I can’t say I’ve read the thing cover to cover 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 … ok those are the kids from 7th Heaven but imagine something similar.
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.
She’d try to twist my name into sounding like I was named after one of the boy Saints but let’s just say it, 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, yet perky, 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 and 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.
At the end of the obstacle course they positioned our arms stretched out to the sides, took off the blind folds and revealed us standing against a giant cross in front of a mirror while they held a huge, thick 12 inch nail in the air as if they were about to drive it through the palm of our hand.
Some screamed, some wet their pants, but instead of crucifying us out there in the woods they gave us a pat on the back and the nail take home as a souvenir.
Then they sent us 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 in case they came back, or whispering to the person closest if they thought that was kinda fucked up too.
Before the program director would let us off the bus when we arrived back home, he reminded us that this experience was very personal so not to tell our moms and dads about anything we did.
Naturally we all bolted off the bus, told them everything, and he was fired… or put in jail, who knows. The program dissolved and no one got Confirmed.
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….. by the mechanical bull.
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, 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 late for 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 our lips trying to guess the next word. People kept smiling at us.. I think they thought we were deaf.
When we finally took our seats the ushers started passing around the donations baskets for everyone to drop money in (so far the only thing similar to a Catholic church).
Not wanting us to look cheap of course, my boyfriend ripped a rectangular shaped piece of paper out of the program, folded it into the “checks” envelope and put it in the basket.
….just in case we weren’t already going to hell.
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 and his wife Doria Cook.
We skipped the hugs but made polite small talk.
She kept asking 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 Catholicism, squeezed my hand and turned away. Thank you?
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? I really don’t know… I think we donated that page in the program.
Basically we left confused so I’m pretty worried about our eternal salvation at this point.
But currently the only beliefs I subscribe to are:
There’s no calories in a free sample
iPhone beats Blackberry
And IKEA is Hell on Earth
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