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The Tried to Make Me Go to Rehab and I Said Namascray, Bitches

My friend Lisa has been asking me to go to yoga with her for going on three years. I did Pilates before and I really rebuffed the woo of yoga. 


I had been so wrapped up in my atheist identity that I left no space for anything that might be misconstrued as metaphysical or a threat to my non-belief. 


But I got to rehab and it was 12 Steps and find a higher power and honestly, my higher power is me! There’s nothing bigger than my own will to do right by myself.


I met Christine. She was our yoga and DBT instructor. Learning to sit with my own thoughts, listen to my own breath, stop worrying about who is checking out my ass in down dog was a very difficult task.


Christine invited me to be completely non-judgemental. With myself and with others. To laugh at myself if I fell out of tree pose. To cry when she touch my forehead during savasana. To feel my feelings and stop attributing those feelings to anything outside of myself, including god or whatever, that I am human and imperfect and that’s okay.


When Amy left and I was so alone, it was yoga class that helped me cope.


I am learning to understand that inner intensity, meditation and emotional literacy within myself is not connected to anything metaphysical if I don’t want it to be.

(Look! I can bloom my tree!)


I’ve got a long way to go. But I believe that this practice is saving my life, well, I believe that my choice to practice and commit is saving my life and is so much more useful than 12 step navel gazing and guilt and shame and war story sharing.


I am grateful for my mat. 

Written by thelittlepecan

May 7, 2017 at 2:26 pm

It’s All About Me and My Big Evil Atheism

When I decided to start writing again, I was sort of hoping that it wouldn’t all be about me.  There are some really important issues out there that I hope I can shed a different perspective on, but in the end, my goal has more to do with education and understanding than ranting and negativity.

There are a thousand atheist related blogs, networks, discussion boards and informative websites in the world these days.  I keep thinking that there’s nothing much left for me to add about “the atheist mindset,” simply because there is no atheist mindset.

Unfortunately,  I am met over and over with the same questions or worse, accusations and assumptions and being the glutton for punishment I am, I feel compelled to respond.   Why?  Well, unlike many of my other non-believing counterparts, I really am not all that comfortable being overly confrontational.  My goal, and it may be incredibly idealistic, is to forge understanding, not further a greater divide.

So, while this is not going to turn into a daily dose of atheism, I do think there’s some redemptive value in attempting open discussion for the purpose of breaking up stereotypes and hopefully answering questions or dispelling misconceptions.  If none of that happens, well, then we’ll just move on to other things.

I’m going to start with a remark that really got to me yesterday.   The assumption was made that I do not understand faith.  I think the reason that actually bothers me is because its part of the career path I have chosen to put myself in the shoes of others and honor their humanity-even when I don’t agree with them, hell, even when I find their beliefs disgusting or harmful.

I grew up Southern Baptist.  Our entire social experience from the time I was born until I was about 14 years old was centered on the church.  I was active in GA’s,  children’s, youth and adult choir, Sunday School, Bible study…basically, if the doors were open, my family was there.  My sweet grandfather is a retired United Methodist minister.  He was a small congregation/circuit pastor for something like 30 years.  I was christened in the Methodist church and baptized at 11 in the Southern Baptist church.  I was outwardly expressive of my faith.  While I had many questions, those questions did not lead me anywhere outside of faith for a very long time.

So, that’s all (well, some) the “talk” part of the walk.  The walk part is a lot more personal and I certainly am under no obligation to explain myself to anyone, but I do wish to speak honestly and respectfully, so that I may receive the same in kind.  God was not a concept for me as I child.   God was a real entity in my life.  I described my relationship with god recently as the pal I chatted with at night.  I may have a completely different understanding of what was going on now, but at that time, I was communicating with my God.

Bible study was important, as well.  I was involved in a number of activities related to study, not the least of which was avid note-taking during service.  Something my mother began for my step-sister and I so that we would pay attention during the sermon, but it turned into a great tool-one that still serves me well today.

So, without getting much more personal, let me just say.  Yes, I do understand faith.  There was nothing hypocritical about how I felt when I was a Christian.  I was a believer.  To say that no True Christian™ could actively leave the faith because there was something lacking with them is erroneous at best and terribly insulting at worst.  I understand the need to justify by placing blame somewhere on the person whose faith just wasn’t strong enough, whose heart wasn’t broken for Christ, whose belief wasn’t child-like enough, but the fact is…that’s just an over-simplified justification.  It is scary to think that strong believers can leave faith, but, it happens.  Please don’t attempt to diminish my experiences because it makes you uncomfortable.

Written by thelittlepecan

November 23, 2010 at 11:24 am

Posted in atheism, Christian, religion

Let Sleeping Diseases Lie

I was very excited to learn of Pope Benedict’s remarks regarding condom use…until I realized it wasn’t anything new.  A few days ago, His Holiness made the personal statement suggesting that condom use to prevent disease may be morally acceptable.

In an excerpt from a book length interview set to be released tomorrow titled “Light of the World: The Pope, the Church and the Signs of the Times,”   Benedict makes several seemingly astonishing statements on a variety of topics, including one about the use of condoms by prostitutes.

