Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Stigmata-a-Go-Go, Or Things Heat Up When You're Half-Assed in Hell.

I was a frustrated artist last Wednesday. This Wednesday, I'm a highly agitated Lutheran.

(Social Networking Lesson #1: Just because you unfriend someone doesn't mean your other friends, who you were mutually friends with, can't see the blabber you post every day. In case you read this, fellow Christian, in particular? It's not very Christian of you to say on Facebook, after you can't *believe* that no fellow OTHER Christians from our church came to your defense, or rather, for your extended family to say, that another Christian is a "psycho who should take her meds," "attention-starved," "who goes off on rants," who ignores Biblical fact and that you unashamedly champion Jesus Christ while chastising me at the same time. You don't get to play both sides of the coin. You're just pissy because you lost the war of intellect. Ask the "Episcolatians." I just TOOK my meds, just as an FYI, so be sure to pass that along to your MIL. You really need to learn to use the "hide conversation from..." button. My 12-year old just said *I'm* omnipresent. Silly kids. And we just saw a spot on the news about a 60 million year old dinosaur egg being found. How long were those "days" in the Bible when God created the Earth? Just for clarification, I believe that God created evolution.)

The religious, "Which God-is-the-Right God" hot-button debate continues between my Facebook friends and I, much to the chagrin of my uber-Lutheran brethren and I'm probably on God's, the Pastor's, the Board of Elders, and the Conservative Christian Republican Collective's shit lists right now. God is omniscient. He knows what's in my heart, truly. And it's a lot more and a lot deeper and cannot be minimized by a robot-woman.

I read the article online the other day about a priest in the Vatican deeming the practice of yoga "satanic." So much so, it required exorcism of the practitioner. And just when I was planing on taking up yoga to get some exercise, tone my abs and center my balance, both physically and ease this frequently manic mind. (No, I'm not Catholic. I'm Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, a very conservative denomination, with which I argue and debate principles and dictates frequently as a flag-flying liberal.)

One of my first blogs last year, when I resumed writing in August of 2011, (, tackled the "who's right" with regard to which religion was the "right" religion, and my personal stance was that God was God was God was God..many faces, many names, many incarnations cross-culturally in the world and that we were all "right". That blog was written right after I'd met Pastor Dave, with whom I'd had scant but friendly-enough bantering, but we didn't really get to know one another until the subsequent months he's been the shepherd of our little flock, and we're quite close, and have since talked extensively as to why I choose to dabble in religion outside the dictates of the LCMS.

I gave him kudos on Friday night after band practice, when he was jokingly teasing me about my OM tattoo and what I'd explained to him that the OM meant to me, in tandem with my Christian tattoo and wearing my OM shirt to band practice:

Status update from Facebook:

"You know you have a hip Pastor when you're trying to turn off the guitarist's blaring car alarm, give Pastor the keys because you're panicking over the panic button, and he says to you, "OM! Annie! I don't hear you OM'ing!" to which I "OM'd" back and fled the scene, my soul intact. I thanked him and said, "God bless.""

Last night, the debate opened back up....all based on Luke mis-hearing me and confusing "Yoda" with "Yoga."

Read on...and apologies if it's hard to read (physically, not spiritually...I cut and paste and it's in a bunch of different fonts and sizes. And html editing is really hard for me.)

My status update on Facebook last night:

Me to Luke: "Pastor and I are debating whether or not yoga is satanic. A Catholic priest from the Vatican said yoga is satanic."
Me: "Not YODA, YOGA! Yoda is not satanic."

Robbie: Actually, Yoda IS satanic.

Yoga is not.

Lynne: Did a Catholic priest really say that??? Unbelievable. When my sister went to get her first son baptized in the Catholic church, she was told they wouldn't do it because he was considered a bastard as she was married in a Lutheran church and therefore the marriage is not recognized.

Sree: Yoda is a Pentecostal.

Robbie: Yoda is satanic because I am pretty sure he is buddhist.

Heidi: Hehehehehehehehehehe.

Me: Lynne, Yes, a widely-circulated report went around yesterday that "a priest" in the Vatican deemed yoga satanic, requiring exorcism of the practitioner. They think yoga is satanic because it's rooted in Hinduism (sigh). I'm not surprised your sister got such a cold reception from the Catholic church. I was denied Communion in Resurrection Medical Center and the priest who mistakenly had a list that said I was Catholic on it walked out on me with no blessing, no prayer, no sign of the cross, when I corrected him that I was Lutheran.

