I went to church this morning with my mother and grandmother. My father had proceeded to the park where the church was having a picninc afterwards to begin preparations. I'm not much of a church goer these days I must admit. I grew up in this church: very conservative, staunch Southern Baptists. It's good to go back every now and then, see old childhood friends and people from the community I grew up in. But for the most part, I don't get much from church. I don't find it inspiring or informative. I find every day living and the spirits of people more inspiring than reading continuously from a crusty old book. This is not to say that the Bible (and many other religious tomes) are not without their pearls of wisdom and beautiful passages. Many great moral truths about basic human ethics can be gleaned from these texts, but I don't particularly care for a lot of its literal interpretations and things done in the name of it. The Bible, and all other religious writings should be approached with commmon sense as well as faith. This morning, before going to church there was one of those hellfire and brimstone sort of preachers on the TV. Did you know that the asteroid which scientists identified several weeks ago that has that infinitessimal odds of striking the earth is actually the 6th sign from the Book of Revelations and that our War in Iraq is also part of the prophecies of John the Revelator? Who knew?
One of the strangest things with getting old I've found are the girls. Girls that I remember when they were born, sometimes to people I was childhood friends with. Now, they are getting older, blossoming into young women in the their mid-teens and it is not lost on me how attractive some of them are, not in a perverse way mind you, but since that is roughly the age when I began to notice girls, I suppose it's natural to still look upon them as attractive. Before services began this very dark skinned girl with braces walked into the church and she was gorgeous, with dark brown hair and large brown doe-eyes. She was beginning to develop into a nice, curvy young woman. She walked over and sat with the Morgan family and that was when it dawned on me who she was. I met my ex-wife through the Morgan family, her cousins were close friends of mine growing up. That future heartbreaker was the oldest daughter of my ex-wife's cousin. Ahhhh! It felt even dirtier sitting in church.
Why is that, when publicly praying, some people feel it necessary to use "old English" pronouns when referencing the Big Guy. I mean, I know the King James Bible is still preferred widely, especially in conservative congregations, but I've never understood why that would translate into "prayer speak". Is there some conception that God would understand your prayer better by using "thou", "thy", and "thine" , or is it considered more reverent than modern pronouns? I've noticed with some, it creeps even futher into using the archaic verb conjugations "hath", "hast", and "maketh" . This is not to mention the gratuitous usage of words like "unto" and "blessed" (spake in two syllables - arrgh! now I'm doing it!). I've been known to use an obsolete word or pronunciation from time to time in writing or conversation, but usually to achieve a desired effect. Sometimes it's just to be silly. I've been heard talking to myself when searching for something I've lost and muttering "Wherefore art thou, pencil?" But that's 'cause I find it funny to paraphrase Shakespeare in every day life. Although sometimes I will proclaim "A pencil! A pencil! My kingdom for a pencil!" 'cos, well, I'm off the hook like that. I've been known to pepper writing with ironic pretention, using words like "methinks" or "unbeknownst". But I guess I find it curious and somewhat amusing that it's being used in a prayer like that, without much thought and certainly with very grave seriousness. Public prayer is certainly a very solemn moment, so I'm sure it's not meant with any lightheartedness or for comic effect. I wonder if these same people are this formal in private prayer, in their own heads, as they are in public prayer. Do they refer to God in the second person as "thou" or do they switch to "you"? I don't know. My personal conception of God is much more personal and the stuffiness and formality of congregational worship and prayer contradicts my feelings about the personal nature of spirituality. I understand the need for community, the need for people with similar beliefs to congregate and support each other. But exalting your deity to the point that you feel you can only converse with it in some formal, convoluted manner (or worse, through someone with the proper training to do so) seems perverse to me.