“There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility,” the pontiff said.  (You can read a more in-depth analysis of the book [here].)

Unfortunately, that really doesn’t change much.  These remarks are those of the Pope as an individual and do not represent any departure from RCC dogma or doctrine.   Even as AIDS ravages the continent of Africa, antiquated ideas about birth-control, reproductive freedom and sexual safety prevail.

Some excellent points have arisen out of the debate over this particular proclamation by Benedict.   One specifically about the actualized influence the Church has in remote areas of the world.  If people are already have pre-marital or extra-marital sex against Church teachings, then what difference does it make what the Church says about condom use?

Well, the Pope’s prior comments on his first visit to Africa seemed to insinuate that condoms would not help the problem and that abstinence was the best way to prevent the spread of disease.  Which, honestly, is the truth.  If you have AIDS, you should definitely not be having unprotected sex with any partners.

I wonder how well that goes over when an unfaithful husband comes home to his wife?  I have to be curious about the repercussions she might face in an area devoid of basic education, much less far reaching thought on women’s rights or sexual responsibility, if she decides to deny him sexual activity while he is home?

On the other hand, there is great speculation regarding the World Health Organizations classification of AIDS in Africa, the reliability of HIV tests in Africa and whether or not the numbers regarding actual cases of documented AIDS infected people has been inflated.

So, maybe it doesn’t even matter.

But some other things do matter.

Any time you take a powerful leader and inject his or her views into the lives of thousands of folks, you may have an issue. (Read: Anytime a religious icon has influence on a huge number of people it can be bad.  Often bad.  Mostly bad.  Bad, bad, bad. Hold on, here comes some more badness.)  Maybe AIDS in Africa isn’t as bad as we think.  I still presume it’s probably pretty bad.  Or, maybe it’s not AIDS.  Maybe it’s just that disease overall in Africa is downright horrific.  In any event, I do think it’s irresponsible to blanket a large portion of the world with the idea that having responsible sex (in or outside of marriage) is bad.

Benedict’s admission is having effects in other impoverished parts of the world as well.  The Philippines are attempting to pass a house resolution that would provide couples with more modern forms of family planning.  Like condoms.  Its opposition is wary of the Pope’s assertions about condom use, because, well, we can’t have folks having reproductive freedom.  Or any freedom.  Their reason for opposition comes from a Catholic pro-life stance (which obviously has no place in government, but anyway.)

My basic point here is that when someone has that much power, maybe they should be overly concerned with the things coming out of their mouths, how those statements may be used and who they help vs. who they hurt.  In this instance,  at the very least the Pontiff should just let the Church’s stance lie instead of stirring up a storm every time the subject comes up.

Written by thelittlepecan

November 22, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Posted in atheism, Christian, religion

A Word on Tolerance. Well, Several, Actually.

I fancy myself a pretty open-minded individual.  I like civil rights, I’m a big fan of free speech and I personally think the United States Constitution was a great start for securing those things for a budding nation.  When I’m studying groups I don’t understand or want to know more about, I think I have a great capacity to tolerate whatever crazy ideals the members of that group may have and I try very hard to honor their humanity without compromising my own.

But, there’s one thing I can’t stand, I won’t stand and certainly in my personal life I absolutely will not tolerate.  Intolerance.

Liberals get bagged as very wishy-washy when it comes to things like this.  I hear that right-wing stand-by “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything” often as the go-to for pointing out that open-minded tolerance of all types of views and opinions basically makes us spineless.

I think I may agree.

See, we’ve gotten so used to touting ourselves as lovers of everyone that when people start spewing hate all over the world, including our schools, even from those in charge of education, we sort of throw our hands up in the name of free speech.  Or go the opposite way and start threatening people or their families, which is pretty abhorrent behavior.

Then there’s this guy, Andrew Shirvell who used to work in the Michigan Attorney General’s office but was fired for conduct unbecoming an officer of the court.  Conduct in the form of an anti-gay blog.

I’m not advocating that we start policing folks for taking advantage of their Constitutional right to be a jackahole (similar to whack-a-mole) at all.  What I am advocating is that we stop allowing people the space in our personal lives to be hateful.

I used to really try to let everyone have a say on my social networking pages.  Then someone posted something really anti-GLBT.  I was mortified.  I was worried that my gay and lesbian friends would see that and think that I was okay with someone posting things like that on my page.  So, I started deleting.  Then I started deleting “friends” who could only drum up happy talk for other types that only believed like they do.  I am not the United States and my personal life is not a democracy.

Bishop Spong (who is one of the few religious heroes I have) has done amazing work changing minds and lives inside the Episcopal Church.  He recently wrote a sort of manifesto (and again, I’ll thank my friends in Religious Roundtable for the heads up on this one) basically refusing to engage in the debate of intolerance anymore.

“Life moves on. As the poet James Russell Lowell once put it more than a century ago: “New occasions teach new duties, Time makes ancient good uncouth.” I am ready now to claim the victory. I will from now on assume it and live into it. I am unwilling to argue about it or to discuss it as if there are two equally valid, competing positions any longer. The day for that mentality has simply gone forever.”

