Sunday, April 08, 2007

Claustrophobic

And to think I used to bitch about having to sit through Stations of the Cross.
Seven devotees were nailed to crosses on Good Friday in a northern Philippine village where the rites drew thousands of tourists and spectators.

The Lenten ritual is opposed by religious leaders in the Philippines — Southeast Asia’s largest predominantly Roman Catholic nation. But it has persisted to become one of the country’s most-awaited summer attractions in San Fernando City’s San Pedro Cutud village.
...

Earlier in the day in the same village, dozens of half-naked men hit their bloodied backs with bamboo sticks dangling from a rope in a flagellation rite meant to atone for sins.

More than 100 foreign tourists flocked to this year’s Good Friday rites, with many of them seated on a stage at the side of the mound.

Full story here
I find this fascinating, although I won't even pretend to understood hair shirt spirituality. Life brings enough pain, so why seek it out? It's enough to get through difficult times with a bit of grace and humility, so I can't imagine hopping up on a cross, having nails driven through my wrists. I am such a big baby that I could barely manage involuntary church attendance until the age of fourteen.

No, this is not going to be one of those "recovering Catholics" posts. I don't do that. There are worse things than being made to go to church, and at least when I did rebel, my parents didn't freak out.

Still, being made to sit through endless rituals did cause my claustrophobia. Being squeezed into a pew with my classmates, knowing that I couldn't move around, let alone run out of church gasping for breath made me tense, to say the least. Why the hell can't I do this my way, I would think. If religion is about loving and helping one another, then why not just do that? And what does this droning priest and this incense burning my nose have to do with my soul? Because, despite my constant doubts and questioning, I knew that I had a soul and, since childhood, I had known exactly what it looked like: an upside-down "U," a horseshoe.

During one afternoon in seventh grade, I was in church, sitting through Stations of the Cross, about to explode. It was a particularly hot day, and I squirmed in my seat, sweaty and miserable, praying for it all to be over. And finally, it was. Thank you, I thought. As we all stood up to leave, I heard giggling. I turned around and some of my classmates pointed at where I'd been sitting. I had sweated more than I realized, enough to soak through my itchy wool skirt. The sweat had formed a perfect "U," and as I stared at it, my classmates snickered. "Shut up, you assholes," I thought. "That's my soul you're mocking."

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3 Comments:

At 7:16 PM, Blogger Musings from Myopia said...

Wow...I say again, wow. Glad to see you beat the clock. I say again, wow. I don't quite know how to express my personal views on Christianity's interesting little wierdness. I better now.

 
At 9:19 PM, Blogger Yoga Korunta said...

god love the christians. Ain't it great how they follow the Golden Rule?

 
At 7:44 PM, Blogger Crabbi said...

Well, I certainly didn't mean to slam Christians. Some of my best friends lean that way. Fundies, however, are another story.

Thanks, MfM, for noticing that I beat the clock. It's hard when your life gets a little chaotic, yes? But damn it, I am determined!

 

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