The Green Bible, and why it confuses the crap out of me.

I was, once again, reading Time.com (why, I have no idea, but it seemed like a good idea at the moment), and an article caught my eye.  “The Good Book Goes Green, With Scriptures for the Prius Age“.  Since I drive a Prius, am I required to buy this version of the Bible?  The article indicates that this special NRSV bible “…calls attention to more than 1,000 verses related to nature by printing them in a pleasant shade of forest green, much as red-letter editions of the Bible encrimson the words of Jesus.”

I understand that HarperCollins, the publishing company which will release this bible on 7 October, just wants to make money on the green ticket, much like any other company these days.  Hell, even Sean and I wanted to get in on the emissions trading market by selling Green Tickets (a laughable cause, to be sure, but I think we’d make a killing).  The description of the Green Bible on the HarperCollins website reads:

The Green Bible will equip and encourage you to see God’s vision for creation and help you engage in the work of healing and sustaining it. This first Bible of its kind includes inspirational essays from key leaders such as N. T. Wright, Barbara Brown Taylor, Brian McLaren, Matthew Sleeth, Pope John Paul II, and Wendell Berry. As you read the scriptures anew, The Green Bible will help you see that caring for the earth is not only a calling, but a lifestyle.

I’m surprised that they have an essay from Pope John Paul II, and that they neglected to mention St. Francis of Assisi (who was mentioned in the Time article).  St. Francis was more of an ardent animal lover, and not really a nature lover per say.  At least this is an accepted translation for Catholics (we have three translations that the Church approves of, I believe).  But, just because the Church accepts the NRSV doesn’t mean Catholics should run out and purchase the Green Bible.  We know we have to take care of the Earth, and that it is our responsibility.  You can argue that we have no such responsibility, and spiritually, maybe we don’t.  But, we do have a responsibility to our children and grandchildren to provide them with the best environment we can.  With the rise of global temperatures, loss of various species, and sharp rise in cancer (sometimes attributed to carcinogens in the environment, thanks to some companies cutting environmental corners), we should do our part in trying to prolong the demise of our planet.

All in all, don’t rush out to purchase a Bible that will highlight environmentally-slanted scripture.  Having Jesus’s words ‘encrimsoned’ is one thing, but having a soy-based environmental Bible printed for Prius-driving Christians is another bag of worms entirely.  Maybe, as Christians, we should focus living our lives according to Christian tradition, and not subscribe to the Golden Calf Green Religion being thrust upon us by popular culture.

I’m sorry, but my faith comes first, and even if some may think that “being green” is included in that list of duties, I need to secure my basic fundamentals before I can branch out and multitask.  I’m slightly offended that they came out with this Bible. *steps off soap box*

(Oh, picture thieved from Time.com here)

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An Update on my Raising a Stink in the Catholic Church

That’s right, people.  I’m sending respectful, but angry, emails to the Catholic Church.  My last convoluted post roughly entitled “Every Knee Should Bend” lays out the story quite nicely, but I wanted to post the emails I’ve received and such since.

Here is my original email:

Dear Very Rev. C. Michael Padazinski,   

I grew up in the St. Nicholas Parish of the Diocese of San Jose, and then moved to Oregon for University in the fall of 2004.  I noticed upon my leave that our congregation had slowly stopped kneeling at the Consecration of the Host.  When I would come back home from school for Christmas and Easter, we were told at St. William’s Church that they did not kneel during the mass at all, and kneeling was strongly discouraged.  I know, as permitted by GIRM 43, that no longer kneeling after the Agnus Dei or while others are receiving Communion is fine, but I thought, under Canon Law, a congregation must kneel at the Consecration.

I didn’t know whom else to email, and it’s bothered me every time I come home.  I feel as though the ‘unity’ of our diocese is taking away the mystery and prayer of the Mass.  The Most Reverend McGrath wrote a statement to the diocese on January 12th, 2004 outlining his expectations for the ‘unity’ of each parish at mass.  The link is: http://www.dsj.org/dsj/statements/04_01.asp 

Thank you for your help.
Sincerely,
Kristin Dexter
Los Altos, CA

And, the response at 10:30am the next morning:
Dear Kristin,  

Thank you for your recent e-mail regarding kneeling at the consecration during the Holy Mass in the Diocese of San Jose.  May I suggest that you contact the Judicial Vicar of your home diocese, San Jose, with your question.  He would be better able to address your specific concern.  The Judicial Vicar’s name is Reverend Andres Ligot and his e-mail address is noted above.  I have copied Father with your message.

Many thanks for your sensitive and respectful question.

