School is Getting Interesting

Morning Everyone! I have mentioned before that I am going to Community College so I can get a few credits cheap before moving on to my Master’s program. Well, right now in my literature class we are reading a lot of texts from early America, which tend to have a lot of religious overtones. Yesterday, we had to read a sermon titled Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God by Reverend Jonathan Edwards. I started reading it while also looking at the discussion board on the text, and man did I start to get flustered. I must be in a class with a bunch of religious people because they were all about this.

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Or, perhaps, the students in my class don’t understand that you don’t have to agree with each and every text that we read in class. The teacher had us read it to get us thinking, not because it’s his favorite book! Maybe it’s because I’ve already been through University, but I no longer feel the need to kiss my professor’s boots because I know they’ll give me a good grade as long as I am able to make arguments and back them up with facts. They’re trying to get you to expand your mind, not learn how to be a yes-man.

So, we had to write a one-page essay based on a text we’ve read and I picked Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, which I realize now was dumb because it’s a LONG sermon and I couldn’t go over one page of text. We were supposed to do a close reading and, from what I understand, a mini-literary analysis and damn I could have made this into a 30-pager easily. Sadly, I probably won’t get to unless it’s on my own time because Community College isn’t normally that crazy.

I thought I’d share my essay with you here:

Controlling the Creator: A brief look into how God is used as a tool for manipulation

By Lauren Hippenstiel

God has always been used by the church to justify any action that may be looked upon as controversial by the general public. In the 19thcentury, it was God who gave settlers the right to expand into the Americas and begin to manifest the destiny he had written for them. Before that, The Crusades became the cause of death for thousands as people fought for control of holy sites that was controlled by Muslims in 1095. But how could an establishment that teaches not to kill or lie justify such horrific actions while also convincing thousands to murder their fellow humans? By using God as a scare tactic to ensure obedience in all endeavors. Reverend Jonathan Edwards uses his sermon Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God to frighten those who hear his word, thus making them obedient to him as he is the interpreter of the word of God.

The main argument of his sermon is that those who choose to walk in places of temptation and damnation will eventually fall into hell because God has decided it is time. Edwards implies that the wicked are predestined to feel God’s wrath, it just takes time for God to get around to punishing them. He states, “Yea, God is a great deal more angry with great numbers that are now on earth; yea, doubtless, with many that are now in this congregation, who it may be are at ease, than he is with many of those who are now in the flames of hell”. Basically, at all times, we must walk on eggs shells, ever watchful for potential sins or run the risk of God’s eye moving towards us and casting us into the pit of despair. Those who heard this word would then have no time to question that what was being told to them. They had to feed their children, protect their families, and praise God in order to ensure the survival of their flesh and their spirit simultaneously. There was no time to pick apart each word of The Bible. That hobby was reserved for the wealthy, educated man of the time who, more often than not, was a high-ranking member of the Church and would therefore benefit from a more easily manipulated flock.

            Far from the all-loving God we see in the current era, he is portrayed within the text as somebody who looks upon humans as filth and not as his beautiful creations full of potential. Edward states that “The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours”. This goes against the normal image of God as the protector. We often see him in positions of power, saving humanity from the pits of Hell rather than dangling us over it much like a petulant child would cast an ant that has bit his finger into a campfire. This would cause the members of the congregation to quake in fear, always wondering if they’re doing enough to keep God happy.

            These portrayals seem to cast God as more of a devil than The Almighty Savior of humanity. It was the sin of loving God above humanity that caused God to cast Lucifer from Heaven, which means at some point in history the Church decided that a benevolent, human-loving God was more lucrative for them than a malevolent one. This switch can be seen today as God-adorers use their faith to justify turning away those who seek asylum within our boarders in a bastardization of manifest destiny. As society changes, so must God, as must the men those who control him, if they are to survive.

 

Let me know what you think on this Freedom of Religion day!

HS!

LH

I’m A Teacher

I’ve always wanted to be a teacher since I was in High School. I always dreamed of being the cool teacher who students like to hang out with during lunch. I thought I was going to be an English Teacher one day, since my BA is in Creative Writing, and I may move into that field at some point.

