Archive for December, 2008

This time of year

Whatever your belief, here is what I wish for you, and for all of us:

Here are the lyrics:

And you asked me what I want this year
and I try to make this kind and clear
just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days
’cause I don’t need boxes wrapped in strings
and designer love and empty things
just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days

So take these words and sing out loud
’cause everyone is forgiven now
’cause tonight’s the night the world begins again

I need some place simple where we could live
and something only you can give
and that’s faith and trust and peace while we’re alive
and the one poor child who saved this world
and there’s ten million more who probably could
if we all just stopped and said a prayer for them

So take these words and sing out loud
’cause everyone is forgiven now
’cause tonight’s the night the world begins again

I wish everyone was loved tonight
and somehow stop this endless fight
just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days

So take these words and sing out loud
’cause everyone is forgiven now
’cause tonight’s the night the world begins again

’cause tonight’s the night the world begins again

Thanks, Johnny. God(s) bless us, every one.


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I took another Beliefnet quiz (which you can find here), this one titled “What’s Your Spiritual Type?”  I actually quite agree with the result of this one, even though I was questioning some of my responses as I took it; these things tend to use terms that, while generic, tend to relate more efficiently to mainstream traditions, so I spend a lot of time mentally translating into terms that are relevant to my trad(s) while adhering to what I perceive was the overall meaning or context of the question.  Clear as mud, right?  But I must have done something right, because the result seems wholly accurate:

You scored 54, on a scale of 25 to 100. Here’s how to interpret your score:

25 – 29 Hardcore Skeptic — but interested or you wouldn’t be here!

30 – 39 Spiritual Dabbler — Open to spiritual matters but far from impressed

40 – 49 Active Spiritual Seeker — Spiritual but turned off by organized religion

50 – 59 Spiritual Straddler — One foot in traditional religion, one foot in free-form spirituality

60 – 69 Old-fashioned Seeker — Happy with my religion but searching for the right expression of it

70 – 79 Questioning Believer — You have doubts about the particulars but not the Big Stuff

80 – 89 Confident Believer — You have little doubt you’ve found the right path

90 – 100 Candidate for Clergy

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Quote of the day

(Just something to ponder…)

An Inuit hunter asked the local missionary priest: “If I did not know about
God and sin, would I go to hell?”

“No,” said the priest, “not if you did not know.”

“Then why,” asked the Inuit earnestly, “did you tell me?”

–Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

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Periodically I liked to re-take various online religion quizzes, like the one at Beliefnet.  This is how I fared:

1.  Neo-Pagan (100%)
2.  Unitarian Universalism (85%)
3.  New Age (84%)
4.  Liberal Quakers (74%)
5.  Reform Judaism (68%)
6.  Secular Humanism (65%)
7.  Sikhism (63%)
8.  Baha’i Faith (60%)
9.  Mahayana Buddhism (60%)
10.  Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (56%)
11.  Theravada Buddhism (50%)
12.  Scientology (47%)
13.  New Thought (46%)
14.  Nontheist (44%)
15.  Jainism (43%)
16.  Orthodox Judaism (42%)
17.  Taoism (41%)
18.  Hinduism (39%)
19.  Islam (37%)
20.  Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (32%)
21.  Orthodox Quaker (29%)
22.  Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (23%)
23.  Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (17%)
24.  Eastern Orthodox (15%)
25.  Roman Catholic (15%)
26.  Seventh Day Adventist (8%)
27.  Jehovah’s Witness (5%)

I don’t suppose these results really come as any shock to anyone, right?  😉

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Mysteries of Osiris, Day 6
Procession of Hathor and Horus the Elder

Yesterday the DVD of X-Files: I Want To Believe was released, and of course I raced to rent it as soon as I was finished with work and my volunteers’ meeting.  It’s a compelling movie, far too introspective and dark to have made much of a splash during the summer blockbuster season in which it was originally released; a pity, really, because for all its flaws (and it does have a few), it’s a rarity that deserves to be more widely seen and considered: a quiet, contemplative examination of the concepts of faith, belief, and redemption, and of the bonds of love that govern them all.  That’s what I took from it, at least; your mileage may vary. 

Some of the conflicts seem a bit forced, but others ring heartbreakingly true.  Dana Scully still walks the line between skeptical scientist and woman of faith; in her I’ve always recognized elements of myself, and her struggles for balance resonate strongly for me.  Fox Mulder still wants to believe in nearly everything except any sort of god or deity, and yet he remains honest enough to admit to those “extreme possibilities” when confronted with them.  To a non-X-phile, Scully’s reactions to Father Joe, the convicted paedophile priest who castrated himself rather than continue to act on impulses he couldn’t control, might seem overly priggish–particularly for a woman who’s lived unmarried with her former FBI partner for several years and borne his son out of wedlock!–but to me they seemed entirely right and perfectly in keeping with her character.  Scully was raised Catholic, and her faith has informed her personality even as it has challenged and on occasion troubled her; the priesthood has a meaning to her, and seeing someone who has betrayed his position in the way Father Joe has fills her with disgust and loathing.  An outraged Scully is a thing of rare beauty, an elemental force to be reckoned with.  When Scully tells you to pick up the phone and make it happen (that’s from the first movie, but work with me here), you make it happen or else. 

But I digress.

At any rate, having watched IWTB, I went Googling for a while in true fangirl fashion, and in so doing I came across a site called An X-Files X-Egesis”.  The author has gone to great lengths to describe the parallels between the show’s mythology as it developed over seasons seven through nine and the Egyptian story of Isis and Osiris, some of which I’ve been focused on for the past few days.  I instantly expected the worst, but dove in anyway, and was pleasantly surprised with what I found.  This is no tinfoil-hatter seeing Illuminati hiding behind every bush; rather, he appears to be thoroughly conversant with both the X-Files‘ characters and mythos and the Isis-Osiris legend.  I had myself noticed certain parallels in the past, and evoked them briefly in a fanfic I wrote years ago (yes, I am a big geek, why do you ask?), but this essay takes it much farther than even I ever dreamed.  Some parts of it are a stretch, granted, but the overall picture is a fascinating and convincing one.

You have a couple, intensely devoted to one another; he is lured and betrayed, dies and is restored to life.  She conceives a child when it should have been impossible for her to do so, then flees to bear the child in secret.  The couple is reunited, but he is forced to go underground.  And so it goes.  Just read the article, if you have an interest; the author spells out the comparisons quite efficiently. 

And I will say this: it wasn’t until I saw Scully’s chillingly primal howl of grief and loss in “This Is Not Happening” that I could viscerally imagine/understand the grief of Isis when she came upon Osiris’ corpse.  It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who caught a glimpse of the connection.

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