Vampires, Tom Cruise, Writers’ Group, Religion and Atheism.

What do they have in common ??

Me !!!

Yesterday was a miserable day weather wise here in New Zealand. An inside day. I did some photo-editing.

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I did some writing, some cooking, and watched a movie – Twilight. No laughing behind your hands please. I like the first movie.

Who wouldn't like a guy who can hang from a tree this easily ???

It is just a nice little film about teenage love and vampires…WOW…what a sentence to actually write.

But watching it I ended up thinking about conflict.

I’ve been thinking about conflict a lot lately. Conflict and expectations.

You see at 53 I have some expectations of how people should treat me. I like to think I have earned the right to be treated as an adult.

Yet it doesn’t always happen and sometime the results are – well – I am still trying to get my head around it.

I belong to a writers’ group. Have for a few years now. And it fills a need. I love the discipline of writing for the group. Each month new topics and forms are set, and each month every member critiques what you have written.

I thrive in this type of interactive environment.

On Monday it all went South…and when you’re living in New Zealand…well…you get my meaning.

If I really was a VAMPIRE life would be a lot easier.

Easier and well...hmmmmmmm

Bloodier but easier.

But I digress.

It has taken me 53 years to admit something to myself. I have tried. Really, really tried…to believe in God. I have been to church, to retreats.

At age nine I actually wanted to be a Nun. Sally Field was my model…

Which in itself is odd as when I went to live with my mother at age eight she sent me to a Catholic school where the Nuns were…well un-Nunlike.

I think they cloned this one at my school...

After years being raised in an Anglican environment I fell in love with the pageantry of the Catholic faith. I changed my mind when I realised that to be a Nun I would need to marry a guy who had been dead rather a long time.

Children can be fickle…

I’ve read the Bible…actually I have three of them at last count.

But then I have also read the Koran.

In my life I have also looked at

  • Hinduism I liked their dharma (a system of values to live by)
  • Bahá’í faith (I had a friend who walked me through this faith, and I like their acceptance of other religions)
  • Rastafari…but I am the wrong skin tone, and I did enough inhalation for enlightenment during my youth.
  • Spiritualism (Houdini thought it was possible…and who hasn’t messed about with a Ouji board !!!)
  • Other Christian religions such as The Seventh Day Adventist Church (my sister-in-law is a member) and so on.
  • Paganism – which is worthy of its own post…believe me !!!
  • Scientology – how are these people not locked up and in straight jackets. I couldn’t help myself with this…he may be nuts but Tom Cruise is yummy. Think Top Gun…think motorbike, leather jacket wearing Tom Cruise and tell me he isn’t yummy. Go on then…

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In case you're NOT convinced.

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  • Buddhism. I have read some of Buddha’s teachings. I like Buddha…well I like his philosophy. Treating ALL life with respect. And if I am honest, I REALLY like the idea of coming back until you get it right. I figure I might have to give it a few goes before I am considered enlightened. Buddhism is more a way of life though, than a religion, and I find a myself with a deep connection to the main principles Buddhists live by:

(1) to lead a moral life,
(2) to be mindful and aware of thoughts and actions, and
(3) to develop wisdom and understanding.

Sourced from BuddhaNet Basic Buddhism Guide

And the Dalai Lama is just about the coolest guy on the planet.

I haven’t finished my investigations…I never will. I just don’t have enough time.

But I do not believe in a supreme God.

I haven’t done so for many years.

Recently I admitted that to myself. I also admitted wanting to believe (I did…really I did), was never going to overrule what my logical brain can accept.

I also made the decision to come out of the closet. To stop apologising for how I think and feel about religion.

Let me be clear.

I have many friends with deep religious beliefs. While we have at times engaged in theological discussions these are never attempts to convert the other. At least on my part.

And again I digress…but you expect that here…right ???

This is...well I felt like it...

Writers Group. Oh yes…

I was told we were to have a lady come along who was thinking of joining our circle. Her husband had been (he’s dead and gone…somewhere…well you know what I think on that subject) a minister.

One lady of the group (and I am now using the term lady ironically) decided that I needed THE TALK.

THE TALK being consistent with telling your three-year-old not to spit food at the table or the dinner guests may never return.

The actual words used were: ‘Watch what you say as we don’t want you to scare her off.’

COME ON !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It gets better. Arriving at the meeting I was waylaid at the door…gently directed backwards as the door was closed and given THE TALK again by this month’s holder of the meeting, after she had been drawn in to protecting the minister’s widow from my potential un-christian-like behaviour.

Well…can you guess where this is all going ???

You’d be wrong.

Because what happened next…well I was part of it and I’m CONFUSED.

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34 thoughts on “Vampires, Tom Cruise, Writers’ Group, Religion and Atheism.”

  1. I’m with you on this one. I’ve wanted to believe in a supreme being for a long time, but I just can’t do it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I hope your writer’s group pulls itself together. I wanted to join one but it isn’t happening for me.

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  2. Oh Jo…so sorry…but then…Goooood Riddance!! Maybe you need to start another writer’s group with people who care about others not just because a religion tells them to but because they have opened their hearts enough to know what feels good and right in a deeper place within. I am soO happy you ditched them. I am sure I would have been right out that door with you, my friend!

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    1. Thanks Brynne.
      Most of the women in the group are amazing and I feel privileged to call them friend. But I am on the look out now for others of a similar ilk to form some sort of group. i will however keep in touch with the others on a personal level. Nice to know you would have been walking with me though !

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  3. Yes, sort of like a recovering alcoholic. After 16 years of education by the good nuns and other assorted duties of the religion, I began to feel it is all a charade. I figure I can practice Christianity on a daily basis without going to a building every Sunday to pray in a group.

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  4. Hey Jo,
    I normally don’t share my thoughts on this topic on my photo blog, however since you mentioned it, i will take the opportunity to jump in if that’s ok. Good on you for being honest in your thoughts, and for sharing your journey.
     
    While I don’t fully understand what you meant by ‘i went along with it and i’m confused’, i think you meant that you didn’t vocalize your thoughts about your beliefs. am i understanding that correctly? and that you can’t understand why you played that charade? anyhow, am sorry about how it turned out – as i understand you are not attending the group at the moment.
     
    in any case, if you played along, for what it’s worth i think you were being kind to the widow, which was very compassionate of you. although at the same time it seems an unreasonable expectation and i hope in the long run it is possible for all of you to be open and honest and that you will be able to participate in the writer’s group once again.
     
    in terms of believing in God as a personal, spiritual and historical being, i actually talk about that on my awards page. if you want to take a boo at it, do feel free to check it out and let me know what you think. for what it’s worth, i don’t think he is at all for other people trying to ram his existence down anyone’s throat, nor is it his expectation that people will believe in him just because someone says you should. i think that any of these tactics is a sad and misrepresentation of who he is and what he thinks of people.
     
    at the same time i think he really likes you. you may have encountered disappointments with people in your life – and where was he then? maybe people who apparently came in his name and were anything but angelic. so where was he? actually, disappointed together with you, grieving for you. the thing is that he never forces anyone to do the right thing by anyone, even if they say they are representing him. it’s all about choices – and some people unfortunately make choices that are hurtful and disprespectful.
     
    anyhow, just thought i’d add my thoughts – and i am sorry about how this chapter ended with the writers’ group. hopefully the next one is better. and aside from that, hope that you continue to enjoy the journey. i hope that you won’t let the unfair, unkind and disrespectful words and actions of others who say they believe in God dissuade you from continuing your search to discover if he is real or not. here’s rooting at you from my corner!
     
    cheers and greetings to you, Jo. my next comment on one of your posts will be much shorter. 🙂

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    1. You can leave as long a comment as you want.
      🙂
      I thank you for your thoughts…and taking the time to share them with me. I don’t normally talk about exactly what I do or don’t believe but I felt in this case it was important to provide some background to understand why I feel the way I do.
      As for the ‘I was part of it and I am confused’…well I am trying to write down at the moment…what occurred two days after, as the LADY in question pushed the matter much further than it needed to go.
      It is slightly unbelievable so I want to make sure I get my facts straight.
      I wasn’t keeping quiet for the others…though I did feel that it was unfair to place the prosective member in an awkward position by getting in to it during the meeting – I honestly think she had no idea what was going on…or that she would have condoned it. But I was also thinking of me. I was quite hurt and heading
      toward anger. In such circumstances I find I am better to step away from a situation until I have time to reflect on why I feel as I do…and to make sure I don’t say something I will regret. I tend to have a bit of a temper. Fancy that.

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      1. thanks for the ok on the long comments. i’ll try not to take advantage of it 🙂
         
        one thing you are, Jo, is honest, and that will always go far even if in the interim it is painful. i actually like what you said about God knowing your real heart, seeing through any pretense, and hearing you out. very insightful. you seem to have a good grasp on what the character and heart of God should be like, if he exists, as you put it. i happen to believe he does, and actually that is how i see him and have come to know him, too. what i think is amazing that he enabled us to see what he is like and how he reacts towards people that are ostracized by others, deemed unworthy and not granted a voice. he did that when he took on the ultimate incarnation of becoming human and walking the human journey, intentionally putting aside all his God-ness. the religious leaders of his day didn’t like him and tried to shut him down. he was on the side of the honest, the ones who were searching, the misunderstood, the ones that didn’t quite fit in. he would have also been for those who thought they knew it all, but they didn’t want him.
         
        in any case i am sorry that you have been so hurt and misunderstood in all of this. am sending you a vote of confidence. do take care and hope you have a good week.

