I’ve decided to take a short break from The Book of God. I made it as far as the story of Joshua and the wall of Jericho before I got too bewildered and sad to continue. I’ve been plaguing my Catholic educated wife with questions and pleas for explanations enough that she’s relented and agreed to play catch up with me so we can have discussions about some of the things I take umbrage to. Ex/ I don’t get the Jericho thing. I understand that from the side of the folks wandering the desert for 40 years it was like finally getting a bite of the carrot that had been dangling in front of them for so long. But what about the poor people who were living behind that wall? What exactly did they do that they deserved to die violent deaths? They were just going about their business. It’s not like anybody put up a sign on the land that said, “Beware of impending death when we’re back to claim our place in 40 years.” Pretty crummy deal for those folks and I can’t imagine that it won any converts among the displaced. Any Christians out there that can explain this for me? My understanding is that the Old Testament is mostly the history leading up to the dawn of Christianity, but it still bothers me. I’m also having some difficulty understanding what I’m supposed to read as literal and what is supposed to be allegorical. In theory, there’s a good mix of both, so how do you decide what’s what?
After I took a break from that, I picked up The Path of a Christian Witch. Not deviating from Christianity with this one exactly, but I was intrigued at the idea of two such opposing viewpoints merging into a cohesive spirituality. Overall, though, I found the book to be a bit disappointing. The author does find a way to make peace with seemingly disparate belief systems, but not in a way that made a lot of sense to me. I did find it interesting that she came from a Catholic background, because they tend to be a bit more restrictive on thinking outside the box, but I think that same background prevented me from connecting with her. (One of the few certainties I have, religiously speaking, is that I don’t agree with the Catholic doctrine.) All the same, it was interesting to read someone’s story of finding their own path. I’m pretty sure my path is going to include little bits and pieces from everywhere, all amalgamated into my own brand of faith, so it’s nice to read about others who took the same approach and made it work.
I’m branching away from Christianity this week. Currently I am engrossed in “The Buddha Walks Into A Bar” by Lodro Rinzler. I’m not very far into it, but he’s made some key points about being patient with yourself through the process because enlightenment isn’t attained in a day. I feel like that’s important to remember. We live in a one-click world where we can get anything we need/want/desire delivered to us with little to no lag time. We don’t have to wait for letters to know how family is because we just check Facebook. We don’t have to take the time to cook an elaborate meal because we can order in or have it catered. Everything’s easily accessible. So we expect the same from ourselves spiritually. We should take an hour to meditate and that will clue us in on the secrets of the universe and how to be our best selves. Only it doesn’t work that way and Rinzler makes sure to repeatedly state that you have to be gentle with yourself and allow yourself whatever time you need to figure out who you are. He also makes a (deservedly) big deal about staying present in the moment, which is spot on considering most of us can’t last five minutes without some type of external stimuli. And it’s not our fault! It’s just the world we’re in. But being able to stay in the moment is a gift to yourself and everyone you interact with. It’s a powerful ideal to work towards.
I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of “Am I a Hindu?” and “Awakening the Buddha Within.” This whole process has already been incredibly eye opening and I’m excited to see what I learn next.