Wishing you all the best, I remain,

Sincerely yours in Christ,

//s//
Very Reverend C. Michael Padazinski, J.C.D.
Chancellor & Vicar Judicial
Archdiocese of San Francisco

How nice 🙂  So, I wrote to Rev. Andres Ligot like the Very Rev. Padazinski said I should:
Dear Rev. Andres Ligot,  

I emailed the Very Rev. C. Michael Padazinski in San Francisco regarding kneeling during the Consecration of the Host in your diocese, and he advised me to email you.  I know you most likely have more important matters to discuss and think about, but the breaking of Canon law is very important to me, and kneeling during the Consecration is an important part of mass in the whole.  I just feel that the Very Rev. McGrath’s decision back in 2004 to cease kneeling entirely takes away from the mystery of the mass, and disrespects the Lord as He enters the Host.

Thank you so much for helping me in this matter.

Respectfully yours,
Kristin Dexter
Los Altos, CA

Yay, I’m a nice person too.  I included copies of both emails in that email so he’d have a reference in case he didn’t receive Bishop Padazinski’s email.  I’m not sure what’s going to happen, but if the Vatican finds out (which is what I’m hoping for), then Bishop McGrath is going to get in all sorts of trouble.  Woo trouble!  So, I’ve been a bit of a stinker for the last 24 hours.  Now I have to go to mass at 6:30 since it’s a Holy Day of Obligation.  Ok bye 🙂

…Every knee should bend…

Sean and I started to go to mass together (regularly) at the beginning of June.  I liked to go to the Sunday 9 am mass and sing in choir, and he hated to get up that early, so he usually attended Sunday night college mass at 8 pm (it was too late for me, since I used my Sunday nights to do homework).  So, we agreed on Saturday evening.  I noticed that after we sang the Agnus Dei (or Lamb of God), he would kneel.  I gave him a questioning glance, and he forcefully whispered back, “I’m kneeling in defiance of the Bishop.” I shrugged my shoulders and dropped to the kneeler beside him, enjoying my bit of rebellion.  So, every week, we groan, go to reconciliation (usually every-other week), and then Saturday evening vigil at 5 pm.  I’ve given up on choir for now – cancer kind of takes early mornings out of you.  Regardless of what mass we attend, the Eucharist is a special time for me.

There IS a point to this story, I promise.  The point is, our parish kneels at the Consecration of the gifts, like any other Catholic Church.  Strange?  No.  Expected?  Yes.  Back home in California, this is NOT the case.  They don’t kneel at all during the mass.  You’re expected to stand through the Consecration, and after receiving Communion, until the Priest sits.  What the hell?  When I was at home during Christmas in 2005, I distinctly remember being told before the midnight mass by the new Father at St. William’s, “In this diocese, we stand throughout the Eucharist.”  What? We do? Since when?  Since Bishop McGrath said so in this letter.  I had thought St. William’s was just being hokey at the time, since St. Simon’s down the road did kneel, as did St. Nicholas and St. Joseph.  This bothered me whenever I went home and went to mass, but I thought, “Hey, it must be okay, since the Bishop said so, and no one’s complaining.”  It did take some of the magic and mystery out of the mass, unfortunately, and it made me feel distanced from the Host, and almost like Jesus wasn’t there.

Back to Sean, he quoted me Philippians 2:6-9, about how every knee should bend at the name of Jesus.  That was a good reason to kneel after the Agnus Dei, and during the Consecration.  Because He’s there, and yeah, if you saw Jesus, you’d kneel too.  I found an article explaining how kneeling after the Agnus Dei is optional, and how it’s okay to do it either way.  It also said how kneeling during the Consecration is mandatory, and if a diocese illegally decides not to kneel at that time, well, bad times for them (I’m paraphrasing).  Authority in the Liturgy says that Bishops can’t change the liturgy without the body of the Church behind them (ie: the Pope and the Vatican), and I doubt Bishop McGrath really got permission.

I was a bit incised.  Granted, it’s not really my place to say anything since I’ve moved away and belong to a new parish (which I love).  But, my parents still live there, and they never said a word.  Not one word!  So, to make a very long story a bit shorter, I had to find who was in charge of Bishop McGrath, who turns out to be the Archdiocese of San Francisco and Most Rev. George H. Niederauer.  Hooray!  Seriously, it took me 2 days to find that out.  Catholic hierarchy is hard.  Well, you can’t email their Archbishop, unlike the Portland Archdioceses‘ Archbishop (I totally emailed him asking him something… and I know I won’t hear a response, but it’s nice to be able to do that).  But, they have a general email, and a list of offices within the Archdioceses.  I found the Metropolitan Tribunal and Department of Canonical Affairs to be promising, so I sent them an email a few hours ago, and maybe I’ll hear back sometime tonight.  Actually, I won’t, since it’s the Feast of the Assumption (Holy day of Obligation!), but maybe next week.

