It's a mad, mad, mad, mad world...

APRIL 17, 2009 1:19PM

How to save your soul! Hallelujah!!

Rate: 9 Flag

About 5 years ago, while on my way to work for a meeting, I saw this small furry thing in the road up ahead. As I passed, I saw a tiny kitty's face looking up at me and some blood in the road. I pulled over, sure that I would have to watch this poor animal die. I picked the kitty up with my tshirt and moved her to the side of the road where she proceeded to get up and disappear into some bushes.

A woman had pulled up behind me and asked me what was going on. When I told her about the kitty she shrugged and said, "Well, I'd stay and help but I'm on my way to church". So I said, "Well, I think God would forgive you for missing church just this one time... I could use a little help here." But she just said "Sorry" and left. So after laying on my stomach, getting dirty, and missing my meeting, I finally wriggled my way into the bushes and fished the kitten out. I realized it was only her tail that was bleeding and she was otherwise fine. She fit in the palm of one hand- a tiny little thing. I took her to the emergency room where I found out she weighed only 1 lb and was probably only 4 weeks old. They amputated her tail.

Five years later I still have a beautiful tail-less cat. And I wonder if the woman is still in church looking for some meaning in her existence.

Now, I'm not out to bash religion, but I do have some serious issues with someone who manages to miss the opportunities they are presented with every day. Does it make sense to attend a formal ceremony where you talk about how you can apply the teachings of Jesus in your everyday life and then completely miss those situations when they occur? Why can't some of these people see God in the other living things around them? 

I suspect the answer is that for many, church is something they do for themselves. They get to socialize and give themselves a warm pat on the back for having fulfilled their weekly moral obligation. Maybe they even like to get dressed up and make sure they're seen by all of their neighbors.

They make a show of it.

Yet when the real work of  showing compassion, helping out your neighbor, or helping save an innocent life needs to be done, many of these same people feel as though it's someone else's problem.

I have a problem with that.  

It's like living life at 35,000 feet. People study the "idea" of helping others as strictly an academic pursuit. I think this is what's turned so many people off to organized religion.  I know it's what's turned me off. I haven't been to a church service for anything other than a wedding or a funeral since I was 18 and my parents stopped making me go. Does this make me a bad person? In the eyes of some... maybe. But I feel a connection to other living things in a way that I suspect most people don't. And I won't even try to put a name to my belief system because I feel that to name something is to diminish and confine it. Suffice to say that the extent to which I believe in God is that we all carry a part of God in us... from the tiniest microbe to the largest animal. God is not an external entity. 

So rather than worshipping and praying, I'll take a shared laugh with a stranger, petting a cute dog, cuddling a kitty, smelling a flower, and studying the amazing ants that populate my world as proof that God exists. And if that's missing out, then so be it.

I think my cat agrees...


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I enjoyed this - and am so glad to know that things turned out well for the kitten!
Glad you moved this here and elaborated! (I left a kitty rescue story after your comment over at my blog--our kitty turned 3 today!)
Hooray for the baby cat! And for your kindness to him. We've done that same thing - ain't it wonderful to have a happy ending once in awhile?
Jesus said nothing about being kind to animals. I don't see God in animals. I do in people. Had that been a person that she refused to help, I would agree with you. However, it was just a cat.
Remember the biosphere experiment in Arizona several years ago? It failed because we humans forgot to include microbes. We had no idea that those tiny, invisible bugs were actually critical to our survival. We humans think we're so smart but we actually know so little.
You said:

"They get to socialize and give themselves a warm pat on the back for having fulfilled their weekly moral obligation. Maybe they even like to get dressed up and make sure they're seen by all of their neighbors."

Excellent anecdote. My relationship with organized religion was similar to yours: I quit going to mass after my exasperated Mom allowed me to quit attending church pending completion of my Confirmation. She knew I sat in the field overlooking the church parking lot, pocketing the cash meant for its building fund and heading home when the congregation let out.

I like your analogy about a bit of God in every living thing. I envision that when God made us, God placed a little piece of God's radiance in each of us. Our only worthwhile purpose is putting God back together. One cannot fulfill this mandate without engaging compassionately, purposefully even, in the suffering (and the joy) always before us, like the pain and promise of your happening upon a vulnerable, an infant, an innocent.

Or as James, the brother of Jesus said, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also," (James 2:26).

I am not at all surprized that that those most certain of their own purity haven't a heart's worth of compassion. Without doubt, not all religious congregants measure the glory of God as reflected from the exquisite marbled flooring donning the church, Mosque, Synagog or auditorium lobby. Amazingly, many more humanize God; certain that God responds to common bribery, hallowing only the costliness sanctuaries, ignorant (but not innocent) of their damage.

One in a thousand, two in ten thousand (Gospel of Thomas): the rest go to church.
I tend to agree with you, sometimes we miss the opportunities to practice what we preach (or have preached to us..)

I do, however, have an alternate theory. Maybe this woman was dissuaded from helping you because this scene, and kitty, was meant for you. And you, know, looking at the picture, I think your cat agrees! ;-)

I'm glad it's worked out for both of you.

P - Do have you mind's eye rechecked. I look into the eyes of my dogs every day, and I see nothing but love. Isn't that what God is supposed to be?
I could just hug your darling fluffy cat! She's precious. I'm so glad you saved her, told us the story, and put up a picture of her. God made the world and its creatures and trusts us all to be good custodians! My cats are cheerful and hopeful creatures, way easier to love than some people. I don't believe in a God who doesn't love cats and care about how people treat cats.
I loved the story, and I definitely love your sweet cat! Rated
Collossians 1:16
For by Him all things were created, that are in heaven, and that are in Earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: All things were created by him, and for him."

Genesis 1:31
"God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good."

Any one who has studied the Bible and truly believes would take this as evidence that everything should be cared for, because God is present in all things. Perhaps more so in humans than animals, but he is present there nonetheless.