Posts Tagged ‘ membership ’

Pick a club

My brother-in-law is a hog. A Harley Hog, that is. He’s got the bike. He’s got the look. And, living in DC, he participates in Rolling Thunder every year (would that I could). Point is, he wanted to join this particular club and he was willing to pay the price of admission, as well as the membership dues. Things like a motorcycle made by one, specific company. He did not go knocking on the door of the local chapter sitting astride, say, a Honda.

Any (and all) clubs, groups, associations have requirements for membership – that’s what makes them a club. They are founded and maintained on certain, (usually) well defined interests. Political parties in the United States used to be like this. When all members adhere to and support the group’s basic tenets, rules, philosophy, the group is cohesive and is strengthened. But, clubs can often lose their focus, especially when they try to find new members. Kinda like the Democrats enacting new laws to force everybody else to be more liberal. Unfortunately, with politics (in any country), you are subject to the whims of the ruling party, whether you’re a member of that party or not. Not so I imagine, with the Hogs: if you don’t ride (or, at least own?) a Harley, you’re not welcome. However, no one will force me on to any particular motorcycle, or on to any motorcycle at all, for that matter.

So, it just defies my understanding why anyone would want to be a member of any particular church if they weren’t willing to follow its rules (doctrine, dogma, teachings). If I want to believe objects have spirits, fine; but Christians don’t worship rivers or mountains, any more than you would join a rose society because of your prize petunias. Why an animist would even consider joining a Christian church is beyond me. To my knowledge, Christian churches don’t prevent anyone from communing with nature. Christians, by definition, worship Christ, and in 2000 years, haven’t seen the need to consult tea leaves or chicken bones. If you want to stick pins into a doll, ok; but Christians don’t. You do your thing, I’ll do mine, ok? So, why is it asking too much that you don’t make it the law of the land that I have to buy pins and dolls for you? This isn’t Germany.

I want to have hot dogs on the Fourth of July, not quiche on Bastille Day. I want to pledge allegiance to the red, white and blue of the United States, not the white, blue and red of Russia. I want to observe Christmas by attending midnight Mass celebrated by a celibate, male priest. I believe human life begins at conception and procured abortion is murder. Civil law has redefined marriage and inconvenient life – but Divine Law hasn’t (unless I missed the memo that GOD takes His marching orders from Capitol Hill). You want to stand in front of the Pearly Gates and justify yourself based on the decisions made by a committee of your peers (read: politicians), go right ahead. Frankly, I don’t want my Church to conform to your society. I like the fact that Christ was the ultimate revolutionary.

I will continue to render unto Caesar, but not because I feel it is my responsibility to pay for your lack of responsibility. I will continue to pay my taxes and buy health care for my family – and yours. It is mere coincidence that the guy in the White House agrees with the guy in the Bible on that one.

Put another way: I like being Roman Catholic. Which, despite its name, doesn’t mean it is a chameleon that finds new ways to constantly reinvent itself. The more it ignores the capricious and arbitrary fashions of the hour, the better. When I need shifting sands, I’ll go to the internet; when I need something built on rock, I’ll go to Mass. There are many who say the Church doesn’t fit the times. Not able to ordain women (let’s see: Jesus was male, His first thirteen apostles were male; what am I missing here?). Not embracing homosexual behavior (doesn’t exactly embrace serial killer behavior, either). Finding that human life is not a matter of convenience, or the calendar. Ok, I’ll hold the door open for you. I am quite sure you’ll find someone to embrace your inability to have a backbone, to have values, to believe that some things – like Truth – don’t change.

Yeah, it has warts; what collection of human beings doesn’t? Jesus was divine, he did the best He could with the material He had available. Fishermen and tax collectors. The fisherman, the one who I would have thought dependable, denied Jesus not once, but three times. At the Cross, Peter was nowhere to be found. And there was that part where Jesus was telling the religious police that tax collectors and prostitutes would get into Paradise before them; doesn’t say much about tax collectors, does it? Not sure who got slammed there. Can anyone forget the Renaissance Popes? NOBODY should. I, for one, would like to rip those years out of every history book. St Peter’s Basilica notwithstanding.

