Once again my sweet things, I’m sitting at my computer, having had a busy, freezing afternoon of taking care of things, such a cold, wet, gray day that I find myself looking forward to the sunshine.
But if there is one thing that cold, rainy evenings do is to bring out the sense of contemplation within me. Someone once said that four dry logs have all the elements of creating 3 to 4 hours of conversation, I may not be getting the quote correct, I’m going to have to look it up. For me I have candles and the warm flame they produce along with the sounds of rain and wind, they have me “talking.”
The wind and rain is splashing against my window next to me, creating rivulets of water down the glass, the lights of San Francisco like watery diamonds. Where I am now reminds me of the window in my bedroom where I could look out onto the street of my Father’s house, I’d set up my chair and table to do my homework when I couldn’t go to the library; on rainy days with what free time I had, I’d look out to watch anything and everything. I’ve never lost that habit, now I have a window the looks across the bay to S.F. and I can see everything passing by, but this time I know I can come and go anytime I want.
I’m going back down that dark path, with my candle to remove the shadows to tell you about my Father’s church that figured into my early life, but on reflection I can’t really call it a church, as least not in the proper sense of the word.
I had the dubious advantage of my Father and Grandfather being ‘officers’ of this church and somehow Father became the ‘church historian’ and even now keeps several file cabinets of the church documents in the garage away from cold and damp. When I was a teenager and having access to this information I was able to get an idea of how this abomination of religious belief got started.
I discovered that the person who created it was never ordained by any recognized ministry nor received any training by any legitimate school of theology, his father was a traveling itinerant Pentecostal preacher from back east, who preached to fundamentalist people in the backwoods areas. So the founder received his training from his father.
Then in the 1950’s when the Universal church started ‘ordaining’ people by mail (and still does only over the Internet), for free, but you need to buy the certificate for a small fee, the man put in for his paperwork and founded his ‘church’ and create his ministry to meet the needs of the small group of followers that thought the way he did. Warped and sick in their mind and filled with hate and rage at their own impotence at the changes in the world and in the beginning at ‘godless communism’. It was not a problem to recruit more followers in the early years and especially during the “Summer of Love” period; it was their reaction to the “Woodstock” generation and their expression of ‘free love’.
I discovered copies of the sermons that were preached each Sunday, the original drafts and then the copies transcribed into print format for when the ‘minister’ was ‘consumed’ by the power of the Lord (or improvising). Someone knew short hand and took it down during the early days then later they purchased a tape recorder to record the sermons and then transcribe it.
It is a fundamentalist form of church, but not Southern Baptist fundamentalist, nor Jehovah Witness, 7th Day Adventist or a splinter group of Mormon, although I would run as far as I could from those.
Sorry sweet things, if you are a member of any of those groups I do apologize, but their beliefs are not mine and their insistence of ‘cramming their belief’s’ down one’s throat until you believe is not my idea of religion.
The ‘church’ was first started in one of the members homes then eventually when the congregation grew, was like a number of other store front churches that one sees cropping up, in which the congregation is just that church, but not part of any wider group.
Eventually they got a place of their own, when one of their late parishioners died and left them their house with the intention of it being designated as a church for tax purposes, I discovered the news clippings about this, it seems that the children of the woman who died were attempting to contest the will saying that their mother had been coerced into signing over her home when she was very ill. But since there was no one who witnessed the ‘alleged’ coercion the church won.
The building is an expanded one level house with all the interior walls knocked out, the bathroom remodeled by removing the bath tub, but the kitchen was kept for the various pot luck dinners. I remember on Saturdays Father would go there to help with the remodeling and Mother and I had to go to take some sort of pot-luck dinner item and dine with the other members.
How do I describe them? A band of frightened people who feel that their twisted beliefs are being attacked by what they perceive as the godless liberalism as promoted by the Democratic Party and even by some Republicans.
They have a literal belief in the reading of the Bible, they say that the Jesus in the New Testament was only a preacher and not the messiah of salvation, so they take their teachings mostly from the old testament, but that some of the events that happened to Jesus they will refer to on occasion, to demonstrated the power of faith in the will of god.
They do not believe that Jesus was resurrected as described in the New Testament, but was a plot by the apostles and later perpetuated by Paul to create a separate belief and that the message was watered down, they refuse to have a messiah that is meek and mild, but prefer one that welds the fiery sword of the righteous. They forgot that Jesus chased the money lenders and all that 'commercialism' out of the temple.
They are in their own way prejudice, racist, insular, that any expression of beauty is outside the norms of their own thinking---to them the world is gray, that this earth and civilization we live in is hell and the only beauty can be found in the glory of heaven that we are unworthy to attain. We are meant to suffer the cold and heat, that modern things such as air conditioning and central heating were not used by the elder prophets and therefore should not be used even if it bring a measure of comfort to anyone, we are not meant to be comfortable.
