…doesn’t necessarily mean that you should.
Case in point:
I recently downloaded a free book (well, lots of free books, but that’s beside the point) from Amazon for my Kindle: Nightmare at Emerald High: A Christian Thriller. I tried to post a photo of the cover, but it wouldn’t work. Don’t worry, though. The cover is extremely generic and rather boring. And it’s not free anymore–or else I’m remembering wrong, heaven help me, and I actually paid $3.99 for that dreck!!
And since I was horribly ill this weekend, and since I had to sleep on the bathroom floor Sunday night (trust me–you want no further details), all I could do was read. Monday was better, in that I got to sleep in my bed, but still didn’t have energy to do anything but read. And sleep. My boss, when I called her, said she knew I must be really sick, since I was staying home while my husband’s in town. Boy, she was right about that!
Anyhoo, the book. We have a protagonist in the form of Malcolm Drake, a high school junior, brilliant and bullied and tormented. He made himself a little hidey-hole in the school basement, put a bunch of books there, got a discarded computer working again. And one day he’s in his little hidey-hole when he hears people coming into the room right next to where he is, the room he has to pass through to get out. And he is shocked to recognize some of his teachers in the group, and the school principal, who is insisting that he refuses to add their cultish curriculum to the school. And then the heavies hold a gun to his head and threaten his family, so he gives in. They all leave, and Malcolm makes his escape, only to be caught by the principal who knows he overheard, and the principal tells him to Forget Everything!
Malcolm doesn’t go to church anymore because his mother was cheating on his father with a church elder when he was a kid, and she ran away with the guy, taking all the family money and Malcolm’s college fund. Bad mother! And his father couldn’t bear it anymore. Besides, his father is a Good Guy, who is working two jobs just so he can try to replace Malcolm’s college fund, because that makes him a better father than actually, oh, I don’t know, spending time with his son. Don’t get me wrong–I respect that he was trying to provide for his son. If it took 2 jobs for him to pay the mortgage and put food on the table, fine. But the impression the writer left me with was that the 2nd job was necessary solely so he could replace the college fund.
Then at the end of the year there is a Big Announcement. A group wants to give scholarships to 4 gifted students in scientific fields, and everyone who wants to be considered for the scholarship must take a Test. Then if they pass, they will be part of a summer group, preparing them for the next school year. Of course Malcolm passes, and he is part of the summer group. Yay!
But Malcolm is a little worried about things too, so he stops in at the church every now and again to just sit there, be alone with himself, because he’s not alone enough at home, and the Pastor is also a Good Guy and a Concerned Christian. He has nightmares about Malcolm being caught in a web that he cannot escape, so he determines he will help Malcolm.
Malcolm likes the summer classes, even though it seems they have less to do with science and more to do with spirituality and religion, non-Christian religion, of course. Then he gets a check from them for $25K for a project he designed that they are going to implement. He doesn’t tell his father right away, because he and his father only see each other once a week, on Sundays. His father finds him asleep with the check in his hand, but he doesn’t say anything because he doesn’t want to disturb his son even though they see each other only once a week, on Sundays.
Malcolm’s father goes to church on Sunday, and the Pastor is delighted to see him. And after church they talk about Malcolm and the program he’s in.
Okay–the writing is tedious and dragged out and boring, but I think I could have continued, at least to see what happened–well, I already know what happened, because it has to end with Good Christianity triumphing over Evil New Agers Witches Whatevers–or at least how it happened. But the damned stupidity and ignorance of it just made my stomach churn (see paragraph above, where I tell you how sick I was) and I couldn’t afford to have my stomach churned any more than it already was. And the point at which I figuratively threw the book across the room (I couldn’t really do that, since it was on my kindle, but I archived it post haste) was when the author ignorantly and incorrectly described New Agers, Witches, etc. as being involved in Satanic worship and rituals.
Why the holy hell are people so determined to believe all kinds of just ridiculous nonsense about people who have other belief systems?
I’m interested in Wicca and neo-Paganism. Do I buy everything that’s touted by other Wiccans and neo-Pagans? Not by a long shot. Do I get any benefit from listening to New Age music? Hell yes! That stuff calms me down and I find it incredibly peaceful. I find comfort in the teachings of the Dalai Lama, but I’m not Buddhist. Good is where you find it, people. And if you’re finding nothing but evil, then I suggest you look inward and find out what’s screwed up inside that you can’t see the incredible beauty found everywhere in this awesome world.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t see things in the world that are awful–hunger, thirst, disease, hatred, violence, war. But you can be a light in the darkness. And I don’t mean the kind of light where you say, “Hey, everybody! Look at me!” I mean the kind of light that quietly goes around doing good where you can, thus lighting other candles who will quietly go around and do good where they can. There are a multitude of charities that you can donate time and/or money to. This year I decided that I will pick a different charity each month and donate my paltry little amount (that will be doubled by my workplace), and spread it around as much as I can.
So instead of picking on people with different beliefs, and demonizing them, teaching your children to fear everyone who doesn’t follow your own religion or path to God, why not teach them to comfort those who stand in need of comfort? To feed the hungry, to clothe the naked? Isn’t that what Jesus taught?
And I hope to be right there with you, taking care of my fellow denizens on this planet. If you see me, say hey, and I’ll say hey back, and maybe we’ll find enough in common that we can be if not friends, good acquaintances, instead of feared and hated enemies.
Sorry this went on so long. It’s been too long, and I guess I had a lot to say today.