If you don’t like my club, you are free to leave. Roses have thorns; but at the end of the day, they are roses. No doubt Harleys have issues, but what machine doesn’t? If you prefer a rice rocket, have at it. But, I don’t ask you to sing kum-bay-yah, why must you demand that of me? (yeah, I find the fact that I did, at one time, really far out).

Temple Grandin – Vision

She sees the world in ways others can’t. Simple, succinct and seminal. Well, the first two for sure; only time will tell how seminal her story will be for me.

Another thing I got out of the movie was that of “connection”.

Already, I have too much for one posting; and what I learned about my daughter who just graduated from high school is yet another story. So this might be a multi-part posting; I’m sure my loyal readers will humor me?

We all see the world in a unique way – our own way; unfortunately, for the most part, we want others to see it the way we do. This is self-defeating for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it shows that we persist in living in our own illusions, for the simple fact that we want everyone to see what we see – this, all-by-itself is an illusion. We give ourselves the mantle of being “special” and “unique” but expect others to give up their own and worship ours.

According to the movie, Temple had difficulty with roommates in college. I can imagine myself in a close, daily relationship with someone who had pretty much no social skills at all. Maybe that would work because I don’t have much use for people, either (and I know I’m not autistic, for I am brilliant at absolutely nothing at all: “hopelessly average” as my sister has put it). But, she finally got a roommate who was blind. Two things there: One, the blind roommate spent her whole life being different and living in a world that was not the least bit accommodating to her “other than ‘normal’ needs”. And two, the roommate “saw” the world in voices and sounds – not really so much different from how Temple said she saw the world, tho for her, in pictures.

So, first “a-ha moment”: How do I see the world, and how can I appreciate how others see it? I’ll go way out on a limb here and propose that we, each and every one of us, want to make the world fit our perception, our mold, our “reality”. But, if we stand back a minute, be the director and not one of the actors on the stage, we will quickly come to the realization that the world is bigger than us, and has been and will be, around longer than each of us, and that we need to fit the world. In my previous life of being a military aviator, we used to say “strap on the airplane”; and I had some brilliant colleagues (I hope they don’t mind me calling them colleagues) who seemed to become another entity entirely – a good thing when coming aboard a pitching deck at night (NORDO, too). Yes, I am a tailhooker (and proud of it). The actor lives on the stage, the aviator lives in the sky, but with its own – inviolate – rules (actors can “break a leg” and return; military aviation is less forgiving).

While Temple (and “all” austistics?) can’t understand why we “normal” folk can’t see the world as they do, can we, at the very least, give up our illusions? Maybe Temple could never learn how to hug; can I? She certainly understood how necessary some sort of hug was; just not from people, thank-you-very-much. Give up that First Illusion; that the world is as we see it. As we see it, not as how others see it; and finally, not how it really is.

Second, try to see the world as others see it. Well, maybe appreciate that they do see it differently; then move on to “walking a mile in their shoes”. Crawl, then walk, then run. First, aim, then shoot. Engage my brain before I open my mouth (conveniently ignoring that, often, there aren’t any brain cells to engage).

I earn a paycheck from a company that espouses “diversity”. Recently, it hijacked that term – formerly used for ethnic diversity – and has promulgated “geographical diversity” (what do you expect from a huge engineering company?). During a recent “webcast” (I suppose that term makes as much sense as “broadcast”?) five executives explained their new corporate strategy. All five were: white, male and middle-aged. Three of the five were grossly obese. I am white and male, which I can’t change, and wouldn’t change, even if I could. And, I am past middle-age; not much I can do about that, either. The obese is entirely w/n my control. That said, I am reminded of Groucho Marx’s famous: “I would never join a club that would have me as a member.” Temple Grandin is probably as brilliant as all five of those stuffed-shirts put together; but she would never be allowed into that club; and thankfully, most likely couldn’t care less. And the company I work for is less for the incest.

Food for thought, Temple: how do I see the world, and how do others see it?

Thanks to Claire Danes for her portrayal in the HBO movie. Dr Temple Grandin is on the web; well worth your time to look her up (I guess I should say “Google her”, shouldn’t I?).