The reason people should go to Church

I have a garden.

It’s a fairly smallish garden, it comes with a duplex, and the porch takes up about half the garden area.

Being vaguely north-west facing, our flats heat up like furnaces in summer; which is why I cultivated, in that porch-sized patch that is the other half of my garden,  a Tree.

She’s a pink frangipani and I have had to defend her with my life against the neighbourhood b*tch in the past, whose greatest wish seemed to be to murder my Lady Frangipani when I was not looking.

I came home late one Saturday night from visiting a friend, and discovered the next morning that Lady Tree had been trimmed deeply into our side of the garden fence.  I was livid.

We also had the fortune, when I was a lovely young mother with a small baby, of being watched non-stop by a weirdo who lived across from us; he’d stand in his carport (which was right across from our garden) and stare, and stare.  I used to keep my curtains closed in those days, because he could have seen straight into my livingroom (my sunfilters are good but no sunfilters work 100%).  And I used to stay out of the garden.

Luckily the weirdo moved away, and a comparatively blissful time followed.  I decided that the view on my neighbour’s carport wasn’t something to write home about, and started to grow, from plumbago, a green wall, a nice tall, dense hedge.

Neighbourhood b*tch instructed the complex’s gardener to chop my hedge to knee-height once or twice, until I scolded the gardener so badly that he didn’t dare to do it again.  And There Was Peace.

Then neighbourhood b*tch moved away too.  Bliss!  My garden “wall” grew to create a beautiful private enclave. Every so often I’d add something into my little sanctuary.  And Lady Tree grew to a respectable size, to shade my window from the western sun, cooling my home down impressively.  She flowers all the time, and the white fairy bougainvillea that has grown into it, ads its masses of pink-tinged white blossoms – from the top windows one looks down on a sea of flowers.  It’s magnificent.

It is also the greenest, prettiest flowering hedge in the whole row.  Everyone else’s gardens are stunted, carefully controlled, or neglected; one or two brave tomato plants straggling in the sallow soil.  Not mine.  It’s LUSH.  And as such, it doesn’t fit in…

And…

in moved another little neighbourhood b*tch.  This one, a yuppie.  Within 3 months she’d taken over the board, and was “laying down the law” for owners and tenants alike.  And then she discovered that it wasn’t quite as upmarket a neighbourhood as she’d like to live in, and she moved – but kept her position as chairman; (no, she’s definitely no “chairwoman” or “chairperson”, let alone a “chair” – she’s a chairman and a bully at that)  and she has been trying to sell, ever since.

I don’t mind if I hear someone else’s baby crying.  We’re living quite close together, c’est la vie, and I’ve had babies too.  And if a dog barks, gracious, it’s so good to know humans aren’t the only species left on this urbanized planet!  And honest people working from home – artisans, mechanics – this really takes a nuclear physicist to understand – they don’t cheapen a neighbourhood:  They make it safer.  Against crime.

But explain this to a yuppie who is trying to sell her place!  Ever since, our complex has been “updated” by being painted 50 shades of grey; and so on.  Carports have been painted a very modern black – and then, they realized too late (because who listens to me? Duh) that now cars have prangs at night because those cages are completely invisible.  So they had to paste reflectors on all the cages.  It looks funny, and certainly not as upmarket as she had hoped.  Never a dull moment.

…but this morning…

I heard our “caretaker” talk to the gardener, who was sweeping the leaves from my tree off the road.

Trees make leaves.

They were plotting to cut down my Lady Tree so that the gardener didn’t have to work “so hard” sweeping leaves.  (Not that he doesn’t have to sweep the whole road in any case, every day.  Because trees make leaves… and neighbourhood brats and mutts throw rubbish around.  What’s worse?)

But for cutting down my tree – can they legally do this?

They can.  The place is a sectional title, and “my” garden and porch aren’t mine, they are “communal property allocated for private use”.  This means the board can decide whatever they want about my garden, and my Lady Tree.  And if they want to make it look like a squatter camp or Alcatraz to make it more conform so that Yuppiegirl can sell her flat more easily (I struggle to follow the logic), then unfortunately, they can.

