Reading, religion, and politics

You know why I haven’t been posting much lately? Because I haven’t been reading. And no reading leads to no thinking. My brains are a big pile of mush.

It’s not technically true that I haven’t been reading at all. I just don’t seem to be able to get really motivated about a book. I normally finish a book whether I am interested or not, just out of stubborness, but I have abandoned more books in the past few months than in the whole rest of my life combined. I just don’t feel excited about anything, or interested enough to meet new characters. (I said my brain was mush.)

I think I am finally going to make it through my latest book, though. I’m almost halfway through Reading Lolita in Tehran. You have probably heard of this book, which talks about the author’s experiences as a professor in Iran from 1979 to 1997, so I won’t bore you with the details. So far the main thing that has struck me was a discussion of whether to require women to wear the veil. The author said that her grandmother, a very devout woman who wears the veil out of reverence, was offended that the veil had become such a political symbol. Even though I am not Muslim, that statement completely resonated with me. I hate it when Christianity and politics mix, when something that’s so personal to me is used to gain political support. I’m not accusing one party of doing it more than the other . . . it just makes me uncomfortable. I don’t like to see Jesus used as a tool in American politics, as if he has no more significance than any other plank in the party platform.

I don’t like to talk politics, because I feel pressure to conform. If you are a Christian, of course you vote Republican. It doesn’t seem that simple to me. There are things that I value that are supported by both the major parties in our country.

I’m still just working things out, both with religion (“continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling“) and with politics. Which, I suppose, is how it should be. I guess it’s okay not to know all the answers.

When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow. – Anais Nin

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