Pecan Pie

Social Anxiety from the South

The Church is a Whore and St. Augustine Wins my Heart

The Church is a whore, but she’s my mother.

(Sorry, mom, the explanation is following.)

I may actually have some serious mommy issues and no, it is not because of the double taped paint paddle with my name on one side.

I recently watched a fantastically heartbreaking documentary, Lord, Save Us From Your Followers (you can watch it for free on Hulu.com) and this quote ran into my brain with the force of a barreling 18-wheeler.  St. Augustine and I meet again.

The first time I really questioned my faith I confronted my youth pastor on why Metallica was off-limits.  Clearly “And Justice for All” is a political masterpiece (as is “Master of Puppets” and kiss my ass if you don’t agree.)  I liked plenty of Christian music.  I’m a singer.  It’s what I do.  “O Sacred Head” is a brilliant, devastating piece of evangelical hymn artistry.  It just is.  “The Lord’s Prayer” is one of my favorite all time songs to sing.  I sang it recently.  Badly.  But, if you want to hear, I’ll post the link. I couldn’t understand why something was wrong just on the basis of its genre.  It seemed then, and now, to be, well, stupid.  And a poor attempt at mind-control, quite honestly.

The next time I questioned it was quite a bit more…abrasive.  I stood in front of my 10th grade English class and, wait, no, I didn’t.  I’m fairly certain that my friend Art stood in front of my 10th grade English class and read my  attempt at a satirical paper titled “A World without Religion.”  I really just didn’t have the cajones to get up there myself to read and so, my friend read my paper for me while I remained a chickenshit anonymous.  I still have that paper somewhere in a box.  I was angry and I’m really not sure that I understood the point of satire, Orwell and I would develop a deeper love later on in my English reading career, but boy, I was fedthefuckup.

Yet, I still chose a Southern Baptist Convention college.  Was it because of the music program or the familiarity?  I’d say the program, but, in spite of the theology, I knew what I was getting myself into.  I knew what to expect and I knew that when I opened the hymnal in chapel I would know every sweet and terrifying song.  (This point about the music is really reiterated brilliantly quite a few times in Dating Jesus, by Susan Campell-a churches of Christ raised Seeker who won my heart in her description of the love-hate-incredulous relationship she built with the fundamentalism of her youth.  I get it, Susan.  I seriously do.)

And since the days of being a sweet, fresh-faced freshman to a 31 year old atheist mommy, I have flirted and flitted and rebelled and dipped my toes into the shallow end of the pool of my Jesus freaked out youth.

This brings me to the present.  I fancy myself a sociologist…or at least well on my way to becoming one and I’ll never be more fascinated with another social construct like I am with the institution of religion.

The Church is a whore.  Like the Personal Jesuses (Jesi?) in Imaginary Jesus, my experience with the Church is one that cannot make up her mind, serving a multitude of pimps-from politicians to pacifists, who leave her ragged, rode hard and generally put up very, very wet.

But, in some ways, I love her.  I have a passion for understanding the ways in which religion contours our world, our personalities, our lives…our, well, our everything.  I need to humanize the people who turn-out the Church and take her for all she’s worth…which would be, nearly everyone in some way or another.  I’ll jump on any opportunity to sing in a Baptist Choir.  Give me the first half of an AME service on Sunday…

The fact is, religion has shaped my life.  It shapes my career.  It makes me happy in a really twisted sort of train wreck instinctive rubber necking sort of way.  The Church is something I abhor in so many ways, but she is my mother.  I don’t know that I’ll ever fully leave her behind, no matter how much I think the premise of her belief is a crock.  She is, in essence, the reason I finished my degree and the reason I pursue my next one.  She’s the subject of my scholarly papers, my upcoming thesis, my “just for fun” conversations because I’m that much of a glutton for punishment.  Take a look at my Kindle, my bookshelves, my movies.  It’s not all Dawkins and Hitchens.  It’s anything and everything I can get my hands on that deals with faith and its effects on the world I inhabit.

I may be the atheist who loves religion the most.  Est.  The mostest.