Medicine is to be viewed with suspicion and only used if it is the only course of treatment, if you have a headache you must suffer with it, it is the punishment of the Lord for some sin. Toothaches were the worse, and that suffering under the dentist’s drill meant that you had done something wrong.
I remember when I would have a headache Mother would give me a tea to drink, it was sweetened but had a bitter aftertaste, what I didn’t know is that Mother had purchased a small bottle of aspirin and would crush the tablets up into a powder and stir it into the tea, it was the only way of getting it past Father.
Women to them are the temptation of Eve, and are to be modest and obedient to their Fathers and husbands. There is no such thing as adornment for the body, the home or the church. And strangely enough they would use on occasion the teachings of Paul to help emphasize this point---although I think Paul was either afraid of women or a closet homosexual.
It was easy for them to accept the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, it was god's way of destroying the godless heathens. When 9/11 happened baby sis, just a child then, called me and said that the entire congregation had gone crazy and were holding up in the church because they thought the world was coming to an end.
The only reason she could get a hold of me is that she somehow persuaded Father to let her return to the house to get more provisions from the refrigerator and pantry and more blankets. She “borrowed” a shopping cart from a store and walked home and back with those provision for their “end of the world, and from home she called me to warn me and to hear my voice. Brave baby sis. Of course a month later Father punished her for the long distance call, but she told me she didn’t care, if it was the end of the world she wanted to talk to me one last time.
I remember that day, in a way the world did come to an end, the world that we felt we were so safe, it was our “Pearl Harbor” and our wake up call.
Mother was originally brought up Catholic, and I must confess even with all the legal, political and financial problems the Catholic church faces, with all the so-called edicts handed down by the various Popes, when she took me to the Catholic church those many years ago when Father was out of town, I felt my heart open up to a warmth that I thought didn’t exist. I am not saying that the Catholic Church is perfect, no church is, but it was one of many doors or gateways if you will, that helped me along my path to my freedom.
When I finally had established myself away from the influence of my Father, there were times when I would return just to see how Mother and baby sis were doing, and I could walk into his church without any fear of being sucked back in just to be accepted or struck down by the god that they believed in. I was and still am proud to be the “Jezebel” that they think I am.
This last Christmas I felt a certain ‘evil, perverse’ pleasure going into Father’s church, my face adorned with ‘paint’, my hair falling in styled waves behind my neck and down my back, a stylish hat with feathers on my head, gold jewelry (not too much), high heels to make me even taller, a smart well cut suit in suitable deep royal electric blue, and wearing Gurlian’s ‘Insolence’ perfume.
The looks of displeasure from the shrinking congregation’s older members, and the looks of astonishment from the few younger ones as I, "the whore of Babylon" sat among them, it made me very, very happy.
For the sake of privacy for them and for my family I will not mention the town or the name of this church. I can tell you that it’s in one of those towns in Southern California; I know, why should I protect them?
Only because with each passing year their congregation is growing smaller and smaller, and the son of the original founder is having a hard time attracting new followers, as a matter of fact it was my late Grandfather’s job to go to other fundamentalists churches as a guest speaker not only to speak but to recruit new members and persuade them to move to our town and join the church, he managed to gain a few, and until the last 6 months of his life he was still active in recruiting. But unless someone comes in and revitalizes it then it will slowly die its own natural death.
And from what I saw this last Christmas, it is dying.
There is more to this than what I’ve already told you; there was an incident that I instigated to shake things up in church that day, and a aftermath; I did it deliberately for I had had enough.
I need to clear my thoughts and find a letter that baby sis sent me, she is now the transcriber for the church and had to transcribe that days’ sermon and professed ‘sins’ but was told to excise out the incident from the tape recording of the service, but she saved it for me and has it in her hidden diary, she said in her letter that it has only strengthened her decision to leave, and she’s not having much trouble of keeping “geek-boy wanna-be boyfriend” at arm’s length. Good for you baby sis.
There is a sharp chill in the air tonight, brought by the rain, I’m hoping it will help the drought situation; I’ve lit a few candles here and there to get a sense of warmth, drinking hot chocolate to warm the chill inside of me. No, no Merlot tonight.
There have been waves and waves of rain and snow down to 3 thousand feet, we desperately need it here. Earlier this month the groundhog saw his shadow so there will be 6 more weeks of winter, then why do I see the beginning of flower buds on some of the trees that are planted nearby, small sparrows are seeking food and the scrub jays have been making their squawking sounds. It heralds something new and wonderful (Merowl)
I’m looking forward to it, this coming resurrection of the earth and all its beauty (Purrrr)
I turn my head and look out at the diamond lights of San Francisco, and it just happens that Shirley Bassy's song is playing on the radio~~~
Diamonds are forever,
They are all I need to please me,
They can stimulate and tease me,
They won't leave in the night,
I've no fear that they might desert me.
Diamonds are forever,
Hold one up and then caress it,
Touch it, stroke it and undress it,
I can see every part,
Nothing hides in the heart to hurt me.
Diamonds are forever, forever, forever.
Sweet dreams my sweet yummy things.
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