Me: Oh, Yoda is TOTALLY a Buddhist.

Robbie: See, here is my issue with all of these religious philosophies.

They all think THEY are the THE ONE.

Robbie: When, in reality, all religions teach the same basic stuff.

I use the 10 commandments as the model for this argument.

They all say, don[t steal, don't lie, etc.
So who givesa a crap bout anything else?

get rid of the stupid pajamas and hats and props and just teach the EFFING RULES, people!

Cuz the rules are the things only that matter.

I sort of liked Ringo Starr's answer when, in the recent GH documentary, he was asked what religion he practiced today, he said he was "A Christian Hindu with Buddhist tendencies." Jesus, I just want to take yoga, like at the park district or something, to get some freakin' exercise and tone my abs, and relax my frequently manic mind. I'm not joining the ISKCON in the city for pity's sake! Though I'd pay, PAY, Pastor Dave to visit the ISKCON with me and sit in on a lecture just so we could debate it at great length.

Sree: No. I submit that the fictitious being that is Yoda is representing the Pentecostals. I also submit that the Sith are the Evangelicals, who decide on a new Sith Lord as the power structure takes them.

Nothing against Pentecostals, but you do realize that Yoda's Jedi Knowledge sounded convoluted at best.

Me: could the Catholic church deem your nephew a bastard if he was born in wedlock? That's just INSANITY.

Me: No way, Sree, the Siths are Catholic. For sure. I debated this with my uber-Cathoilc buddy. And you saw that pic that went around of Pope Benedict the Whatever combined with the one of Emperor Palpatine, right?

OK, so I learned a new word recently that gets to the bottom of this problem AND is why I adore being Episcopalian (Unitarian friends, chime in here): orthopraxis. These ridiculous arguments about people from different cultures honoring God in different ways and whether one of them is the "right" way: that's about orthodoxy: right belief. But the early Christians didn't give a rat's ass about right belief. It wasn't until the church became codified and power-structured and Nicene-Creed-ed that everyone became worried about "what you believe." The Episcopal Church - and the Unitarians - and the Buddhists - and a bunch of other folks - spend their time and energy focused on orthopraxis: right living, right actions. We do agree to base our definition of "right actions" on a certain realm of "right belief" - but the actions are the important part. Being an outward and visible sign of God's love for the whole world - NO EXCEPTIONS - even if parts of the world call God by a different name - that's the whole point. All the gods are One God. We're all "right."

Sarah, who unfriended me during the discussion: John 14:6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Me: Jennie, as I'm sure you remember, you and I have been down this road before....and came to the same ultimate conclusion, and until someone can prove us otherwise, we're right. Robbie's right. Lynne's sister was right. Her sister's family priest was the one who was a bastard, not the baby. (Though I think Sree is wrong about the Sith Lords, because they're SO Catholic it ain't even funny.) Who do *I* identify with most in this thread? Ringo. I think we're ALL right, too, even if that upsets my Lutheran brethren. It'd be presumptuous and narcissistic of Christians to think OUR way is the ONLY way.

Just for shits & giggles, I went to the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod's FAQ that a homophobic, pro-life, co-St. Paul sister in Christ likes to hoist forcefully in my face whenever there's a hot-button issue on which I'm liberal and open-minded, citing our church's "official" doctrine--to see what it was "we" Lutherans are SUPPOSED to think of "you" Episcopalians. Apparently, you guys are all about power structures, and little more, according to

"While there are a number of significant theological differences between the LCMS and the Episcopal
Church (e.g., the issue of authority in the church, especially as it relates to the doctrine of Scripture as
the inspired and inerrant Word of God; the nature of the sacraments as means of grace; the precise
understanding of the doctrine of justification; the question of what it means to be a "confessional"
church), perhaps the most obvious difference has to do with the Episcopalian view of apostolic
succession (which pertains equally to more "conservative" offshoots from the Episcopal church). Episcopalians attach great important to the theory of the apostolic succession. They insist that the
apostles ordained bishops, these in turn ordained their successors, and so down through the centuries,
so that the present-day bishops are the successors of the apostles through an unbroken chain. Scripture
knows nothing of such a theory. Episcopalians hold that only bishops who have received their authority
in this way can properly ordain ministers and that without such Episcopal ordination a minister cannot
validly perform the sacraments."

