“Lately I’ve been thinking”
(Shudders and whispers emerge from a crowd shocked that a woman would dare think ESPECIALLY in this day and age.)
“dangerous I know. But I’m doing it.”
They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but I’ve never heard honest talk of the path to heaven. Or about the people on it. And I say that, not because I haven’t heard the traditional beliefs on what grants one access to heaven, but rather because I often, in my head and in this day and age, struggle, with the image of a person who thinks they are entitled to a spot in heaven vs the person who embodies the beauty and the good that heaven represents. [And mind you, this is exactly to say that my ideals of heaven and hell could be easily explained by that one part of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone where Harry gets the Stone over Voldemort because Harry wanted to find it but not exploit it but Voldemort was obviously acting in his own interests from day one. — coughs – republican christians – coughs]
For example – in recent weeks some extremist, mega-church Christians, expressed their desire to publicly execute members of the LGBTQ+ and trans communities. And I know this because multiple videos of Christian leadership have gone viral. [Now personally, I think these sentiments, among other things that have been preached and cheered for recently, are wrong – not to mention directly contradictory to a whole handful of fundamental Christian beliefs and values – but as a queer woman and quaker (quakerism is a branch of christianity), what do I really know?] (insert proper facial expressions to enhance sarcasm.)
As you may or may not know, when it comes to faith I am more of a spiritual person rather than a religious one. See as someone raised in the Quaker faith, I learned to value love and stewardship, acceptance and simplicity rather than paraphrasing text and praising grand imagery. But aside from those values, the reason I don’t gravitate toward larger religious institutions is because there are particular aspects of certain modern and institutionalized religions (and the stereotypical image we get in our head about the people that follow those religions) that, in my mind, have been weaponized to further stratify and control members of society. And while it’s important to note that it’s “not all” religions and it’s “not all” churches — saying it’s “not all” of them only distracts from the fact that the ones that are, can be very damaging and in some cases lethal.
All that said, recent events and the people leading those events got me thinking “if the path to hell is lined with good intentions” then would it be fair to wonder if the path to heaven is lined with, what? Un-intentions? How about microaggressions? Subtle jabs? or even things we “didn’t mean,” Or maybe just any form of “excusable” acts of disrespect [in the eyes of God or the law as determined by paraphrased text] – Because frankly, if we’re going to be so open and honest and critical about what gets you on the path to hell, if we’re going to be so dynamic with our opinions on who and what deserves God’s love (despite his biggest schtick being that he loves ALL his children) then, by all means, let’s identify some characteristics of those that might think they are on the path to heaven and the effects of their “unintentional” acts on others.
And to be clear I’m not saying this to air any specific dirty laundry. I’m just saying it because I’ve been thinking a lot lately about life and loss and about the patriarchy and religion (as one does). And I’ve been thinking about queerness, and color and beauty. I’ve been thinking about home and about what makes home special and beautiful and because I am adhd as all hell – all that somehow that got me to the idea of heaven and how I find it funny that when we think of heaven and we think of pearly gates and white clouds and sparkling utopia, but we rarely state aloud what it may actually cost those who might be unable to achieve and uphold that sort of sparkling image that some some christians preach. And because as much as we talk about the end result, we rarely think about who was stepped over to reach those goals.
The cost of progress
If the road to hell is paved with good intentions then the path to heaven is undoubtedly lined with subtle but distinguishable micro and macro-aggressions.
Now since you all know me, you know I can’t leave this blog without talking about this week’s serious event and how it relates to the catchy clickbait excerpt above.
So, as you may or may not know this week – in the attempt to stop the supreme court from its all but inevitable attack on gay, interracial and interfaith marriage [because we officially live in the dark ages] – the House put forth a bill (that passed 267-157) that writes these marriage rights into law (thus telling the supreme court to properly screw themselves and preventing them from attacking any more “controversial” rights.)
In recent weeks and in the weeks to come there will be quite a few conversations surrounding gay and interracial marriage. And with those conversations, there will be many supporters and many naysayers. And with those conversations of disapproval come voices who claim to be moral and just, who claim to be fighting a good fight on their path to heaven but in the end and in 50 years time, I can’t say that heavens’ incredibly low census will surprise me.
I suppose at the end of the day I just find it interesting that when it comes to those among us that claim to be the most devout are also the ones who, in a way, are unknowingly damning themselves in the name of supposedly saving others. [But for the record, we aren’t the ones who need saving.] Or in other cases, condemning others because, somehow, other people’s actions and who and how they love others affects your life.
So as I continue to contemplate this, among other issues that I’m currently facing in my adult life, I encourage you to take the time to do the same. I encourage you to think critically about the people and places you are supporting, I encourage you to vote. I encourage you to think about what life holds and what you hold dear because in end nothing is promised and the path to heaven [if that’s even where you hope to go] might be lined with more danger than you know.