Friday, April 28, 2006

A Thought for Those Who Don't Understand the Gay Rights Movement...

"But you really do strike me as stupid even about your own welfare! Some of you say that we have already all the influence we can possibly require, and talk as if we ought to be grateful that we are allowed even to breathe. Pray, who shall judge what we require if not we ourselves? We require simply freedom; we require the lid to be taken off the box in which we have been kept for centuries. You say it’s a very comfortable, cozy, convenient box, with nice glass sides, so that we can see out, and that all that’s wanted is to give another quiet turn to the key. That is very easily answered. Good gentlemen, you have never been in the box, and you haven’t the least idea how it feels!"
--Henry James, The Bostonians

Thursday, April 27, 2006

And Just For Shits and Giggles...

I took another quiz... Isn't life grand?

Which Animaniacs Character are You?

You have megalomaniacal impulses regularly. That's not necessarily a bad thing, however, as you have the cranial capacity of a small planet. Trying to take over the world is hard work, though, and you're not above exploiting your lessers. Even now, you have a plan that's being enacted which will pitch the world's economy into turmoil, leaving the floodgates of trade exposed for the sole owner of stock in the � company! You are en route to taking over the world!

Oh, and you ARE pondering what I'm pondering.

Click here to see my Livejournal.

And another ...

The Expatriate
Achtung! You are 38% brainwashworthy, 27% antitolerant, and 28% blindly patriotic
Congratulations! You are not susceptible to brainwashing, your values and cares extend beyond the borders of your own country, and your Blind Patriotism does not reach unhealthy levels. If you had been German in the 30s, you would've left the country.

One bad scenario -- as I hypothetically project you back in time -- is that you just wouldn't have cared one way or the other about Nazism. Maybe politics don't interest you enough. But the fact that you took this test means they probably do. I'm gonna give you the benefit of the doubt.

Did you know that many of the smartest Germans departed prior to the beginning of World War II, because they knew some evil shit was brewing? Brain Drain. Many of them were scientists. It is very possible you could have been one of them.

Conclusion: born and raised in Germany in the early 1930's, you would not have been a Nazi.

The Would You Have Been A Nazi? Test
- it rules -

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 53% on brainwashworthy

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 41% on antitolerant

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 32% on patriotic
Link: The Would You Have Been a Nazi Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Not Sure How I Feel About This...

I mean, you all can obviously tell I like taking multiple-choice online quiz's for no apparent reason...

the Cutting Edge

(61% dark, 46% spontaneous, 31% vulgar)

your humor style:

Your humor's mostly innocent and off-the-cuff, but somehow there's something slightly menacing about you. Part of your humor is making people a little uncomfortable, even if the things you say aren't themselves confrontational. You probably have a very dry delivery, or are seriously over-the-top.

Your type is the most likely to appreciate a good insult and/or broken bone and/or very very fat person dancing.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: David Letterman - John Belushi

The 3-Variable Funny Test!
- it rules -

If you're interested, try my best friend's best test: The Genghis Khan Genetic Fitness Masterpiece

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 74% on darkness

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 52% on spontaneity

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 34% on vulgarity
Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test written by jason_bateman on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Who Knew?

Thanks for taking Beliefnet's Belief-O-Matic quiz.
Your results are below.

Remember: The top score on the list below represents the faith that
Belief-O-Matic, in its less than infinite wisdom, thinks most closely matches
your beliefs. However, even a score of 100% does not mean that your views
are all shared by this faith, or vice versa.

Belief-O-Matic then lists another 26 faiths in the order of how much they
have in common with your professed beliefs. The higher a faith appears on
this list, the more closely it aligns with your thinking.


1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Liberal Quakers (87%)
3. Mainline to Liberal Christian Protestants (77%)
4. Secular Humanism (76%)
5. Neo-Pagan (75%)
6. Reform Judaism (72%)
7. Theravada Buddhism (66%)
8. New Thought (62%)
9. New Age (61%)
10. Mahayana Buddhism (61%)
11. Sikhism (59%)
12. Scientology (57%)
13. Hinduism (56%)
14. Nontheist (54%)
15. Taoism (52%)
16. Jainism (50%)
17. Bahá'í Faith (43%)
18. Christian Science (Church of Christ, Scientist) (40%)
19. Orthodox Quaker (40%)
20. Orthodox Judaism (36%)
21. Islam (34%)
22. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (28%)
23. Eastern Orthodox (26%)
24. Roman Catholic (26%)
25. Mainline to Conservative Christian/Protestant (25%)
26. Seventh Day Adventist (24%)
27. Jehovah's Witness (16%)
Who knew we all had so much in common?

This Skeptic Still Ain't Biting...

Okay, I usually just look at "My Yahoo" to find these types of idiotic stories, but apparently Adam G. thought this little argument would convince me to "change my ways" and "see the glory that if God..."

Adam G. is apparently also my anonymous e-mailer from So I Was Sent An Anonymous E-mail... post from a while back.

