Saturday, January 10, 2009

Thoughts as we Face the New Year

I'd love to begin by wishing everyone a truly wonderful new year. It seems like an exercise in futility to believe that life will begin to look up for all of the unemployed friends, family and even customers we see in the library on a daily basis. That's not to mention the innocent victims of so many wars in the Middle East and those who are fighting debilitating illness here at home. Everywhere we turn life appears to be a devastating trial for so many people. It's no wonder to me that there are so many new books being published by writers and thinkers who, after years of searching and questioning, have come to the conclusion that there probably is no god. I'm currently on the wait list for Nothing to be Frightened Of, a memoir by Julian Barnes and hoping we'll purchase The Religious Case Against Belief after listening to philospher James Carse discuss his forthcoming book on the Diane Rehm show.

I must say, there's a glorious sense of freedom and well being when you're able to finally accept that you're not a stained soul from birth and that, no matter how difficult a child you were, you're not going to go to Hell! What a wonder when you discover that yes, bad things do happen to good people and vice versa, but guess what? You're not being tested to see how you fare against others in some nasty cosmic game, you're simply a victim of chance. Remember when Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan shocked the world with her rather selfish cry of "why me?" when she was attacked by Tonya Harding? Well Nancy, why not you? The true test of a person's character is how they respond when the bad things happen and, of course, they come to all of us at one time or another.

I've been introduced to a woman named Julia Sweeney whose very humorous but sincere search for life's meaning, from Catholicism, her parents' religion to Buddhism and beyond has been documented in a DVD called "Letting Go of God." Take a peek, even if you're not searching:


Infobabe said...

I have been reading Why Faith Matters by David J. Wolpe and I am very impressed so far. Of all of the books I've gathered recently on the topics of faith and religion, the Wolpe book has been most helpful. As you probably know, I have all of my Catholic paperwork stamped but I study Buddhism to find meaning and even with that, I struggle with issues of faith. I almost always have a religion book in the hopper. I'm now curious about the Carse book.

Sallyb said...

Infobabe, What do you mean exactly by "having all your Catholic paperwork stamped"? Are you indicating that you've performed all of the proper ceremonial rituals, as I have? Confirmation? Baptism?
Interesting that we seldom turn to the religion of our youth when we're searching for meaning, isn't it? Even as a third or fourth grader there were things I remember questioning.
Check out the Sweeney video from Netflix just for fun. You'll recognize so much to roar over.

Infobabe said...

I will check out the video. I did mean I had as many sacraments as appropriate. I am comforted by and appreciate the ritual and orthodoxy of Catholicism and if I were to practice, I'd want to be a good Catholic, but I can't be. My viewpoints on the social issues are not in line with the Church. Another book that really rocked my world was God's Politics by Jim Wallis. He made we want to be a better person.