Operating on Religion. Part 1.

September 24, 2010 at 6:48 am | Posted in religion, school | 6 Comments
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What’s that you see? Yes, it’s a post. I have returned to teh internets. At least this corner of it. I figure that since I have suspended my classroom education for the year (or two for reasons that are still shelved in the back of my brain to be dealt with at a later date) that I no longer have boring, badly copied readings and bullshit (I mean that endearingly) english papers clamoring for my time. Without future ado..


I met SJ in college. We hit it off immediately. Both from the west coast, we were marooned in Philadelphia and its fast east coast ways and lackluster sunshine. Our mothers bonded while they moved us into our tiny freshmen rooms. Well, my room was a tiny double. SJ’s roommate was a Pakistani girl that for reasons unclear withdrew at the last moment leaving SJ with a double, already slightly larger than normal, to herself. My mother and I were on the floor of my new room, transforming it into the set from one of those commercials Bed Bath & Beyond runs during college move in season. “Yoohoo. Anyone in there? We don’t have a key,” wafted through my ground floor window. And thus I met SJ’s mother.

I immediately saw in SJ my salvation. The world feeds us the line that college is where it’s at. College is where you meet your best friends (true for my parents), where you live and reminisce about it for the rest of your life. I stepped foot in my assigned hallway, opened my assigned door, and checked my subconscious expectation for an assigned best friend.

Which is all to say, SJ and I connected on a plane I hadn’t quite experienced before. Politically, culturally we were borne of opposite threads. I grew up in a household that wasn’t religious. My parents aren’t atheist, but we didn’t go to church. I did go to bible study – of my own free will – because I found the exercises fun and it was run by my neighbor’s mother. My favorite book for a long time was the Children’s Bible because I loved the pictures (one on every page) and the stories. But none of this molded me into a religious person.

I went to a high school stuffed with big ideas and liberal veins. The majority of my friends fit this mold and those who didn’t were considered naive and given more than one impromptu sex education demonstration with a spoon and a fist over greasy pizza and chocolate milk cartons in the cafeteria. We were lucky to go to a high school that encouraged us to fight our teachers, to debate our peers. Occasionally we dug ourselves into holes, but by the time we graduated we had tasted blood. We flipped our tassels, tossed our caps, and began our hunt for some college meat to sink our considerable (or so we thought) canines into.

So I expected myself to be frustrated with SJ. To stalk her conservative values and take them down one peg at a time. I admit that at first this is how I approached our friendship. We’d watch The Music Man – in love with the world our favorite musicals presented us on screen for 3 hours. Marian, the librarian. But at lunch, I’d bring up Prop 8 and ask again what she believed and why.

I quickly abandoned the huntress and prey approach. I respected SJ’s ideals. I didn’t understand them, so I grilled her constantly about her religion and learned about it. I went to church with her, got a Book of Mormon, went to a bible study or two. Mormonism became my “Operation” game (a stand in for all general religious ideas). I poked my tweezers into its organs and mulled the result over.

I haven’t been convinced.

I’m still a spiritual person. I can Have Faith and Believe in the Universe to work things out, but “God” and His principles still stand to question.

I’ll leave my specific objections to Part 2. As I’ve been writing this post, I’ve been listening to the L Word in the background but now approaches the finale (with Anabella Sciorra) and I’d like to give it (and her) my full attention.

Also my nose is running – I shall vanquish ye head cold! – and it’s slowing down my WPM.



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  1. I Looove her voice!

    Alas that was inspired by me looking for Lucy’s appearance on the L Word (which I haven’t actually seen, only heard about) but I didn’t find anything substantial.

  2. Oh, well I guess I found it.

    Can I just say that the one millisecond clip of Gabrielle feeling up her own breast was my favorite part of this video? I did not respect, and do not remember that, AT ALL.

    • That video was hilarious. I love the L word beginning sequence.

  3. Okay, I have to say it… I laughed… It brings back some precious moments from Xena.

    Is there a Xena blog somewhere that I should be posting these onto?

    If only Xena (promotion) were recognized as a suitable career passion for a college-age student!

    • I know, what the fuck is with girls in college obsessed with Disney? XENA. XENA.
      When your mighty chakram arcs, throwing fierce magnetic sparks, no one ever hits her mark like Xena.

  4. My blog and it’s comments went away…

    Here, you can have this comment. Straight from my heart. On “A Fine Balance” book.

    Somebody gave it to me, but I haven’t read it. It seems too morbid– that’s not the right word, but too depressing. I would start with a happier taste of India.

    I don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, but I loved the book “The Palace of Illusions” by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. It tells one of the (two) epic tales from Indian history–like the kind that every Indian child grows up hearing–except it tells the story from a woman’s point of view.

    So rather than immerse yourself in a torturous rendition of India’s miseries all rolled into one, I would read the Palace of Illusions because then at least you can have a conversation with anybody at all from the subcontinent! It’s a retelling of the Mahabharat.

    Also, “Sky Burial” is a great short novel about Tibet… if you’re at all even remotely interested. (Um, which I have no reason to suspect you are)

    But then, I’m taking my cues about A fine Balance from this review at Amazon:

    “I agree with the overwhelming consensus that this is a beautifully, masterfully written book. And I understand that it’s an expose at it’s heart. And I read it thoroughly and gave it my full attention, but I have one big glaring complaint: it’s unrealistic. Really? All of that to those 2 people? Really? Really? Om and Ishvar are all of the poorest, most wretched of Dicken’s characters rolled into 2 and never redeemed. For me, it would have had a bigger impact and a richer reception if he had spread the tragedies out a bit (or even just let up a some on the molten metals poured into ears, the deforming of children, the bodies trampled by cars and trains, the hangings and finger nail extractions). I don’t need a happy ending, but I’m more revolted right now than transformed.”

    Which is, I have to say, in a significant minority of unfavorable reviews.

    If you want an Indian movie that really embodies something special about the subcontinent–a fresh view of looking at things–opt for “Rang de Basanti” first.

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