So here is the link he sent me. As I eradicate this pitiful attempt at "logic," I will certainly pull quotes from the article, but just in case you felt like reading the whole thing... click here.
Okay, so the article is entitled "WHAT TO SAY TO A SKEPTIC." What does "skeptic" imply? Unbelief, basically. Webster's defines "skeptic" as

1 : an adherent or advocate of skepticism
2 : a person disposed to skepticism especially regarding religion or religious principles
So I looked up "skepticism" (and, as a sidenote, I think it's silly to define a word with itself, don't you?) and it said:

1 : an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object
2 a : the doctrine that true knowledge or knowledge in a particular area is uncertain b : the method of suspended judgment, systematic doubt, or criticism characteristic of skeptics
3 : doubt concerning basic religious principles (as immortality, providence, and revelation)
So, I think we can agree that a "skeptic" is one who thinks things are uncertain, doesn't believe, and may be hard to convince to believe...

According to this article, the three main "reasons," or "arguments" a skeptic puts forth (this part is laugh-out-loud on it's own!) are the three following sentences:

  1. "Maybe Jesus wasn't really dead, and He just rolled away the stone himself."
  2. "Maybe the disciples moved Christ's body."
  3. "OK, so maybe the soldiers stole the body."

Um, yeah, that's what I say to Christians all the time when they bring up an unbelief in God... you mean you don't?

Whatever. Anywho, I don't think anyone would ever really entertain those notions unless they had already accepted the bible as an accurate, historical book of the life and times of Christ. The basis for these arguments rests on the skeptic already accepting the basic premises of:
  1. The accuracy and historical relevance of the Bible
  2. That Jesus actually existed and was crucified
  3. That, having existed, he really did rise from the dead (or at least his body was never discovered)
  4. That angels do appear and speak to people
  5. And so on, and so forth

I think if a Christian is to convince the "skeptic" about the "truth" of the gospels, and the death and resurrection of the Christ as the son of god, they'll need to do better than refute three silly arguments who's answers are based soley within the pages of their holy book. Don't you? Am I alone in this incredulity?

The basic issue not only comes down to faith, which we've discussed here before (and will continue to ponder and explore in the future!), but the fact that this argument the author is presenting, and then refuting, is circular. Most of the great questions posed by fundies are, of course. They say you must believe. Why? It's in the bible. Who wrote the bible? God, or at least, it was god inspired. How do we know? It's in the bible.

It's like, which came first? The chicken or the egg? (A literal fundamentalist conservative would say, obviously the chicken, on the day god created fowl... Day Four. How do they know? It's in the bible. Well, who wrote that? God. How do you know? It's in the bible...)

You could argue till you were blue in the face, but a fundie can't be beaten logically. Now I know there are some Christians out there who don't feel it is their place to try to "convince the skeptic," but I just thought people should know, should you like to try (like Adam G.), you should really get a better argument. Or, at least, employ logic before trying.

I think the funniest part of the whole article was this section of paragraphs:

For centuries people have acted like those stubborn priests and have tried to disprove--even ignore--the resurrection of Jesus Christ. After all, if our Lord didn't rise from the dead, then everything He said and did would be a lie, right? What's more, anybody can claim to be God--psychiatric hospitals are filled with such misguided people. But to say you're God and then prove you're immortal--that's another matter.

Christ's resurrection was the proof, the seal of authenticity. And not only have people failed at disproving it, but during their research some have actually become Christians!

Yet the heart of man is often blind. Just look around and you'll spot lots of skeptics. That's why it's important that Christian guys be prepared to talk about the greatest event in history. So read on, and let Breakaway show you how to lay some groundwork for guiding others to the truth.

Let's take a look at the top three arguments people use--along with some solid answers.
Yeah, real solid answers, guys. Maybe if you got the questions right, you may have some hope...

But until then, this skeptic ain't biting.

Monday, April 24, 2006

I Will Not Take These Things for Granted...

Not only is it the title of this post, but a great song by Toad the Wet Sprocket, whom I will be seeing in concert in June, thanks to my friend Scott...
Topic: While I was spending a wonderful, relaxing weekend in Tennessee with my friend Tamie, and her friends Brian and Johnny, the sentence came up: If your house was on fire, and you only had time to grab five things, what would those five things be?

And I paused. My mind started racing. What would they be? I know I would want Richard and our dog, Hawthorne, to get out safely, but after further discussion, loved ones (and loved creatures!) count as only one. Sure, like a fireman would be standing there saying, "Okay, run back in and grab four more! No! The roof won't collapse yet, now go!"

I am a knick-knack-o-holic. I have stuff everywhere. Candle holders, trinkets, baskets, books, decorative statutes, vases, mirrors, figurines... you name it, I have four of it, and probably two more on the attic. I also have many cherished childhood toys, collectibles, as well as the bulk of the family's history of pictures dating back at least a century and a half.

Would I run for these things? What would I think of first? I have a picture of two people hanging onto a cross/island in a storm-tossed sea that hung over my grandparents wood stove for as long as I could remember, which now hangs over my coal stove... I have three large plastic cases of ancient family pictures... I have over 60 cardboard boxes of books in my attic... My grandfather's model train he built by hand... the clay statue of a dog my dad made in college... Three afghans hand-made by my mother, as well as two made by my evil grandmother... Photo albums which chronicle mine and my brothers' and sisters' growing-up years...

