There’s God In Them Thar Hills!!!!

Well, God would have it this morning that I sat myself next to a man from Nigeria, who was chosen at the ripe old age of five to be a catholic priest.  You see, I told him my name was Athena.  He exclaimed, “The goddess!”

I said, “Yup, wisdom and war, baby… though people conveniently leave out the war part on a very regular basis.”  They do.  Whenever I tell people my name, the popular response is, “The goddess of wisdom!”

…Yeah, the goddess of wisdom who happens to be carrying a massive shield and sporting a high-fashion warrioress’s helmet… I guess war as we know it is a pretty frightening subject.  Better to just pretend it doesn’t exist, eh?  But then there’s the quintessence of all wars~ the war we fight inside ourselves every day.  The war that the ancient Indian sacred text, the Bhagavad Gita metaphorically addresses.  This is the war between the ego and… “The Great Love”, I’ll call it.  Yikes.  Talking about “religious matters” is a slippery slope, isn’t it?  Well, suffice to say, that I like to think that Athena’s stand for imbuing war with wisdom is a courageous stand for the highest, especially in the Holy battle fields that stretch across the interiors of every human heart.  At least that’s what THIS Athena stands for.  I am committed to cultivating my wisdom and intelligence and using it as a trusty ally in winning the only battle worth fighting.  The fight for peace in my heart, in my mind, here and NOW.

But, the crafty philosopher asks, does it HAVE to be a fight?  Fighting is the antithesis of peace, ain’t it?  After all, war begets war…  Maybe, oh Crafty One… but for now, all this devoted warrioress can do is fight this relentlessly chattering, fearful ego machine.  My bullets are made of condensed conviction, perseverance.  My gun powder is feverish devotion to a vision of something that I can not see with my eyes, but damn it, I know it exists.  I know that there is a world within me that is unbounded divine light, and that it is possible to live life unified with this great light.  And this silly, frivolous mind that never shuts up and ceaselessly dangles those wicked carrots all up in my sheee-it… You know, the carrots who seduce gullible little me with visions of a future wrought with every shade of wealth, happiness and peace (meanwhile, my heart is tight and trembling)… those carrots that that are designed with state of the art, aerodynamic elusivity…

How many times must I tell myself that this is it?!!??!  This is the only moment where happiness and peace are truly at my disposal.  Is this good news, or bad news?  You decide.

Anyway, a few days ago, I had this epiphany that I would start a research project in which I will visit a different church every Sunday, and blog about my experience.  TIME THE FUCK OUT!!!  The Nigerian would-be priest just strode up to my table with a handful of large, wet, glistening CARROTS.  I am SO FUCKING SERIOUS.  Really.  I swear.  He offered me one.  I said no thanks.  I said, “Listen, Your Piousness, you take your seductive, crunchy-assed carrots and shove them where the sun don’t shine!!!”  No, of course I didn’t say that.  I considered taking one, but I didn’t feel like starting my digestion at ten forty three am, so I politely declined, and very jubilantly exclaimed to him that I was writing about carrots as we spoke.  This is the man who was just preaching to me about how he didn’t trust faith as far as he could throw a whale-sized carrot.

God, you are SO, SO, SO brilliant!  Thank you for the comic relief… I was getting pretty heady this morning… Time in.  So I’m excited to explore religion, because I throw the word GOD around with such devotion and gaiety, in the face of a world that is AT WAR AS I TYPE THIS, in the name of GOD.  I forget that sometimes.  In my little microcosmic, insulated slice of forgetful heaven, “my God is an awesome God”, (as the beloved David Lurey would rapturously sing on occasion).  Suddenly I am insatiably curious about what “the masses” are being spoon-fed in all the holy edifices of the bay area… and maybe eventually the country, and the world!!!

I proudly disclosed my blue printed plans for this project to my Nigerian friend nesting at the table next to me… and little did I know that HE had a story.  Back in Nigeria, he was sent away to catholic schools from a very early age, so that he could be groomed for the rigorous vocation of Catholic Priest.  Good for him, right?  Wrong.  At age fourteen or fifteen, suddenly the raging river of testosterone knocked him on his ass and he became consumed with lust and curiosity about all things pussy.  Woops, I mean, “girls”.  Let’s not be lewd here, Athena.  Well this was BAD NEWS according to Father So-And-So.  My friend was sent to perform “penance”.  He informed me that the “English translation” for penance is more equivalent to “torture”.  He was sent away to a cloistered “retreat” (more like a “prison”) where he was fed bread and water once a day, slept on a cement slab and commanded to pray for hours on end to be purified of this “demon” called Lust.  After months of that, he was permitted return to school.  Foolish man, he confessed that penance had in fact not helped the situation, but actually exacerbated it.  (No, I don’t really consider this man foolish, I just wrote it for dramatics.  Actually, I perceive him to be highly courageous… to stand in his truth in the face of EVERYTHING on the outside negating his experience.  That takes some serious balls if you ask me.)

He stayed in this caustic, soul contaminating environment clear up until he was twenty two years old!!!  Don’t you think that’s a long assed time to be hanging out in a place that insists you are broken and possessed for wanting to explore your sexuality and speak your truth?  I do.  And when he left, he straight up FLED.  And he said that the “Holy Men” had pumped him all fulla this fear that he was bound to be struck by bolts of lightening hurled by an angry god at any moment.  Wow.  He said since then, he has been a seeker.  Since then, he has been asking a steady stream of questions.  They sure tied him in some tight knots.  No wonder he don’t dig no faith.  To him, faith means believing stupid shit like the Immaculate Conception without question, investigation or the entirely natural shadows cast by healthy doubt.  Then we had a laugh, because he flipped over the splayed open book on his table and showed me the title, “The Portable Athiest”.

So this is the world “outside” that I have to contend with, EH?  Good to know.  Humanity?  Are you listening?  Take my hand… We’re gonna go on a journey!  We’re gonna go on an adventure!  We’re gonna skip and frolic through the plethora of churches in this contemporary and diverse world… and hopefully, be able to sip the delish nectar of Love that quivers like a tremulous wishing well at the center of all of them.  It’s like panning for gold.  Sure, it’s an arduous process, picking out all the rocks, gravel, calcified beliefs and unwieldy clumps of control mechanisms… But then you have ga-ga-ga-GOLD!  Ga-ga-ga-GOD!!!!  La-la-la-LOVE!  A kind of Love that One really has no choice but to brake for, because it is so magnificent, healing, inclusive!  That’s what the miners really meant when they exclaimed, “There’s GOLD in them thar hills!!!”  They meant there’s god in them thar mountains of human confusion, war and pain… trust me…

Oh, and did you know there’s a Guru living in my back yard?!

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