You can read it in its entirety here on Walking With Integrity.

So, yeah, I’m gonna do that, too.  There aren’t always two sides to every story.  Sometimes there’s just right…and then there’s wrong.  I feel confident, even arrogant, that I’m on the side of right, on the side of human rights, so yanno, if you don’t agree, feel free to not engage with me about it, either.  I won’t tolerate intolerance.  So.  There.

Written by thelittlepecan

November 18, 2010 at 8:45 am

Blah, blah, Jesus, blah.

Yesterday, a “friend” posted some ridiculous drivel about not apologizing for being an American and some other mess about making kids say the Pledge of Allegiance.  Something about they “don’t make the kids say it no more.”

 

So, I mentioned that yes, indeed kids do say the Pledge at school and I know this because my boyfriend’s three boys all say it.  The response was that “well, we were forced to say it.”

 

Being a fan of actual facts and not fear-mongering, divisive, made-up bull-shit, I said that no, compulsory recitation has never been the case, though it has been tried in several areas of the United States since its addition to the school day.  You can actually thank the Jehovah’s Witnesses for saving you from being forced to pay allegiance to any flag or country without your permission.  I know this because I stopped saying the Pledge in the 5th grade in protest, ironically enough because I felt like we weren’t “One Nation under God” and until we were, I thought it was fallacy to recite it.  I was further supported by, I dunno, a little summer class I took on religion and politics.  But, hey, what the hell do I know?

 

I also mentioned that I don’t believe in god and non-belief really has not one damn thing to do with being an American (apologetic or not) and that the country was built on the backs of all of us (many of whom didn’t speak a lick of English, as it were.)

 

Which was met with some crap about feeling sorry for me because I don’t believe in god.

 

Really?

 

Good frakking grief.

 

First, be proud that I held my tongue, er, fingers far enough away from my keyboard so that little jolts of high voltage didn’t emerge on the responder’s end of the interwebz.

 

Second, I live in a part of the world that has a church on every corner.  I grew up immersed in the Southern Baptist tradition and I am the granddaughter of a United Methodist pastor.  Do you really think I don’t know all about your god, what he entails and whether or not I’m really missing out on something?

 

Give me a break.

 

The mere mention that I might believe something different, or nothing at all, offends you.  Stupid.  You piss and moan about how you’re so damn persecuted because you no longer have free reign to indoctrinate my child whenever and wherever you want, but when it comes to showing respect and compassion and tolerance to someone else…all that Jesus-itude goes right out the frakkin’ window.

 

I won’t even get into the fact that non-belief wasn’t a choice and if I had my druthers, it sure as shit would be a  helluva lot easier to believe than not.  When I was a Christina, I never heard someone say they didn’t think a Christian ought to be able to raise their own child…but I’ve had a Christian tell me someone ought to call DFCS and take my son away because it’s abusive to raise a child without god.  I didn’t say anything about the fact that I really don’t find your god to be all that good and I surely wouldn’t say I feel sorry for you for believing because believing in something so obviously without evidence is really kind of stupid.  Why?  Because my Mama raised me with some semblance  of manners and it’s RUDE to be condescending to someone you don’t know not to mention that it’s a little bit gaumless to engage someone who’s light-years ahead of you in knowledge of religion, belief and history.

 

Idiot.

 

So, I hit “remove from friends.”

 

Bah.  Bunch of BS if you ask me.

Written by thelittlepecan

November 6, 2010 at 12:57 am

Bringing Faith back to the Democratic Party

So, it’s election season again.  The pandering to every voting bloc by every candidate has me more than a bit squeamish and November 2 can go ahead and hurry up.  I’ve made most of my decisions and it’ll come to no surprise  that they’re mostly liberal candidates.
One candidate that I’m particularly supportive of has made the promise to “bring faith back to the Democratic party.”  I was so disappointed.  Not disappointed because I have a problem with people and their faith, but disappointed that once again, it all comes down to whom you pray and, more importantly,  that you pray, period.

I’m a good person.  I pay my taxes (though, often not on time), I volunteer, and I try to make poignant social commentary that hopefully opens eyes and hearts and fires up passions about injustice.  I try to be a good mommy, a good daughter, a good sister, a good girlfriend and a good student.  I make good grades; I help old ladies cross the street.

And I don’t believe in god.

I’ll pause for the shock to die down.

The party that’s supposed to be for equality, social justice and brotherly love…what could be more faithful than that?  In the United States the non-believing population is anywhere from 1-15% depending on which poll you like.  The chances of the Democratic Party not having faith in god as a whole is well zero, actually.
Which makes me ask:  Why do we need to bring faith back to something that’s already full of it?
While we’re on the topic, why does it even matter?  Is my vote not as important, my volunteer work or campaign canvassing not as useful? I don’t need my party to have faith; I need my party to work for the good of the citizenry it proposes to stand for no matter what any of them believe in.

I never thought the Left would make me feel like less of a citizen because of my religious ideals.  I guess I’m still too idealistic to realize that it’ll be a good long while before the godless are good enough.

Written by thelittlepecan

October 28, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Posted in Christian, election, faith