for “Freethought”…I took a closer look.
Save for the distance(body and money for gas!), they present themselves as a potential “Fit”…but I’m Leery, given my experience.
Wife says,”I don’t know if even they are ready for you”….
I seem to have little choice, other than to check ‘em out…
otherwise, I am left with continuing Isolation.
What an unexpected(!!) thing for Wife to hear, from my lips…”Honey, I wanna go to church”!
If their self portrayal is accurate, they are not a “Church” in the usual sense…it remains to be seen.
My expectation is of disappointment….so I can be less disappointed. lol.
Film at 11.
“When one does not deliberately attempt to keep men in barbarism, they will gradually work out of that condition by themselves.”-Kant