Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's Greek to me

My "Road House" plans of last night were waylaid when I saw that "Steel Magnolias" was on, and when that ended, "Revenge of the Nerds" started.

Talk about a double whammy of guilty pleasure! It's always fun to hang out with the Tri-Lambs!

At Ball State, the Greek culture wasn't as prevalent as it is on other campuses, like at Indiana University. In fact, among my friends, the Greek culture was pretty much despised. We were anti-Greek. For a while, I considered becoming a little sister of the Phi Delts, but ended up just going to lots of their parties. All the fun with none of the work. I had some friends who joined sororities, but they were pretty cool. In retrospect, what I actually disliked about that whole scene wasn't the fun, party frats like the Phi Delts, but the preppy, sweater-vest wearing Greeks. That was during the height of my punk phase, and the sort of white bread conformity espoused by "those" organizations made me want to vomit.

Oddly enough, many years later, I ended up joining a service sorority. My sister was (and still is) in it, and I went ahead and pledged. We had a lot of fun, and did some good things for the community, but I think I only lasted about a year. I got tired of the ritual, and at that time, I was very stressed at work. We'd have a meeting and instead of focusing on the business at hand, it turned into asides and digressions and chat. I would be worn out from work, and it reminded me so much of the nonproductive meetings we had every week in the department! So I went inactive, and have no desire to go back. However, I still see some of the women when Diana has a party, and it's always great to see them--I don't believe there are any hard feelings there. But no, I won't be going active any time soon. Like ever. I'm just not a "joiner," you know?

Change of topic, although my not being a "joiner" may come into play here. I read the Feb. 23 issue of Time, and the cover story is about faith and healing. I won't go into that, and actually just skimmed the main article. But there was an article called "Faith and Healing: A Forum" that I found really intriguing. They talked with three men: a chaplain, a radiologist/psychiatrist, and psychiatrist. The topic was how much of a hand a physician should have in talking with their patient about faith and/or spirituality. Should a patient's spirituality be a part of what a doctor asks when they take a history of the patient?

All three felt that the physicians' role is mainly to treat the patient's physical or mental problems, and if needed, they can point the patient to a chaplain or someone to help them with their spiritual needs. Even the chaplain agreed with that assessment, and so do I. If my doctor started asking me about my religious beliefs, my reaction would be one of distrust, as in "Why do you want to know?" One of the psychiatrists said that the idea of a divine interventionist is a supernatural explanation, and science doesn't deal in supernatural explanations. He believes that faith and spirituality can definitely play a role in a patient's outcome, but religion and science are different domains. They all agreed that the research of the neuroscience of religion may be an interesting exercise and lead to some discoveries about brain chemistry, but it's pointless to reduce spiritual beliefs to neurochemicals, and that is the business of science: to find the chemistry behind the phenomenon. And what would be the point of that?

The chaplain had some remarks that really struck me, concerning the difference between religion and spirituality. He said that religion is an organized set of beliefs, like his own, Lutheran. I'll put up an entire quote here: "Spirituality, I think, is a much broader concept, and it has to do with probably a personal quest. Lutheran is what some other people have said Lutheran is. Your spirituality is what you say it is, and so my job as a chaplain is to discover what you say it is and to help that spirituality be helpful to you in coping with the illness or whatever is going on in your life."

Thank you, Rev. Handzo, for putting it so perfectly. I won't go into the gory details here, but some of you know some of my feelings about this subject, and know why I have them. I have little use--okay, I have NO use--for dogma, or for the sort of judgemental attitude I've seen at various points in my life. Yes, I know not everyone is like that, and there are people in my own family who have very strong beliefs but manage to restrain themselves from using them as a sledgehammer and beating me about the head and torso. I appreciate that, because I have encountered some who aren't afraid to point out their firmly held belief that if I don't believe exactly as they do, I've got a one-way ticket to hell.

