Tuesday, 25 March 2008

8 non-sequential ruminations on faith

  1. When my priest first approached me about baptism and confirmation (which was three priests ago- we go through them quickly) I said I wasn't ready, and thought to myself that with my difficulty in learning things by rote I would likely be ready at about the same time that I had the Nicene Creed memorised. Today as I scrubbed the grouting in a client's shower I realised I knew the Creed by heart.
  2. I both enjoy hearing of people rebelling against a religious upbringing and turning atheist and hearing people joyfully speak of the comforts of faith.
  3. When I pray, I pray for faith.
  4. I am resentful of the suggestion that faith can be a choice. If God does not exist, faith is a sugar pill placebo and I am one of the control group that know it is just sugar. A little packet of empty calories that will not cure my headaches or clear up that fungal skin infection. But its emptyness is beside the point to the placebo group that value its role in their life and its ability to soothe their troubles. That is actually a more comforting thought to me than the idea that if God does exist he is just choosing not to give me the gifts that he gives believers. In God's family, I am the black sheep.
  5. What's so great about blind faith? If God really wanted everyone to believe he could just appear in the sky, whisper in your ear or make a cameo appearance in next Tuesday's dream. Why does he want to play hard to get?
  6. Psalms 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God. I have always loved the simplicity of that, and it is this passage that has given me glimpses of faith, lying awake at 2 a.m. when I can't sleep. It helps me drift off, and in the final moments when I know I am already halfway asleep I pray that I will still feel that certain when I wake in the morning. I never do.
  7. I feel closest to God when I am planting seeds in my garden. There is an old gardener's phrase: One for the birds, one for the weather and one for me. You wish your little seeds the best but know that as soon as they leave your hand and are covered in dirt many of them will fail just on the whims of nature, and while you are helping them in all the small ways you can, for the most part you are simply a spectator. I wonder if that's how God feels most of the time.
  8. Maybe I expect too much, and that my 2 a.m. glimpses of God is all that any of us get. The believers are just better at pretending than I am.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Am I the only person in the Western world who does not hate Heather Mills?

Mills/McCartney divorce case settled. Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of hers. I've never been particularly interested in her to read up on all the horrible things she has supposedly said and done. On the radio today they called her "Britain's most hated woman" and almost every news article I have read is biased against her (such as this one accusing her of extorting McCartney). Let's say she was totally in it for the money, a gold digger as many articles claim. Never loved him, planned only to manipulate a grieving widower, have a child to secure the deal, then leave him and take 50% of her fortune. Not even that would deny her the right to some kind of divorce settlement. Paul knew going in to it that this is how divorces go, that by marrying her he was granting her ownership of a hefty portion of his wealth. If he didn't want to risk that on an ex-model almost half his age he should either have got a pre-nup or just lived in sin.

Australian housing affordability at all-time low. Mark my words, this is the big issue for my generation. Sometimes I lie awake at night thinking about how every day that goes by is taking me further away from my dream of owning a home. Waiting and saving is no good if housing prices just keep going up. It's like running for the horizon. This article does a good job of summing up some of the issues:
Young Australian families face a much greater financial
burden from mortgage repayments on their overpriced houses than their American
counterparts. So much so, it found, that for many young Australian families
there is now no way to afford a home without having both parents working full
time and putting their children in care. In contrast, in the US, because house
prices are lower, there is far less need for both parents to work so less need
for the children to be placed in care.

So stop whinging about how Australian women should have "one for mum, one for dad, and one for the country" and start making it more affordable to settle down and have a family. I for one will not have kids if I have to work 60 hours a week just to pay the bills, and I'm sure many others feel the same. What is the point of having them if you only see them on weekends?

New Tom Cruise video leaked! Do you ever get the feeling that he actually thinks he is Maverick?
(I hope they gave Nancy Cartwright a birthday bash that was twice the size since she donates twice as much as stingy Tom Cruise)

Another bad day for the American economy. When are they going to cry uncle and officially declare it to be a recession? And how soon after will Australia follow?

