This Raving is a reinvigorated Reprise of an excerpt from our Raving posted on August 27, 2018. Even though self-restraint is not my thing, I promised Brooke, Dakota, and Nicky that I would make this Raving short and sweet and bring it in at 2000 words, or less. So, ready, set, go!
Do you believe in the existence of God? I do. More on this in a moment. First, I need to provide context to this Raving.
We are posting this Raving today (for reasons that should be obvious to everyone) in the hopes of securing deliverance from the past, present, and future stupidity of our elected and nonelected public officials and bureaucrats.
We are also posting this Raving today to staunchly oppose the misguided belief that it is in any way ever acceptable to direct violence of any type against someone by virtue of their religious beliefs alone.
More context. This midterm election cycle here in the States has seen an unprecedented uptick in nonsensical and divisive political rhetoric. Our current mind-boggling state of affairs is not wholly to blame on the man who gets-off on naming towers after himself while practicing the dark art of twittering. Not entirely, anyway. This chaotic mess is a conjoined one; this wreckage has been created in equal measure by Republicans, Democrats, Conservatives, Liberals, and extremists of every ilk alike. Let’s also throw in the populists, nationalists, centrists, inclusionists, socialists, exclusionists, and secessionists who helped stir the cauldron to near boil. No one group can rightly claim responsibility for this shitshow. I am a registered Republican, but I do not self-identify as such. To me, a good idea is a good idea no matter who speaks it; to me, a bad idea is a bad idea no matter who speaks it. The challenge? In today’s political landscape how do we tell a good idea from a bad idea when everything we hear or see is based upon………
More context. Lies. Plenty of them – boldfaced, Oscar-winning, blatant, white-faced ones, false promises, compulsive, straight-faced, gaslighting, agenda-pushing, pathological, by omission, chronic, by commission, sociopathic, to influence, habitual, to mislead, to deceive, utter exaggerations, of indignance, gross distortions, double downs, some, even out of kindness. Unfortunately, this Raving has nothing to do with the last kind.
More context. Sayoc.
More context. Pittsburgh.
More context. Heh, assholes STFU, meaning each and every one of you so involved, stop politicizing lunatics like Sayoc, and the carnage that Bowers wrought in Pittsburgh.
More context. I disavow every illusory and perceived advantage of living in a patriarchal world. To my eyes, patriarchy is intrinsically wrong and morally dubious, perhaps, even evil at its core. Call it the fallacy of man.
More context. The arrival of my Daughter changed me; not in a fundamental or foundational sense, because that would imply shortcomings that are nonexistent in the ways my Parents raised me, but She instead changed me in an awakening sense. My Daughter is adopted. She was born nearly thirteen years ago in Guatemala and is Mayan Indian. And then, also, along comes Brooke.
The context now provided; moving on.
Although I can no longer say with certainty that my earliest childhood manifestation of God perfectly aligns with my current, more openminded beliefs. The very title to this Raving should give you some idea of my personal level of open-mindedness. However, some who know me see my current free-thinking perspective as being entirely irreconcilable with my chosen religion. You see, even though I was baptized and raised Catholic, I have never repudiated the underpinnings of my Catholic faith, and I see no urgent need to do that now.
Do you pray? I do; especially on days like these. With imbecility and incivility among elected and nonelected public officials the world over at an all-time high, and with the demonstrated horrors of mailed bombs and assault rifles and handguns, I pray that God herself draws nigh and blankets the world in her saving grace.
Does the very act of praying presume belief in God? I think it must, don’t you?
In the context of this Raving, let’s consider the act of prayer to mean a petition, address, incantation, or request that is conveyed in either word or thought to a god, being, nature, or deity of some sort. So, back to my original question, which voodoo do you do? Mine is Catholic. But mine is also a progressive and unbiased view of Catholicism.
I do not, and will never subscribe to the ideological nonsense that you and I cannot peacefully exist, side by side, because we pray to different manifestations of God. In my view, we are all praying to various expressions of the same being. The fact that my adoration of God is informed doesn’t make yours blind just because of dogmatic or doctrinal differences in the faiths we subscribe too. Now, moving on to our variances in prayer, and our differing reasons for praying.
Do you only pray because your life has seemingly become a series of random experiments in both rejection and failure? Perhaps you pray for no other reason than your unwavering belief in ceremonial magic?
Could it be that prayer is merely a fever-addled, discarnate dream state, part otherworldly nightmare, part utopian, part dystopian fantasia, or so it might seem in the heat of the moment; awash in psychological subtext, and rich in imaginary narratives? Is prayer both abstract and abstraction, but never superimposing one over the other? There is a difference, you know.
Do you believe in the power of prayer in the context of redemption? Or, as a means to attain the divine assurance of everlasting death undying? Wasn’t this the promise oft-repeated in Sunday school? You see, ever since I was a child, I was counseled to believe that redemption is possible, not through the insidiousness of corruptible things, but only through the singular saving graces of the Incarnation, the Cross, and the Resurrection.
