Wednesday, August 22, 2007

True religion

below, an excerpt from a memoir i have been reading entitled a girl named zippy, a story about life through the eyes of a young girl with a happy childhood. i love this book. on nearly every page there is thoughtful insight, hilarious moments and glimpses at the world as only a child can see it. while reading i find myself constantly dog-earring pages to come back to later and jotting down fabulous little thoughts that are sprinkled throughout. here is one of those:
"i didn't believe in god and had not ever, as far as i could remember, believed in god, and yet i was reluctant to formulate the thought too clearly, not to mention speak it aloud, for fear that poor god would hear it and get his feelings hurt.
i believed that the baby jesus had gotten born, and that was all lovely. christmas was my favorite time of the year, in part because of the excellent speech, "fear not: i bring you good tidings of great joy...." and because of the song "the little drummer boy". anything that involved such persistent percussion was undoubtedly both religious and true.
after he ceased to be a baby jesus held little interest for me, until he reached the age where he sat for the portrait that hung above the swinging doors in the vestibule of the mooreland friends church. in the painting, which glowed from a fluorescent light bulb hung beneath it, the big jesus looks pensive and honey-eyed. his shoulder-length, light-brown hair is as lean and shiny as corn silk, and he has a beautiful tan. he is not scorched like a farmer, but bronzed like a lifeguard. he is way better looking than either glen campbell or engelbert humperdinck.
i wanted him to be my boyfriend. my feelings about jesus didn't alarm me at all, because it appeared that everyone around me was flat-out in love with him, and who wouldn't be? he was good with animals, he loved his mother, and he wasn't afraid of blind people. i didn't buy the bit about his terrible death and resurrection for a minute. i knew, beyond any room for doubt, that nothing in this world is both alive and dead. and this was the thing i most wanted to say in church: if you want him to be alive, you've got to stop hanging him on that cross. but it appeared that the cross was what the people of moorelaned valued above all else - more than his life, more than the sweet way he carried lambs on his shoulders in the pictures on the fans furnished by main & frames funeral homes- the cross, and the way he got sucked up into heaven to be with the father who killed him. it was such an objectionable story that i decided to skip it. i decided that jesus was alive, just as people claimed, and that he lived in the trees around my house. he had picked me out personally, and was following me around, watching my every move. sometimes i lay out in the backyard with my blue tap recorder, just holding the microphone up to the sky. i figured if jesus was ever going to break his long silence, it would be on a warm, breezy day in mooreland, with his best girl waiting patiently in the grass. the tapes i made were very peculiar and very boring. the only voice is that of my dad, telling me he is waiting inside with the campho-phenique and the chig-a-rid. no one ever tried to discourage me; it is written in our very bones, as a people, that true religion requires sacrifice."


Barb said...

What a refreshing and unique narrator! Sounds like a good book!

Robin said...

I absolutely loved this book. It one of my favorites I've read this year. Last chapter will make you cry!

Rochelleht said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book. It was so fun.

Emily said...

Andrea, thanks for sharing this fresh and charming snippet...I'm going to have to pick this one up and start reading -- I'm hooked.

tiffany said...

I love it. I must read. Thanks for sharing.

Emma said...

Ooh, I've gotta check this book out. Literally (I'm a huge library nerd).
Heh, library humor. Sad. But funny. To me.

alyson. said...

Andrea, I miss your blog! this job of yours is too much. tell them you must incorporate time for your loyal readers!


Nicole & Weston Maughan said...

Hey Andrea!! I keep meaning to send you a message. Thanks for saying "hi" on my blog, it's great to hear from you and see what you're up to! By the way I love your write some interesting things!