A quest to make sense of it all. Or a sense to make a quest of it all.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Despite having seen The Descent, I'm game...

...to lower myself by rope into a cold, dark hole in the earth. As part of a group, preferably in a well-blazed system. Because I'm not shetarded.

Yup. E-2.0 and I are planning a camping adventure. Now, most of my camping experience has been pretty sedate. There's always some fishing, a little hiking. But mostly it's been sitting around the fire (which I can build, btw). Now, with the autumn air brisking me into friskiness, and a companion who actually doesn't want to sit on his ass 24/7 like a Newcastle-guzzling, plaid-upholstered land sloth, I'm getting to look into all the stuff I've been curious about. He's up for virtually anything (and, still, can be totally chill and mellow next to the fire at night), so I'm trying to find an area to fit our particular tastes. Must-haves include mountain biking trails (him), good running trails (us), and some kind of aquatic access (me). I like water, and I'm really happy when there's a good chance of voluntary submersion. Since it'll be fairly chilly, I doubt I'll jump in. Fishing/boating works just fine. I'm so excited about this trip. It feels awesome to be tapping into my boundless, border collie-like energy in a constructive way. I so rarely have the opportunity to herd sheep, and that energy can lead to some really bonehead moves if not given a proper outlet.

He likes the idea of the Smokies, but I'm hesitant at 1) the long drive, and 2) the overly kitschy, Gatlinburgish vibe.

I'm thinking more like Cedar Glades Park, which sounds like a hiker/runner/mountain biker's dream, and is only about four hours away. It's in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Did you catch that name? Hot Springs. Not just water, but magic water. Also warm water.

In other news, tomorrow I'll be teaming up with Brandon for the first time in a couple weeks. Depending on how I do at the race, we'll either be sulking at JT's Falafel over a plate of lamb, or celebrating at JT's Falafel over a plate of lamb. Sunday I'll be attending Mass and discussing RCIA classes with the priest, and then cooking up a storm. E-2.0 will be returning from his dudes-only camping/biking trip, and I've promised to have a big dinner ready. (It's not all kindness on my part; he's also changing my oil for me.)

About RCIA: no, I'm not converting to Catholicism (at this time). I'm wanting to learn more about Catholicism, and a Catholic church seems like a good place to do that. There's soooo much that I don't understand and have been conditioned against by Baptist/Church of Christ/Pentecostal culture. I just wanna hear another take on a subject close to my heart. Corralling oneself into a particular sect or denomination has always seemed to me like missing the forest for the trees. Or as my friend Mary says, "Some people get to Savannah through Michie, and some people get there through Pickwick. What matters is that you get to Savannah." Mary's a very smart lady. She also makes killer collard greens.


Anonymous said...

I was conditioned against it, too. Praying to Mary or Saints? Idolatry. God's omnipotent; He's never too busy. He's GOD. You pray to HIM. Transubstantiation? I'm sorry, what?! You think that's actually flesh and blood you're consuming, rather than a SYMBOL of flesh and blood? That sesame seed in your tooth must be pretty puzzling, then, huh?

Oh, since I'm a Protestant I'm not welcome to take Communion in this building? Well, that makes me feel welcome.

Up, down, up down, UPDOWN, Latin, Italian, mumbo-jumbo, choirs, down again. I have a bad knee, you know.


Don't your arms get tired?

Oh, and to convert I have to do WHATNOW? Haha. Ahahahaha.

Remember the Church's rule in the 1500s, and where this church came from and what purpose it actually served in history? Tithing? Fines? It was a freaking government office. Put that on your plate and don't eat it on Friday.

I'm a little hostile due to my own personal experiences with "The Church" (air quotes, eye roll), but maybe your experience will be better.

Anonymous said...

Oh, also, I commend your braveness in caving. Ain't no way I'm going in a cave ever again. I am not only freaked out by The Descent but I'm claustrophobic. I have to be sedated for MRIs. So yeah.

theogeo said...

I also have nothing good to say about the Catholic church, as their official stance on women as a class is still "ew! gross! cooties!" except for that Virgin Mary. She's pretty cool.

