I was working on getting my mentors registered for next fall's writing class via email a bit this afternoon, so I had several things open, which meant that the email program label on the tabs for outgoing messages I was trying to send was "Untitled mess." Somehow, that label just seemed to fit my mood.
I'm in a sort of foul mood, thoughts running together. You know how, when you hear the guy on the bus who explains that Jerry Lewis and George Bush met at his house last night to plan the small pox attack on dalmations, you wonder how he thinks he's being really logical but he's not? I'm worried you'll think that of me.
I was reading a job blog I read sometimes, one of those blogs people write about their work. I find job blogs fairly interesting, though really, none can beat medievalist blogs. (I just don't think that's fair, but there you are; medievalists also have more fun at their conference.) Anyway, this job blog is written by JB, a young woman who has a pretty high powered job. JB is also a pretty strict Christian, and not at all reticent about talking about her religion on her blog. One of the things she's blogged about recently is that she wants to tell her co-workers about her beliefs, including that women shouldn't work outside the home and should be subservient to their husbands within the home. But she's worried that they won't treat her like an equal if she tells them that, and they may mock her for inconsistency.
If I knew JB, I'd probably gently suggest some rethinking. But one doesn't really do that in the comments of blogs.
I read the blog because JB is interesting, and thoughtful, and has developed in some interesting ways through the course of writing the blog, which one can see if one goes back in the archives. And that's pretty cool. I admire her openness about some things, though she scares the dickens out of me about other things.
I've seen a couple blogs talking about Barack Obama's comments about some Americans being "bitter" or "clinging to guns or religion" (see "Obama rues 'bitter' voter remark"). One of the bloggers is all pissy because Obama dared to criticize people who believe in religion and own guns. Another is doing headstands trying to explain that Obama wasn't really criticizing religion.
And just the other week, folks were criticizing Obama for going to church because they didn't like the sermons.
I'm not convinced by Obama. He's way too conservative for my liking, and from what I've read, doesn't strongly support choice about abortion, and isn't strong enough on glbt rights.
But I could change my mind if he actually came out and said that people who believe in religion need to exercise better critical thinking skills. Of course, then he'd get my vote, and maybe three others, while a lot of people would be all busy being offended.
I've had some serious conflict with my Mom about religion from the time I first told her I wasn't going to church because I'm an athiest. It wasn't easy while I was a teenager under her roof. Like JB, my Mom has her own special versions of religious rules, which are pretty unique. But she finds them comforting, so I've learned to keep my mouth closed.
I keep my mouth closed a lot about belief stuff. When my Dad died, my Mom, sibling, and I went to talk to the priest (my family is Episcopal) about the service. (My Mom and sibling both know I'm an athiest, and had been at that time for a good 20 years.) And who did they turn to to choose the verses? Because only one of us has actually read their holy book. So I did the best I could to choose the verses. It was uncomfortable because you have this small number of verses to choose from, and you either go with Paul (yes, the Paul who hates women etc), or you go with some really rigid stuff. The priest (who seemed like a nice person) gave me a knowing look when I said I wasn't really comfortable about Paul. (But I think we ended up with the many windows in the mansion one.)
And who did they turn to to choose the hymns? Because, apparently, only one of us had every talked to my Dad about his favorites.
And I did my part at the service. And every bit of it was false and painful. But I did it because it was important to my Mom, and her needs were more important, her pain more deep and abiding.
I look around, and I see people who fervently believe that there's a big guy in the sky who is all benevolent, all knowing, all powerful, and worth worshipping, and they believe this in the face of tragedy and disease, in spite of a total lack of evidence, and in spite of other people's equally fervent beliefs in totally contradictory things/beings. It's a mess.