Barbie World + [interwebz]

Feeling Freedom.

I can't decide if it's wrong or not, this impulse I have to borrow from my friends' excellent posts and go off on my own tangents.

On the one hand, these posts were their ideas. They stumbled upon an interesting idea, quote, discussion... and they ran with it. Explained and expanded. Then I come moseying along to their blogs, and as usual get all sorts of inspired by what they have to say about X, Y, or Z. So I take a piece of their post and I come here, adding and subtracting and shaping the post that they brought into this world until it speaks the language of my own heart. Which is often pretty closely aligned with what these ladies have to say, but you know, everyone adds their own little twist.

On the other hand, anytime another blogger takes something I've written and makes it their own, I am thrilled to my tiptoes. I like when ideas get passed back and forth, salted and peppered and reshaped. Punched down and then allowed to rise (side note: I am contemplating making bread this evening). It's fun to see how people interpret what you put out there on the interwebz.

Plus, if my link to their original-excellent-idea post drives a bit of traffic to their corner of the blogosphere, that's a little extra treat for me too. The more friends I have in real life who start blogs, the more I enjoy blogging. It's like a neighborhood block party, except without the bees. Win.

Anyways.

My dear friend Emily has a funny, thoughtful, and whip-smart blog. She writes about Pitt basketball, TV shows, seasons, rap music, and babies with equal parts passion and hilarity. She has some really inspiring thoughts about faith too, and as someone who drones on and on about religion now and then, those posts are some of my favorites.

Especially this one. Thoughts about language and freedom and interpretation, and how they all relate to faith.

Go read it right now. Seriously.

You're back! Awesome stuff, right?

Catholics aren't always known for our free-wheeling approach to religion. That might be the understatement of the century. Part of what I love about my church is the centuries millenniums of tradition -- prayers and objects and symbols so ancient that they feel sacred in and of themselves, without even considering their literal truth and meaning -- but all that weighty history can make approaches, like relics, seem a little dusty now and then.

Now, I like order and familiarity and solemnity in my religion. I know myself, and I would not be comfortable going to a service that wasn't "by the book." I don't want rock music. (I sound approximately 90 years old). I don't want the leader of worship selling books (Joel Osteen seems like a fabulous person, but not exactly my spiritual cup of tea). I've mentioned before that I never cared for youth groups, which were full of mostly nice kids in middle and high school, but in which I always felt hopelessly out of place.

Do you want to know how repressed I really am? I don't even like the Catholic practice of holding hands or putting palms up to pray. I will keep my hands folded or clasped to myself, thank you very much. I'm mostly Puritan in that regard.

via Hold your hand?
But.

I do hold a very open-minded attitude to other styles of worship and religious beliefs. So open-minded, in fact, that I'm not sure my approach is technically Christian. If we want to get really serious for a second, I think good people go to heaven, period. I think "Jesus saves" is accurate in that I think he saves those who live his message of kindness, tolerance, compassion, and forgiveness. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists. The whole kit and caboodle. Dogs too -- if they don't go to heaven, then send me where they go. The jury is still out on cats.

So if you can imagine, for a moment, a great-grandmotherly figure who would be totally okay with wearing a veil to Mass but who also thinks the very nice but staunchly atheist next door neighbor completely charming and in no danger of eternal damnation, then that right there is my approach to faith.

Allow me to be a dusty old relic, and I am perfectly happy with whatever it is you believe and do. That is my definition of "feeling freedom," as Emily and her eastern European couch-neighbor brilliantly put it.