religion


Random quote of the day:

“This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”

—Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama, Kindness and Compassion

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Orville and Wilbur, Katy Perry, or the Avengers. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

1. Let me thread you a story…(1-18)
2. We had us a preacher once named Mike Spike Huckleberry who liked to preach fire and brimstone and “superior” values.
3. He set up church in his house and called it the God’s True Will Church of Everlasting Superiority.
4. Trouble was, this ain’t a fire and brimstone kind of town. At least not in the sense of damning everyone to Hell.
5. But Mike Spike, well, he was one self-righteous sumbich. Not a speck of love in his Gospel, only judgement and damnation.
6. Some folks in this town ate it up with a big spoon cuz some folks love an excuse to feel superior to others.
7. And if they can fool themselves into thinking God is backing their claims to be chosen amongst men, that makes the poison more delicious.
8. For a time it seemed Mike Spike was going to take over the town. Most people didn’t hold with his message, but he shouted real loud.
9. Sometimes those who shout loudest and insist they’re being persecuted if you disagree with them can hold sway.
10. Cuz good-hearted folk just can’t believe that someone will preach about God and still hold evil intention in their heart.
11. It took a deal of cowering and doubt and good folks second-guessing their motives, but the tide finally turned on Mike Spike.
12. Billy Budd Gibbons, he of the All Souls Love Congregation, asked God to show us a sign if we should follow Mike Spike’s ways.
13. People lost count of the lightning strikes after 48 turned Mike Spike’s house into a deep, dark pit of char.
14. Mike’s daughter, Hectorine Huckleberry-Skanklebrass, spokesperson for Mike Spike, missed the deitific barbecue.
15. She was at her own home next door with her husband, Winnie, doing some cowering of her own in the basement.
16. She and Winnie did some considering while they cowered, afraid the Lord might have a postscript for them after finishing with Mike Spike.
17. They left town in an awful hurry. No one much was sorry to see ‘em go.
18. Sometimes it’s hard to reconcile God’s ways to man. Other times it’s as clear as a flash of lightning.

This story can also be found on Twitter @downportalville.

Random quote of the day:

“It is hardly to be believed how spiritual reflections when mixed with a little physics can hold people’s attention and give them a livelier idea of God than do the often ill-applied examples of his wrath.”

—Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, Aphorisms, Notebook A, 11

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Random quote of the day:

“I am a man of religion, but religion alone cannot answer all our problems.”

—Dalai Lama, Twitterfeed, 6/25/17

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Random quote of the day:

“I find it truly stunning how many people can shrug off stuff like this, preferring instead a tiny, cramped cosmos just 6,000 years old, scheduled to end any-time-now in a scripted stage show of unfathomable violence and cruelty. An ancient and immense and ongoing cosmos is so vastly more dramatic and worthy of a majestic Creator. Our brains, capable of exploring His universe, picking up His tools and doing His work, seem destined for much greater tasks than cowering in small groups of the elect, praying that some of our neighbors will go to perdition…

—David Brin, commenting on the discovery of Homo floresiensis at McMedia.com, 27 October 2004

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Random quote of the day:

“I conceive of God, in fact, as a means of liberation and not a means to control others.”

—James Baldwin, “In Search of a Majority,” address delivered at Kalamazoo College, February 1960

liberation4WP@@@ 

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

Random quote of the day:

“The writings of Copernicus and Galileo remained on the Index until 1822. Three centuries of obstinacy; it really is touching.”

—Albert Camus, The Notebooks, 1942-1951 (tr. Justin O’Brien)

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

This post, in a slightly different form, was originally a contribution made to Dr. Beachcombing’s Bizarre History blog, January 22, 2012: “What Religion did Fairies Follow?”

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While reading Legends of the Fire Spirits: Jinn and Genies from Arabia to Zanzibar by Robert Lebling I couldn’t help comparing and contrasting the way Islam views their versions of fairies and the way fairies are often regarded in such books as Eddie Lenihan’s collection, Meeting the Other Crowd. The priests in those Irish stories tell of fairies being a rather sad lot, knowing they’ll never gain salvation (because they aren’t human). This makes them inimical to good Christians everywhere. Similar themes have been reported in the Icelandic tradition. I must say, if I knew that the accident of my birth (as a fairy) would mean I’d be condemned at the End of Time, I might feel rather peeved myself and tend to act out in unpleasant ways against “the lucky ones.”

