Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My Morality is Slipping

I've only had one ever (and that on my recent birthday), but I've decided that my new favorite thing of summer is a Corona with a slice of lime.

I keep thinking I'm going to have more, but then I don't want to actually go buy beer for the first time in my life. I'm sure the Jesus police will come out and say, "Tsk, tsk. Do you really think that's such a good idea? WWJD?" To which I should reply, "He'd say, 'Don't forget the lime!'" Why do I still give a rip what anyone thinks? It's not like the Fred Meyer on NE 20th and Burnside is filled with the church-going Jesus freaks of Newberg who I assumed watched my every move. This Fred Meyer is filled with strung out meth heads who seriously do NOT need the case of beer they're dragging through the express lane. Yet, I'm sure someone would look at me as if to say, "Don't you realize it's only 6pm on MONDAY?" And they'd be right. It's too early in the week to start drinking. It's a school night! Besides, I live alone now, how pathetic would that be to sit at home alone with a beer on a Monday night?

It could be that my "morality is slipping" as I was warned might happen during one of the two divorce recovery meetings I went to, even though I'm only separated and not entirely sure that was a good idea, separating. Yes, it could be that my morality is slipping and that I could go so far as to, dare I say it, “try al-co-hol” as one person in the hideous video series shamefully admitted to doing. He struggled so much to admit it that I had expected him to say he'd experimented with heroine or engaged in a series of meaningless bisexual threesomes or done something scary to his genitals, but no, just alcohol, which clearly left a bad taste in his mouth.

It was the evangelical nature of the divorce recovery video that left a bad taste in my mouth. The squeaky clean divorcees spoke with a thick Southern drawl about the importance of God in your life. Now, anyone who knows me even a little knows that I wouldn’t have a problem with this at all. I have a spiritual path and actively cultivate my relationship with God. I even used to be a bible thumper, very evangelical in my faith, so convinced that what I believed was right and good that I wanted everyone to reap the blessings, too. I didn’t particularly care if you already believed something else right and good, because I was certain that what I believed was righter and (oh, how I want to say gooder) better.
Then I spent two years in a West African country where everyone I knew and loved was Muslim and I realized that they were as likely to become Christians as I was to become a Muslim, which is to say--not gonna happen. They were happy. They were healthy. Why change? In fact, I was the one to change, not right then, but slowly, and that was the beginning of a major shift in my thinking. I began to espouse the radical idea that you can believe something completely different from me---and that’s okay. There’s room enough for all of us. Whatever way we find to connect to the Divine is right and good, I now believe, especially if this leads to peaceful thoughts and actions, as it very often does.

So you can see why it’s an especially big deal that the divorce recovery video alienated me. I learned several very informative things during my two (and only two) meetings. One, the only way to truly recover from a separation or divorce is to accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. Two, I should safeguard myself against morality slippage by accepting Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. Three, I should not drink, do drugs, swear or have sex for next 2 to 5 years while I recover (one year of recovery for every 4 years of marriage) lest I fall out of grace with Jesus Christ, my personal Lord and Savior. Four and five were issues raised simultaneously, homosexuality is to blame for the high divorce rate in this country (yes, someone really said that; I tried really hard not to laugh and nearly every one squirmed in discomfort) compared to other countries and that the lack of legal, social and financial support for women in many other countries to leave unsafe or unhappy life situations does not in any way contribute to lower documented numbers of divorce in other countries. And lastly, the video series they are using is the best series out there on divorce and that the facilitators are Christian, but are in no way trying to, and here the facilitator considered her words carefully so I expected her to say “change your mind”, but she’s so entrenched in Christianese that instead she said they are in no way trying to, wait for it, “win your hearts for Christ”. This she said twice, for emphasis. “We are not trying to win your hearts for Christ, but if you are interested in talking to someone, we would be happy to speak to you about it after the meeting.” So, when she said she is not trying to win our hearts for Christ, what she is really saying is that, in fact, she is trying to win our hearts for Christ. You know, I get that. I really do. She thinks that’s best and only way to heaven and she wants me there in the sweet hereafter. I get it, but here’s the thing. I was there to get divorce support. That’s what they said the group was for. That’s what I signed up for. I expected to be able to talk about what I’m experiencing and listen to other people share their experiences. I expected there to be crying and tissues, anger and pillow bashing. I did not expect someone to try to win my heart for Christ.

Man, I need a beer.


Rebel said...

Karin... dude!

#1 I think I need to introduce you to Sister Margarita from the church of Jose Cuerva. Or at least take you out for a drink. Seriously - give me a call, I'm unemployed! We'll discuss the psychological ramifications of religious indoctrination and stuff. I've been there, I know!

Matthew 26: 27-29 "Take, drink!"

John 2:1-11 "Most people bring out the cheap wine once everyone's drunk - you saved the best for last!"

1 Timothy 5:23 "Have some wine - it's good for your health."

Anonymous said...

I certainly have nothing against the occasional beer, but I suppose everyone has to define their own relationship with booze.

I commend you for being able to acknowledge your spirituality without alienating the people who believe differently. This kind of stuff with the support group really gets under my skin because I consider myself an atheist, yet the world around me always seems to assume that I must be a Christian. I believe the thinking goes: She's a good person, so she must believe in God. It's inconceivable to a lot of people that I can be a good person, have a good life, and, yes, even have a good marriage all without a single minute spent in church.

Well, I don't mean to rant. Now I think I need a drink.

G said...

Hey there. Sorry to hear about the separation.