I can make their life misery in return, and if they do, I sure will.

Don’t they know?  Cutting down an old, large tree (and Lady Tree is more than 16 years old, she’s likely older than 30) angers the spirit of the tree, and said spirit will come to take revenge.  I’ve seen it happen twice before.  There was a huge old beautiful tree protecting part of a parking lot at a restaurant where hubbs worked when we were insanely young.

The neighbouring property cut down that tree.  Both the restaurant and the neighbours suffered hectic financial setbacks after that.  And the special magic of the place was gone.

And the other time was when a neighbour of ours (when I was a kid) cut down an enormous, ancient avocado tree (also because of the leaves).

Shortly after, everything she did went bad.  She had to shut down her business, take her daughter out of the school she was attending, she got in trouble with the law because her dog mauled someone’s pet, and eventually she had to pack up and leave – emigrate to America.

Which brings me to why some people need to attend church every Sunday.*

(*Please don’t get this wrong:  By no means do I mean all Christians with this observation.  I mean these specific types of people – isn’t it amazing how, the nastier they get, the more churchgoing they are.  The “holier-than-thous”.)

“Thou shalt not kill!”

“Love thy neighbour!”

“As you have done to the least of you, you have done to Me!”

“Thou shalt not covet!”

“Thou shalt not “…. and so on and so forth, straight from Arkenaten’s “Nine Amendments”.

{!–  And of course, so that people like me whom they do in while I’m off at work, can potentially get back at them while they are off at church trying (and failing) to learn how not to do others in…  😉   –}

It’s like a switch, for some.  They step into the light of the Church and they are all holy and illuminated, and such good citizens because they are actually on the moral high-grounds by being in church.   And then, after the message went “whoosh”, they step out of that light again, the switch goes off and they go back to being the roadhogs, neighbourhood b*tches and bullies, superbosses and generally disagreeable citizens they always are.

At least this I can say of every Zen Buddhist I’ve met, and everyone who practices the Tao:  They live what they believe.  Their belief is not something that’s reserved for once per week, two hours.  It pervades and guides everything they do.  Are they better people?  They are in fact, in general, very humble people who do not believe themselves to be better.  But as an observer I can tell you:  Yes, they definitely are better than those wannabe Christians that use the Church as a shield against being criticised for being such hogs.  And I’m positive anyone who is a genuine Christian at heart and tries to live up to what is expected in the Bible, will agree with me.

Why is this?

Because of the basic difference in the premises of these religions.

Christians believe they are saved the moment they declare Christ as their lord and saviour.  All their sins are forgiven, all their trespasses, and they get a clean slate.  This premise lends itself to abuse by the vile.

Whereas the Karmic and reincarnation-based religions believe in cosmic retaliation; that if something bad happens to you, you have deserved it somehow by offending them in a previous life, and the only way you can break the cycle is by stepping outside it and instantly forgiving them because they’re only squaring with you.  That way the karma gets evened out and can eventually dissipate, allowing you to move to a higher level.

It is no wonder some “Christians” regard this as evil.  There is no short-cut in this approach.  You have to work for your improvement.  You can’t go for your weekly “shower” to get washed clean, and start all over; for the Karmic religions, the lessons are literally life lessons in how to conduct yourself.  It would be nice if some people saw church in the same light.

Martin Luther said that if he knew the world were coming to an end tomorrow, today he’d still plant a young apple tree.

It’s amazing how these real shiny people, being of the firm belief that the Earth is indeed coming to a fast end due to too high carbon dioxide levels, have the nerve to want to cut down the best carbon sink we have in our whole complex.  That those same people who moan about my cat killing 2 birds in the last 5 years (but, any number of rats), have no second thoughts about destroying a whole ecotope in which at least 5 species of birds are nesting (too high up for the cats to get to them).

It is amazing.