Rev. Handzo said, "Your spirituality is what you say it is." A while back, someone criticized me for not going to church, saying that I "worship outside with the birds" and implying that just wasn't good enough. (They left out the part about going to hell.) Personally, I can think of very few places that are better to meditate or worship than outside with the birds. You have the peace and quiet to think, you are left to your own thoughts so you can ponder life's great enigmas, and you get to listen to the sounds of nature rather than having to put up with the crappy music. (Results may vary with your particular place of worship.)

My philosophy is one of "each to their own." I may not agree with your beliefs, but I'm not going to debate you and try to convince you that mine are right. Everyone has the right to their own personal beliefs and concepts of spirituality, and I respect that. In turn, I believe I have the right to that same respect. It's called tolerance.


  1. Ah Beth, I agree. My spirituality is my own. But I do agree with you on the spiritual "nature" of finding your spiritual center in Nature.

    :) Leigh

  2. Hello Beth I love Revenge of the Nerds and Steel Mags. Just wanted to pop in and say hi!
    Take care

  3. I know what you mean about not being a "joiner"... I think it comes from working for a large organization! And if I do join, I feel this extreme need to "lead", which makes it take even more time. I'm limiting myself to the Krewe- I'm not joining anything else!

  4. Hi Beth,
    Ahhh ... Revenge of the Nerds. I have to admit, I never really was able to watch that movie all the way through.

  5. I agree about the nature thing. I do some of my best praying & meditating...I just sit in awe of all the things God has done, can do & will do in the future. I respect you & others for their beliefs...I won't try to change them & no one will change mine. It doesn't mean that we can't get along & be friends because we don't see things the same way.

    It's strange that you posted about not being a "joiner", because I posted about not being a joiner too. LOL

  6. You are SO going to hell. ;)~ Some feel that god IS nature and the closer you are to nature, the closer you are to god. So by all rights, you could say that their idea of sitting in a building is the "wrong" way. But then, you KNOW how I feel about the whole shi-bang. ;)

  7. i have met many MANY religious church going folks in my 40 yrs that were thieves,liars, molestors, and let me know that since they "lived their lives in a Godly manner" they had their own personal throne next to God Himself.
    Well, to each his own. Those who preach it need to remember to live it too. Their judgment of others will get them to hell faster than those who do not attend a church.
    Awesome entry, as always.

  8. Each individual's beliefs are truly their own. I've found that although I belong to a church and we all profess to believe the same things each one believes a little differently. All the things we are made up of tend to keep us unique and that is a good thing for sure.

  9. Don't know why ... sorta brought tears to my eyes.

    First ... watch 'Apollo 13' yesterday and though of you and Ken as the Lovells! It was a great movie, and just amazing. The margin for error was so small as to be non existant. That they made it, was amazing.

    I've been going to church lately, though last couple of Sunday's, the weather has kept me in. This Sunday, I am in for a different reason, and when you see 'Gran Torino' you may understand why.

    You aren't the only one who has problems with 'joining'. Whenever I find myself in a group of people going in a direction, I have to ask myself if I am going where I want to go, or am I just going along with the crowd.

    With spirituality, I always thought it was supposed to be the individual's relationship, not the being in a group that matters the most. Don't want to over talk or think, but that is just me. This was a really good entry.

  10. Vagabonds are never joiners. They can't be. It doesn't work.

    Indeed crappy music is a good reason to stay away from church. Whenever I hear an electric organ with a fake vibrato I wince and want to hit the road. Religious beliefs? Some people suffer from hypocrisy. As Satchel Paige said "If you don't pray when the sun shines, don't pray when it rains." Some people find their spirituality in church, others don't. Some people think God sends diseases and other tragedies and then they pray to the same God to take them away. How silly!

    You are going to hell, by the way. When you get there let me show you around. D

  11. I am thrilled that you have begun
    your search for your own spirituality.
    If it hasn't begun by age 40, I hear
    that it isn't likely to begin.
    Bless you to find all the answers.


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?