As for the "too early to drink during the week" thing, I think you need to get in touch with your inner Bridget Jones, Carrie Bradshaw, [me] and all other forms of women who have a glass of wine or beer with dinner sometimes, even if it's by herself. And that is exactly what I'm going to do RIGHT NOW. Because I can, and there's nothing inherently immoral about a beverage.

As for the Christianese thing: ICK. Being raised in South Carolina but possessed of an unnaturally headstrong aversion to organized Christianity, I feel you. It is a lowdown dirty shame that the divorce support group is acting more like 6 year old pantyhose than the sturdy jogging bra you need right now. That being said, do you think that other people who went to the group agreed with you--maybe the ones squirming in discomfort? Perhaps you could get some rantfests going on with them?

What do I know, though? I'm just a 29 year old with two cats and a beer. ...Which means that, should you ever come to NYC, I'll be happy to buy you a keg of Corona and a bushel of limes. My treat.

Michael5000 said...

First of all, I was going to say, if I remember correctly J was drinking alcohol up a storm, throughout. But Reb got here the firstest with the mostest scripture. Since I'm still back in the O.T., I'll just add that, among the many many many things God doesn't want you to do, ~drink alcohol~ doesn't even make the list.

Second of all, I TOTALLY want to "experiment with heroine."

: )

Karin said...

#1: Yes, we should definitely get together and discuss. How long before you leave?
#2: I guess I knew this, but why don't they TELL you this? Thank you.

kitkat: it's funny, I used to think that the only truly good people were Christians and that being good was just not enough, you had to be a Christian. So glad I'm over that. I think the change in my thinking on that happened when I, you know, became really good friends with really good people who are not Christians. Imagine that.

Most of my Christian friends still assume I'm a Christian unless I've told them otherwise, which is sometimes still hard to do. We just have our usual God Talks (about how our spiritual lives are going) and they say Jesus and I say God and they hear what they want to hear. I think my shift in thinking about religion has alienated me from some of my Christian friends. I think they don't know for sure what to do with me. In our experience, born again Christians who were steeped in service for 15 years just do not leave or change their minds, but evidently, they do.

g: Thanks for the reminder--there is nothing immoral about a beverage.

I'm considering starting my own divorce support group. I know I could do it better. If I do, I'll surely let you know.

Sunday: Experiment with heroine
nkay--it's on my list

Karin said...

Oh, BTW: I had a Corona with a lime the other night with dinner, by myself. It just about knocked me out. I think half a beer would've done the trick.

Plus, and I'm remembering this from high school when I experimented with al-co-hol in my pre-JC years, drinking just makes me wanna do The Big Nasty with everyone. That can't be good. Oh, that's a whole 'nother post, isn't it?

Rebel said...

LOL... yeah, if I'm drinking alone half a beer puts me to sleep.

The thing that finally shook me out of my religious mindset was learning that there were more than a few "Good Christians" who were neither good, nor particularly Christ-like. But that's another story.

Hmm... that's a lot of other stories actually.

Yankee in England said...

Having been raised in a very religious family I remember those paranoid feelings when I went to the ABC store or supermarket. May I just say that if you have to go to the ABC store I can assure you none of your friends who are down with JC will be hanging around, if they are they are doing the same thing as you.

From some one who has transitioned from a heavy JC upbring to no room for JC in her life let me just tell you that there is a big difference between on Corona on a Monday night with dinner and being an alcoholic. Move to England where they drink beer for breakfast, no wait that is Germany. Any who, hear in England you are considered weird if you don't have a pint at lunch with friends.

So stock that fridge up with lime and spend a year going through a 12pack of Corona. I won't tell JC if you don't.

Emidor said...

I can't speak much to the alcohol issue. But I can speak to the D-I-V-O-R-C-E topic. It isn't easy to recover, nor do I think you every truly do. When you invest a part of yourself into ANY relationship, that connection becomes a part of who you are until you pass from this great globe we live on. I've been D'd for nearly 10 years and still struggle with some issues. I've lost friends because of it. I've lost ministry opportunities. I've lost valuable time and energy spent on fruitless reconciliation. I've seen my kids loose emotional connection and struggle with their own place because of the path me and my X took. And it hurts like HELL!!!!

But there is also life after the big D. There is healing. There are friends that support. There is comfort in the grace of God. And hopefully, I'm a bit stronger because of that experience. I've learned to work differently in my relationship with my kids. I've learned to let go of things that aren't as important.

Am I an expert on post apocolyptic divorce? Hell no! But I am on the journey. I am learning. And I'm happy to share with you my pains and joys - post D.

Anonymous said...

Hey Karrot...
Just tuned in and read on. I had been wondering what you were up to and just by sheer luck, clicked your Kick in the Butt Karin on your Sugar Sugar blog. I'm not too good with blogs, reading them, writing them...whatever. Glad to see that this you. Real in all ways that you are. Ring me? Miss you. O.A.

Karin said...

Yankee in England: so, I've had two, only two beers since I blogged. It's gonna take me a while. That doesn't count the two lemon drops I had between 6 and 6:30pm last Friday on girls night out. Wooh!

emidor: glad to hear it's survivable. not even sure the Big D is how we'll end up. am sure that it's hard right now. thanks for the encouragement.

hey Onion! Long time no anything! I miss you like mad. I'll call you. Karrot K

G said...

"drinking just makes me wanna do The Big Nasty with everyone. That can't be good."

I beg to differ, sister.

Omar Poppenlander said...

Hey, Karin. Christian, theist, deist, whatever. A beer for lunch is OK with me. Remember the words of the immortal C.S. Lewis, that hero of evangelicalism:

"It is a mistake to think that Christians ought all to be teetotallers; Mohammedism, not Christianity, is the teetotal religion."

Carry on.