(Read: According to my church, I'd be denied Holy Communion in your church just like the Catholics deny it to me, among other things and you think your ministers descended from the original 12 Apostles. We love us some serious Bible and take it VERY seriously. But it's valid to point out that, in the Lutheran school, Luke got 10/10 on his Hinduism & Buddhism quiz, chiefly because I've educated him in other belief systems.)

Jennie: In my church: it is God's table, not our table, and everyone - EVERYONE - is welcome. This is not true of every single Episcopal church, but the party line is "all baptized Christians" are welcome. But no one gets their panties in a bunch because our rector is administering communion to the unbaptized. And I don't know what your Lutheran FAQ is talking about, the Episcopal Church in America is all about decision making via General Convention, which while yes, the bishops do attend and have a measure of decision-making power, there is an equally powerful House of Deputies (equal parts priests and lay folks) and both Houses have to agree to any decision. Maybe the FAQ is really talking about Anglicans - while the Episcopal Church in America is part of the Anglican Communion, it ain't like the Vatican - the other Anglicans can't really tell us what to do (witness the African Anglican dioceses that are "taking in" U.S. Episcopal parishes that have their panties in a bunch about ordaining gay clergy.)

Jennie: OK, can you tell I've become a total church geek in my old age? I'll shut up now. I know you and I are on the same page about this, Annie, I just speak in support of you, to reassure you (in the face of vocal "orthodox" opposition) that you are not alone in the world on this one. Next time one of them starts up with you, you can throw "orthopraxis" back at them.

Me: I'm a religion geek, Jennie. Period. Thanks for reassuring me on what's a very touchy subject to bring up. ORTHOPRAXIS, MOFOS!!! Meanwhile, I think the LCMS web site needs to be, to be polite, "updated." Gay clergy! The thought! In our church, a woman cannot be a member of the Board of Elders. She cannot dispense Communion, only a man can. But sure as shit, the womenfolk have their own guild which in essence means they're ok to clean up and put Communion away.

@Sarah: 2 Timothy 1:7: I am gifted with power, love, and a sound mind.

The homophobic pro-lifer unfriended me for the 2nd time after she privately mailed me on here asking me, basically, why I'm a Lutheran if I have such insane liberal thoughts. She's the one, incidentally, who thinks both homosexuality and alcoholism are "diseases of choice." (She's the one who quoted the Bible above.) I offered to loan her a copy of the Bhagavad Gita or the Upanishads, or the Qu'ran. Hell, she'd get more out of Betty White's new book, probably, as I look at my shelf, than any other-worldy sacred texts. I'm not about to renounce my Lutheranism nor my faith in Christ as my personal Savior, but I simply can't intellectually rationalize a growing number of their official doctrines.

Laurie: Damn, women. We Unitarians have seven principles. At the top of the list is recognizing the inherent worth and dignity of every living being. Our church president is an atheist. We have Buddhist, Christian, Humanist and Pagan groups within our church. No communion except for the parties. You are free to bring liquor or vegan food to our potlucks. And yoga classes are taught in the chapel. How you conduct yourself matters the most.

Me: Wow, yoga @ church. My dream.

And that was the end of the commentary for last night, anyway. Meanwhile, earlier in the day, I asked this of Pastor Dave:

Ok, Pastor Dave, what do YOU have to say about this??? Just when I think of taking up yoga to calm my manic head down...OM TAT SAT.

Pastor Dave: While the initial stages of Yoga may be focused on physical exercises involved, Yoga has its roots in Hinduism and the philosophical aspects of Yoga are integral to it--something that becomes more apparent in more advanced stages. In Hinduism, Yoga is a means of striving for personal salvation, the ultimate goal being the human soul's union with "the world soul."
In contrast to assumptions intrinsic to Yoga, Christianity teaches on the basis of the Holy Scriptures that
salvation becomes the personal possession of an individual through faith alone in the redeeming work of
Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Savior of the world (Eph. 2:8-8). And, spiritual enlightenment comes not
through external bodily discipline, activities of the mind, or union with a divine "soul," but through the
working of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of those who hear the Word of God and receive the sacraments
(Lord's Supper, Baptism). Jesus promised, "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send
in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said you. Peace I
leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be
troubled, neither let them be afraid" (John 14:25-27).
In summary, from the Lutheran theological perspective, techniques of relaxation and/or exercise (mental as well
as physical) are not, of course, problematic in and of themselves. But it is the religious aspects of a
practice such as Yoga that raises concerns for Christians.