Don’t talk shit about my momma.  I can call my momma a bitch, I mean, she’s my mom.  You, on the other hand, can watch your damned mouth.  Don’t you have any manners?

Written by thelittlepecan

February 21, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Posted in atheism

17 Responses

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  1. The original quote is from Dorothy Day: “As to the Church, where else shall we go, except to the Bride of Christ, one flesh with Christ? Though she is a harlot at times, she is our Mother. We should read the book of Hosea, which is a picture of God’s steadfast love not only for the Jews, His chosen people, but for His Church, of which we are every one of us members or potential members. Since there is no time with God, we are all one, all one body, Chinese, Russians, Vietnamese, and He has commanded us to love another” (http://www.catholicworker.org/dorothyday/daytext.cfm?TextID=250).

    Forget Augustine (Tony Campolo cited this wrong in his Letter to a Young Evangelical), Luther, Luther King, etc. Dorothy Day was the original author. Q: isn’t there a famous whore called Babylon in Scripture? Could she be the true mother of Western Christians, seeing that both her & them have a long history of violence and bloodshed (genocide vs native Americans, Vietnamese, Afghanis, Iraqis, etc)?

    I don’t know why Evangelical Lefties and social activists waste so much time defending the Evangelical churches. Millions of dead indigenous peoples in the Americas and worldwide is evidence that Christians support genocide and oppression of others, especially non-Westerners. And this proof shows that Evangelicals cannot be the true Church, because “no murderer has eternal life in him,” according to 1 John 3:15. So just as Luther (although he himself promoted genocide against Jews who refuse the Gospel in his last book) rejected the Catholic Church, we must refuse the Protestant one, especially that of Evangelicals.

    Jeremiah 1:9-10 – build afresh and stop frittering away the time defending a Harlot who will only end up in the place where all promoters of genocide go.

    Cheers,

    Dimitri

    Dimitri Pravdin

    October 26, 2012 at 9:33 am

  2. Mark Shea is looking for the original quote- we can’t seem to find it in any of St. Augustine’s writings. Can you point us in the right direction?
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/markshea/2012/06/a-challenge-to-protestant-readers.html

    Ted Seeber

    June 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm

  3. LOVE this post. I couldn’t agree more.

    genypher

    March 11, 2011 at 6:22 pm

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by quellology, Alana (aka Pecan). Alana (aka Pecan) said: The Church is a Whore and St. Augustine Wins my Heart http://wp.me/p1bosf-bl […]

  5. When you discover what Jesus was talking about, religion becomes personal. Institutions can be destroyed and manipulated, but the seed of true is within you, and it will stay.

    Oh you think that Christianity prospered in the midst of persecution because everyone willing to put their lives on fire where idiots?

    This is a wrong idea. The gospel of Jesus Christ is powerful.

    “I’m reading the book linked above, Imaginary Jesus, it’s fiction, but the point of the book is that everyone chooses their own imaginary Jesus to walk with. ”

    Brain-washing. If you want to find the true, read everything, but seek for yourself and come up with your own conclusions. Observe what is around you and see whether it makes sense or not.

    GManon

    February 22, 2011 at 11:22 am

    • We’ve been over my personal experiences with religion, god and Jesus relationship-wise.

      Ironic you’re calling braininwashing…considering the guy that wrote the book is a Christian and that was sort of his point.

      Everytime I think we are going to have a meaningful conversation you show up with a crapton of preconceived notions and condescending statements. It’s really getting old.

      thelittlepecan

      February 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm

      • Sorry, about the misconception on the book you mentioned. I thought it was based on the affirmations of Jesus not being a historical figure.

        So, I downloaded the book and I am reading it now.

        “Everytime I think we are going to have a meaningful conversation you show up with a crapton of preconceived notions and condescending statements. It’s really getting old.”

        All I do is to talk about what works for me. I have the choice, and I had chosen Jesus. I really believe that he is the one. I grew up in a home where I was the only Pentecostal Christian. I went to a school where everyone was Catholic including the school, except me. And now, my husband turned Atheist. I don’t care about being different.

        Without remorse, I say. I know whom I believe. I pray, and I am heard.

