A to Z Challenge – I

April Challenge

I spy with my little I – a whole bunch of stuff that starts with ‘I’. Aye, aye!

Letter I

Illusion – Allusion – Elusion

Illusion
noun
something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality.
the state or condition of being deceived; misapprehension.
an instance of being deceived.

allusion
noun
a passing or casual reference; an incidental mention of something, either directly or by implication:

the act of alluding; the making of a casual or indirect reference to something:

elusion
noun
the act of eluding; evasion.

Idiot
noun
The old fart who thought he could just compose 26 interesting alphabetical posts.

I was under the illusion that I was a competent writer.  I made an allusion to my extensive vocabulary.  The elusion of literary greatness rankles and sobers me.

Speaking of sober….

Intoxicated
verb (used with object), intoxicated, intoxicating.
to affect temporarily with diminished physical and mental control by means of alcoholic liquor, a drug, or another substance, especially to excite or stupefy with liquor.

to make enthusiastic; elate strongly, as by intoxicants; exhilarate: 

The prospect of the success of this post intoxicated me.  I was enthusiastic, but reality stupidified stupefied me, and diminished my mental abilities. 

The drunken pick-up couple stagger out of the bar. He says, “I’m stiff.”  She says, “I’m tight.”…and they’re both lying.

This demonstration of my restricted talents has made me quite

Insecure
adjective
subject to fears, doubts, etc.; not self-confident or assured:
an insecure person.
not confident or certain; uneasy; anxious:

Insincere
adjective
not sincere; not honest in the expression of actual feeling; hypocritical.

I am not being insincere, when I say that I would like a bunch of visitors – and a pile of views….but I’ll settle for a few nice warm ‘likes.’

I thank you!    😀

 

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Religious Addiction

Bible

A letter came to a pastor recently, from a middle-aged woman determined to take her own life. She has already made an attempt.  She suffers from extremely low self-esteem, depression and other afflictions.

She feels desperate, “cut off from God” and beyond divine forgiveness. Certain readers will already be saying to themselves that she needs to be “saved,” to be “born again,” and to join a church where they “preach the Gospel.”

However, this woman has already been through all that. A Theologian read her letter and felt it was quite obvious that she suffered from far too much literalistic fundamentalism already.  Like hundreds of similar others over the years, she is being tormented by the very religion she once turned to for comfort and “salvation.”

Briefly stated, she is suffering from a form of religion that is ‘bad religion.’ It’s growing and becoming very powerful in some quarters today.  It can look successful on the outside, even imparting a glazed but glowing countenance, but it can tear apart people’s souls.

This form of ‘addictive’ religiosity is not confined to circles dominated by TV evangelists or excessively zealous priests. It cuts across all Christian denominations and, in varying degrees, all other faiths.

Here are some of its major characteristics. It touts black and white answers to every problem – from hormone issues (sex), to when and how the universe was formed.  It encourages passive dependence on a host of authorities, from sacred texts, to faith leaders at every level.  It fosters simplistic, ‘magical’ thinking.  It diminishes one’s autonomy, self-reliance, confidence in one’s own inner voice and ability to grow either emotionally or intellectually.

It views all other faith stances as wrong – or even Satanic, leading to “Hell.”  Such a system whines a lot about what “miserable sinners” we all are and yet never asks itself why it leaves such incredible guilt, anxiety and loss of self-esteem in its wake.

Priest

Yes, it can produce an overinflated ‘high’ at being on the “winning side,” as “God’s elect,” but at a terrible price. This is referred to as loss of authenticity and of one’s inner convictions.  The God being served is too often a narrow, small, vengeful, tribal deity, who is nonetheless supposedly loving.

The Churchman reflected on this phenomenon as he worked on answering the suicide note. Suddenly, with a genuine synchronicity, his mail arrived with a copy of an article from Pastoral Psychology, a magazine dedicated to learned articles on various aspects of soul-care – mainly for clergy, psychotherapists and other counsellors.

It was titled “Religious Addiction, The Subtle Destruction Of The Soul.” It was written by Patricia Anne Venderheyden, a psychotherapist in private practice in London, Ontario.  Her Master’s thesis is from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, and was focused on this same issue: religious addiction.

As she told him in an interview, this isn’t a subject that has received much attention in the past. It certainly deserves it today!  She had pondered for many years, beginning with her own experiences of certain faith groups, why it is that so many in every religion gravitate to authoritarian cliques with such alacrity and yet, in the end, with such disastrous results.

She wrote: “I observed how people’s inner authority was compromised in order to fit in with a system of belief whose standards were impeccable – and unattainable. I saw people accepted into groups only if they ‘jumped through the right hoops’, dotted their i’s and watched their p’s and q’s.” The ‘addicts’ had a show of freedom, yet their proclamations seemed ‘hollow and empty.’