Me: Thanks a lot and dare I say, "Enlightening!" (My United Church of Christ minister girlfriend wants to buy me a yoga class for my 40th birthday, talking about mixing religions...) So it's ok to take up basic yoga and use it just for exercise and mental relaxation, as long as you ignore it's philosophical theories? I'm not terribly limber but thought it'd be a good exercise for me. You know, it's ok to chant "OM, Father, OM Christ, OM Holy Spirit," just sayin'.

Pastor Dave: so, the understanding then from our perspective as Christians is that all things spiritual are reserved for the glory of Jesus... which would also flow over into the physical realm as well. Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. He says this to remind the Corinthian Christians that they, and us, as Christians cannot just do as we want with our physical bodies because they really belong to God, who created them in the first place. So when we keep that in mind as a rule of thumb for all things in life we find ways of staying spiritual and physically fit in a way that always gives glory to God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

Me: If your body is the temple of God, and it belongs to God, does not your soul also? So the soul would then be in unity with God's, since you belong to Him.

Pastor Dave: correct, hence the concern over the deeper roots of yoga being founded in Hinduism and not what Jesus teaches us in His Word.

Me: My understanding of Hinduism is that the ultimate goal is your soul becoming one with God's, for which, to obtain, you must practice God-consciousness while on Earth, including mental and physical exercises (meditation, yoga, reading their scriptures at length, worshiping, etc..), or else you're doomed to be reincarnated infinitely until you achieve the aforementioned goal. Conversely, in Christianity, we believe our souls are already in unity with God's through the Trinity and participation in the Sacraments. Believe me, I've caught fire from intolerant Christians who are offended that I would don a Christian cross beside a Sanskrit OM (rooted in Hinduism) as a permanent marking on my body, which is God's temple, when there's a lot more philosophy behind the decision and representation. I truly appreciate your thoughtful and very-very God-conscious response!

(How ya' doing on figuring out what "saved" or "redeemed" is in Hebrew for my next tattoo (though I still think Aramaic would be truer of Jesus? Help your sister in Christ out, I'm ready to call a rabbi! My Jewish friends haven't been of much help, especially considering they don't believe they've been saved yet.)

At least the Vatican proper hasn't deemed all yoga practitioners full of Satan (yet), which isn't true and is ignorant to say. it was just one priest who works @ the Vatican, and hasn't been added to their catechism (yet). Again, I really appreciate the time you took to answer my question and you are indeed chock full of knowledge! :)

Pastor Dave: Lord knows I try, Annie. In regards to the Hebrew/Aramiac word for "Saved" or "redeemed" It will take some fairly intense research in either language because so many words in those languages can mean fairly similar or (by the stroke of one letter) something very different! I think that Biblical Hebrew would be easier to get a translation for since it is more common than the Aramaic. The last thing I'd want is for you to get an incorrect translation and you are walking around showing people that your tattoo says you are redeemed, when it might accidently read that you are Kosher or something... all because a letter was mistranslated.

Me: Please don't go to any extra trouble for me, seriously. I wouldn't want a tattoo that says "kosher" though I *do* have a comprehensive book on how to KEEP kosher. My other possibility was another Sanskrit symbol, the one for "mindfulness," which is the principle I'm learning in cognitive behavioral therapy.

Renee (friends with Pastor): I heard it said once that a Christian practicing yoga is like a non Christian kneeling at the communion rail saying I don't believe in this sacrament but I'm going to practice it. But I've got to tell ya, as a person with a bad back, some of those stretches really help.

Me: I just want to tone my abs! And relax! And gain some physical balance to counteract my emotional, chemical imbalance (I'm bipolar). I'm not converting to Hinduism or any other -ism. I'm not worshiping at the altar of Satan to be able to double-dog.

I was nice and polite with Pastor Dave. He gave an educated, Christian minister's viewpoint on the whole subject, and quoted extensively via Scripture, as the Lutherans are BIG on the BIBLE. I have been taught the ins and outs of the Bible since I was a little girl. Note that I neither agreed nor disagreed with him, and didn't want to offend him in any way, because I love the guy and think he's a great Pastor. Meanwhile, during the evening, I got this private message from Sarah, the ultra-conservative who unfriended me:

" I am choosing to unfriend you. I am doing so in a different manner from last time. This time, I am explaining myself. You and I obviously differ on multiple aspects of our faith. I was trying to remind you of what the church you have chosen to join teaches. That does not make me bigoted or homophobic. I do not deserve to be called these names. I find them hurtful and untrue which, if you'd taken the time to actually hear what I've said, you'd realize. What I don't understand is, if you feel this way about me, why did you accept my second friend request? "

I begrudgingly accepted her 2nd friend request. I figured I'd give the poorly spoken soul another chance. Actually, she didn't explain herself much at all. Not in an educated, logical way. I called her homophobic (because she said that homosexuality was a "disease of choice" and pro-life, because she argued with me about a pro-life, commercial movie advertisement inside the church...not bigoted, but I guess wrote fact is immaterial. My response?