I feel better after emailing because I’ve done my part to point out an error.  If he says, “Oh, well, we think it’s okay and don’t tell anyone,” I’m calling the Vatican.  I don’t care how long distance it is, or that I don’t speak an ounce of Italian.  I just wouldn’t know who else to tell, because it doesn’t seem right.  

After this VERY long-winded entry, I’m headed to bed.  It’s 3:55 am, my tummy hurts, and it’s about 75-80 degrees right now.  Ouch.

Sex Education

Oh my goodness. I know, sex ed, right? We all remember the uncomfortable movies in health class, the condom on the banana, separating the girls from the boys so we could ask “personal” questions. Well, I don’t really remember any of that, since they didn’t have sex ed until I was in high school, and then I didn’t go. So yeah, what does this have to do with anything?

So I was perusing ABC News this morning while I was at work (yeah, I got here at 8 like a normal person, and it’s effing early, thankyouverymuch). I spent a good chunk of my night at the hospital last night because I was coughing up blood. The doctors say I just irritated my lungs and my blood vessels are thin, so some blood isn’t alarming. Woohoo for having cancer – it’s like carte blanch to the emergency room (well, they told me to go to the actual hospital, not the emergency room). But yeah, I got taken right away because I called ahead. Sean picked me up around 3 am, and brought me home (and then picked me up this morning at 7ish to bring me to my car so I could go to work – he’s so sweet). Ok, so ABC News. Right. There was an article entitled “Did Sex-Ed Class Cross Thin Line?“, which is about a Utah middle-school teacher taking inappropriate steps in her sex-ed class, like advocating use of birth control, talking about anal sex/masturbation, and fielding questions from her middle schoolers. So, is this inappropriate?

What I’ve heard from other people, this is entirely normal. I know they had that at the public junior high back in Los Altos. I don’t know if they talked about the intricacies of anal sex, but hey, kids are having sex (any kind of sex) younger and younger these days. I know also that some of my friends popped their brown cherries before their normal cherries anyways, because they think they’re still virgins if they don’t have normal sex (which is soooo wrong).

I think they’re having the problems in Utah because it’s a very religious state. I know that they have to keep church and state separate, but honestly, you can’t keep their morals and values out of the school system in a Mormon-majority state. At St. Nicholas and St. Simon, I know the parents vetoed sex-ed in favor of “abstinence-only” education. The kids were taught NOTHING. So incredibly clueless. I blame my early foray into the sexual field on a lack of knowledge. Telling me not to do something, and then just saying “because you’ll go to hell” isn’t really going to deter a teenager, however bright, from doing something they think is rather innocuous. I mean, I wasn’t told, “Sex is special, and you should only do it when you get married.” I was just told, “Sex is a sin, you shouldn’t do it.” I didn’t know what sex was. Seriously. Laugh all you want, but I was in the dark on such things.

So, is sex-ed important? Yes. Should public schools teach semi-graphic sex-ed in middle school and early high school? Yes. I wouldn’t have had the problems I did growing up, like having sex at 15 (15 is much too early to make a decision like that, and I blame my parents and the schools for not warning me!), having sex with multiple people (too many to admit to, unfortunately), and not knowing the consequences. I know now, and I make better judgment calls, but at the same time, I wish I knew a lot sooner. I hate it when people ask me, “How many people have you slept with?” and I have to answer truthfully… I wish I could only say “three” or a number like that, but I can’t. It’s not really bad, but it’s not something I’m proud of.

So, moral of the story is: don’t suspend a teacher for doing her job. She was actually instructing those kids on the intricacies of sex, however gruesome they are, and as uncomfortable as it makes parents, it’s absolutely necessary. Kids actually listen, trust me. If I knew what kids are being told these days ten years ago, I wouldn’t have had sex. Your first time having sex is supposed to be amazing. I was tricked into it by my boyfriend at the time in a dank basement of his parent’s house. He said, “Lets try this,” and retardedly enough, I’m like, “Oh, okay, that’s fine.” What the hell?! It hurt, I was scared, I didn’t know what just happened, and now I’m just angry that the most special time of my life was thieved by a horny 18 year old boy.

So, parents, if you’re reading this: Please, please instruct your children on what sex IS and WHY they shouldn’t be doing it. Don’t just tell them, “You’ll go to hell.” Don’t underestimate your kids like that. I know 13 seems like a very young age to get “the talk”, but it’s not. Kids are always better off with more information than less, and they actually listen. *steps off soap box*

Romney… defender of ‘all’ faiths?