All of it is really just stuff. Material things. Objects with no lasting life whatsoever. My memories of my grandfather would not disappear into nothingness if his model train were to be destroyed. The love of my mother (and the twisted sense of love my grandmother has) would not dissipate should their hand-made gifts be ravaged by fire. If the photos were to disintegrate, my brothers, sisters, and ancestors would still be mine. The clay statute? My father would love me no less...

Would I stand before the burning house and mourn the loss of these items? Of course. But would it be the end of all that I love and cherish? No. Material things are nice, but none of it could ever make up for memories, those ephemeral possessions of the brain that cannot be bought and sold. Memories bring back emotions good and bad, feelings of love, happiness, sadness, anger...

So what would I run back into my burning house for? I think as long as I knew Richard and Hawthorne were safe and sound, in my arms as we stared at the glowing structure, I would be content. I would be sad, but neither would I want to jeopardize my life with those two for a trinket. Trinkets and photos may not be able to be replaced down the road, but neither will they share a laugh with me, hold my hand, or even comfort me as the house burns to the ground...

I Will Not Take These Things for Granted

One part of me just wants to tell you everything
One part just needs the quiet
And if I'm lonely here, I'm lonely here
And on the telephone
You offer reassurance

I will not take these things for granted

How can I hold the part of me that only you can carry
It needs a strength I haven't found
But if it's frightening, I'll bear the cold
And on the telephone
You offer warm asylum

I'm listening
Flowers in the garden
Laughter in the hall
Children in the park
I will not take these things for granted

To crawl inside the wire and feel something near me
To feel this accepting
That it is lonely here, but not alone
And on the telephone
You offer visions dancing

I'm listening
Music in the bedroom
Laughter in the hall
Dive into the ocean
Singing by the fire
Running through the forest
And standing in the wind
In rolling canyons

I will not take these things for granted

Copyright (c) 1991 wet sprocket songs (ascap)

Thursday, April 20, 2006

To Tom, a Response; or, Things That Make You Go Hmmm....

Tom is long-winded... No, really, he takes after my mother in this respect, as much as he might despise that fact. :D

You can read his lengthy comments on my "Faith Like a Child" post here. You can check out his not-been-updated-in-a-long-time blog, with teammate Kelly, here.
But without further ado, my response to Tom.

Hey Dude,

A. Yes, you're right, I would advertise your blog if you updated it every now and then. :D

B. There are no coincidences... Is that a coincidence? That there are none? Hmm...

C. Being human, yes, I generalize, and yes, I mostly generalize about the fundie, conservative, "religious" Christian who speaks loudly in all arena's of the United States culture today. I try not to, but alas, there it is. I do not, however, ever claim that this is all Christians, and I do hope no one ever takes it like that. I happen to know a few actual, truly good Christians on this Earth, and I think even they know to which sub-group of their religion I generalize about.

D. What was wrong with my hospital analogy? I'd truly like to know...

E. The faith of a child. It is true that the parent/child faith is different than the simple "faith of a child" over-reaching view that persists at most times. I have actually never considered it in the view of a parent/child scenario, and that will take some thinking... It may be something I never get to experience in actuality, but it doesn't mean one can't learn of it... everyone has a parent-figure in their lives, whether of blood or circumstance...

F. I don't believe the God of OT and the Jesus of NT are related... I think it was simply convenient at the time of the Council of Nicea to "marry" Yahweh and Christ to "fill in the gaps" as it were... but this is something I am also still working through, and that is, as you put it, a severely underdeveloped idea...

G. When it comes to the whole "don't hear the man" but "hear the teacher" thing... Obviously, man could never actually know the pure intentions of God, if he were to exist (and he might). But one thing you cannot escape is that everything you think you may know about the teacher was told or taught to you by a man... Whether conservative, liberal, Muslim, Jew or Irishman, man is only one of the two mediums through which you can experience or learn anything about the teacher to which you refer. Man, and your own personal experience with the teacher, whether that in turn be by his "spirit," or his "presence" or what-have-you. And still, you are Man, which brings us back to the first way you experience the teacher.

There is nothing you can learn about god or Jesus that doesn't include fallible, failing, yet striving-to-know-and-understand Man. So how does one come to rely on the teachings of a spiritual deity when all Man has is himself and other men? His senses and experiences, and those of his fellow man?

One could argue Creation, of course. Earth. Nature. The universe. But again, you are "sensing" or "concluding," as a Man, these things. It all filters through your Man's brain. And Dobson's. And Kerry's. And the small children on the banks of a stream. Every man, woman, and child. No one can look at something through pure objectivism. Even as a child, your views and naivete are influenced by things you can't even remember, like how often your were held, changed, fed, and such. Your perceptions today are even clouded, unknowingly, through pre-birth experiences of hormones, medications, foods and drinks of your mother... To reach a pure philosophy, a pure view of the teacher, is humanly impossible... And of course, your judgment and thinkings will always be clouded by the experiences you do remember.

But that doesn't mean man should stop trying by any means. But what it will always mean is that God will continue to change as man changes. God will evolve alongside us. Jesus may fall into myth and fable. God may move from Father, to Carbon Gas, to Black-hole, to Anti-plasmatic black matter subjugated into a cube smaller than a nano-bot. Who knows? You say this relates back to trusting the teacher to enlighten you, provide you with answers, knowledge through your faith, and testings of that faith.