"Because I thought you could possibly be open to ideas and theories and belief systems NOT dictated by strictly what the LCMS regulates and had the intellectual capacity to debate and discuss them rationally, which I fear you cannot. Instead, whenever we spar, you throw the LCMS web site at me. I didn't call you bigoted. Bigots, by definition, dislike people of other races or ethnic groups.

And please, your comments were overtly homophobic and closed-minded. You likened the homosexual/bi/transgendered community to lepers, essentially, as you did alcoholics. Did you read the chapter I pointed you towards in the AA Big Book on why WE were CHOSEN, alcoholism wasn't a poor choice on our parts? Being different from the straight-laced proper Judeo-European-Christian doesn't make you less of a person, Sarah.

Pastor and I have spoken at length about my offbeat and seemingly repugnant views on our own religion, and religions other than ours. He accepts me for who I am and the credos in which I put credence, even when they conflict with the official stance of the LCMS. I would urge you to remain my Facebook friend so that you could have the opportunity to see what other liberals have to say about world religions, as I am friends with everyone from Unitarians to Episcopalians to Catholics to Hindus to Buddhists to atheists.

OPEN YOUR MIND A LITTLE. I'm happy to loan you a copy of the Bhagavad Gita or the Upanishads or the Qur'an, or perhaps most effectively, the book "How To Know God" by Swami Prabhavanananda and Christopher Isherwood.

I practice Lutheranism, but it would be awfully presumptuous to think the LCMS is right any EVERYONE ELSE on the FACE OF THE EARTH is wrong. I studied other world religions extensively as an undergraduate, and know my shit. Even my Stephen Minister at St. Paul agreed with me that, in her words, her opinion, we'd be narcissists if we thought our way was the only way.

Stay open minded and you might learn something, or be enlightened. God is God is God and we ALL love God.

Sorry if I offended you. But I would urge you to re-think the knee-jerk unfriending.


...Which I thought was well-put, perhaps overly defensive, when in actuality, I could give a shit what people think about me, but anyway...Her response?

" I believe in the Bible and what the Bible says. Other belief systems (Buddhism, Muslim, etc) do not follow Jesus. Therefore, they are not correct. These people are to be prayed for and loved, but I don't have to accept their religious choices to do so.

Romans 3: 22 - 24 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

I never said you were less of a person. And, I never likened homosexuality or alcoholism to leperism.

(ANNIE'S NOTE: "LEPERISM." Not "LEPROSY." I was merely making a gross diagnostic analogy of an actual disease (leprosy) to another actual disease (alcoholism) and trying to convince her again that homosexuality was not, in fact, a disease. Furthermore, if "all are justified freely by His grace," does that include those who have never *heard* of Jesus Christ? OK, PROCEED.)

Comparing alcoholism and homosexuality, you choose to drink every time you picked up a drink. That is supported by the fact that you are now a recovering alcoholic and choose to no longer drink, with the grace of God and a strong support system. That was the comparison I was making.

As for other Christian denominations, those differences come down to doctrine. I'm very much a believer that I will see Catholics and Presbyterians and Baptists and Episcolatians and any other person that accepts Jesus Christ as their Savior in heaven.

(ANNIE'S NOTE: "EPISCOLATIANS?" Perhaps Episcopalians who are also Galatians? I accept Jesus Christ as my Savior. Why, then, is her mother-in-law over on Facebook right now condemning me to Hell? OK, PROCEED.)

You may attend a Lutheran church, but I would argue that you do not practice Lutheranism, not if you disagree with so many doctrines. There are Bible verses to back up every doctrinal page I sent, which was more my point of sending than anything else.

(Annie's Note: Surely there's a Proverb about blessing and having pity on the simple-minded.)

There's also a difference between accepting you and accepting your views on something. Maybe you should flat-out ask Pastor Dave if he thinks you're correct.

My unfriending this time was not a knee-jerk reaction. I don't do well with confrontation and I've done more with you this past week and a half than I have in over a year. My insides are flip-flopping all over. My arms shake. I unfriended you for my peace of mind. My life is stressful enough right now."

