Politics, Palin, and Poetry

Disclaimer: This post is from the archives, and may not represent the current views of the author. It also may not be at all interesting to read. Continue at your own peril!

Well, my last few blog entries have been pretty heavy – either philosophically, theologically, or scientifically. And while those are some of my favourite pursuits, I promised myself that I’d post a more light-hearted entry so anyone reading this doesn’t think that I read books on astrophysics in my spare time. (Although perhaps if I could understand it, I would…)

So I really don’t know what to say here, but that’s nothing new. I’ve had this blog for almost four years (its fourth birthday is coming soon!), and for most of that time I’ve had no idea what to say at all. I’ve just started writing, and it’s come to me. Like a revelation! Except less divinely inspired, and more, well, disjointed. And irrelevant. And meaningless.

At any rate, the first thing I want, and need, to say is that I am sick of politics. All that I ever hear about is politics and elections! Why would Harper do that to the Canadian people, calling an election so close to the American one? It’s malicious, I tell you. But with all current events focused on a) Sarah Palin, b) the Canadian election, or c) the financial meltdown, it’s hard to get a decent night’s sleep without having nightmares about how Sarah Palin would deal with said financial meltdown. I shudder just thinking about it. She probably thinks the stock market is some sort of outdoor farmers’ market. But at any rate, I’m sick of hearing about all this politics. I just want to grab the remote control and fast-forward through all of October and the first bit of November to get past both elections. Of course, then I’ll have to listen to all the post-election talks about what the winner is going to do now, etc., but at least it will be more bearable. Well, hopefully anyway. Unless the Republicans win, and then McCain suffers from a fatal heart attack soon after, leaving Sarah Palin in charge, of course. But if that occurs, we’ll know for sure that the end times have come. Even if it’s not the biblical end-times, we’ll probably be suffering from some nuclear winter shortly after her inauguration.

But enough of politics. As I said, I’m sick of it, so why am I talking about it so much? I have no idea. Anyway, I’m writing this from home. That’s right, I’m home for Thanksgiving, and so far I’ve managed to survive here, so I suppose some thanks can be given for that. Tomorrow, we’re headed to my aunt’s house for dinner, which, of course, is always the best part of Thanksgiving. Turkey farmers love this time of year, I’m sure. The turkeys don’t, however.

I’m really not sure what else to write here. To be completely honest, my “spiritual search” (if that’s what you want to call it – I’m not sure I do) has consumed me for the past little while. I’m currently in a class called “Jesus: Life and Legacy,” and it’s taught by a liberal Mennonite professor (which seems like an oxymoron, but it’s not). However, as I’ve been in more of his classes, I’ve found that he is definitely on the more conservative end of the liberal camp. I actually had a little bit of a chat with him, and he suggested a book to me entitled “The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions” by N.T. Wright and Marcus Borg. Both are well-known and well-respected New Testament scholars, but Wright is on the conservative end of the spectrum, and Borg on the liberal end, so it makes for an interesting book. I find that Borg’s arguments tend to be more well-reasoned, however, despite the fact that his own personal viewpoints tend to creep into them – as, of course, happens to all people. But at any rate, it is a very interesting book, and kind of lays out pretty well the two ends of the spectrum – they agree on some things, but on other things they differ greatly. At any rate, along with that, I’ve begun to research a little bit more about liberal Christianity. Coming from a conservative (or more accurately, fundamentalist) tradition, I know that point of view, but I am trying to investigate the liberal end of the spectrum to see if it truly has any merit, or if they are simply “cherry-pickers” as some would call them.

At any rate, I said I would keep this light, so that’s all I’ll say about that. However, I did go to a Unitarian church last week to see what it was like. It was…interesting, to say the least. Unitarian churches are very relaxed churches where the “religious” aspects of the service have been taken out. The Unitarian denomination also believes in universalism, the belief that everyone goes to heaven. For those two reasons, it’s thus a haven for many former Christians who have become agnostic or atheist, but who still enjoy retaining the spiritual aspects of their lives. Of course, not all the people there are agnostic/atheist, but there is certainly a larger percentage of that population there than in other churches. For obvious reasons.

Anyway, my experience there was positive, although I don’t know that I’d go back. They sang a couple hymns which were nice, but very unreligious. It was all about “love will guide us” and “when trouble is around me, I know I can go on” and things like that. To me, they felt devoid of meaning. They were almost cliche. But at any rate, during the service, they brought the kids up to the front, where the service leader read them a story – The Wizard of Oz. Yes, that’s right. They read a short version of The Wizard of Oz, which kept in with their theme for that service of “personal journeys”. Along with that, there were also a couple poems that the leader read – I think one was by Emerson, but I can’t remember the other poet’s name. For the main portion of the service, they had three people come up and share their “spiritual journeys” with the congregation, which I actually found quite interesting. One was an atheist, but the other two seemed to still be at least somewhat religious. It was pretty cool to hear their stories, though, and the paths they’ve taken to get to where they are today – in a Unitarian church.

So on the whole, I enjoyed the service, but thinking about it afterward, I’m just not sure my spirituality “works” that way. It just seemed to me to be a poetry club or a book club, mixed in with some singing and some sharing of personal stories. Those things are nice, and they all have their places in this world, but trying to make that into some sort of “church service” just seemed pretty useless to me. It was like drinking flat pop – sure you still have the taste, but what’s the use if it isn’t bubbly? I’m sure these sorts of churches, however, can be very helpful to those who come from a more traditional background. I mean, I come from a church where the hymnbooks are getting dusty, so I don’t think that a church like this would be helpful to me as a “substitute”, if you will. But to each his own, I suppose. For now, I’m content to go to my Pentecostal church in Waterloo or in Brantford, at least until I get things sorted out in my head. After that, who knows? Certainly not me. It’s like an adventure, but one that challenges my very foundation – so it’s not an adventure that I relish.

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