        GManon

        February 24, 2011 at 9:49 am

  6. Actually no, I don’t have those manners at ALL. Of all the ones I lack, that’s one of the biggest — literally: I fully believe in the truth about people, family or not. Insisting others can’t call a spade a spade just cuz the spade is yer kin, not something I understand.

    Yeah, I know, more literal than you meant.

    Also, the first time I stepped foot on the Irksome, er, Erskine campus, I knew I was going to school there. I was ten years old. Had no concept of what that entailed and what it meant getting myself into, but come hell or high water that was my school. It’s the only place I applied. I had no other plan. And still, even by my senior year, I was not thinking of the reality of subjecting myself to this ARP fundie school. On the other hand, ironically, it is where I met Famous Atheist Quote Guy, who was also the very first of my ilk I ever found. Until then, I had no clue other non-believers reallyreally existed, my non-belief was just something else Very Wrong with me. I ended up being an out of the closet atheist because of going there. :o)

    I agree about the church is a whore assessment and your whole analogy. Until we get to the love part. I have no love for your whore. I think she needs taking out and stoning to death like is supposed to happen to whores. While we are at it, I have another whore to add to the stoning list, too. :ppp

    Marie

    February 22, 2011 at 12:06 am

    • Note to self: Stop using faces on here until you learn them properly.

      Marie

      February 22, 2011 at 12:18 am

      • I’m surprised it lets you use them at all. Last time I tried I got a big Ol’ fail.

        thelittlepecan

        February 22, 2011 at 12:21 am

        • I was trying to use my little guy with nose (not to ever, ever be confused with a clown, no matter what yahoo messenger or anything else says!) and I keep forgetting it goes with the 😮 part and leaves the ) just hanging there. Because I am so used to using it, it never fails to shock (and horrify) me when the wrong ones pop up.

          Especially that freaking damn clown on messenger.

          Marie

          February 22, 2011 at 1:04 am

    • Now that cracked me up.

      I love whores. So long as they own their skank.

      If there was no religion, what would I talk about, Marie? I bet you’d find me SO boring without it. So. Boring.

      thelittlepecan

      February 22, 2011 at 12:20 am

      • Maybe. The idea of loving any part of it just seems really bizarre and fully unfathomable to me.

        Perhaps if I were more musically inclined. Dunno.

        Marie

        February 22, 2011 at 1:07 am

    • Oh guys,
      You haven’t live enough!

      What makes a church a whore is not religion. It’s institutionalized religion. Faith is a good thing. Belief in something greater than your own existence, is what makes life wonderful.

      We are human beings when our ideas makes us to do things that contradict our instincts.

      Churches are not perfect, just because people are not perfect. The day that everyone thinks like Jesus did, we would be able to live with each other without turning our institutionalized groups into whores.

      Look over history, and think critically. Do not listen to any group whether they call themselves Christian or atheists. Think for yourself. When a church becomes a government. It acts like one. Any government that wants to remain in this world is has to do it, using force.

      This is why Jesus said, that his kingdom is not of this world.

      GManon

      February 22, 2011 at 8:10 am

      • Is there a such thing as uninstitutionalized religion? I don’t think there is. By it’s very nature, RELIGION is an institution. There’s no way around that.

        I’m reading the book linked above, Imaginary Jesus, it’s fiction, but the point of the book is that everyone chooses their own imaginary Jesus to walk with. So, saying everyone needs to just act/think like Jesus when Christians can’t even agree on the the type of Jesus they think is the correct one, is a bit unrealistic.

        However, I agree (I think) with your assessment that once things got away from the Jesus Grassroots Movement (thank you, St. Paul) it basically all went to shit.

        I’ve lived plenty, certainly not enough because I’d like to keep doing it and I don’t make or stay friends with people who don’t think critically. I dislike statements like these because they assume we’re all blinded idiots waiting for the light. Wrong.

        thelittlepecan

        February 22, 2011 at 9:25 am

  7. Today, you made me laugh. Your post is wildly sweet.

    GManon

    February 21, 2011 at 11:54 pm


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