Perhaps. I'm getting tired, and I think maybe getting off-point. I leave for Tennessee in less than six hours, so I will sign off, and possibly pick this back up later.

I continue to love and respect your views, Tom! A better brother I could not have requested personally!

And, if you do start up that blog of yours again, I will proudly link it to mine!

Have a great weekend everyone! Oh, and Kelly? This last part is for you!
BETHANY IS GONE!!!! BETHANY IS GONE!!!! YEAH, YEAH, YEAH!!!!!!!! This has resulted in a very pleasant Thursday at work, much laughter, joy, and a lack of useless facts spilling over into every conversation not even remotely involving her...

Peace... is good!

He's Still My Superhero...

...but he was hoping he'd be the Flash... silly Rich! :D

Your results:
You are Green Lantern

Green Lantern
The Flash
Wonder Woman
Iron Man
Hot-headed. You have strong
will power and a good imagination.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

...and it turns out our best friend Scott is:

Your results:
You are Superman

Wonder Woman
Green Lantern
Iron Man
The Flash
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

What is Faith?; or, Faith Like a Child....

Kelly, you don't want to read this... unless you've picked up some holy water before logging on! :D

So I was reading a post on Debunking Christianity, as well as the following comments people were talking about... an the insubstance of faith was brought up on more than one occasion. It got me to thinking about my own loss of faith, when it occurred, the linchpin, the struggle afterward, but mostly, about Faith itself.

Faith, of course, is the hope of something that has no proof, or logical sense to it. Webster's defines "faith" in 2b(1)(2) as (1): firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust, which I think sums it up nicely.

But why do we as people rely on faith? We certainly use faith everyday: When I place my key in the ignition every morning, I have faith that my car will start; When I place chicken in the stove and turn the knob, I have faith that it will heat and cook my dinner; when I turn the knobs on the faucet, I have faith that water will gush forth, or at least dribble out in an attempt at flowing.

Now, what happens when that faith gets challenged? When the car doesn't start? If my chicken were to remain cold and raw? When water doesn't come out of the faucet?

I do what every other person in the world does: Call someone. I make a call to my father, or I find the yellow pages and search for a professional to give money to, or I look it up on DIY to see if they can tell me how to fix it without handing someone a wad of cash.

When it comes to faith in God, though, what do people do? We turn to pastors, priests, rabbis, and other "professionals" who have been in training and schooling for years, someone to whip out an idiom from the pages of scripture, a proverb or psalm to ease our pain...

And for some people, that works. They shut off their brains, take their two pills, and "call" god in the morning. While others, kicking and screaming, unable to shut off their logic centers, say, "But why?" or "How can that be?"

When you start your car, of course, you have faith that it will start based on past experience. And while you have no proof that it will start, experience says it will. A mechanic, on the other hand, places his faith in the mechanisms which you probably know nothing about. He also starts his car based on faith, but with more working knowledge of how the car starts, with the turning causing an electrical signal that makes something move, which in turn, brings the engine to life. The engineer, who also places faith in both past experience, as well as the mechanisms, also places his faith in his original design, in the concepts of science and math he/she employed in designing the mechanism. It could be said the designer practices the most faith in this car starting mechanism. His faith is based on theories and mathematics most of us couldn't comprehend without some type of engineering degree.

But, in fact, the designer has no more faith that his or her car will start than you do. You are both exercising an immeasurable amount of faith. Just because you have more knowledge of how something works doesn't translate into more faith, but it does mean you have more knowledge of what you are placing your faith in.

Now this could be hard for some to grasp. The Christian, when presented with someone who doesn't place faith in God, says, "You need to have more faith," or perhaps, "You are placing your faith in the wrong things." Past experiences have made them interpret life events in such a way that they have placed their faith in a God that causes things to happen in certain ways. They have interpreted their experiences to mean that they have placed their faith in something that works, so therefore, it must be that faith that allowed A, B, and C to happen as opposed to X, Y, and Z. But, since faith cannot be measured, who's to say that it was their faith that made it happen, and not random chance?

Let's go back to the car. When turning the key doesn't work, certain things that past experience has also taught us come to mind: Did I fill the car with gas? Is it possible that the battery is dead? Did the mechanic not fix the previous issue correctly? Past experience has taught us that, while we may have faith that our car will start, it still doesn't always start. So the experiences of the past have a.) Told us a car is supposed to start when the key is turned, and b.) If the car doesn't start, is not the fault of the key, or even our faith, but is the fault of the car itself, or somehow related to something that the car has had an issue with before.

So let's say Aunt Phoebe is in the hospital. Maybe for a routine appendicitis. A Christian will place their faith in not only the doctor's and the hospital's procedures, but will kneel down in prayer, start a "prayer chain," or request that others, too, pray for dear Aunt Phoebe. An agnostic or atheist will simply place their faith in the doctor and the hospital.

Aunt Phoebe recovers just fine, the surgery was a success, and she'll be out tomorrow. And while the agnostic/atheist says thank you to the doctor, the doctor's experiences of the past, and the hospital's great staff, a Christian will, in addition, thank God. And they interpret this experience of Aunt Phoebe's as an answer to their prayer. And if Aunt Phoebe were to have died? In a less law-suit happy world, both the Christian and the atheist wouldn't sue. But they both might anyway. But the atheist will still shrug, attribute it to bad luck, maybe a drunk doctor, a bad twist of fate. The Christian will say that it was simply the will of God, and also, shrug, uncomprehending.