Today, there was an article on BBC News about Mitt Romney and his bid for the presidency.  Now, I kind of dismissed him as a candidate because he’s mormon.  I don’t have problems with mormons – many of my friends are mormon.  I have problems with my mormon family members trying to convert me every single time I see them. (“Kristin! Have you read that book I gave you yet?” “No, not yet Aunt Ronda.” “Well, why not?” “I misplaced it” (read: it’s holding up the corner of my couch that sags a bit too much).) My father’s sister decided to convert to mormonism, married a guy 10+ years her elder, and then proceeded to have seven children, who all in turn had about five kids each.  I have no idea what my 2nd cousins’ names are because they’re all products of baby farmers.

*sigh* That’s off my chest.  Now, this article really makes me rethink Romney as a potential candidate. He promises to defend all faiths, but does that include non-Christianity faiths?  What about Hindus? Muslims? Jews?  Just because he holds the same ideals as most religions (and yes, you can argue until you’re blue in the face that being Catholic is different from being Protestant, or even from being Muslim, but it’s the same batch of ideals, so get over it) doesn’t mean he’ll support Muslims or Hindus.  Most people think Muslims are terrorists, despite the few vocal people saying, “No, that’s not true!” unfortunately, the majority of uninformed America does.

Here’s an example: At work the other week, I wore my hijab (which isn’t a usual occurrence at work, but is most of the time otherwise, like to class, hanging out, etc) and was called a sand ni**er.  I was rather appalled.  I told him that I preferred the term “Sand ninja”.  He didn’t quite know what to say to that.

Will Romney defend non-Christians?  There seems to be a bit of profiling about terrorists (granted, there have been a lot of angry Muslims, and I do NOT support that), but I want to make sure my religion is as protected as all the Christian religions in America.  If this article is true, then maybe I’ll reconsider Romney.

Time off!

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve written anything (or even thought of writing, to be honest). So, I decided to try out the Muslim thing. I say it so blase, but it shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s a pretty hardcore religion, if you want to know the truth. Ramadan is NOT a time to join. Fasting is one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to do. No food from morning prayers (about 90 mins before sunrise), to sunset. Not even water. I read some very religious questions online about fasting, like taking cold medicine, or having an IV. It was pretty crazy, tbh. I was surprised at the level of dedication. Regular Catholics (not dedicated ones, but normal ones) have no want or need to follow 85% of the rules. The children have sex before they’re married, they eat meat on Fridays, they don’t go to mass, they don’t pray the rosary, etc. Muslims not only fast for an entire month when you can only eat and drink when its dark, but they cover themselves (which isn’t easy either), pray five times a day (which is hard when you work or go to school), and they don’t date.

I have several muslim friends, both in the US and UK. Some wear hijab (most do, actually) but not all. ALL of them date. They date muslims, non muslims, etc. They sit in cars with men that aren’t their immediate family, and they go out with just guys. Now, they aren’t supposed to, but they do. As a western considering ‘reverting’, the arranged marriages rule doesn’t work, nor is it practical for the 21st century. I am an independent woman, I live on my own, and I take pride in being able to choose for myself. My parents do nothing to control my life anymore except to make sure I have enough money to shop at Safeway.

Still considering things on this end. I’ve tried to fast (it’s difficult when you’re sick), and worn long sleeves and looser clothes, as well as prayed. It is a very different lifestyle. I’ll post an update later on the first time I wore my hijab in public.

A full week of thinking

It’s been a whole week since I thought about religion, and surprisingly enough, I’ve prayed. I know how weird that sounds. I’ve quit choir altogether. My work schedule conveniently changed, which doesn’t allow me to sing anyways, but I made the decision before it changed. I’m really interested in Islam, but at the same time, not so interested in the flack I’ll get from everybody. My parents probably won’t speak to me, or they’ll think I’m being irrational. Jason would probably break up with me. I’d most likely lose all of my friends, especially if I chose to wear hijab. I’ve gone in public in hijab multiple times. I don’t really get stared at very much – people just ignore me for the most part. If they point, it’s because there’s a white girl in hijab.

I’m tempted to try to fast for Ramadan. I have an appointment set up for Wednesday night to talk to someone at the mosque. I don’t want to be forced into it. I think what I want the most is information on the religion and what I have to do to join (if that’s what I want, eventually). I wish some of my friends who read this would let me know what they think. Surprisingly enough, I do take their opinions to heart.

I’m going to go read for awhile. I picked up a copy of the Qu’ran, so I’ll see what Muhammad has to say.