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.