Both the atheist and the Christian exercised faith in the workings of the hospital (not to mention, so did Aunt Phoebe!), but how they compartmentalized their faith is slightly different. The Christian had the additional box "God" checked off on his faith form. And irregardless of the same result, whether positive or negative, the Christian will still place his faith in God when Uncle Phil is in the hospital next week, and the atheist will still place his faith in the doctor and hospital. They both may learn to send their family members to a different hospital based on Aunt Phoebe's experience there, but the distribution of categories their faith is placed in remain basically the same.

What can we learn from the car, the hospital, and God? Our faith in all these situations is the same. We place it, or distribute it differently, but until the "Faith-o-meter" is invented, a Christian has no place to say, "You are pacing your faith in the wrong things," and neither does the atheist have the right to say this to the Christian. Faith is subjective in it's tangible outcomes and procedures. There is no way to prove or disprove the effect of faith on any situation. And for one to say to another, "Your faith is misplaced" or "misdirected," is simply an exercise in folly.

Reading this draft from about a week ago, I am unsure what my actual, practical conclusion of this is. Certainly faith is immeasurable, but can one still say they have more faith in something than someone else? Can one Christian say to another, "You are not placing enough faith in God?" Certainly they would be basing this on observed worship styles, or maybe some sort of tally on how much each attends church. It would all be based on one's physical observations and practices of the other. And I believe that physical activity certainly has nothing to do with how much faith one person has over another.

A commonly used phrase in church circles is "have faith like a child." To not ask "why?", but to simply have faith that such and such is, and will always be. Just because you don't understand something is no reason to not have faith in it, they say. And to a certain extent, I can agree with this philosophy. I don't understand how my oil furnace works, but that doesn't mean I'll stop using it to heat my house.

Where I disagree with this philosophy is in that it seems to almost be a "prohibitive" idiom. I know, it really all depends on context and meaning of the person saying it, but to automatically tell all Christians that they must "have faith like a child" almost seems to be saying, "Look, okay, we have no idea about God's plan, and we certainly don't feel like trying to explain the in's and out's of what we do know, so, please, just take our word for it."

And anyone who knows me well enough knows that telling me to not do something or say something, almost guarantees I will do exactly that which I was told not to, after weighing all the facts and consequences of such. Perhaps this is why my faith left the church and God? Because someone told me to just have faith? I am still analyzing this part of my life, and who knows? Faith may one day return to God... but for one to tell me that I have "wrong faith" or "misplaced faith"? That simply shows a lack of understanding about what faith is, in my humble opinion.

Thoughts? Feelings? Flaws in my logic?

They Should Get Their Stories Straight...

So here's an article about a bunch of Christian churches in Africa, where they say "the use of water to bless or curse anybody is witchcraft" and "pastors who have more than one wife, contrary to Bible teaching."

Have they even read their bibles?

Let's look at the first complaint from some of these churches:

"Some of these pastors tell their followers to go to a well-known stream in that area and draw water so that their businesses may prosper"
Okay, I can't see how this would really be a church-sanctioned use of water. Granted, there's holy water in the Catholic church, which is really only good for getting rid of vampires and baptizing baby's, right? So saying to "get some water from a certain stream or river, and that they'll be blessed," certainly sounds like a croc. But then the pastor who is complaining about these practices says, "the use of water to bless or curse anybody is witchcraft." So I can guess they are not catholic and that they don't believe in baptism.

Another complaint by certain pastors about what other pastors say is:

"[...] some pastors tell their followers to pray in the names of the dead for blessings."
Um, excuse me, hello?!?!?! Again, they must not be Catholic, cause the saints are dead people, Mary is a dead person, and... oh, wait, that's right, Jesus died, but then he rose again, so I guess he's not technically considered dead. And there was that Elijah guy who was brought up to heaven in a fiery chariot... he might not be dead, but eternity with all those third-degree burns? I think I'd rather be...

And one final point, the most ludicrous of all, is:

