A nice glass of Merlot has played a part in many fine conversations in my lifetime. On this particular evening,
in hope that Jesus would turn our untouched carafe of water into more wine, we began discussing religion.
It wasn't long before my wonderful friend Joni, with Irish eyes and wit to match, found a hole in my desire for free booze.
"Hunny, according to their books you're going to hell," she joked.
"Well according to my books I'm going to Hogwarts," I chimed back, with a cheeky grin only a leprechaun could match.
And there, in one statement, I'd thrown off any concern that my choices were going to send me on a fiery holiday to Hades.
I've had sex before marriage and I've enjoyed it, I've cleansed my crystals under the moonlight while lighting a few white candles, and oh ... I'm bi-sexual.
Not "I kissed a girl and I liked it" bi-sexual, but fell in love, had my heart changed, screamed God's name in the bedroom bi-sexual.
Before you label me a witch, a sinner and try to save me, I'm no stranger to church, in fact at one stage I attended, religiously. I've also debated this question with myself for just as long: Can religion have a place in the world of a Modern Maiden?
Sadly at the moment, no, there's not much of a place. Despite the good morals that are taught, Faith, of most types, has a strong emphasis on traditions that are seen by many modern people to be old-fashioned, limiting and judgmental. And it seems the avant-garde beliefs of our generation are being frowned upon, stomped on and are fiercely ridiculed.
Now, I am not saying The Church should use the communion wine for a strippers party, or hand out condoms during confession, but I am saying if they want to connect with the future, now is the perfect time to stop preaching and to listen.
Listen, before the older stalwarts pass away and you turn to see a significantly smaller congregation, having alienated and ostracized an entire generation.
Listen, and try to understand why there are so many younger people out there, who don't cheat, steal, lie or kill, who believe it's OK to have sex before marriage, that having social drinks is not the end of the world, and that loving someone of the same sex doesn't make you a sinner.
There is a lack of respectful communication from both sides, and it is unattractive. You look one way and there are loud religious voices in the media, you turn the other way and young people are slagging off The Church via their daily congregation on Facebook. Which, to be clear, is just as bad as what they believe The Church is saying about them.
There is meanness afoot. I see it on Twitter, I read it in the nasty comments on news websites, I even hear it when I'm out for dinner. It's extremists on both sides. It's disgusting, it's not constructive and it needs to stop.
It's sad, because both sides only desire the same thing. To be accepted for who they are and what they stand for.
At the moment that's impossible, simply because they won't talk to each other. Instead, the country has turned into a giant high school where everyone is vying for the most attention, and the rift continues to grow.
I don't mind who or what you believe in, nor do I mind if you use a vibrator every day, but I do mind that there is so much hatred between two different parts of our community.
Those with new-age beliefs are not going to bring about the apocalypse and religion actually has some important morals to share. It's such a shame that neither side is willing to co-exist, or even talk with the other.
Alas, if only someone could actually turn water in to wine. That may start a conversation between The Church and my generation.
Then perhaps my tarot cards and crystal balls would stop showing me images of the Church dying ... for our sins.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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