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Quiverfull Sims: The Emancipation of Mary

Poor Mary Montgomery had the misfortune of being the first daughter in a family of twelve children. She was the first victim of the buddy system, as evidenced by her skill metres. Zero charisma, zero creativity, zero logic. Six cooking points, five cleaning points and one mechanical point she earned by unclogging the toilets.

So it should be of no surprise that when she came of age she automatically looked like this:

I knew one had to rebel. Daisy Dukes and a see-through mesh top!
(Behold your future, Jinger Duggar)

When Mary realised that she had the style and sophistication of a woman of the early 1980s but was stuck in a 1950s world she experienced a mental breakdown.

Mary: "I want to escape this family but I lack real world skills! I am doomed to live out my mother's life as a lobotomised helpmeet to a chauvinist"

Joshua: "Quit your whining, woman! And come here and hold this baby, this isn't my jurisdiction!"

Xavier and OfXavier were so concerned that her depression would interfere with the courtship process that they brought in a therapist scheduled an emergency meeting with their pastor.

But Satan (in league with the secular media and the anti-family manufacturers of revealing clothing) had already sown the seed of rebellion. Mary waved goodbye to her smelly buddy and boarded a cab to freedom.

The commie pinko fascist liberal government gave her a first home-owners grant of $20,000 which she used to purchase a modest house on the other side of the city.

I embraced her rebellion by giving her a hot pink mohawk and enlisting her in the army. I considered making her a lesbian but she had other ideas when a handsome young man happened to walk by her house and Mary made a beeline for him.

"They made me practice Amazing Grace on the violin until my fingers bled!"

Perhaps Brady also had endured a childhood of forced music practice, as they seemed to hit it off and went straight to the bedroom. Mary's sex ed lessons must have made an effect, as she took charge in the seduction. Look out Duggars, first it's leopard print coats, then it's leopard print sheets on which to have premarital woohoo.I had risky woohoo enabled, and Mary happened to be one of those unlucky 5%. Three days later little Damien Montgomery was born. Doesn't she look so happy in all her alternamummy glory?

I wanted Mary to enjoy her rebellion so I didn't want to send her down the familiar path of marriage and babies, but right after Damien was born she wanted to both get engaged to Brady and have another baby (also to eat a grilled cheese sandwich and to buy a shrub. I let her do all four). I didn't want to deprive her further after her horrible childhood, so I allowed them to shack up before the inevitable marriage. I considered having Brady take the Montgomery name as a last sign of defiance, but then I realised Brady's surname was Hart and I couldn't resist.

He's a doting father, albeit a little slow to change smelly diapers. I had to laugh at his cold weather outfit because it reminds me so much of Odlaw. (Did you know there is a waldo wiki? The Odlaw colouring in the first link is much closer to what I remembered. Incidentally, in Australia Waldo is called Wally. It wasn't until I was a teenager trying to find the theme tune to the cartoon that I realised that a Waldo version existed. The Australian Odlaw should really be called Yllaw.)

Damien. Bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and buddy-free.

It's a girl! Her second (and last, thankyou very much) child, Melissa Joan.

Here ends my Quiverfull exploits for the time being. I implimented a one-child only policy to bring down the population and played 20 sims to a household to get through a few generations quickly until I was left with just 10 sims in the entire neighbourhood. So all of my original Quiverfull sims are dead and gone several generations ago. Even little Melissa Joan Hart has a great-grandchild now.

I downloaded some nifty religious objects so I might bring religion and babymaking back to the neighbourhood. I had initially found that site to get some Satanic and Pagan objects for my one-child only breeding houses, just to revel in the anti-Gothard nature of it all. Since playing these families I picked up a copy of Freetime which allows me not only to buy violins but also to make hideous outfits on a sewing machine! If that isn't a sign to make some Duggar sims, I don't know what is.

(Sims 3! Is it March 19 yet?)

The funkiest cartoon theme song of the early nineties: