God, religon…..taboo stuff

I do not believe in supernatural miracles, the inerrancy of scriptures,the trinity,etc.  In that manner I line up with many of the deists that helped found our country (Jefferson, Washington, etc.).

I admit the possibility of a god while also admitting the possibility of no god. I see no reason for people to think that god would have to be the creator of all things. Why couldn’t there be a god that did not create the world, but is instead a force or energy shared between people and the world….or simply put, part of the world? 

I exposed my children to multiple religious views. I also used modern day parables and personal life stories to teach much about life. One story, or perhaps it should be called a question, that I had posed to my children when they were growing up is this:

If you were walking down the street and a person came up to you and said that you had to believe what they believed in and that if you didn’t do so they would pour a can of gasoline on you and light a match…… well what would you do? 

And if you then said you believed what they believed …….would that really be belief? Would it truly be your belief? Would it be a memory that started so young it felt like your idea?

I would ask questions like: if this is how someone tries to get you to believe their religion, what do you feel about that? Does it make you understand them more?….do you want to love and cherish their beliefs?……..are they accepted as your boss or leader or teacher because that is what you want or because they have power over you?   What is terrorism? Is this a form of terrorism?

These discussions would be gentle and interesting and different with each child. I taught my children to think for themselves and let them create their own belief systems.  I raised my children to be caring people.  My kids grew up with terrorism in the headlines. I would discuss terrorism with them and pointed out its more subtle forms.  They know that I feel it is a perverse form of child abuse to teach small children to be afraid of a boiling oil hell in order for them to line up with their parent’s religion.  Who, how and why else is anyone ever allowed to terrorize children like that with permission from a civil society? My children knew terrorism was being associated with the Muslim religion……..they also knew this often unrecognized association with the Christian religion.

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The Inquisitive Skink

Remembering Jannifer

I don’t know why Jannifer has been on my mind lately.
Sometimes I think it is odd how a person’s life and death can affect someone.

Jannifer was someone I thought I was going to get to know better, and then didn’t get to do so. My friend Leslie ran a program popular with a lot of homeschoolers called Children’s Garden, and Jannifer had generously allowed full use of her house for the myriad of art writing and music activities Leslie had created for them. Jannifer herself wasn’t there during Children’s Garden most of the time. I do have memories of Jannifer handing over delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies to a swarm of kids; her helping with the May Day Maypole dance (Leslie was famous for these…..what a tangled cheery funny mess!), and sharing a rolling eyes humorous moment when her son and Leslie’s son had been tormenting my daughter Jenna with a dead lizard. Jannifer was easy to be around and possessed a very kind and bright spirit.

Nine years ago, I got the children herded like cats into the van and headed to Leslie’s house…..Children’s Garden hadn’t been held at Jannifer’s for some time. I rarely watched or listened to the news so was oblivious to what was going on in the world. Hopped out of the van and was immediately greeted by Leslie flooding with tears with the news of Jannifer’s murder. I and other moms did our best to shake of the daze of the how – what – why – impossible – no no no no no no no! experience so that we could be there for Leslie whose pain was like that of someone who had lost a sister.

The Herald Times description of that day is here:

A normally quiet neighborhood southeast of Bloomington awakened to sounds of gunfire and police helicopters early Tuesday morning.

Most of the residents of Bluebird Lane and Robin Road were moved to safety or evacuated from the neighborhood between 4:30 and 8:30 a.m., after a report of a man with a gun was received by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.

Robert Boles shot his ex-girlfriend, Jannifer Cockrell, while she slept in her home on Bluebird Lane.

Because Boles was armed, police blocked off the area and evacuated many of the neighborhood’s residents while they searched for the man, who later shot himself in a nearby wooded area.

About 15 people, including Cockrell’s 14-year-old son, were evacuated by bus about 8:20 a.m. and taken to Jackson Creek Middle School, where the Red Cross set up a shelter in the school’s auditorium.

Prior to all of this Robert had doused his apartment with gasoline and set his apartment complex on fire destroying his and his neighbor’s apartment and sending all of the residents out onto the street for safety. He then gained entry into Jannifer’s house, let her 14 year old son outside, and proceeded to kill Jannifer.

Jannifer had a restraining order against this man. He had transformed from a person who she had thought cared about her into someone whose intense hobby was to control her and make her miserable. He was very good at his hobby. There were plenty of people who spoke about how nice of a man he was and how shocking it was that he would do such a thing. This is a very honest truth from their perspective. What people don’t realize is that most abusive partners look and act just like the rest of us in their non-intimate relationships. The clues you will get about abusive partners are going to come from their victims, not from the abuser.

As I said at the start, I am baffled as to why Jannifer has been popping into my head so much. It bothered me and I looked it up…..the anniversary of her death is tomorrow. I don’t think its about not letting go of grief. Perhaps it is a need to examine it. I am getting older….she’d be 53 going on 54 now, just like me. She would still be playing her mandolin and I’d be still wishing I could make music like that.

If you have a chance to share a Maypole dance with a bunch of kids please do so and sing and dance a bit for Jannifer too.

The Inquisitive Skink