Heavenly Friday – Feathers, Angels, and Kittens That Love You

In my book, The Never Prayer–no really, I wrote a book. No, seriously. Why are you laughing?

I’m going to keep on, while you titter, you titterer you.  In my book, my heroine’s three-year-old brother finds feathers, all the time, and says, “Angels are in heaven, but the God Birdies are all around us.” I wanted to make a distinction between the mythology of angels, Michael, Ariel, beyond, living with the Christian God, and the God Birdies, who are always around us, spirits, on the other side of things, pushing for good.

This all came from a friend of mine who, whenever she sees a feather, believes that it is God’s way of making contact with her.

That feathers are like the feathers of angels.

At first, I was cynical. My logical mind thought, “Well, that’s stupid. Some pigeon gets eaten by a hawk, and she thinks God is watching over her. Yeah, maybe God is watching over her, but what about that frakkin’ pigeon?”

But then, I started finding feathers, just around, you know, the detritus of the world, and I realized what a nice idea that is. But then, that is the secret of the mythological part of who we are, the spiritual, the divine, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, if you wanna get downright Catholic about it.

You can find meaning and symbols all around, as long as you look, as long as you are aware. It is so easy, though, to keep our heads buried in the sand, or to turn robotic about the world. The rainbow doesn’t mean anything, just light through water. That squirrel who lives on my porch is just a rodent feeding off the rotting meat of my BBQ. A+B=C.

And yet. The world is a mystical place, if you have the right mindset. For example, when I was thirteen, I wanted proof that God existed. And so, I asked for proof. Right now. I wanted a burning bush. Lightning. Fear and trembling. I am the Lord, thy God, thou shalt not have any strange gods before me!

Nothing happened. Until the next day, when a white kitten showed up and camped out in our back porch. For days and days. And I pet it. And fed it. And it was a sign from God. My heart was moved. And then the kitten left us forever.

Of course, it was acoincidence. A stray. Please, let’s not get hysterical. And yet, what are the odds? I was looking for God and found something.  In my experience, if you look for God, you’ll find God. If you don’t, you won’t. It’s all up to you.

And so, are the feathers we find angels watching over us? Why not?

I lie to myself about reality all the time. Might as well lie to myself that the world is good, and that something is watching over me. Might as well. It is JUST as valid as the alternative. That I am alone, the world hates me, heaven is empty, and I’ll die alone and stay dead, rotting into the dirt.

Might as well believe in Heaven. And angels. And goodness in the world. Believing such things has never harmed me personally. And I got to pet a kitten out of the deal.

A lovely white kitten. An angel.

Gonna Lease a Church and Start Up Ritcheyanity

I saw a sign off Hampden about leasing a church. Right there, on a crappy looking building, Lease A Church!

How great is America? You can rent your own church.

So, that got me thinking about starting my own religion. L. Ron Hubbard did. Joseph Smith did. Lady Gaga did. Oh, snap. Tom Cruisesists, Mormonists and Little Monsters, please forgive me.

Forgiveness. Let’s start there. We should forgive each other. Don’t want to be all hateful and resentful all the time.

Okay, so it’s a religion of forgiveness. Got that. Check that off the list.

What about an afterlife? Yeah, I don’t know about all that. Can we not have an opinion? I mean, Judaism is kind of iffy about the afterlife. And Buddhism is too. Let’s just focus on this life.

Okay, this life, this moment. We’ll focus on the here and now. And we’ll forgive each other.

What about sex?

Let’s be pro-sex. I mean, look around, most people are for sex. Though some aren’t. You have the sex haters. Sure. But my church? The Church of Leased Time? We’ll say sex is good.

Within reason. I mean, sex is a powerful thing. Simple, but powerful. I think that’s how it tricks people into taking too seriously, or not seriously enough. It’s simple, but powerful, and it’s not static. It changes, and changes things. A lot.

Sex is okay in Ritcheyism, as long as no one gets hurt. And we’ll use the laws of the land to govern the ethics of sex. An age of consent, no Shetland ponies, that kind of thing.

We dealt with the sticky issue of sex (don’t go middle school on me – no snickering), so now, we have three tenets : sex is okay, we’ll deal with this life only, forgiveness. We’ll forgive ourselves. We’ll forgive each other. We’ll forgive God. Because this world and this life can be oh so hard.