She saw many such persons blindly accepting the words and advice of religious elders. All critical awareness and thinking for themselves had long since been suppressed.  “The addicts wanted to be told that he or she was absolutely right, and that any form of questioning is evil.” she said.

Certainly, authorities can help someone at first, but if they are compulsively used ‘as a way of avoiding one’s own reality,’ they ruin one’s hopes of ever becoming mature in either mind or spirit. The addicts she describes are ‘religious junkies,’ obsessed with mood alteration and a quick fix to face life.

There’s no need to assign blame. Religious leaders can nurture an addictive faith unwittingly by never stopping to ask questions of the style and content of their ministry, such as: To whom does it cater, and why?  With what results?

Believers who are really avoiding the shame and pain within by refusing to tackle it, and by ‘leaving it all to God,’ need to stop and realize that the rigidity and exclusivity of addictive religion can one day leave you empty, out of touch with your real self and, hence, engulfed by fear and despair.   😦

 

Yenta

I’ve Got A Secret!

I’ve got a secret, and I’m not gonna tell you.  Nyah, nyah.

Gossip

I am not a gossip.
I do not betray a confidence.
I do not gossip.
I hate gossips!
I think they suffer from a character defect.
I feel they lack self-control, and moral and ethical standards.
I am not a gossip!

I recently discovered why I am not a gossip.  In my long, loner, loser life, no-one has felt me important enough to entrust me with information that I could pass on, or a confidence that I could betray.  It’s easy to not be a sinner, when you’ve never been tempted.  That changed recently.  Somebody told me something.
SOMEBODY!  TOLD!  ME!  SOMETHING!
HOLY SHIT!!

Steam ears

I always thought that cartoon characters with steam pouring from their ears were just a joke.  I’ve got lots of empty space inside my head to absorb an explosion.  Damn, I almost lost my eardrums.  I found one of my eyebrows under a footstool.  It’s a good thing I was sitting down.  I had an attack of the vapors. Everything got fuzzy, and swirled around.  I needed a mint julep to calm my nerves.

‘I need to set up a Twitter account!  I’ll have to open a Facebook page!  Is the computer turned on?  Hand me the cell phone!  Will the extension ladder reach the roof?  I have to get up there and shout this out!’

Easy boy!  Just stick your head in a bucket of ice cubes and water.

About a year ago, I thought I did a favor for a friend.  She didn’t provide all the necessary relevant information, and I recently found that, instead of being of assistance, I’d just been spinning my wheels.  When she fully briefed me, I was able to make an informed choice of a different option.  It’s still early days yet, but this time I think it’s going to take.

To ensure the greatest likelihood of success for another small favor, she filled me in with some background information.  It was like watching the movie Inception.  REALITY CHANGED.  Nothing was what it had seemed.

The information wasn’t down and dirty, or evil and perverted.  In fact, quite the opposite!  This news was happy, joyous, fulfilling, uplifting – just social and legal stuff that needed to be dealt with before the general public is allowed to know about it.

This is “Christ Is Risen” news.  I should be riding from village to village on a donkey, proclaiming the glorious story.  You should know me from afar by the golden radiant glow of the wondrous tale within me – and I can’t say a word.

The wife and son and daughter know the lady, and like her.  They’ve worried for a while because she seemed to be stressed, but now feel better because things seem to be going smoother.  They would approve of the information.  They would be ecstatic to know the full truth, but I cannot say a thing.  Don’t ask me.

Two people can keep a secret – if one of them is dead.  While I am sometimes tempted, I really don’t want to have to shoot a couple of them.  I’m just going to sit here with a knowing smile on my face, and bask in the warm glow of the trust I’ve been given.  In the fullness of time, this situation will resolve itself, and I will no longer be the only one who is permitted to be thrilled for my our friend.

In the meantime….I do not have a character defect.  I do possess self-control, as well as moral and ethical standards.  I am not a gossip!  I am happy that my friend will be happy, and she will be happy if I keep my mouth shut.  If only others could.

 #460

Flash Fiction #13

And He Lightly Touched Down

view-from-the-plane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

His parents had worked their butts off to pay for four years of British boarding school.

He had worked his butt off for four years to achieve impressive grades.  He had studied hard, and absorbed everything he could to prepare himself for his career.

He had several employment irons in the fire back in California, and a couple of confirmed interviews.  If all went well, he would soon be earning enough to repay his parents.

Here he was, winging his way home, and on to fame and fortune.  If only he were as confident as he told himself he was.

 

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a 100 word story.

 

This can be considered Chapter 2, following my May 29 Flash Fiction #7 post, Stepping Up, Stepping Down.