Religion

Kage Baker loved God. She was a  pious lady, and always considered herself a Christian, and she liked a well-done ritual. So being raised in the Roman Catholic Church with all its pre-Vatican II panoply, was very satisfying to her in her youth. But when Mother Church started to get menopausal in the 1960’s, and then downright flaky as the millenium wore on, Kage quietly withdrew to a more private colloquy with her God.

She never did trust large organizations very much.

While she felt she had received a superior education in the Roman Catholic schools we attended, she was always a little leery of the spiritual indoctrination we were taught along with the geography and New Math. She wanted to arrive at her spiritual convictions under her own power, and not because someone had handed her religion on the same emotional plate as the multiplication tables. She never really trusted organized religion, either – anybody’s. One can have faith in God without having any in the Pope or the Magisterium. By nature, I think she was better suited to an older age; she could have been an anchorite with no great difficulty.

In fact, Kage did her best to achieve a sort of St. Julian of Norwhich lifestyle in her later years, dispensing advice and her observations on the Universe from the privacy of her cell. I was the one who went out and foraged, bringing back news and groceries and the things I had seen as I went about in the world. We used to joke that I was her raven. Or whatever it was that fed old St. Anthony and the other hard-core anchorites and stylites; Kage thought St. Julian had had much the more sensible idea, cozily sequestered in her furnished cell. And of course, Kage had a whole flock of Huginns and Muninns at her command on the Internet.

She had no trouble with the various superstitions, elder religions, re-purposed goddesses and faeries with which society is rife (and always has been. Gods don’t go away; they re-train.) and was herself pretty comfortably superstitious. Why not? She said it was not the place of mortal woman to decide what God did or did not find significant; for all she, Kage, knew it would indeed induce cracks in the fabric of the Universe if she let me throw my hat on the bed.

Maybe that was a joke. Maybe she meant it. (Maybe it was a way to make sure I hung up my damned hats.) She had to come to terms some way with the dichotomy of being naturally religious and also knowing history: she chose a peaceful way, rather than the all-too-frequent  path of intolerance and denial. It was the way the Roman Catholic Church came to terms with the adamant spiritualities of Britain, Mexico and Africa. That comes from knowing history, too.

But Kage liked privacy with God. I think she was by nature an ecstatic, like John of the Cross or St. Theresa – a relationship with God that was so intimate it was almost secular, one that went right through worldliness and out the other side into -what? There my imagination fails, because I have never aspired to that kind of relationship with Godhead.

Is there a place where effulgence transcends into familiarity? A spiritual moebius strip that winds through divinity into commonplace? And what would it mean, where staring into the eyes of God could even be commonplace in the first place?

I only know that she often said her idea of Heaven was to spend eternity slow-dancing with God.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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