I think this fascination of mine began during my time at the University of St. Thomas; a private, Catholic college that I went to for my undergraduate degree. You see, at St. Thomas, we were forced to take religious classes in order to graduate. I can't remember how many you were supposed to take to fulfill the requirement, but, I believe, I took four classes total. Though, I wish I had taken more and maybe even double majored with a Theology degree. At first, I thought these classes were going to be awful, but they actually ended up being the best classes I ever took.
For whatever reason, I thought that the professors were going to try to brainwash me into being a Catholic and criticize me because I never attended church, but they didn't. In all of my classes the professors took the presumption that the Bible is a historical document, written for a specific people, during a specific time. Sure, they also believed that the Bible is timeless in the sense that it is Sacred and Holy and that there are teachings in there that transcend age and time, but they were also able to recognize that some of the stuff in there is very specific to those people. For instance, you know the "eye for an eye" phrase from Exodus that supporters of the death penalty always use to justify the practice today. Well, the meaning of that passage is totally lost if you don't look at the historical context in which it was written. The whole point of that phrase is to say that if someone pokes your eye out, the most you can do to him is poke his eye out. You can't go and kill him and his whole family because he screwed your eye up. Get it? During the time period of the Bible - yeah, I can't remember the dates sorry! - there wasn't any "law and order" per se, so when some guy, we'll call him, Ismael, came and stole, Abe's, herd of goats, Abe would retaliate by wiping out the whole family instead of just taking Abe's herd of goats. So, the whole point of the "eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth" stuff is to set limits on retaliation and develop a form of criminal justice, specifically getting your "just deserts," or that which is deserved. Damn! Look at that sheeeeeeeet. I should have doubled major in Theology and Criminal Justice! Alright, alright. Enough of this. The point is that the classes didn't end up being horrible or some kind of freaky-brainwashy-crap. They actually were really interesting.
Oh yeah, speaking of the freaky-brainwashy-crap, I did have this awful ... let me say it again, AWFUL .... philosophy professor who made everyone say the Pledge of Allegiance followed by the Lord's Prayer before every class. I hated him. H-A-T-E-D HIM! He was so pretentious. I don't even remember his name. I just remember that he made us do that stuff and that he thought fishing was the most horrible thing on the face of the earth. He thought people who fish were complete "bores." WAFW (that stands for "what a freakin' weirdo")!
Ok, so back to the point of this blog which is to talk about the religious relics and, of course, the ultimate relic ... the big (plywood) Jesus. I do have quite a few religious items that are now apart of my home decor. Now before I go into this specifics of what I have, I want to say that some people will probably get their panties in a bunch and accuse me of being a religious borrower. You know, the type. The people that borrow what they like from a bunch of different religions and then just discard the rest of that religion. Well, that is not what I do. I explore and read about all sorts of religions and I don't pick and choose from them what I like and what I don't. I admit that my beliefs are complicated and I'm not going to get into the specifics here, but let's just say that I appreciate and respect all religions ...
Alrighty. Here it goes. First we have Native American stuff. Mason is a registered Sioux Indian and grew up on the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana, so we have some of his family's stuff, a dream catcher and sage. The dream catcher is from Mason's Aunt Doris who had it blessed by a Medicine Man on "the rez" and she told him to always hang it above the front door in the house. Normally, dream catchers are supposed to hang over your bed, but for whatever reason this one is supposed to hang over our door to keep bad people out, I guess. The sage is used for "smudging," which is where you burn it and purify the environment to get the bad "juju" out.
We also have several religious books, ranging from The Holy Bible, The Holy Qu'ran, Buddhist writings, Taoist writings, etc.
I have religious candles that I obtained from Kroger, Walmart, and from my favorite place of all www.rootcandles.com .
I also have Buddhist items, namely Bodhisattva's:
Stephanie got me an early Christmas present of the Virgin Mary, which I absolutely love!
There's also a gargoyle for protection. We have two more sitting on our front porch. The other day, one of our neighbor's told Mason his very religious wife thinks we're evil because of our Last Chaunce Cemetary and the gargoyles. Here's what I think .... "Um, lady you live in public housing in Chauncey. Let me say it again, YOU LIVE IN PUBLIC HOUSING IN CHAUNCEY! You have no right to judge."
Anyway, as you can see, I'm a bit obsessed. So, now, anytime, people see cool religious stuff they tell me about it. Needless to say, I was psyched when Stephanie told me about the Big (Plywood) Jesus in someone's front yard. Stephanie found it when her and Ryan were out driving around. I believe their conversation went something like this:
Stephanie: "No, Jesus!" (pointing to the giganto Jesus in the front lawn)
When Stephanie told me about it, I just had to see it. I tried to go on my own but ended up getting totally lost, but, luckily, Steph took me out to snap a picture of it. Big Jesus doesn't look very big in the picture, but that is because he's way off the road next to these people's trailer. I didn't feel right about going all the way up the driveway to take a picture of him, so the one you see is taken from the road. It looks like it's a 12 foot tall Jesus that is made out of plywood. He actually has a purple piece of cloth draped around him ... He's awesome!
I guess the one good thing about my obsession is that I live right smack in the middle of the Bible belt and all sorts of religious relics are at my fingertips!