In Islam the situation is somewhat different, as this passage from Legends of the Fire Spirits shows:

The earliest Muslim interpretations of jinn regard them as having free will, like humans, able to choose between good and evil. The Qur’an itself has a chapter devoted to these spirit beings: Sura 72, Al-Jinn. This sura begins by mentioning a group of jinn who listened to the recitation of the Qur’an and decided to accept Islam…

An ancient mosque in Mecca is dedicated to the jinn who accepted the Prophet’s message. Masjid al-Jinn (Mosque of the Jinn) is either the locale where the jinn actually listened to the Prophet recite the Qur’an, or the place where he received revelation of the sura called Al-Jinn….

Richard Burton visited this mosque and wrote of it in Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to El-Medinah and Meccah.

Legends of the Fire Spirits again:

These jinn made a commitment to monotheism, the core of Islam. Other Qur’anic passages indicate that jinn had heard of earlier revelations, such as that of Moses and the Trinitarian doctrine of Christianity.

For Muslims, the beings we call jinn—however they may be conceptualised—are an integral and ever-present part of the language and theology of their faith. The existence of these creatures is assumed and reiterated numerous places in the Qur’an. The book, at its very outset, calls Allah rabb al’-alamin, ‘lord of the worlds,’ understood from the earliest days of Islam to mean all possible worlds that could exist, including the worlds of humans, of jinn and of heaven. The Qur’an often mentions mankind and jinn together as the two types of creatures capable of receiving—and accepting or rejecting—the divine message.

I’m also rather partial to the notion held in Morocco, and mentioned in The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca by Tahir Shah, that it is the djinns themselves who decide whether a person is going to believe in them or not.

Also, both djinn and jinn are accepted spellings for these marvelous creatures. Being a contrarian, I of course prefer the more complicated spelling of djinn. I don’t suppose the djinns themselves care…or maybe they do. They are beings of remarkable discrimination, taste, talent, and free will.

Random quote of the day:

“The debate between faith and reason is a false one. Science and religion don’t occupy the same turf. Saying, “Now that we have science, there is no reason for religion” is like saying, “Now that we have the microwave oven, we have no use for Shakespeare.” We need both, of course. Only then can we lead fully rounded lives.”

—Eric Weiner, “A Quest To Seek The Sublime In The Spiritual,” National Public Radio, December 20, 2011

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Siegfried and Roy, Leonard Maltin, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Driving west on Manchester from Crenshaw, I noticed the neon sign for the Love Divine Chapel looked a little worse for wear: dirty, chipped, lacking in light. Neon signs always look a little depressed when they aren’t turned on, but I imagine that even when the giant L-O-V-E shone in the night it would still look dingy. The tiny meeting hall beside the sign needed paint and repair, the revival bus parked in the miniscule lot needed new tires. The homeless man holding up the hand-scrawled cardboard “Need Food” sign didn’t seem to notice the irony of standing beneath dingy love.

Further down Manchester, the planes coming into LAX paralleled the avenue, low and seeming-slow, though I knew they were speeding over the depressed neighborhoods below.

Customers lined up twenty deep at Randy’s Donuts. Even if you’re not from L.A. or have never been here, you’ve probably seen Randy’s Donuts in some montage or other: it’s the gigantic donut sitting on top of the tiny building right off the freeway. A sort of emblem of L.A. in it’s way. The space shuttle parked outside it for awhile, resting on its cross-town journey from LAX to the Museum of Science and Industry.

Randy’s is a kind of demarcation point between the poorer neighborhoods and the gradual swing to upscale as you head west. As the blocks whiz by the prices of rent and purchase gradually rise towards affluent Westchester. My parents bought in when Westchester was still a down at the heels lower middle class neighborhood, but it got “discovered” in the nineties and it’s fully gentrified now. Anything west of Sepulveda Boulevard is pretty pricy.

As I got closer to Sepulveda I saw a giant billboard advertising a place where they freeze fat for cosmetic reasons. I don’t even want to think about that too much. “Fear No Mirror” the billboard declared in far larger letters than the LOVE of the Divine Chapel. I realized we’d moved from the land of Fear No Evil to the land of Vanity of Vanities.

I fear no mirrors, comfortable in my aging skin, even as another birthday approaches. I do fear the fear of mirrors, however.  There is peace in accepting the passage of time, the transformation of the flesh, but we don’t live in an age—and I don’t live in a city—that accepts such peace. Rather the hard lessons of perpetually hard bodies, ever in denial, ever running too fast to stop and listen to the soft words of the soul.  What evils have been wrought in the name of vanity, and continue to be wrought. Yea, verily.

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