 

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25 thoughts on “The reason people should go to Church

  1. “Christians believe they are saved the moment they declare Christ as their lord and saviour. All their sins are forgiven, all their trespasses, and they get a clean slate.”

    To be fair, SOME do. Mainly those churches that have a doctrine based on ‘election’ (i.e. the Calvinist churches, by and large). Members of churches that believe in ‘metanoia’ – and here I mean the transformation of one’s whole life, one’s spiritual and psychological state by Grace, NOT those who translate it as ‘repentance’ and mean ‘being sorry’, or those who translate it as ‘being born again’ and mean ‘getting all happy-clappy’ – are much closer to Zen Buddhists and Taoists in that respect. However, I would imagine that if you found yourself somewhere that Zen Buddhism or Taoism was simply a part of a general culture, the way Christianity is in the West, you would find as many disappointing Buddhists and Taoists as you do Christians where you are.

    The whole question about being Christians on Sunday and then going back to being liars, back-stabbers, and cheats on the other six days of the week, is an old one. In 17c England the Quaker evangelist George Fox addressed this very question. Mind you, he was addressing an entrenched problem going back more than a thousand years, to the time when Emperor Constantine declared that everyone in the Roman Empire was now a citizen and a Christian, no matter what their spiritual condition, and exacerbated by the fact that for the whole of that intervening time one could be the blackest sinner on earth as long as one could go along to the priest once in a while and make confession…

    It’s a long and somewhat complicated theological issue. But the main thing is that the phenomenon you are seeing is ‘Christianity’ as nothing better than a cultural label – which, unfortunately, it largely is.

    • “I would imagine that if you found yourself somewhere that Zen Buddhism or Taoism was simply a part of a general culture, the way Christianity is in the West, you would find as many disappointing Buddhists and Taoists as you do Christians where you are.”

      Yes I’m afraid I probably would.! Well observed.

      Still I’m very much a supporter of Christianity in the cultural respect: It’s where we come from through a coupla thousand years (some would say, of churchly oppression, and in part that would be true too). Here in South Africa, the very deeply Calvinist Voortrekkers built a church as the hub of every town, much as it was in medieval Europe. Ever since we’ve been “freed” all these cultural structures are under attack as is our very civilization – mainly by the politicians. Those citizens who have gained from the transition (our whole newly emerged African middle class) on the other hand support all the structures of civilization, including (especially!) the Christianity culture that is at its foundation.

      Interesting that pseudo-Christian hypocrisy was already a problem in 17c!

    • When George Fox referred to ‘apostasy’ he was talking about something which, in his eyes, had gripped Christianity almost from the get-go, certainly from early in its history. Thanks for your observations, Lyz.

      M

  2. It’s wrong to murder babies, little corals for to fleece,
    But sins like this one expiates at half-a-crown apiece… (Gilbert – ‘Gentle Alice Brown’)
    Humans are vile. Churchgoers are human. Therefore, churchgoers are vile? 🙂

    • 🙂 Oy I was afraid of this. This is not angled at Christians in general, who (the sincere ones) strike me as a very fair-minded, likeable breed. It’s angled at those hypocrites who hide behind their “church-goingness” (I can’t call it religion because I can’t seriously believe they have one) to indemnify themselves so they can be as nasty as they like in “real life”.

      Col you’re pulling my leg, LOL! I know you know me better!

    • Nice play! 😉 I’ll remember that one.

      It’s of course in the nature of the teachings – mainly Calvinist as Marie points out, well that is largely what we have here, don’t ask about Lutheran, I get chills –

      … that you can “buy yourself clean” once again by going to Church and repenting what you did wrong. It’s a “pay-as-you-go” system. Perfect crate for a hyppo who would find the effort of the more “way”-oriented religions just too many steps to take.

      I’ve heard the impression that Jesus was a Taoist; “I am the Way, I am the Light” – both concepts straight from Taoism.

    • My simply theory towards religion is that they are all a bit right, but a lot wrong.
      A pity that the historical foundations of religions are on such shaky ground. It would be nice to start from a basis of absolute proof of the existence of the central characters.

