Sunday, October 19, 2014

Sunday Speculation and Sanctification

Yesterday I bought food and books.  Expectations of volume were way off and after books there was no space in my backpack for the food (which was bought second as it was on the way home from books.)

Now they say never shop when you're hungry, but if you didn't then you'd never get new food.

The trek from food to home is 2.1 miles.  I never knew that before, but I just looked it up.

I'm going to take a random guess and say that I had hundreds of pounds of food because, honestly, that shit is heavy.

As I left the store I thought I heard thunder and soon after the rain started.

I didn't get too far before I dropped to my knees and prayed.  As I said, food is heavy and there was no space in the backpack.  My hands needed a break.

God, please give me the strength to make it through this, please don't let the books get water damaged, and please give me the patience to not go insane.
The rain turned to heavy rain.  Then downpour.  The torrential downpour.

Did I mention that I didn't have a coat?

Second prayer said while standing:
God, same stuff as before.  Also, a ride would be nice.  Amen.
Trudging on while getting soggy.  Dripping with sweat and rain.  Frequent stops needed to give my hands a break from carrying the bags.

Suddenly, a car.

Random person I don't know is offering me a ride.  (Thank you God.)  Estimate 1.6ish miles left.

The ride is quick.  The ride is dry.  She gives me napkins to dry my face.

As I get out, having been delivered home, she tells me that god loves me.  I agree.  I don't always agree, but prayer was answered.

When I thank her she tells me to thank god, for he told her to pick me up.  I don't know if this is figurative or literal.  Certainly there are people who hear voices.  On a certain level I envy the ones who hear the voice of god.

I'm well aware that that can lead to all kinds of trouble, hence the hedging of "on a certain level", and God (capitalized here because it's that particular god.) is a historically bad campaign adviser.  Also, if God tells you to invade Iraq ... go down the checklist of when it would be reasonable to invade if God hadn't said anything (note well, the checklist's answer is that it is almost NEVER a good idea to invade anywhere, but there is that "almost" usually reserved for cases of genocide) if the checklist says no, tell God that it's not a good time.

That said, I imagine that there's probably a certain sense of purpose and certainty that comes from God telling you to do something, and it seems like that might be a better feeling than being adrift.

I, myself, am unconvinced that any god chooses to speak directly to people in this day and age.  It seems to me that it would be too easily confused with a delusion.

Anyway, no idea if the woman who gave me a ride home meant that she literally heard god say, "Give that person a ride," or she meant it figuratively.  I didn't ask.

I do think that she's earned the good graces of her god either way.  While I didn't ask for specifics, based on where she's from, her accent, her race, and other such factors there's a pretty decent chance she's a Christian and was it not Jesus who said, "Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for when I, in the heavy rain, was walking a long distance with a heavy load you let me into your car and drove me to my destination"?

The details might be somewhat off, but I think he said something like that.  And the follow up is that whatever you did for the least of these, you did for him.

Now there is some confusion in this story because when I was praying to an all powerful benevolent god I was pretty sure she was female and it was a male god who told the woman to give me a ride.  Possibilities abound, of course.  Lonespark suggests that perhaps my god called in a favor with the driver's god.  Another is that god is genderfluid, which makes a certain amount of sense.  There are others too.

But all of this leaves me with a question.  How does one thank God?

I've already said, "Thank you," of course.  But it seems like there should be more to it.  I'm kind of focused on the idea of pouring a libation but the thing is, most gods like alcohol and I don't drink it and thus don't have it.

Lonespark suggests that gods tend to like the same beverages as people.

Having learned the hard way that transporting liquids will wreck your body I purchased several powders so that I might transform water into more interesting things and thus have:
  • Tang
  • Grape Kool-Aid
  • Tropical Punch Kool-Aid
  • Blue Raspberry Lemonade Kool-Aid
  • Orange Kool-Aid
  • Strawberry Kiwi Kool-Aid
Which do you think god(s), whichever god or gods was/were involved, would like?


  1. Which do you think god(s), whichever god or gods was/were involved, would like?

    I get the impression that when it comes to libations, whichever drink you like best is usually the one to do.

    As far as I recall, I've never had any of those drinks, so when I think of them I think only of their cultural connotations. Kool-Aid evokes religion gone horribly wrong (consider the verb "to drink the Kool-Aid"), so seems less appropriate for a religious offering than a drink that evokes the wonders of space and the wonders of being able to directly experience some of the wonders of space (Tang, so the story goes, was favoured by early astronauts).

    However, given a choice between offering something with a better reputation in your culture and offering something that you personally like better, I would go with the personal.

    1. I, too, thought of the connotations of Kool-Aid. Tang it is.

    2. Speaking as a gentleman who spent quite a few formative years in association with an organization with strong cultural ties to European-American Christianity, I can attest that Tang is held in widespread esteem as a source of succor and comfort to those in the wilderness far from home. Hot Tang was especially valued in winter months.

      ...I don't know how that would be worked into a ritual. Sprinkle the powder over a small fire?

  2. This post is adorable!

    In the small town in New Mexico where I went to college, everyone with a car would give rides. Sometimes they were drunk...but sometimes it was really, deadly cold... And everywhere I've been that's anywhere near a reservation American Indian people have given me rides. Sometimes a very long way, out of their way... I have a whole hell of a lot of rides or other favors to give to balance the ledger. And Dine people and Akimel O'odham and Pee Posh people, etc., may have done that because some gods or spirits told them to, or maybe their own hearts... Close enough to the same answer, I think...

  3. The impression I have always received in my philosophy & religion studies (see what I did there? Don't I sound SO authoritative now? :) is that what the deities love best is your offering something that has meaning to *you*. As an example, I don't drink alcohol either. Imagine my offering libations to the goddess: "Here, as thank you, I pour a libation of this nasty stinky alcoholic shit I loathe" or alternatively: "Here, as thank you, I pour a libation of this delicious drink which I enjoy so much I wish to share with you!"

    The above written mostly tongue firmly in cheek... but only mostly, because I feel there's a seed of truth in it too. :)

  4. Quite lovely. I'm so glad that you had some kindness shown to you. I've certainly benefitted from the kindness of strangers giving rides in the rain, so I very much understand the feeling of helpless fear lifted by a measure of grace.

    As for speaking with and of God/god(s), I have had a couple of times that I felt God speak to me rather directly. The one that was the clearest and "loudest" was in response to a specific question, was "yes [you should go to that]" and led to one of the most important and influential trips that changed my life for the better. The other was not as a voice so much as a sudden and drastic insight that broke open a prejudice I had been holding and again, made me a much better person as a result. So I think it can happen, but it's rare and something that you do have to really take a good, hard look at to make sure it isn't you fooling yourself. Part of that good, hard look is obviously thinking about if it is ethical or not. In terms of the drink....the version of God I believe in I think would prefer you drink whatever drink you most enjoy while acknowledging that thanks. Or serve that drink to someone else who also needs it. My version of God isn't really into pouring out drinks.