They have also castigated pastors who have more than one wife, contrary to Bible teaching.
Let's do a tally of Biblical marriages, shall we?
  • Esau had at least three wives (Gen. 26:34)
  • Jacob has two wives and two concubines (Gen. 32:22)
  • God explains how to go about selling your daughter (Ex. 21:7)
  • God's instructions for taking a second wife (Ex. 21:10)
  • Gideon had 70 sons (no one knows how many daughters) "for he had many wives" (Judg. 8:30)
  • "He [Samuel's father] had two wives." (I Sam. 1:2)
  • "And it came to pass about ten days after, that the Lord smote Nabal, that he died." This was convenient for David who then took his property and his wife, Abigail. (I Sam. 25:38)
  • David takes his second wife (Abigail) after God killed her husband (Nabal). He also, at the same time, took another wife (#3), Abinam. In the meantime, Saul gave Michal (his daughter and David's first wife) to another man. (I Sam. 25:41-44)
  • David just keeps getting more wives. God doesn't seem to mind a bit. (I Sam. 30:5)
  • David, by this time, has at least seven wives (Michal, Ahinoam, Abigail, Maacah, Haggith, Abital, and Ehlah), and he was just getting started. (II Sam. 3:2-5)
  • "And David took him more concubines and wives." (How many? God knows I suppose, but he doesn't tell us in the Bible.) (II Sam. 5:13)
  • God gave the wives of king Saul to David. (II Sam. 12:7-8)
  • David leaves ten of his concubines home to clean house. (II Sam. 15:16)
  • To punish his ten concubines for being raped by his son, Absalom (See II Sam. 16:21-22), David refuses to ever again have sex with them and forces them to "keep house" for the rest of their lives. (II Sam. 20:3)
  • "King Solomon loved many strange women. And he had 700 wives and 300 concubines." God didn't mind the number so much; it was their strangeness that he objected to. (I Kings 11:1-3)
  • Note that Solomon is told to stay away from foreign women. Why? Because they have different ("strange") religious beliefs, and God disapproves of mixed-faith marriages. (I Kings 11:2)
  • The wisest man that ever lived (1 Kings 4:31) was misled by his wives into worshipping other gods. (I Kings 11:4, 15:3)
  • Ashur had two wives, continuing the long line of biblical polygamists. (I Chron. 4:5)
  • "And David took more wives" with the apparent approval of God. (I Chron. 14:3)
  • Rehoboam had 18 wives and 60 concubines. Once again, if silence implies consent, then God must approve of such arrangements. (II Chron. 11:21)
  • "But Abijah waxed mighty, and married fourteen wives." Apparently, in the eyes of God, a man's status is determined by the number of wives that he possesses. (II Chron. 13:21)
  • "Jehoiada took for him two wives" -- without comment, complaint, or criticism from the bible. (II Chron. 24:3)
This could go on forever. The only--only portion of the bible which anyone ever takes to mean that "one man should be with only one woman" is when Jesus, in the New Testament, quotes Genesis in the Old Testament, when he says, "And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain (NEVER AGAIN TWO), but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." (Matt 19:5-6) In Mark, he says it slightly differently: "And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain (NEVER AGAIN TWO), but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." (Mark 10:8-9)

The passage in Genesis says: "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." (Gen. 2:24).

And then Paul feels the need to add his two cents with: "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh." (Eph. 5:31) Of course, this is after Paul says it's better not to marry at all, if you can help it: (I Corinthians 7:6) "For I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that."

Of course, Paul is also the one that lays out most Christians arguments for the "one man/one woman" theory in this passage: "Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. But I say this as a concession, not as a commandment." (I Cor. 7:1-6)

But I suppose because Paul said it, it must be biblical, am I right?

Not that I care either way... but if you are going to claim to teach the damn bible, then get your fucking story straight, okay?

Friday, April 14, 2006

Like a Moth to a Flame...

Not that this bill has a snowballs chance in hell of ever holding up to constitutional muster, Missouri is apparently considering a bill that would name "Christianity" as the state's "official" religion of the majority...

Creepy Christians... I doubt even many of them would allow this to pass...

Still creepy....


Apparently this is like a month and a half old, but here's the actual article... you have to register to read it on the site of the newspaper, though:

State bill proposes Christianity be Missouri's official religion

12:28 AM CST on Friday, March 3, 2006
By John Mills, News 4

Missouri legislators in Jefferson City considered a bill that would name Christianity the state's official "majority" religion. House Concurrent Resolution 13 has is pending in the state legislature. Many Missouri residents had not heard about the bill until Thursday. Karen Aroesty of the Anti-defamation league, along with other watch-groups, began a letter writing and email campaign to stop the resolution. The resolution would recognize "a Christian god," and it would not protect minority religions, but "protect the majority's right to express their religious beliefs. The resolution also recognizes that, "a greater power exists," and only Christianity receives what the resolution calls, "justified recognition."
State representative David Sater of Cassville in southwestern Missouri, sponsored the resolution, but he has refused to talk about it on camera or over the phone.

KMOV also contacted Gov. Matt Blunt's office to see where he stands on the resolution, but he has yet to respond.

I Couldn't Even Begin to Say It Better

I think this essay by Sidney Blumenthal should be a must-read for anyone in this United States:

The Slow-Motion Trap

And anyone who still believes Bush is "a decent Christian man," you've already proven you need a brain, so don't bother as the essay will hit you with a dose of reality you won't like.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


Your results:
You are Robin

Green Lantern
The Flash
Iron Man
Wonder Woman
Young and acrobatic.
You don't mind stepping aside
to give someone else glory.

Click here to take the "Which Superhero am I?" quiz...

I never really liked his costume.. to many colors... I was hoping to be aquaman, but apparently that isn't an option... I always thought he was hot!


You scored as Green. <'Imunimaginative's Deviantart Page'>

















What Political Party Do Your Beliefs Put You In?
created with

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I'm Walkin' On Sunshine!

And don't it feel fucking good!

So my week started off great because the Scheduler called off sick two days in a row after never having done so in thirteen years... Thank God for small favors. My department has been getting things done quickly and early, and I just found out today that, even though she didn't tell me herself, Bethany has handed in her two-week notice. Nancy had to tell me, and I didn't even bother asking the why's and wherefore's... I'm just happy she's going to be gone. Begin the countdown: 7 full days left of Bitch-any.