    • Yes. It would indeed! I think the biggest let-down for Ark came when he discovered that not so much the spiritual teachings were wrong, but the actual character was probably fictitious. It’s an irony that Santa Claus actually has historical reality and so many see him as a myth.

    • Ironical, indeed.
      Amazing that a significant number of Brit teens were recorded as thinking Winston Churchill, Richard Lionheart and Florence Nightingale were fictional, but Sherlock Homes and King Arthur and Eleanor Rigby real.

  3. Pingback: Short Story. The Old Tree. | Almost Dead in Suburbia

  4. I have read all the comments on this thread and have realised there is far too much here to reply to, far too many points made which need addressing. Better I shouldn’t try. When we do address matters of spirituality and institutionalised religion, we are on difficult ground anyway. Any worthwhile study of this matter has to drill down to the issue of human consciousness before it even starts on such things as ‘proof’, ‘belief’, ‘faith’, and so on. Another time maybe…

    • Yup absolutely! Amazing stuff altogether. The subject itself is very interesting, what’s even more amazing is how people get worked up about it in all directions. (Btw there’s almost always a good religious battle going on at Arkenaten’s blog, if you feel like reading some high-flying emotion. 😉 )

  5. Sounds a lot like that song “they paved paradise to put up a parking lot”. I do hpe that you can fight them on this, it sounds ridiculous to cut down a tree because of the falling leaves!

  6. Of course trees makes leave Gipsika and if it ‘bothers’ the ‘poor gardener’ so much, tell the caretaker you will clean where ‘your’ beautiful tree made a mess. Clearly they don’t see the beauty or the advantage of your Lady Tree. I have one in front of my window and I love the scent that comes through the window when the flowers bloom.

    We have an Avocado tree as well and this Spring it dropped so many leaves the roof had to be cleaned twice in one week and it’s at the back and although it’s far from the swimming pool, the wind do blow most of the leaves into the swimming pool, with the result that I have to clean twice a day to prevent these big leaves fall into the pool and my neighbours Avocado tree that’s by the wall started blooming as it’s a young tree and its leaves also fell a lot this year and yes, there were some days when I haven’t been feeling well and I had to clean all the leaves up and complained about ‘neighbour’s trees giving me more work than my own tree’ but it certainly would not give me a reason to have her cut it down or damage it so it would die because it’s a beautiful tree and it also gives a lot of shade when we sit under the gazebo at the swimming pool. Yesterday we had lots of wind and lovely rain and at 10pm last night we had to go and clean the pool’s filters because of all the leaves and clean out all the leaves in the swimming pool – not a nice job when you’re tired but all in all – nothing to complain about because these beautiful trees pay us back with their lovely fruits and they are food to all the birds around here and the monkeys love to eat the blossoms.

    I know what you mean regarding those specific types of people. We have quite a few of them here and I avoid them at all costs because I will land in jail for doing or saying things I shouldn’t do or say. I do hope Yuppiegirl realises that Karma is a bitch. She will get what’s coming to her for sure. This sectional title stuff sounds scary but I am sure you have your rights as well hon. They can be glad I don’t live there. There would have been hell to pay for sure.
    *hugs*

    • 🙂 Yes sectional title living is a legal nightmare.

      I can understand the leaves issue; but on the other hand, the front row (in front of our carports) is lined with trees from outside the fence, so he has to sweep that whole row every morning anyway, and short of killing the municipal trees there’s nothing he can do about it. He gets paid for his job, and in fact this is one of the tasks he has – there are not overly many others. Very often I don’t even see him in the afternoon.

      My sis-in-law has a leaves “filter” that she used to hang into her pool (when she was in a house that had one). She made it from an old lace stocking, and she fastens it it in the way of the current, so a lot of leaves drift into it by themselves.

      Yesterday’s storm looked magnificent from here – like the edges of a hurricane! Wish I’d taken photos. I was in a hurry to get home so I could tell the kids to come and look at the storm.

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