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  5. Sorry to hear about your struggle believing God, Jo. I may be Catholic but I am not the conventional one. I don’t do much of the doctrines but I know I believe in one supreme being.

    The fact that you are confused is because you might have not liked what you have just entered in. No worries, Jo, no religion can save anyone, it’s by the grace of God that one enters His kingdom.

    I have heard so much good about Buddhism and the Dalai Lama. Also noteworthy are the Seventh Day Adventist sect.

    I have nothing against religion and I don’t involve myself in religious war, it just doesn’t save me or win me over someone.

    Just continue to do more good deeds than the bad ones and I know, (in my Catholic faith), God will be very impressed.

    Stay blessed and have a great day! 🙂

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    1. I am happy to respect that others do believe. If they will grant me the same. Could I be wrong ?? Hmmmmmmmm…I’ll admit to a maybe. But I like to think if I am – then this God that everyone says knows the real heart of every person ever born will know mine. He will at least hear me out. but I refuse to be what I have been in the past. Someone who mouths the words while not believing them. If he does exist…I think he’d see right through that !
      Thank you for your kind words…they are what I have come to expect from many of my Christian friends…kind and accepting.
      🙂

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      1. You’re welcome Jo… Yeah, God knows the real heart of every person (that’s how I was brought up to believe and that’s how my religion has taught me)…

        You don’t need to force yourself to do what others want you to, rather do things that make you comfortable – and at your own free will.

        Trust that God knows your inner you and that is what is important.

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    1. It was a bit convoluted…but that’s how it felt when it happened…and you must know by know that I am one very ALL OVER THE PLACE female…hehehe
      🙂

      Stay tuned for part 2 !!!

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  6. I believe that people can believe whatever they like. I believe that people can not believe whatever they don’t want to believe. I’m happy, as long as what people believe/don’t believe in causes no one harm, and they don’t try to make me believe/don’t believe what they do. I’m an adult, I can make up my own mind, and though I may not agree with some or all of what people think or say, I respect their right to think and say, as long as they don’t tell me how to think or what to say.

    I learned early on that the church, any church, is not God. I find many people confuse the two and make them inseparable when in reality all churches and faiths were created by men, to show others how they think God should be worshiped. I don’t worship anybody, including God. I do love the guy though (my apologies if you’re a girl, God), and don’t need anyone to intercede on my behalf, or tell me how I should admire and be grateful for all the beauty I find in this world. Your mileage may vary. 🙂

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  7. You do love your Tom Cruise me thinks? And I had to
    look twice at that Donkey with the umbrella, I thought
    that it was stuck up it’s Ass 🙂 lol

    Well I only said 🙂 lol

    Have a great start to your Monday Jo

    Androgoth XXx

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    1. Oh yes I do love The Cruise…such an actor. Trust you to think I would have a pic of poor Eeyore with an umbrella UP his arse…as if his life isn’t doom and gloom enough…hehehehe
      😉

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  8. Great post Jo and great pics too, I’m with you on the Dalai Lama but don’t forget that that’s just a title (like ‘The Pope’ and not always a particular person, just the current one (please correct me if I’m wrong). I’m not religious but have my own beliefs and am always happy to learn about the beliefs and religions that others follow.

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  9. Ah, my sweet and quirky Kiwi friend. First of all, let me add my own *hugs* to the pile. 🙂 Okay, now that that’s out of the way, what a YUMMEH picture of Tom’s abs. MMmmmmm. I happen to think Scientology is a complete crock (ol’ L. Ron was more than half a bubble out of plum, if you know what I mean), but if that’s what Manhunk Tom wants to believe, then more power to him.

    As for the writer’s group, it is completely their loss; The ones who mind, don’t matter. And the ones who matter, won’t mind. Capiche? 😉 I know you stay true to yourself. That’s the important thing, here. It’s not always easy, but it’s always the right thing to do. No one else can live your life for you, no matter how good their intentions.

    Re: religion…well, as a pirate, I’m frankly surprised you didn’t mention Pastafarianism, but that’s perfectly okay. 😉 I have my own views on religion and spirituality, which I won’t go into here, but just wanted to say that as long as YOU are comfortable with your beliefs, that’s all that matters. Some of us are seekers our entire lives (all of them haha) and some find what they are looking for in specific doctrines. But in the end, it’s all between you and (insert name for God here), so it’s nobody else’s business but yours.

    P.S. Here’s another *hug* to keep for later 🙂

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    1. Thanks for all the {{{hugs}}} both for now and to store.
      I am pretty much over it now…but you know me…my life is out there for all to see.
      Not sure if that is always a good thing…but it is a Jo thing.
      😉

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    2. OMG !!!!!!!!
      I finally got time to check out that link in your comment…I peed my pants.
      Wow…Dean would love their HEAVEN.
      And you tell me I’m twisted…how the hell did you find that one…

      Like

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