My response?

"It's obvious you don't do well with confrontation, whereas I initiate debate and discussions for the purpose of fostering intellectualism.

I know, in my heart, that I am saved. I don't need saving. I don't need Biblical quotes that point me towards salvation.

Pastor Dave knows that I accept Christ as my personal Savior, though we had a long talk while I was in the hospital about how and why I dabble in other religious philosophies. I'm a seeker. I'm enlightened. I'm intellectually curious. And I have an anti-authoritarian bent. Pastor does not accept my views as necessarily correct, though he might disagree with me on some principles, but we don't fight over it. We discuss it openly like adults. We even joke about certain aspects of our differences. He still blesses me and I partake of the Sacrament because I am a saved soul through Christianity, which is the religion I practice. That doesn't mean I disregard the verities of other world religions.

For you to accuse me of not practicing Lutheranism is unfair considering you don't know anything about my history with the Lutheran church and/or St. Paul school, and that I've played in the Praise band for 6 years to honor the Lord. I don't just play to keep my drum chops fresh. I put a lot of time and effort into helping to lead worship on Saturday nights. I was baptized, confirmed and married in that church. It is like my 2nd home.

No, obviously you didn't read the chapter on why alcoholics were chosen by God to follow the paths we forged and why it's not our "fault" we became that way. You didn't read it because it wasn't The Bible. At a certain point in an alcoholic's life, the disease, which we call "cunning, baffling and powerful," becomes out of the alcoholic's control. I stopped drinking 4 years ago when my doctor told me if I continued to drink, I would be dead in a matter of months. I chose life over death, I suppose, because I had a son to raise. I relapsed 2 months ago by using NyQuil, which contains alcohol in it, when I had pneumonia, hence I am starting all over again. I was also addicted to narcotics 14 years ago, and quit cold turkey in '99.

To say that addiction was my choice, that is just other-worldly ridiculous. I inherited a gene from my father, who died from alcoholism, and that gene got activated in my brain. That's how I became an alcoholic, not by choice.

Leprosy, not "leperism," like alcoholism, is a disease, so my likening wasn't much of a stretch. Homosexuality is not a recognized disease by medical science, the Centers for Disease Control or the DSM-IV. That is your personal opinion, and I believe you're wrong in that regard.

We'll have to just agree to disagree and call it a draw. Nothing I say will appeal to your sense of reasoning, which doesn't extend past what the LCMS dictates in their doctrines.

I believe that all believers of any religion will find Paradise in their souls when they depart the material world. Souls who believe in God find peace in the afterlife. And until you can prove me otherwise, which you can't, I stand behind my principles, based on logic, reasoning, intellectualism and a thorough knowledge of a wide variety of sacred scriptures from ours and other religions."

Oooh, someone's feathers are ruffled. Her arms shook! Chalk it up to my anti-authoritarianism. Well, she didn't re-think the unfriending, and cowered in fear. She's the one I mentioned in a blog during Holy Week, who is happy her kindergartener is being taught that homosexuality is a sin and that homosexuality and alcoholism are "diseases of choice." Poor choices, more poignantly. On Easter Sunday, she came up to me in the gym during breakfast and apologized to me in person for unfriending me and her attack of alcoholics and gays, and re-sent a request to be my friend again, which I accepted because I thought she was capable of following an intellectual conversation, which she obviously is not, choosing only to quote (our church's official web site, which has an FAQ about our church's stances on everything or the Bible). Please, she doesn't even know the definition of the word "bigot," which is NOT something I called her.

It's a downright shame that there is such religious intolerance between denominations within the Christian church as well as intolerance of other world religions by any religion that fervently deems it's path as THE ONLY WAY to salvation. I praise my enlightened friends and pray for my closed-minded friends.

I stand by my thought last August and will continue to do so....God is God is God is God and until you can prove me otherwise, which is never, I'm going to believe what I believe. I'm telling you, our souls were out there before we were born on Earth and will continue to be after we're departed from the material world, in whichever incarnation of Heaven suits us as individuals. Our souls will be at peace.

na tv evāhaḿ jātu nāsaḿ
na tvaḿ neme janādhipāḥ

There has never been a time when you and I have not existed, nor will there be a time when we will cease to exist. As the same person inhabits the body through childhood, youth, and old age, so too at the time of death he attains another body. The wise are not deluded by these changes. Bhagavad Gita

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