Tag Archives: Baptists

Less than a tithe

This is our neighborhood church. Built, I’m guessing, in the 1500s.

WE USUALLY don’t answer the doorbell because it’s often passing kids goofing around or someone selling something we don’t want. And it’s almost a two-block round trip from inside the house to the front gate and back. That more than anything.

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A Catholic spell

I come from country people who were never anything but Baptists or Methodists that I know of.

In spite of that, I was deposited in a Catholic school for kindergarten and First Grade in Albany, Georgia, about 10,000 years ago. My mother did it because it had the best reputation in town, education-wise.

My sister was sentenced there too. My sister had imagination, however, or maybe it was just childish ignorance. She came home one day and announced that she’d changed the Holy Water, freshened it up with stuff from the tap.

Neither the priest nor the nuns ever noticed, which tells me that Holy Water’s fame is overstated somewhat.

My mother, before enrolling me, made the nuns promise they wouldn’t try to turn me into a Catholic, and they did so promise because, one imagines, our money looked green.

However, one day I came home with the report that, after having misbehaved in some way, I was made to kneel on rice before a painting of the Virgin and beg forgiveness.

Mother took me out of the school at that point, and I left Catholicism forever if you don’t count that my second ex-wife is a recovering Catholic, and Mexico is full of Catholics.

My child bride does not seem to be a Catholic, but the environment rubs off. Her father was an atheist and her evil stepmother, after father died too young, became a Jehovah’s Witness, one of those pests at your front door.

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Speaking of doorbells

As I was saying, we rarely respond to the doorbell here at the Hacienda unless we are expecting someone.

But my child bride was toiling in her pastry workshop the other day when the doorbell rang — it rings both out there and here in the house — and since there was little walking involved, she opened the little speakeasy portal in the steel gate.

Two ladies were there, and they were not pesky Jehovah’s Witnesses, but Catholics on a collecting mission.

You see our neighborhood church up top? It is very old, and it’s in bad condition. We were informed that City Hall has agreed to chip in a percentage for a much-needed restoration, but residents here in our poor barrio have to pony up too.

We were being asked to pony up, so we ponied.

We learned that the amount one is asked to contribute is based on how well-off you look. In our hardscrabble neighborhood, we look quite well-off, so we were asked for 1,000 pesos.

We paid for the sake of architecture.

I think the Vatican should pay for the entire restoration, but it doesn’t seem that Headquarters pays us much mind.

I hope enough money is raised because I like the church. I see it every weekday morning during our exercise walk. I’ve rarely been inside, but I hear singing at times, and I see funerals and weddings there. All part of the tapestry hereabouts.

Catholic steeples and peoples

church

I LIVE AMONG steeples, and all of them are Catholic. Oh, there are other religions, usually referred to as “Christian” because most Mexicans, deep in their hearts, bizarrely do not regard Catholicism as a Christian religion.

It’s just Catholicism, period, the one accurate Voice of God.

Other religions are Christian, or cristianos  in español. Perhaps in the big cities of Guadalajara, Monterrey and Mexico City people recognize Methodists, Baptists and so on, but here on the mountaintop we just have “the” religion of Catholicism and cristianos  who sometimes behave like Holy Rollers because they are really joyful.

Catholics are not joyful. They are somber, especially when walking on their knees over rocks to demonstrate their seriousness and love of God, Jesus and the Virgin Mary.

The cristianos sometimes parade in the streets, all shucking and jiving. Catholics never shuck and jive.

We also have Jehovah’s Witnesses who enjoy ringing doorbells and annoying people. My child bride’s evil stepmother and a number of her half-siblings have gone over to the dark side of Jehovah’s Witnessing.

I enjoy watching Catholicism even though I’m no believer, especially now with Pope Francis who appears to be an ignoramus. The Catholics excel at religious architecture and, as I was driving up a downtown hill today, I noticed this view. So I got out of the car and snapped it.

The Baptists, Methodists and certainly not the Jehovah’s Witnesses lack the Catholics’ architectural spirit.

The believer

goddess

I BELIEVE in the power of positive thinking, prayer, and child brides.

Most nights, after the lights go out, I repeat: Thank you, God. Thank you, God. Thank you, God. Thank you, God.  Many times over. Then I slip into slumber.

While I subscribe to none of the God myths that run rampant across the globe, I know something is out there … or in here. Everywhere, actually. Something absolutely beyond the comprehension of people using their normal minds.

I do believe this God can be experienced. Mystics sometimes do it. It can be done with plants and herbs if you know how to use them.

Believing in God, as everyone from Southern Baptists to Buddhist monks can attest, will improve your daily life, make you feel better, make you healthier, perhaps even lengthen your time on this fascinating planet.

Which is where child brides come in. It’s good to live with the daily viewpoint of the next generation. It is refreshing and often surprising, always sweet. A gift from that God, wherever she is. Yes, God is a goddess at heart, more female than male.

Which is what makes her manifestations so endlessly tumultuous.

Waco spaceman

Billy Bob deployed one iron anchor and then the other. The wooden space ship was bouncing loonily.

Moments earlier, before skidding onto the moon’s surface, he opened a big silk parachute he had purchased at the military surplus in Waco.

woodThe parachute and two anchors combined to slow the ship down pretty darn good, and he was sliding along the moonscape now at a diminishing velocity.

Billy Bob was a deacon at the Second Baptist Church in Waco, so he was praying to God Almighty.

He had built this spaceship out of wood planks, and he’d shellacked it 37 times for re-entry protection. Billy Bob sat in a wicker chair inside the wooden rocket in a steel septic tank he had uncovered in a Waco junkyard.

The tank was kept intact by a compressor he’d purchased at Home Depot. The blastoff from his backyard was done with dynamite. The trip had taken two days during which Billy Bob dined on Cheetos, Moon Pies and RC Cola.

Suddenly, the spaceship stopped.

Billy Bob opened the septic tank, then the wooden door, and stepped out. He had a goldfish bowl over his head, duct-taped at the neck. A scuba tank — full of mesquite-flavored Texas Hill Country air — sagged on his back.

How you doing, honey?

The voice startled Billy Bob, and he swung around. There was a hole in the ground, and the most dazzling woman he had ever seen was standing there, half out of the hole and half in. Her smile was stunning.

Billy Bob later learned that millions of Moon People lived below the surface, and that 95 percent were lovely women whose average life span was 32. Men, being in critically short supply, were highly prized.

Billy Bob never went back to Waco. And he quit being a Baptist too.