Category Archives: Religion

Getting cleaned and refreshed: sauna v. Jesus

The last week and a half have been quite busy here. Looking after my friend’s internet business while he is on holiday has taken three or four days so far. Then my youngest daughter came over and we managed to get through a few episodes of Ballykissangel and a couple of episodes of dharma & greg which my friend lent me. My son and his girlfriend came for a weekend and I watched more dharma & greg with them. Late Saturday afternoon we went to sauna (I had built one in my cellar – in the room which was the original kitchen of this 150 year old house) and on Sunday morning my son’s girlfriend gave me a massage. After they left I read some blogs here trying to see how others do these things. On Monday I did the business again and yesterday I had a punk rock band recording their album in the big room in my cellar. In between all that there was shopping (never my favourite pastime), cooking, eating, drinking, chatting and generally making merry.  And now, finally, I have time to spend on my blog to write about something that has been exercising my mind for the past couple of days.

On my trawl through the blogs I stumbled upon a blog post titled “Jesus doesn’t want me to shave my legs. And I hope there’s “Sex and the City” in hell.” Well, it was not so much a stumble as seeing it on the Freshly Pressed and finding the title interesting – the only one interesting enough for me to click and read. Any irreverent mention of Jesus is bound to draw my attention. To couple it with Sex and the City – what can I say – I had to read it and what a fun read it was. Even though I do not shave my legs. Never have done so. I have shaved my head in the past – it feels like a very distant past now, another lifetime. You see my head is the only place on my body where the hair grows in abundance. So it has been the only place I could have done any hairy experiments.

The comments came after the post. And there were comments. I feel like adding a few more esses at the end of that word: commentssssss. It seems like a quite a few people were drawn by the title. There were fun comments and there were comments from Jesus folks, some of them funny too. I liked the word “charismaniac” in one of the comments as I felt it fitted me too years and years ago – in one of my other lifetimes. However, I did not clung to a belief in christ nor in his grace, whatever that is. Some of the hymns and religious sayings of my mother occasionally pop into my head, but I religiously avoid repeating them to anyone around me. My mother used to say good night to us with a religious rhyme which has been the most persistent popper into my head. So far I have managed to avoid burdening my kids (now adults) with it or any other similar saying or rhyme. “Avoid burdening” is the right phrase here as I did not become an atheist until my two older kids were almost teenagers. So they did get some of the religious stuff poured into their ears and minds before I saw the light. Fortunately, it did no permanent damage as neither of them grew up religious.

There were an inordinate amount of religiousity in the comments. And quotes from the bible galore. Fires of hell were promised to those not believing in hell. Scary! Christians were told that they must not find the post funny. There was preaching and correcting and some really strange claims like the one that the bible is “one of the most rich scientific manuals to the world.” My own take on the bible, which I have read a few times from cover to cover in two different languages and some parts in the original language while a student in a theological college, is this: It is the most horrendously violent book I have ever read. It is true it has some beautiful poetic passages also, but violence is the overriding theme particularly in the old testament. Long before I rejected god as a non-existent human-created being I remember being confused by one verse in the bible. It is “For many are called, but few are chosen” in Matthew 22:14. To me this really contradicted the idea of free will. Surely if god allowed people free will then it should be up to them to decide whether they wanted to be chosen or not. If god decided to reject some then they had no free will. I talked about this with a friend who told me not to question god.

It took me many years and much reading and pondering and watching life unfold before my eyes to finally come to the conclusion that to get really clean inside and out and to feel good and refreshed I needed to reject one thing from my upbringing and embrace another. So I built a sauna in my cellar and use it normally once a week.

In Finland most people have a sauna in their house or as a separate building. In blocks of flats there usually is a sauna which tenants can book to use. And some people have a sauna by a lake like in this picture which I scanned from a book Päijänteen Ympäri (Around the lake Päijänne). Our sauna was not near a lake, but I have experienced going to a sauna by a lake and jumping in the lake from the sauna. With or without a lake the sauna is a refreshing way to get clean. I heartily recommend it to all.