The Birth of Venus.

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Began reading the Percy Jackson and the Olympians novels to Dee this past spring. They are a bit old for her, but she adores mythology and I figure, it can’t hurt, right?

But it seems that her 8-year-old world view is still grounded enough in fairies and Santa and magic to latch onto the idea of gods, satyrs and demigods and add them to the moral base Rob and I are instilling in her.

Long ago I toyed with the idea of raising her in a creed, thinking that everyone benefits from having a theology to test the world against and use as a springboard to spiritual openness and independent thinking and analysis; the latter, I believe, is critical if one is to avoid being swept up in dubious (and sometimes blatantly self-serving) dogma.  But my experiences with Catholicism as it is practiced by more than a few and with the stench of hypocrisy that overwhelms whatever good there is about most religions, led me to discard the idea and allow Dee to question and come to her own decisions.

For the moment, she has decided to believe in gods and goddesses. Though she assures us that she knows they are make-believe, she seems to be forming her ideas of right and wrong moral behavior with a decidedly Greek Myth Meets Druidism perspective.

I am not sure if I am a complete failure as a moral guardian or a success beyond belief.

We ventured over to the arena today for the Country Craft Fair. The last Saturday in November, all the little rural communities around here hold craft fairs and there is a tree lighting and fireworks at the Firehall at the end of the day. The fair is decidedly crafty and bakey.

As we wandered, an older gentleman blocked our path and began that sort of grandpa-ish banter with Dee. Her curls, big blue-gray eyes and too serious for a child demeanor attract attention, and older folk in particular can’t help but try to engage her.

“Why aren’t you in school?” he demanded.

She backed away and frowned. Dee isn’t a child one should joke with. She has inherited my literal take and doesn’t always recognize “teasing”.

“It’s not a school day,” she finally replied.

“Well, do you go to school on Monday?”

She nodded.

“And Tuesday?”


And the gent proceeded to tick off the other days of the week.

“What about Sunday?” he ended with.

“There’s no school on Sunday,” Dee said.

“You haven’t heard of Sunday school?” he asked.

“No,” she said.

“Well, Mom, ” he addressed me, “what do you have to say for yourself?”

If I’d had time to think, or even see this coming – though I should have because the community is quite religious – I might have retorted with something that could have cost me a bit in terms of acceptance in the rural society I find myself on the edges of, but I didn’t.

“Um, nothing,” I said. “No.”

It probably wasn’t what I said. I said literally “nothing”, but I’ve been told that my face is rather open and telling. And my eyes do this flat, squinty thing that served me well as a middle-school teacher and, apparently, frightens old men too.

He backed away and we passed.

Polytheism? Judgemental Christianity? Really not much to weigh, in my opinion.

Heard of Mark Driscoll? He’s got himself a mega-church somewhere down south (of me). Among his other charming interpretations of the bible, he believes that women shouldn’t be allowed to hold leadership roles in any church. He probably likes the idea of banishing us to red rooms during our periods too – but I digress.

Mark recently explained the whole Satan/demonic training/hell connection of yoga to his flock during the Q&A part of their Sunday service.

Q&A, the Catholic in me giggles, consists of the flock submitting queries via their cellphones or iPads, no doubt, and Mark reading them off a screen on stage.

A stage? I’ve attended an evangelical worship thingy here and there and still can’t wrap my mind around the theatre aspect of it.

Someone asked if it was okay for Christians to do yoga.

Christianity’s apparent incompatibility with an asana practice has been much in the news lately. Personally, I believe that if yoga’s spiritual center bothers a person, he/she should do Pilates or something, but knowing that most people bring so little of themselves to their personal religions anyway – I don’t think many people are in danger of being seduced away by yoga.

Mark, like most uber-religious, totally over-estimates the average yoga student’s interest in anything other than having a yoga butt and being able to touch their toes. My students tolerate the “namaste” at the end simply out of respect for me.  I am not converting anyone to my way of thinking about the “oneness” of the universe as he puts it.

It’s interesting that he can explain the purpose of yoga and still not get it at all.

No one’s head spins round in yoga though I have witnessed some painful looking displays of near freakish flexibility and if getting in touch with yourself and by extension – everything and everyone – is evil, more of us should choose the “path of darkness”. The world would be a better place if we focused more on it and the people around us rather than wasting our energy chasing a capricious God and his conditional love.

Yoga is good for the body and one’s emotional well-being. Research backs me on both counts.

What people like Driscoll worry about is that the exposure to other ways of interpreting the world will lessen their power as people begin to question and think for themselves.

If Christianity is the be-all/end-all than people will come to that conclusion without the Driscoll’s guidance. No one leaves a faith based on their fitness choices. People who have faith aren’t swayed by a little inward reflection and perhaps are even strengthened by the opportunity.

Ultimately what we call “religion” arose from a need to explain and impose a sense of order on life. What actually guides the universe is not so simplistic which is evidenced by the fact that there are so many creeds competing for dominance.

Yoga is the last thing Driscoll should be worrying about or wasting his words on. Real life in America, riddled with real problems, would be a better focus, but what’s a dogma without tangible demons, eh?

Sarah Palin t-shirt

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…he could bless America today because she is going to need it over the next 15 months.

We don’t hear much about 9/11 up here except for the anti-Muslim stuff that is. Koran burning has made our news, and the mostly live and let live folk that Canadians are – it just reinforcing the opinion that Americans are not the freedom loving people they proclaim ala Hamlet’s mother to be.

So with the wingnuts roasting weiners around a book bonfire and Sarah Palin nipping about Obama’s presidential re-election hopes, those who perished at ground zero truly deserve better.

We all deserve better.

But we aren’t going to get it.

So, God? Bless America if you really have the power ‘cuz it’s about to get uglier.