Shacking up, Co-habitating … what’s that other name I’m looking for.. oh right LIVING IN SIN.
I can’t say I’ve read the thing cover to cover, or at all, but I’ve heard the Bible implies something about premarital living arrangements putting you on God’s naughty list.
Granted we’re not living in Biblical times anymore and tons of people live together without angry crowds throwing stones at them, but still I’m pretty sure it was certain things in my past that led me to take this unholiest of paths.
To begin with, my mom’s whole side of the family is Catholic including all my tens of cousins… and they all got to be named after saints.
Matthew, Lucy, Mary, Simon, Ruthie … fine, those are the kids from 7th Heaven, but same idea.
For some odd reason my mom decided I don’t get to have a saint name. My sister gets Christ for Heaven’s sake… well Christ-ie… but I can’t have a saint name. What’s worse is H-E-L-L is right there in the middle of mine.
I was condemned from the beginning.
We were all Baptized, had our First Communion and all but one made it through Confirmation. That would be me.
Don’t get me wrong, I tried, ooooh I tried. Let me take you back to when I was 12 and recap a little thing called Jesus Camp.
Every morning we were awoken at 6:00am by the program director’s chilling voice over the loud speaker.
“Good Morning Beautiful Children of God. It’s time to get up now!”
We would spend the entirety of each day sitting on the hard wood floor getting splinters in our butts if we dared scoot an inch and listening to people’s stories about how they got off the crack pipe when they found Jesus.
They’d cry and we’d all sing a song called “Our God is an Awesome God” with great hand motions that went back and forth from pointing to the sky then giving a thumbs up.
On the last night they blind folded us one by one, led us around and dipped our hands in weird things while asking us multiple choice questions.
We’d all pick the most virtuous answer because frankly we were scared shitless of what they’d do if we got it wrong.
If you see a blind old lady trying to cross the street you would…
A.) Help her.
B.) Push her into oncoming traffic.
C.) Pray she makes it and the lord will guide her.
At the end of the obstacle course they backed us up against something hard then held our arms stretched out like a T. They removed the blind folds so we could see we were against a giant cross in front of a mirror, while one of the leaders held a very thick 12 inch nail in the air as if they were about to drive it through the palm of our hand so we would know what Jesus did for us.
Some screamed, some wet their pants, but instead of crucifying us out there in the woods they gave us the nail take home as a souvenir and sent back to our bunks to sleep as if we hadn’t just been traumatized.
Most of us just stared at the ceiling all night, clinging to our nail incase they came back, or whispering to the person closest if they thought that was kinda fucked up too.
I got off the bus and told my mom I didn’t want to be Catholic anymore and she said, “Good timing. Your dad and I are getting a divorce.”
And that was my last religious experience.
My boyfriend and I had never really talked too much about religion. We didn’t exactly meet on ChristianMingles.com. We met at a bar in Hollywood called Saddle Ranch … next to a mechanical bull… that I had just ridden.
So when the idea of going to church was brought up by a friend, there was some hesitance. Mostly triggered by the flashbacks therapy couldn’t erase.
We finally chalked it up to a networking opportunity for him and a good excuse for me to wear a pretty dress then get brunch, so what the hell, let’s go to church!
We went to a place that person suggested, called Malibu Presbyterian, but mistook the time and showed up halfway through the earlier mass.
The stupid Malibu roads made me car sick so I was really looking forward to taking a seat in a nice air conditioning. Unfortunately we were late and everyone was already standing listening to a band.
At the end of the song I sank towards the bench, relieved, but then a new song picked up and the standing continued. This happened 8 more times.
Everyone was singing along so we just did that like… humming while moving your lips trying to guess the next word type of singing.
When we finally took our seats the ushers started passing around the donations baskets for everyone to drop money in.
Not wanting to look cheap, my boyfriend tore out a piece of the program, folded it in a rectangle and put it in one of the envelopes marked checks.
When I eventually get to the pearly gates, I assume this will be brought up. I’m already debating if I should plead the Shaggy and say it wasn’t me, or else I won’t bring up the boyfriend at all so I can flirt with the bouncer to let me in heaven just this one time (wink).
Then then Pastor went up to the podium, greeted everyone and told us all it was time to give the people around us “big bear hugs”. I’m not prone to hugging strangers but oddly enough I recognized the people next to us as Craig T. Nelson from Parenthood and his wife Doria Cook.
We bear hugged then made polite small talk.
Doria kept asked where we went to church before and it took me a while to fumble together a fake answer.
I barely had “Our Lady…” out of my mouth before she gave an “Ooooooh” followed by a long, backhanded compliment to me for getting away from Catholicism. Then squeezed my hand and turned away. I wondered if she went to Jesus camp too.
Then the pastor began his sermon, telling us a story we could all learn from. Something about, a tenant in one of his properties who wouldn’t leave.
The only part I remember is the end when he sued the man for $200,000, so the message there is … um… forgiveness? Love thy neighbor? Sue thy neighbor?
I don’t really know… I think we donated that page in the program.
Religion is weird.
(If no posts are to this follow this… I’ve very likely been struck down by lightening)