I can't stand her. Neither can anyone else for that matter, as her workmanship is sloppy, half-assed, and she constantly talks about how smart she is.


In other stupendous news this week, I finally got my ostrich ferns for my shade garden, which Rich wasn't too thrilled about due to the fact that he thinks they look like weeds, but then again, he thought my tulips were tiger lilies, so we'll see if he doesn't change his mind after I've got the whole thing landscaped perfectly. And he will. Because he loves me. And because he doesn't have a choice. :D

Also, found out I'm getting a hefty chuck of change from Uncle Sam when I did my taxes, nearly quadruple my usual return due to my failed internet business of early last year. Thank God for small favors. I see more ostrich ferns in the future! :D

Anyway, the sun is out, it's 75 degrees, and I am going outside to sit in the sun and enjoy!

Hehehe, I'm an Idiot...

I am 18% Idiot.
Friggin Genius
I am not annoying at all. In fact most people come to me for advice. Of course they annoy the hell out of me. But what can I do? I am smarter than most people.

Finally, a quiz that tells me I have an ego...

Took long enough...

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

It's Not Easy Being Mean...

There's a song title for you, Kelly!

Regardless of whether it's a song or not, for me, it's true. Got a call last night, and instead of letting the answering machine pick it up like I normally do, as I'm expecting a call from my brother-in-law about a fencing project he's got coming up this weekend, it's Nicole, Rich's cousins' wife.

We haven't heard from them directly in years. Ever since we bought our house, actually, which was fine by me, as I can't stand to be around Bill. He's an arrogant, opinionated, know-it-all bully, all in the guise of "your best buddy knows best" kind of attitude. But I was polite (even after figuring out who was on the other end of the line), handed the phone to Rich, and let him deal with them.

The only reason we heard from them last night? Lillian, their daughter, is turning four.

Now, don't get me wrong. We never hear from anyone unless it's because they want something, whether that be for company, movie watching, tubing, getting together for a game night, help on a project of some type--and that's fine because these people who are calling are more than willing to reciprocate when I'm in need of company, a game night, what-have-you.

The fact of the matter stands, though, is that these times, when Rich and I have to spend money on a gift of some sort, is the only time we ever here from Bill and Nicole, let alone most of Rich's other cousins. My cousins, you ask? Never hear from them. I see them maybe at Christmas, and at the occasional family reunion or some-such thing. Never for anything else, but that's also fine, because when we do see each other, we don't have to do the dance of "Why don't you call?"

But that's how every single fucking CONVERSATION starts with Bill, to which I reply ((always) "Why don't you call?" (You would think he'd get a clue...) These conversation go something like this, like when we were all at Rich's cousin's Chrissie's house for, guess what, a birthday party:

Bill: Hey, guys, what's up?
Me: Not much, how are you?
Bill: Not to bad. We haven't heard form you guys in a while.
Me: And we haven't heard form you, either.
(Rich wanders off, having memorized this passive-aggressive dance too many times)
Bill: How come we never see you anymore?
(We use to rent an apartment from Rich's great-aunt, Bill's grandmother, in which Bill thought he was the landlord, and thus, was always coming over unannounced.)
Me: We live far away now. (Okay, like thirty minutes, not that far.)
Bill: You guys should come down sometime and hang out.
Me: You mean like the last time you invited us down for dinner, decided you didn't feel like cooking, ordered Chinese, then charged us?
Bill: Didn't you guys want Chinese?
Me: If I had wanted Chinese, I'd've ordered it from my house.
Bill: We really haven't talked since then, either. What's up with that?
Me: (Screaming in my mind: And you can't connect the dots here?!?!?!?!) Yeah, well, we're busy.
Bill: Give me a call next week! We'll try to plan something...
Then what happens is Rich and Bill will play phone tag for about a week, and then we have to do the dance all over again the next time one of his cousins wants us to buy a birthday present for one of their kids....

I never did like Bill, but this is what happened to make me stop even trying to be nice. The day after we moved out of the apartment, Bill called:

Bill: Hey, dude, we need to talk.
Me: Sure, what's up?
Bill: There's spots on the carpet in the bedroom and living room.
Me: ... and?
Bill: Why didn't you get the carpets cleaned?
Me: Bill, we had those carpets cleaned before we moved in, remember? After you moved out, having laid carpet remnants all over the house? That already had spots all over them? And they were cleaned again when we moved out, the spots are permanent, as you well know.
Bill: What? No, you're wrong. You need to have them cleaned again.
Me: Like hell! They were spotted when we moved in! You even said, when we were looking at the apartment, 'Oh, don't worry about those, it's because these are remnants.'
Bill: No, I--
Me: And so I called your grandmother, and she has written on our first month's rent receipt that those spots were already fuckin' there!
Bill: That--
Me: So I am not shelling out another $100 so you, who are not even the landlord, can feel like you've made some type f contribution to the word at large.
(A moment of silence)
Bill: So are you going to clean them or not?
Me: Are you kidding me?
Bill: No.
Me: No.
Bill: No, what?
Me: You wanna play landlord? You pay for them. (Click.)
Yes, Bill's as dense as he sounds. God bless poor Rich for even having the balls to say to them when they called that we already had plans. Which we do, of course, but it's that much sweeter that we didn't have to lie to get out of going.