Haha. But I will bite my tongue because I am a bitter, bitter person whose stance on religion has inspired her believing boyfriend to go from a happy believer to a rather troubled and grumpy questioner. In some ways I am proud of myself for cracking that veneer but in other ways, I feel like an asshole. Because not everyone wears agnosticism as well as I do. :)

ANYWAYS, I came here to say that I have been wanting to go to Dismal Canyon for forevs, and I think you should check it out so I can live vicariously through you while I sit on the couch like an uncomfortable beachball housing a trio of hyper gerbils.

theogeo said...

I just realized it's Dismals Canyon, with an S. I don't read so gud.

sarah saint said...

I get the hostility. To be honest, besides Brett, I've never seen any Catholic who comes even close to living up to the ideals that are allegedly so important that they can't marry someone from outside the faith. (In those cases, shacking up seems to be ok.) But then, I've met few Christians, period, who really try to live up to their ideals. Ya'll know how it is here in the good ol' Bible Belt. Do as I say, not as I do. Because I'm probably doing your wife.

I don't put much faith in people, because people take really good ideas and twist them into practices that mock the original idea. Nor do I put much stock in religion. But anything that helps me grow my personal faith and gain a better understanding of/relationship with my Creator, I'm down for.

I'm interested in learning where the Catholic traditions come from, and what, if any, Scripture backs them up. The Catholic church had these traditions centuries before non-clergy even had access to the bible, so I'm curious about how scripturally-based they actually are.

histrionicsdotzip said...

TBH, I think a lot of it came from Pagan rituals. I don't KNOW that, it just seems logical from the little I do know about pre-church "religious" ritual.

I thought I had found the ideal outlet for my spiritual version of Christianity (technically I am a lot more Jewish than Christian)(I'm technically NOT Christian)in Unitarian Universalism. The local church is liberal, invites LGBT to worship, sheltered draft dodgers during the Vietnam War, and is an absolutely breathtaking structure. They hold yoga classes. The organize volunteer work. They are so great...except one thing:

They practice tithing. WUT?!. Oh, the disappointment was tangible.

Let me know what you unearth. They have their own "version" of the Bible, so good luck debunking anything. And I hope you don't believe in birth control!!!

histrionicsdotzip said...

Oh, and LT, that place looks AMAZEBALLS!!! I am stealing it and visiting the next time I go home for a visit. Maybe I can bring Tony and Brookie and My-chall and Halliebug, too, and make it a family outing. FUNTIMES.

sarah saint said...

I don't have beef with tithing, and I do when when I'm at a home church (which I haven't been in a long time). But I think it should be an expression of faith and from a desire to do good works, not something that should be seen as a requirement.

I'm not against birth control, per se. I can see how it goes hand in hand with celibacy; if you're not shagging until you're married, there's no need for it. But most people aren't celibate, and preventing unwanted pregnancy is something I'm very much in favor of. Religious values aside, it's cheaper and less traumatic than abortion, and if a child really isn't wanted, it's doing no one any good to have a baby and then either mistreat it or throw it into the hell that the adoption system so often is.

Brett and I had a discussion about the Mary issue tonight. We've talked about it before, and I can see where they're coming from. I'm still unsure why (or if) they consider speaking with her to be a necessary practice, but I'm listening. From what I understand: when "praying" to Mary, it's not the same as praying to God, and they don't believe that Mary shares the same degree of divinity that God does. It's more like asking a friend to pray for you. That I can get. We haven't gotten into the Saints yet. I'm gonna have a harder time with that one, and I'd rather save that question for the priest. There's a lot I'm completely ignorant on. That's why I'm exploring. I don't want to rule something out just because it's not exactly the way I was raised, but I need those questions answered. I want to understand the concepts. People often misinterpret or get overzealous about the application of religious concepts (see: snake handling, wearing long skirts even to work out in), but I'm concerned with the roots of the practice more than the practice itself.

sarah saint said...

And LT, that place looks awesome! It's like the forest where the elves live in LOTR! E-2.0 liked the looks as well. We'll definitely be checking that out.