still engrossed

in other projects, including this one, which I fit in at odd spare moments and sometimes for hours at a time, depending on my mood and my partner's schedule...

Yesterday I was at church. And sorry, I was too busy praying for my own heathen soul to pray for yours. I'll catch you next time, I swear.

Anglicans believe in angels, archangels and the whole host of Heaven coming down to share Communion with us.  That's always been a bit of a stretch for me. Oh, I like the mythos of angels just fine (working on an idea around one, actually, sparked by CIC). But as for the real deal, Michael with his flaming sword? Um, not so much. And the other end of the angelic legend? Lucifer and his Fallen and Hell? Really, that's for the most ignorant kind of Christian, buying it hook, line, and sinker from the people who are trying to control them. (not trying to insult anyone here, that's just been my honest opinion. Bear with me, I hope to redeem that statement in a minute)

Except, when you hear High Mass and go through the ritual, and actually listen and tune in, as I was yesterday (sheesh, I needed to go to church, I didn't realize how badly), it's really tough not to believe. I mean, there's sort of a sweeping feeling I get sometimes there, just a peek through the window of Bigness, you know? I get it in other ways, too, like reading a really great book or that epiphany through my own writing, or laughing with my kids or hell, a ton of other ways. But yesterday it was at church.

I have something I pray for nearly every time, hell, every day. I can share it; it's no huge secret. I pray for my son. He's just got the kind of life that's tough. A lot of it is his own making. But at some point, as a mother, I have to wonder how much he can take, with how truly shitty some people can be, and even more, I wonder why? After this year, some of my hope for humanity has eroded.

So I'm sitting in church (well, I was kneeling at the time, we do kneelers) and I was thinking of my son and the angels and kind of vaguely wondering if they were real, figuring Michael and his sword would come in handy about now, and wondering if I didn't just believe in them, a little bit. And then it struck me.

If angels are real, do I really get to discredit the whole Lucifer story?

I know, a whole bunch of you think religion is all human construct anyway, and not even a particularly clever one... but I don't. I might not believe the Bible verbatim, but a guy doesn't make this big of an impression for 2000 years without there being something there to work with. When I think of the millions of people lost over the past thousands of years, I wonder why Him, and I can accept that whatever is at work is probably a whole hell of a lot bigger than I can ever understand. And I'm actually cool without that, though it doesn't keep me from trying.  Hell, I like the fairies at the bottom of the garden.

But back to my son and Lucifer...what if all the little ills and hatreds we suffer really are perpetrated by demons? I'm not against hardship, per se, but it makes a girl wonder.

So, do you? Do you ever wonder?


Stephen Parrish said...

I don't have anything to contribute, but I do love this post. I love your honesty and openness.

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Aww, Stephen! Thanks.

Christine Hardy said...

Ah, Betsy! Do you want the hour sermon, the 20 min short course or the two-minute digest? I'll try for two minutes.

The traditional Christian view is this: God created the angels to serve him, but gave them free will. Lucifer and a third of the angels turned against him in a bid for more glory and were banished from Heaven.

Man also had free will and sinned, which is blamed on the instigation of Lucifer but could also have happened without him. In both cases, free will resulted in rebellion.

The risk of allowing choice!

Hell is for the demons, not for humanity. But Satan, who knows his time is short, is taking as many people with him as possible by turning them against God. Lucifer will not rule in Hell, God will rule. It is not his desire to punish anyone, but for everyone to choose him, and He grieves mightily over every lost soul.

Much of our cultural perception of Hell is based on Dante's Inferno, not on the Bible. (I can look up scripture refs if you want.)
Hence the common misperceptions.

Disease, disasters, sin... are a result of rebellion against God and a fatal fracturing of the creation. God will remake everything when Christ comes again in glory, via the new heaven and new earth foretold in revelation, but is staying his hand to allow as many people as possible to make the choice to serve Him.

Let's not discuss predestination - I don't pretend to know about that and it doesn't matter, on an individual level anyway, because everyone has to make their own choice sometime or another. Like, we don't know who's predestined so who cares?

I have lived as a Christian my whole life, but challenged everything as I grew up. I have thought a LOT about all of these things, and I can tell you for God's sure truth that I have experienced the invisible but tangible presence of angels twice in my life. Too awesome for words. I know they exist.

I just know!

Christine Hardy said...

PS The plane scene with Aidan... Oh my God... He is so adorable!

That was so perfecto.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

Totally him.

He'd be totally making out with her right now if everyone else wasn't around.

But then, knowing him, he might not care too much if others were around.

Kieron Heath said...

Personally. I find it hard to believe, and I see it as a shame that I can't imagine believing in such an idea. I do however like the ethos and also plan on writing a book on the struggle between heaven and hell. It's a great idea and IF it is REAL. Wow. But I haven't had any sort of Damascus moment.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

I don't believe in such a humanized version of Heaven, Hell, God and all the rest of it, Christine.

That's my problem with most American faith today: the human spin. I think it's way fucking bigger than anything that can probably be put into words, and the Anglican service tends to speak to that belief in me.

But I also think everyone gets to believe their own version, and that's cool too. I realized I'm probably a Witch at heart, or a pagan, after studying Wicca for SILVER SCAR. Which fits in with the angels theory pretty well, actually... if you can take Angels as demigods as per different viewpoints. (The viewpoint matters more than Truth to me; Truth will be known, it's how we live our lives in the meantime that's so important.)

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

Hi Kieron,
I think I didn't really believe until well after I had children.

I had an old friend who used to debate me on religion v. atheism and children seemed to trump his argument; even he couldn't come up with something to beat it.

But seriously, to each his own (See Above).

Kieron Heath said...

If we could all agree to disagree about religion there would be peace on earth

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

Tru dat.