Sunday, October 3, 2010
What I do on Sunday
I posted the above header by Connie because that is one of my favorite bible quotes, but I have to say that I avoid bible studies. I have invariably found them to be a favorite outlet for would be pastors who generally cannot abide dissent or being disagreed with. A few years ago a woman with such aspirations moved in here and was granted time in one of our meeting places. She got one of the charitable institutions to bring in a meal to coincide with her preaching and bible study hours, so residents, especially bachelors, would turn up for this free meal. She eventually secured two more days when she held services. At the time services from such denominations as the Catholic Church were offered in here twice a week. Occasionally an outside pastor would come in and hold services.
Eventually the woman resident decided to ask for a fourth meeting time and met with some opposition. She had also run for office in the tenants' organization the same time I did, so I asked her why she was not content with three meeting times. She said the facility was not being used at the times she requested. I said, yes, but if you hold meetings and bible studies in all these slots, no one else could use them. She still became extremely angry when she was denied another time slot.
The upshot of the conflict was that for a time all religious services were stopped.
Then the woman mentioned that she might sue. I was horrified, but any one who disagreed with her were met with quotes from the bible which pointed out that God could become wrathful when good works were threatened, and some such.
I had observed that most of the tenants departed the meeting as soon as they had their meal, and she was not really getting very many people, eventually, to listen to her preaching.
She held forth in a large public meeting in which cops were present so often and so angrily she finally had to be silenced under threat of being asked to leave the meeting. Again she was ready with bible quotes that justified God's wrath, or his servant's wrath in her case, as she had not hesitated to show her wrath at the opposition she was receiving on a number of issues at this time.
She did sue the management and won her case, but the department of food and health was called and it was determined the complex did not have the sinks, etc, required to serve food on a regular basis to the residents.
She was told she could do her bible studies minus her meal, but she angrily refused to do them without the accompanying meal.
She has never moved from the complex but we do not see her but a few days a month.
In the meantime another woman started bible studies and asked me to join them, but in order to do so I was expected to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior. I told her I could not quite do this, so she gave me a number of books to read. I said that I still had reservations about saying I believed that Jesus was the only true son of God, as I did not see how he could have been born different than any other man. She was obviously very perturbed at my objections and from then on seemed to strike me off her list of friends she could visit. She subsequently had a fall and cracked several vertebrates, so I would visit her now and then to see how she was, but she would never return these visits, and also seemed to disapprove of my association with Doc, an alcoholic.
One of the male residents obviously had a big crush on this woman as she was very pretty and he would turn up every day in her apartment for bible study. She told me she was getting very perturbed because so many residents were taking him to be her BF. Also another close woman friend she visited every day became so fond of her that she wanted her to move back east with her. When she said she decided not to, she was in the hospital for an overdose of her meds that nearly killed her. The other woman, a faithful member of her bible study group, moved and took all her clothes and furniture with her in hopes that would overcome her resistance and she would move, too.
When she got home from the hospital, people were of course speculating about her over dose, thinking it might have been suicidal in intent. Altogether this was too much for her and she decided to move.
But she had been abandoned as a baby by both her mother and father. She was left to a Catholic hospital and the nuns raised her. I thought she had had a very hard life despite the fact she was beautiful, talented, and smart. I did not doubt that her bi polar meds had been necessary because of her giant mood swings.
I thought there was an element of mental illness in the other woman's determination to preach here not just three but four days a week. But who was I not to be tolerant when my own disability had been secured with a diagnosis of mental illness. I always fought that diagnosis because I thought it implied that I was at fault. I knew I had been affected by being born into an alcoholic's home, where constant strife existed between my mother who did not drink and my father.
Well, there are people in this world who are so stressed early on in their lives, their whole well being is affected.
I became desperate at the University because I knew that if I quit college my father was going to be beyond angry. He was going to be extremely abusive. I did need help contending with him. I thought it actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise that I was incarcerated in a mental institution, where once the doctor ruled against electric shock therapy after I had a mysterious 'seizure', I was helped a great deal by my talks with the doctors. But I was very fragile when I got out because of the severity of the seizure which nearly killed me.
