Love to Learn, Learn to Love.

JuicyLesson #82: My relationship with God

The Religious Me

Welcome to the Essential Jerry Show

Brought to you today in part by a stoned me, really wiped on half of a legally purchased and very delicious double chocolate cookie made with pot butter. I also bought brownies, candies, small little pastries, cookies, and two grams of so-called bubble hash, along with being given some little round ginger cookie-like things – the size of a biggish button, – all made with pot butter or a facsimile thereof.

From what I have experienced so far, this half-cookie produces a deeper and stronger hit than my daily morning cup of pot tea, although the intensity of the buzz decreases more rapidly than that created with the tea except that right now, it’s 3:00 in the morning and I’m still buzzing away a full eight hours at least after consuming the half a cookie, so the jury’s still out on that.

Today I will use the contents of the following “confession” as a take-off and focal point for a philosophical and what I hope will also be a provocative JuicyLesson.

Apparently the White House referred to Christmas Trees as Holiday Trees for the first time this year, which prompted CBS presenter, Ben Stein, to present this piece which I would like to share with you.

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.
My confession:…
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejewelled trees, Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are, Christmas trees.

It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, ‘Merry Christmas’ to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a nativity scene, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her ‘How could God let something like this happen?’ (regarding Hurricane Katrina). Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, ‘I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives.And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?’

In light of recent events… terrorist attacks, school shootings,etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbour as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said okay.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell.
Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.

Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.

Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing yet?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks ofus.

Pass it on if you think it has merit.

If not, then just discard it…. no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what a bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

This Stein guy makes some good points in sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, ways. His agenda is too conservative for me, though… at times even reaching out to the extreme right and sinking his little teeth into the reactionary end of the ideological continuum. His rightist bent becomes more obvious as we move through the article becoming especially evident in the final third of his piece … or so

The tone he takes at times just bugs me, rubs me the wrong way, you know?

Let’s see…hmm. First, I like the way God is portrayed in this expository. Compassionate by definition but only to a point, as well as being respectful enough to be His humble self by backing out of our lives. But like I said, only to a point.

However, there are problems with this piece. One of these is the equation made between God being taken out of our schools on the one hand, and God dropping out of our lives, just like that, on the other. That is until He decides that He had better teach us the fuck a lesson “we’ll never forget” but we will forget and sooner rather than later – assholes, jerks and idiots that most of us are – and those are just the sane ones.

Can’t even begin to reflect upon sickos who fall through the cracks which has nothing whatever to do with us having – in Stein’s words – kicked God out of our schools, out of our governments and out of our lives, by the way.

No one has the power to take my ethos away from me. At any rate that being said the humble, accepting, understanding, intelligent and faithful amongst us, the true believers, should go forward by devoting themselves to a Superior Being however we conceive of Him or Her, by praying to Him, having faith in Him, trusting Him, loving Him by loving other people and, every once in long while, by asking a favour of our Higher Power (affectionately known as HP) as in the following conversation said out loud by you (naturally):

“Howdy, HP. I hope You are well. As for little old me, I have a challenge which I can’t handle. I have grappled and fought and grappled and fought some more I can’t manage to sort it out and I was wondering if I could ask you to help me.”

Next step is to write the problem down on a smallish piece of paper – you can keep your description of the situation for which you are asking assistance short because you are writing to God you know and he “gets” everything because it is His show – and then just throw this paper up towards the ceiling. That’s it. That’s all and voila (!), if everything works, problem gone.

Only the very, very dumb, or the very misguided shall we call them would actually worship a celebrity in the same manner as one might “worship” HP. I would say that respecting HP and showing consideration and generosity through Him to other people on this earth is a good start and that respecting and taking an interest in some so-called celebrities on the one hand (Isn’t Nelson Mandela a celebrity? What about Bono? If Stein means movie stars, he should just say movie stars) and worshipping God on the other are not mutually exclusive.

Once we get it all, we can only go forward. We forge some kind of connection or bond with HP which will never waver in its strength regardless of what we may be forced to tell others – and we have been forced, historically, to disavow our belief in our God, be It institutionally or freely acquired, – in order to avoid punishment, beatings, rape, incarceration, murder.

To wit, in Nazi Germany, it wasn’t cool to be Jewish. Although Jesus and some other truly just people would not have denied HP nor their faith in Him in any situation, if little Joseph decides to publicly disavow his religious conviction, his Judaism, in Berlin in 1933 in order to save his life and the lives of his wife and three kids, who can blame him?

But in his heart of hearts he still knows that he loves HP, believes strongly in Him and in His power, and he also hopes that HP will forgive him, understand why he acted in that way, and show compassion for Joseph. In fact, Joseph finds himself in this dangerous position because of his decision to worship HP in the first place. As long as Joey maintains his religious ideas and keeps the faith as it were, it’s all good.

Take HP out of our school, take Him out of government, but take HP out of my heart, remove him from my soul and from the souls of my family…never. In a million years never.

That just read itself! (and I don’t use !!!!’s liberally in my writing or in my thinking for that matter).

Now some questions to Ben Stein to conclude today’s JuicyLesson.

Since when has discussion about God become “suppressed” out of schools and the workplace? There is no law against us “discussing” God; as a matter of fact, freedom of speech, enshrined in both the U.S. and Canadian constitutions, protects and fosters this type of conversation.

School curricula are determined by human beings, right? We can teach ethics in school without teaching the Bible. Besides where does it say that it is illegal to talk about the bible in school anyway?

Where does it say that people who believe in God are the only ones getting pushed around? Atheists get pushed around too, don’t they?

Can’t argue with Stein’s notion that we reap what we sow as far as the consequences of how we bring up our kids are concerned; but does spanking make us more effective parents or can we be just as efficacious without abusing our children

Peace out.

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