God. Is there a God? Well, any kind of God would be beyond our comprehension. We’ll say yes, there is a God, but we know nothing about Him\Her\It\They, only that it is a loving, sustaining Force that helps us make it through. So Jedi Knights can join my church. Which would be cool. Love me a good light saber battle.

What about Jesus? Oops, way too controversial for my little leased church. But we’ll risk it. We’ll say yes to the basic teachings of Jesus. Love, forgiveness, the kingdom of God, which is coming, but is right now as well. Which also means that God is in the moment. Which brings us back to where we started. Forgiveness and this life.

Now that I think about it, maybe I don’t need to lease a church. If you take out some of the more kooky theology, Christianity is about forgiveness, living in the moment, treating others with respect and love. The sex stuff, well, that and the afterlife-Heaven-Hell-Judgment stuff gets all murky in theology that probably won’t be around in another hundred years.

Yeah, I’ll stick with Christianity for now.

Until Joss Whedon starts his own religion. Then I am so there.

God Needs Killin’

I am a huge fan of the PREACHER comic books as created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. Pitch me, homie. A preacher coming from a nightmare childhood plays host to a primordial force and decides God has frakked up creation and goes on a quest to bring God to justice. Sidekicks are his hitgirl girlfriend and drunk, ne’er-do-well Irish vampire. And what happens when Reverend Jesse Custer finds God?

Quit readin’ now if you don’t wanna know. This here blog post is chock full of spoilers. Ye have been warned.

And if you are easily offended, yeah, there are better and more interesting things out there on the internet to suck away your time.

Back to the PREACHER. In the end, after tales of dysfunctional families, sodomy, torture, true love, serial killers, castration, and meat packin’, the preacher hires the Saint of Killers to murder God. Which the Saint is happy to do so he can get vengeance on God for killin’ the Saint’s wife and daughter. Hang ‘Em High meets Albert Camus. Or The Outlaw Josey Sartre.

Now, more spoilers, but ye gods, where have you been livin’? Under a rock? In the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, God is also killed. To me, all of this points to the conclusion that God, as some understand him, needs to die.

In the PREACHER comics, God is a love addict. He sets up creation, creates man, then makes life unendurable so people have to turn to God. Which, in some mainstream Christian thought, is exactly how it all works. If you are sorrowful and hurting, turn to God, love him. But if God planned your life for you to miserable, that makes Him a manipulator, or a monster. See my Holocaust reference below.

Garth Ennis was bright enough and brave enough to document this theology in a violent, graphic, R-Rated comic book. God love him.
But see, this type of needy, diabolical God needs to die. The idea that God has any sort of human characteristics is just Greek mythology re-done. No, God needs to be bigger. In fact, God needs to be so big, He envelopes nothing. God is nothing. God does not exist. God is nowhere, nothing, nix, nihil, empty set. A void in the abyss. A unuttered whisper.

From Karen Armstrong’s brilliant, A Case for God, these are the apophatic aspects of God. Unknowable. Holy. Holy. Holy.

Holy is translated as divine, or sacred, but originally it meant simply other. Holy, holy, holy, God. Other. Other. Other. Unknowable. The Jesuits told me that trying to intellectualize God is like trying to pour the ocean into a thimble. Sit back and ponder that bit of prose, pardner.

If God created the universe, and God is anything like us, that would mean God planned the Holocaust. Which makes God a monster. No, the new God didn’t plan all of that. God’s job is not planner.

I deleted my paragraph on free will here. Free will is the escape hatch for all talk of God, and I don’t want to go out that way.
I maintain that God’s primary job is as a sustainer. Human beings are in an impossible situation and we don’t need some judge in Heaven, we don’t need a monster creator, and we don’t need a love addict. We need a sustainer, someone to help us through, something beyond, that we can hang our hopes and dreams upon, that won’t let us down because no matter how bad it gets, there is always hope. Roll away the stone. The tomb is empty. There is a God. Tim Tebow lead the Broncos in a victory over the Pittsburg Steelers. After something like 22 drives without a touchdown. A resurrection.

God’s job isn’t to stop our tears. It is to cry with us and be with us, in us, speak through us, sustain us.

Any other God that cannot or will not provide love and comfort needs a 45. Caliber Colt Killer bullet, right between the eyes.

I reckon.