Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Mini-Kitteh - a Dream

I have to guess that I heard my co-worker talking about her new black kitten without knowing I had heard - she was talking about him near me, so it's entirely possible. And maybe it was because while trying to park yesterday, I drove past a very cute tan-and-white Mini Cooper. Or is it Cooper Mini? Goodness, it's small. How do you fit a whole family into that- OMG a spot opened up!

I dreamed I found a Mini-Kitten. It was a full six weeks old and healthy and fit neatly into the palm of one hand. So I took it home. That was okay, because it was a mini-kitten, not a full-sized cat, and besides, it was really cute. it was black all over and it had slightly-longer, thicker, white hairs here and there, like super-soft porcupine spines.

It wrecked the house. It went tearing across my living room, knocking over tray tables, and shoving the ottoman out of the way. It went tearing across the dining room, knocking over dinner chairs and spilling half-full glasses of water and pushing lunchboxes and purses and newspapers off the table. The other cats were terrified.

It grew to the size of my whole hand, and then to its adult size - about 2/3 the size of my ninja kitty, who weighs less that 4 lbs. A mini-cat.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Of Demons and Pigs

This Sunday's Gospel reading was Luke, chapter 8, verses 26-39. As a refresher, this is the one where Jesus  meets the man who is possessed by demons, who beg Jesus for mercy (not to torment them; to not send them into the abyss). Jesus agrees to let the demons go into a herd of pigs, and when they do, the pigs all run off a steep hill into the lake and drown. The townspeople get freaked out and ask Jesus to leave.

The priest's sermon on this talked about the different kinds of demons, and how we all have them; internal and external demons. As he talked about the internal demons, how they can cause you to speak with a voice that is not your own (as they did in the reading, answering Jesus's questions), I couldn't help but remember The Bloggess's admonition: depression lies (probably at least in part because whenever I think of depression, I think of her wonderful mantra). I had never thought of the lies being in the form of things you say that aren't you - that the lies depression tells aren't  just  "you're not good enough" or whatever version of that you hear, but that it steals your own voice to tell others lies, too.

I love it that this particular priest quotes long-dead saints. Today he quoted (among another) Athanasius as saying (I paraphrase) that demons have no power, even over swine. That goes very well with the Islamic image of the devil as the Whisperer, unable to enact real evil, but who plants evil thoughts in our heads. The Islamic concept of the devil is one I really appreciate. It's much more relatable than the large, evil beast of Hell: We all hear evil whispers now and again.

And that goes right into the next point that this priest made that I loved: That Evil has no real home in God's universe. The demon(s) begged Jesus not be to sent back to the abyss, the void. Any home Evil finds is only a false home - one from which it can be expelled.

So, I have more weapons to add to my arsenal.
Depression lies.
Demons don't belong here.
Demons have no power here (so long as I remember not to give them any).

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Just Like That, Huh?

The Old Testament reading at church today was from 1 Kings, bits and pieces from chapter 18.

In a nutshell, Elijah goes to the Israelites and says, "You all are worshipping a false god, Baal. We'll see which god is the real God. We'll each prepare a bull for sacrifice, and whichever god can burn his own offering we'll all agree is The God. You guys go first." So they slaughtered a bull and prepared it, but didn't light it on fire, and started praying to Baal. They prayed fervently all dang day, but nothing. Elijah taunted them, and they cut themselves according to their tradition and still, Baal never showed up to burn the offering. Elijah slaughtered a bull and prepared his offering, but doused it in water first, like, really drenched it. And he prayed, and God showed up and burnt the offering thoroughly, even the water burned.

When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, "The Lord indeed is God; the Lord indeed is God." We didn't read the next bit, about Elijah slaying all the prophets of Baal. (1 Kings 18:39)

I'm thinking, How awful would that be?

So, you watch as your god gets beaten soundly in a whose-god-does-better-fire contest, your community leaders get schwacked by the victors, and you, what, fall down acknowledging the power of the new God, and get back to your life? Just like that? Just, bam!, yesterday we were Baalites, now we're Jews.

There wasn't one guy that called for a do-over? There wasn't some goodwife back home, saying, "well, you men probably didn't do it right. Baal's there, you just messed up the offering." Or, "Baal's a perfectly good god, but he demands we follow the rules he gave us, which include burning the offering. You want the god, you gotta follow the rules."

And isn't that, in essence, what God (via Elisha) does in 2 Kings chapter 5? He (again, through Elisha) cures the captain of leprosy, but only if he goes and bathes seven times in the Jordan. Not the Abana or the Pharpar, but in the Jordan. Again, you want God, you gotta follow the rules.

I don't want to get into a discussion on whether or not we really have to follow the rules, or what exactly the rules are, or anything like that. My point is, isn't that kind of harsh? And more than a little hypocritical?