It wasn’t until later, while I was attending Skagit Valley Community College, that I found out my love for theatre. While I was getting my BA at WWU, I also took theatre classes that focused on technical side of theatre, accumulating enough for almost a minor. Almost. Like, if I take one more class, I will have a theatre minor. Why didn’t I decide to stay in school one more quarter and just finish off that one credit? Well, because I got a job offer.

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My $22,000 piece of paper

It was last summer during the off-season at Western when I was working as a janitor. I was taking my last break, which was at 1:30 in the afternoon since I got to work at 5am, and I had a text from my mom to come down later for dinner. So, I did. That’s when I started speaking to my mom’s friend who works at the school. She started asking me if I wanted to be a drama teacher. I thought she was joking, so I said that yeah, one day, I would love to be a teacher. That when she looked at me really seriously and said

“No, now”.

And that was that! I went home and filled out my graduation papers, which they had to rush for me. Then I paid what I needed to pay, filled out my application and waited. And waited… Then I waited a while longer. Apparently, they liked to keep me waiting because I was about ready to give up. My stomach turned each day, wondering if I was going to get the job. So, I did what any rational Satanist would do. I performed a ritual.

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A photo from before our first ritual

I decided to do a compassion ritual because I was worried that they maybe had multiple people to decide from or were unsure if they wanted to hire me or not. I have to say, I did feel better afterwards because I felt as if I had finally done everything in my power to sway the outcome. Afterwards, I turned my energy to different things. I started looking at Masters programs and tried painting. I looked for other jobs, too, in case they decided to hire somebody else. Well, a few days later, I received a call. I was being asked to come in and interview! They ended up hiring me on the spot, which is good since school started the next Tuesday.

From then on, it’s been nothing but a dream. Yeah, there are some times when I get stressed and find myself wanting to bang my head against the wall, but I’m happy more often than not. They are all so smart and funny and I love each of them for who they are and I hope I’m still around to see them graduate.

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One of my Favs at the gun march (Used with permission)

When it comes to being a Satanist and being a member of the Church of Satan, I keep that on the DL. If they ask me if I go to church or believe in god, I tell them to ask me after they graduate. Sometimes they debate religion while we are working and I’ll listen to make sure that everything is fair and factual. I’ll chime in as soon as the conversation begins to get personal or if somebody says something inaccurate. This means that I’ve corrected them about the beliefs on some Christians, Hindus, etc. And yes, I’ve defended Satanism.

A real life example: One time a student said that Satanists sacrifice animals and children. Obviously this is crazy and I corrected him. I’m a teacher, which means I am here to teach. I don’t want to create little Satanists, I want to create good people. I want to make sure that these children get thrown into the world with the ability to fact check and question everything.

I do, though, weave satanic sentiments into my teaching and class rules. We respect other people’s time in class, which means knowing when to work, when to chat, and when to listen to Ms. Hippenstiel. This means that nobody should expect to be listened to if they can’t take their eyes off their phone while others are presenting. I also get them to try to work out their own issues before coming to me because I don’t have time to split up fights about desks. But I don’t try to turn them into Satanists. It’s against my religious beliefs to indoctrinate people.

The biggest rule in my class is “Get Over Yourself”. This is important in the theatre because if you spend too much time thinking about how silly you might look, you will never give a good performance. Hell, I was in a play where I played an evil preacher that came back from the dead to yell at gay people who were also dead because they had died of AIDs. It’s called Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens and it’s FUCKING BOMB. If I had gotten too worried about what I looked like, I wouldn’t have been able to get audience members to hiss at me when I finished my piece.

I have the future of the United States of America in my hands every day. All I want is for the students to leave school one day and be able to enter the next step of their life with confidence. I was a pretty bad student back in the day, so I understand what it’s like to have a teacher change your life, as my high school English teacher did for me.

I hope they feel safe and loved in my class. If these things hold true, I’ve done my job.

Enjoy the rest of the day, my Lovely Leviathans

HS!

LH