To many mental illness implies out of control behavior, but if I was mentally ill, I was also very controlled, which they soon found out once they stopped threatening me with electric shock. To me the electric shock therapy was tantamount to abuse. I do not believe that any mental patient should be forced to have it against their will, and the famous psychiatrist Dr. Ssasz (sp) agreed with me and worked hard to change the law that allowed doctors to shock patients against their will.
Doctors were very loath to admit that electric shock therapy was used to calm down mental patients when they became violent.
I said this was like a good whipping, electric shock style. Of course, they did not like to admit there was a similarity to a punishment with how it was used. The psychiatrists often succeeded in convincing the more malleable patients that electric shock therapy would be good for them. Some rare patients even swore by it.
Anyway, forcing electric shock therapy on mental patients reinforces the idea that there is something wrong with their behavior they just choose not to control, so they 'deserve' it.
I could not help being born into the home I was, so I did not think I deserved it because my behavior became a little radical. So what if I did not answer the psychiatrist's questions. Did that mean I should have been grabbed, locked up, and shocked?
I started talking as soon as I saw that he was greatly overreacting, that is, he was going to 'arrest' me and take me off to be locked up. This was my first trip to a psychiatrist, remember, and I had no idea what I did would be regarded as grounds for me to be detained and locked up, I suppose somewhat like mouthing off to a policeman, only this psychiatrist had the power to see I got electric shocked for my 'crimes.' I could not even have been detained over night I don't think if I had done the same thing to a police man.
I am sure the head of my department had no idea what I did to get locked up, and I can bet the school psychiatrist put his own spin on it if he told him anything. I was in a play the head of my department was directing, which I told the psychiatrist so he might have called him and told him it was necessary to lock me up.
Well, as a matter of fact I was becoming extremely severely stressed over what my father was going to do to me for quitting college. It was going to be bad. I am sure many a college student has had to stress over what their parents were going to do to them when they bombed out.
My own father had to leave the university over his bad grades and failure to progress, but I doubt if his father was very surprised, since he knew very well his son had a drinking problem, but I was little Miss Perfect, who my dad thought he could browbeat out of any rebellion. Both my parents were so hot tempered we sisters seldom defied them.
The doctors helped me to fight my dad. The psych ward became my protection when my dad realized what was happening. He was in a rage, believe me. So him having to accept a 'nervous breakdown' made it easier for me. I would say my dad was the main culprit in causing the behavior that got me diagnosed as mental case because he thought he should be able to control my life, that I was more like property than someone he should have allowed to have some say about the direction my life was to take. But the authoritative males in teaching positions at the university as well as the school psychiatrist were responsible, too. They were too bossy and dominating and not understanding enough. The head of my department acted like a shadow man to me as well, and was no more honest about it than my dad was about his shadow man activities with males.
My mother would have been no problem. She quit college and got married. She would have accepted my decision to quit college a good deal more rationally than my dad did who was apparently now hoping that I would succeed where he didn't and he would somehow get a lot of the credit.
So I still sympathized with these two women who were wannabe pastors. I sympathize today with all the residents who have been diagnosed as mentally ill who have found a home here.
I have already been out to the patio having morning coffee with some of them. I strive to speak to them with friendliness and try to make them feel that this apartment complex is a good home for them.
I think that is more important than participating in bible studies on Sunday. I take my Sunday paper and sometimes they glance at the headlines and comment. I don't like to encourage a leader of a bible study group by my participation if they try to be too dominating.
I believe by our deeds we will be judged. A kind word, short but friendly, is more important to me than a bible quotation from people who have ambitions to become more important than might be good for them.
I have listened to all too many 'preachers' who I thought were so egotistical they could not tolerate hardly a word but amen from those they felt called to 'teach.'
I have tried to weed out those kind of people from having a too prominent place in my life.
Naturally those who love to preach are going to try to persuade people they will not go to heaven without the message they are there to give them. I think well, I will take my chances.
So you might find his Sunday blog entry a bit of a 'sermon', too, but it is also a questioning of the value of sermonizing, and a profound wish not to get too dogmatic on my part.
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