Oh Black Water

July 26, 2010

As mentioned in my last blog, I took a weeklong hiatus from Thumpme to visit various people and places in Colorado. As expected, it was the mountains —not Bible study — that encouraged me to examine the possibility of something greater than myself. Because I wasn’t in a church and haven’t “accepted” God, I’m pretty sure my nature-based spirituality doesn’t count in the book of organized religion.

True to this project, I did attempt to experience religion as defined by the Bible. While tooling around my hometown I tried to give confession at St. Joseph’s church, an edifice I’ve always admired but never entered — or so I thought.

When my best friend and I walked into St. Joe’s, she reminded me that we’d fist visited St. Joe’s when we were seven. It was our first solo trip to Old Town Ft. Collins, an independent milestone I’d been seeking for months. Our only instructions: Don’t talk to strangers; look both ways when crossing; get home by dinner.

Our parents didn’t say a word about throwing a handful of black raspberry candy into the holy water at St. Joe’s. I thought it was simply hysterical when the water turned black, but my friend was mortified and dragged me out of the church.

Twenty-one years later I decided to confess, but when I approached St. Joe’s confessional I was met with a sign that said: “Confessional Hours 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.” I couldn’t stick around for varying reasons (namely Sunshine, Ranger and Skinny Dip) nor could I attend the Sunday service (again, Sunshine, Ranger and Skinny Dip), but today I called the church asking for some sort of guidance regarding my impulse. Explaining my quest to the church secretary was a bit difficult. She was polite, but after my explanation she said, “You want to turn the holy water black?”

“No, I already did that. I would like to talk to someone about the implications of turning holy water black. Is that a sin and can I be forgiven?”

My call was not returned. A little Internet research suggests individuals have been using holy water for black satanic rituals. I can assure you that’s not what I intended with my black water however, I doubt I’ll be “forgiven” for this tiny infraction. Unlike God’s revered David, I am not cruel, have not disregarded half of the 10 Commandments (I’ve only hit four), murdered anyone or, most importantly, accepted God as my savior.

Like David I had a little brain fart regarding my indiscretion, but God likes David because David likes God so it’s OK for him sweep it under the rug.

After God forgives David, David sings a little ditty completely void of his blunders. He says:

“The Lord rewards me because I do what is right; he blesses me because I am innocent.

I have obeyed the law of the Lord; I have not turned away from my God.

I have observed all his laws; I have not disobeyed his commands.

He knows that I am faultless, that I have kept myself from doing wrong.

And so he rewards me because I do what is right, because he knows I am innocent.”

It seems that sins are insignificant as long as the sinner has accepted God and confessed in a church. If I had accepted God and waited until 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. to confess my 21-year-old sin rather than drinking and hiking in the mountains, would my black berries go unnoticed?

I know “accepting God” takes more than 15 minutes, but I can’t understand these general principles. Please explain this to me.

Stopping Point: The First Book of Kings

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5 Responses to “Oh Black Water”

  1. holyguacamole said

    It seems like an innocent act of revolt to me, maybe even boredom. It depends on the intention. How much time did you spend planning the prank?
    I assure you that God has forgiven you and there’s no sin to be confessed (at least regarding this matter). However, I cannot say the same about Church-people because they judge with other eyes and may see you as a heretic without return.
    At the same time, you got me thinking about something: would tinted holy water be more inviting? Would that attract more parishioners? I believe that a bit of ink would not affect the holiness (or mystical properties) of the water. Kids would love it! Imagine baptisms. If it’s a boy, it would be baptized with blue holy water; if it’s a girl it would be pink. Of course it would be all natural, no chemicals, additives or anything. Best of all, it may result in a reduction of the crying percentage in such events. Maybe there’s a business here. But since black seems to be referred to as a satanic theme, you should try something else. Actually the rainbow could be the inspiration. It’s all part of God’s creation and it will be gay-friendly. David will be proud.
    As far of the sin-confession-forgiveness cycle goes, you are supposed to truly regret your bad acts and repent as punishment, which usually ends up being a prayer (or many prayers). For me, the real punishment is that you have to tell another person — in this case a priest — what you have done because he will intercede between you and God. Someone has to see the shame in you; if not why couldn’t we just talk to God without intermediaries? The confession is another act of faith and that’s why it’s hard to explain. To tell you the truth, the older I become, the harder it is for me to accept that, especially because, when I do something wrong or commit a sin, I can be much tougher on myself than a priest.

  2. thumpme said

    Definitely a case of rebellion. Against what, I’m not sure.

    I’ve never thought about colored holy water, but you might be onto something. Americans love choice and color — think green ketchup — so that definitely sounds like something you could market. Making church more fun and less institutionalized may draw in a larger crowd. There is quite a bit of debate regarding the “rock” churches, the ones with bands, etc. I’m not really in the circuit so I’m not sure how I feel about that. You?

    I’ve never confessed to a priest, but I’ve confessed to my mother and that’s all I really need. I also agree with personal punishment. It gets me every time.

    • holyguacamole said

      Rock churches are not my thing and never will be. At this point in my life, religion is simply between me and God. Sometimes I find myself talking to him in the most awkward places and situations; but that’s ok if it makes me feel ok. I haven’t been in a church in a very long time, but I know that if I go or when I decide to go, it will have to be by myself and preferably at a time when I am sure that there will be no people. Everything turns into a distraction for me — I know that I will not be able to connect with God if I am looking around to see what people are wearing that day, who’s picking his/her nose, or fixing her underwear; kids that are running around, dry flowers that should have been changed weeks ago, candle wax dripping down the walls, cracks in the ceiling and the list goes on and on. Supposedly, you can find God anywhere, however, attending a rock church would be anything to me but a mystical-spiritual experience. I doubt that I could find God in any of their chords.

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