Recycling Day: Searching for God and Underpants

I have decided Tuesday would be a good day to sift through the Archives here and recycle posts I’m particularly fond of. Because it’s my blog and I can. Also because writing something new and fascinating more than once a week is kind of tiresome. (I know some of you think, now that I’m retired, I have nothing but time on my hands. Actually, that’s true, but it doesn’t mean I want to spend all of it creating more stuff to fill this space.) Sometimes Tuesday may fall on a Wednesday. We’ll see.

Searching for God and Underpants
(originally posted 9/23/10)

MY DAUGHTERS WHEN THEY HAD BIG HAIR AND WERE STILL CATHOLIC
MY DAUGHTERS WHEN THEY HAD BIG HAIR AND WERE STILL CATHOLIC

We baptized Baby Bret recently. He was baptized in the Lutheran church, which was a bit odd for me. My own children were baptized and raised to be good Catholics. They defected, every one, a puzzling thing and still a little irritating. It isn’t that I can’t go with the flow, but excuse me, I must have spent close to $100,000 on Catholic schools over the years, and if I had known how things would turn out, I would have taken advantage of free public education like everyone else.

Gina, who is Baby Bret’s mother, had no problem being Catholic right through her expensive college education with the Jesuits. Then she met Bret Sr. and promptly converted to Lutheranism. My middle daughter, Jill, and her family are some religion I can never remember the name of but they sing really loud. And the oldest, Jessica, who I thought had settled on Episcopalianism or Presbyterianism, is on the hunt for her spiritual home again and presently attending the Unitarian church.

It rankles a little, I must admit. All that money and my grandkids don’t know the Hail Mary.

Moving along… The baptism went well. The service was nice and Baby Bret never said boo, not even when he was passed around like a plate of rumaki. Afterward everyone drove to my house for lunch, simply because adding a fourth person to his parents’ house has made it impossible to squeeze in guests even if someone sits on the diaper pail and someone else holds the breast pump.

Lunch was nice, too, if hectic. Jill had an anxiety attack when she realized five-year-old Grace wasn’t wearing underpants. Apparently Grace sat through the entire church service in her little red sundress and white shoes and no underpants. So I went searching for little girl underwear, couldn’t find any, and ended up pinning the sides on a pair of my own for her. Gracie was utterly disgusted, but I just told her, “That’s what you get for not wearing underpants. You have to wear your grandma’s.”

The weather was good.

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Holy Cripes

ON THE WAY TO CHURCH IN OUR NEW EASTER OUTFITS. I'M THE SHORT ONE THINKING HOLY THOUGHTS.

I was born, baptized and raised Catholic, and although I don’t show up at church very often, I haven’t heard that I was excommunicated or anything. The reason I seldom go to church is because I went to Catholic schools for twelve years. I am, however, always polite. Anyway, being Catholic is what I know, so I’m thinking I’ll just go with that for the duration.

Fortunately, my God happens to have an excellent sense of humor, because there’s been so much odd news lately religion-wise, it’s almost impossible not to make jokes about it. “Go for it, Judy,” He/She said.

Not the way I remember things
You may have heard about a church in Cincinnati offering drive-thru ashes on Ash Wednesday and figured it was some jivey young Catholic priest wearing an earring who came up with the idea. Actually it was the people at the Mount Healthy United Methodist Church. (Mount Healthy?)

I may not be the holiest person in the chapel, but I’m pretty sure receiving ashes is supposed to symbolize your repentance for the year you just spent sinning and/or generally goofing off. If you can’t take the time to park the car, walk into church and spend ten minutes being anointed, how penitent can you be? Not very darn penitent.

Why would anyone want that?
The heart of St. Laurence O’Toole, patron saint of Dublin, was reported stolen recently from Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin. The holy relic, all that was left of the sainted man, had been on display there since the 13th century. A little morbid perhaps, but so be it. This was the second inexplicable burglary of a Dublin church this year. In January a thief made off with the jawbone of St. Brigid, an Irish abbess who died in 525.

While I’m no theologian, I do recall Sister Olivia telling us that relic stealing is a sure path to hell for all eternity. And why would anyone want old body parts anyway? Isn’t it weird enough that people once thought it was a good idea to cut up dead saints and put pieces of them in a box? How insane would you have to be to want to keep them to yourself?

Don’t like your clergyperson? Do it yourself.
So I was reading about the mysterious Irish relic thefts when an ad popped up for StartCHURCH, a website where you can go to do exactly that, i.e., set up your own tax-free religious institution. Apparently some rather pesky tax laws, along with recent court cases, have made launching your own church “very complex” nowadays. The folks at StartCHURCH will help you with everything from filling out the federal application [form 501(c)(3)] to ordaining your own ministers. “Let Us Do the Work For You!” it urged.

Out of work? Struggling to make ends meet? StartCHURCH may be the answer. How attached were you to that soul anyway?

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