I’m a pagan

by Andrea Elizabeth

because I love dogs and nature. I elected to stay home from Church today because I believe Circe needs me. She was getting bolder and bolder till I left her for 7 hours Thursday while I went to far away Denton to Liturgy, Church cleaning and fiddle group for Rebecca. When I texted my son, who was home, to let Circe out on a leash, he said it was too late and she had made 3 messes near the front door. She hadn’t done that all week. And, I found out when I got home, since he didn’t trust her, he tied her to a tree and left her in the back yard. By the time I got there she had dug under the deck barrier and her choke collar was pulled very tight. When she saw me she nervously came out half way but wouldn’t continue till I unhooked the leash, even though I had pulled her some slack. She was a lot more nervous after that, though she would follow me and the dogs a little ways from the house. She bounded a bit Friday and was more attracted to our deep woods section where she can disappear. She waited longer to come to me when I called as well, but at least she came. Since she wont come to this son, not her owner, I told him that if he’ll sit on the porch with the door open in the morning, she would follow our other dogs out and do her business. He’d just have to watch her and call them all in afterwards. His other mistake was having the other dogs outside while she was inside alone. I should have given him more direction before I left. My bad.

So, while Liturgy was going on, I cross-stitched and listened to St. John of the Cross’ Ascent of Mount Carmel on Audible.com, which my husband had downloaded and recommended. I feel that there are such extreme views in the Church. Either you’re a total ascetic, creation is contemptible and only spiritual contemplation on God is good (St. John), or you’re a liberal who thinks that gay sex is good because they love each other’s createdness. It is very hard to find balance. I don’t believe creation is bad or that it cannot be loved. There is a difference between selfish, exploitive love and selfless appreciatory love. And to the other side, there is a difference between selfless appreciatory love and indulging in inordinate desire. What should be emphasized is obedience to God’s commands and will concerning what to do with one’s time. There is a time to devote oneself in action and affection, and a time to withdraw to pray. Hopefully one can develop prayer while with others. One should love God more than creation, but not despise it as he doesn’t. He assumed created flesh so thus it is hallowed.

This dichotomy is why I believe some people carelessly exploit contemptible nature, or forsake the Church and say they feel closer to God in nature. I do think one can love nature too much and not give God His due. Normally one should abstain from nature and go to Church on Sunday mornings. One should sometimes abstain from hiking with their dog and cook dinner for their kids who are either too busy or disinclined to hike. Finding the right balance is very much the struggle, and I believe discerned by learning to walk in the Spirit.