Still many of us surely see prayer in a different light, and not necessarily as a saving light. While some may pray resoundingly with dispassionate piety and two-faced fakery, there are still others who find great comfort in prayer but who must pray silently because they cannot summon up the courage to pray aloud for fear of merciless reprisals.
Do you see prayer as a contrivance or mere artifice, or, even worse, as one or the other of unadorned sentimentality, folly, or bombast? Or, like me, do you see prayer more as an individualized act of resistance or defiance, or, in some instances, as an expression of rebellion? Do you see prayer as a means to manipulate the masses? Or, like me, do you see prayer as a means to settle a disquieted mind?
Do you think prayer is only beneficial and curative to those that are either forsaken, forlorn, or abandoned? Do you only partake in prayer for the simple reasons that you are either altogether sanctimonious, self-righteous, or holier-than-though? Does the very notion of prayer frighten you? Or, do you pray fervently to repel the monstrosity that’s always lingering on the yonder side of awe?
Or, like me, do you sometimes pray resolutely in the hope of finding redemption for the mistakes you have made, or finding a means of escape from your unshakable demons? And, like me, do you believe heartfelt prayer can make one inviolable and incorruptible, even impeccable? Or, like some, do you see prayer as nothing more than a countermeasure, or a fail-safe device? Or, sadly, do you believe prayer to be nothing more than a mechanism built into the institution of religion as part of its standard operating procedure to help obscure the unbearable reality of living in a world gone completely mad?
Is prayer nothing more than the curse of the empty-hearted? Can prayer ever truly transcend the possibility that it is merely an indistinct conversation taking place inside your head? Do social media sycophants pray to anyone and anything? Can prayer redeem the irredeemable, and can it offer salvation to the downtrodden, the disillusioned, the disaffected, and those with blackened hearts? If so, prayer may deservedly prove to be the most creative and effective form of communication ever known to humankind.
Do you pray to communicate your petitions to the Almighty, or, like Jim, do you earnestly believe that you cannot petition the Lord with prayer? Is prayer nothing more than false religious rhetoric? Do you conflate prayer with institutionalized religion? Or, like me, do you practice prayer as a means to perfect your understanding of the realm beyond, and your relationship with sacredness, ecstasy, and divinity?
And, contrarily, for the atheists and agnostics among us, for whom God is either nonexistent, quantifiably unknowable, or unknown, in denying the existence, possibility, or conceptual understanding of God, do you forever forfeit the right of prayer? And, to the indoctrinated or brainwashed among us, the god you pray to, is he a warmonger? Or, like mine, is She altogether compassionate and humane?
In essence, since words like heathen, pagan, infidel, heretic, impious, and disbeliever are entirely and inherently pejorative, and since no freethinking person self-identifies as such, there is no need to examine whether prayer has meaning to those who have been unjustly accused or condemned by others of being godless.
When living in a darkening time of visible and invisible devils amassing and gathering all about us, is it holy foolishness to pray? But with these, and other signs of contradiction swirling all around us, doesn’t it make sense to pray? Or, is prayer in the face of mounting inconsistencies another catch-22, or, worse yet, a fool’s errand contrived for us all by the patriarchal powers of organized religion? Is prayer nothing but institutionalized obfuscation by way of smoke and mirrors? Is prayer nothing more than an artifice of denominational trickery used to cover up the truth?
If a life spent toiling away in prayer and the belief in God is the ultimate peril, does that make death and the absence of an afterlife the penultimate peril, or should that indeed be stated the other way around? Will my unwavering belief in God herself eventually be my undoing? I guess it all boils down to a matter of faith. There comes a time in every person’s life when your playing hand is finally called, and when it is, either you have faith, or you don’t; there is no middle ground and faith itself cannot be faked.
The qualitative substance of prayer is what makes it possible to transform fear into faith, incapacity into courage, self-loathing into forgiveness, vulnerability into intimacy, acquiescence into perseverance, anguish into revelation, the unknowable into the attainable, idyllic beauty into modesty, and the secular into the spiritual. The choice is yours to make, pray or don’t; I couldn’t care less because it’s not my ass that needs saving.
My aim here is not to incite combative or warlike aggression but to trigger a thought-provoking discourse of an ascending and beneficent trajectory. Indeed, now long past the point of earthly regret, I feel like finally waking the Witch; what say you, good people? Though you would be wise to question my innocence in one sense of the word, you should never challenge or doubt it in the other. And do not mistake my effrontery for disdain; in my world, self-confidence, self-esteem, and inner strength walk together, hand-in-hand, with forbearance, compassion, and humanity. Now, isn't it about time that you also get yourself out of the baptismal water and make this world a better place?
And, for one last parting thought; rather than only praying in times of pressing need to ask God to give us something or intercede on our behalf, we instead pray to Her prophylactically asking for opportunities to learn and provide substance for ourselves through experiences of a teaching kind.
Word count: 1988 words – The End!