Incidentally, my stupid younger brother then rented the apartment, and he ended up putting in new carpets at his own expense, even though Rich and I told him not to move in. He now hates Bill as much as we do. Fate is funny that way.

And Tammy? Thank you for inviting us to Tennessee that weekend... you are a better friend than you know!

Saturday, April 8, 2006

Once Upon a Time...

So I've been thinking... a dangerous pastime, I know.

Thinking back to my whole post on Imagination vs. Reality, what is the whole basis for a belief in a higher power? Everything we think we know, everything we have faith in, everything we dream about, is based on two things:
  • Our own imaginations, and
  • The imaginations and thoughts of other men

Now, I think we've already established that anything man can think of has a base in reality. Granted, the things we imagine change as time goes on. To use an example that my friend Ergo pointed out:

However, those things that we CANNOT imagine AND those for which we have no concepts for, necessarily DO NOT exist. (Note, however that this does not mean that certain things cannot come into existence in the future. For example, cavemen had no concept of a computer, probably never imagined of the existence of one, and it did not exist at that time, however it has now obviously come to exist).

Now, one "imaginative" theory that has persisted in all of mankind's history, that we can measure, anyway, is the possibility of god or gods. Man has always searched for meaning, reason, and logic to his presence, and this always leads, at least culturally if not always individually, to a concept of a god. Something beyond our perception, yet based on our observations of reality and our imagining about that reality.

But man is faulty. Memory itself is never, ever trustworthy, especially after the first 24 hours. Our mind changes things, details, images... But a lot of today's religions are based on past perceptions, past observations, past writings, and even a lot of things that were passed down verbally for generations upon generations before each culture developed a written language.

Obviously, a lot of the things of the past that mankind used to hold as a universal truths have been demolished by advances in knowledge and science. New observations have removed the old, and come to the fore as a "new" universal truth. Such as whether the earth rotates around the sun, the earth being flat, that a rotting piece of meat gives rise to the creation of maggots...

But one thing that persists, despite the advances of science and knowledge, is the concept of a higher being. Even though science continues to point out explanations for life, the universe and everything, man continues his evolution of the higher being, sometimes incorporating the views of science between the lines of their holy book, and at other times disregarding science entirely for the lines in their holy book.

So the question arises: Which is truly correct in reality? Ex nihilo (out of nothing), or Creation? Certainly creationists can point out, based on nothing, that God, being who and what he is, based on their own perceptions and imaginings of reality, that God can create something out of nothing, and there is no need for the science of looking at the building blocks of life and how they may have arisen based on universal "pollution," space dust, and time. Or they can argue that God could vary easily "create" life simply using the space dust he left there after he initiated the "Big Bang" or what-have-you. These theories are based on nothing but faith, of course, but without faith, there is no point in most religions.

One thing science will never be able to do is disprove a creator, or god. It's is a logical impossibility based on the fluctuations of the human mind, and the evolution of perception. All science will ever do is say why. Give answers to observable questions. Science's job is not to disprove a creator or god, but to simply answer the why of light refraction, the how of worm-hole physics, the possibility of life arising from the building-block amino-acids observed on Earth (and recently discovered to exist on Titan--the building blocks, not life).

And as long as our imaginations allow for the creator to fit into this equation, being the limitless, immeasurable presence we view him or her to be, there is no way to measure the reality of this being. Then it simply becomes a question of faith and perception.

Then, when it comes to the "teaching" of creationism as science, it is easy to point out how "creationism" is not a science, but a philosophy. Science is measurable, provable, observable, and replicable (if that is a word :D). And since there is no way to observe, measure, test, or even ask god about this "creation," it is not science. And while I certainly believe creationism does have a place in philosophy and religion, it has no place in the realm of protons, carbon dating, amino acids, DNA, and such. Creationism allows for a hypothesis for which no theory can be proven or disproved.

Many people disagree with me, I know. But science always has been, and always will be, based on hard, observable, measurable facts, something that our evolving perception of god can never be put into and will never be allowed to put into, and thus, can have no part of. A simple "because we do not have all of the answers yet" is no reason to attribute them to "god." That is simply a reason to make sure that science continues to explore, ask, and find answers. It used to be that God was the reason the sun revolved around the earth. God was the reason we didn't float off into space. God was the reason some people died from the plague and others didn't. Science has told us that god was not the reason, but gravity, bacteria, viruses, and physics were the reasons. And while one may argue that it was all those things "due to god's plan," or "due to god's will," god has no measurable place in these answers.

And never will.

Thursday, April 6, 2006

O, Heaven Is a Place on Earth...

So there seems to be some confusion, maybe on my part, maybe on Tom's, that I easily swing between the teachings of men (what they think Jesus and God taught and stand for), and the actual teachings of God (what Jesus actually meant and thought).

Do I have the gist down, Tom?

Anyway, let me state for the record: I am not a Christian. I do not believe in the absolute truth of the bible. I do not even believe that the bible has most, if anything, right. This is not a whim. It is from my own personal years of study. Obviously, Tom and I have veered in different directions along the way as we both slammed up against the years of dogma, teachings, creeds, and beliefs of the Christianity of our childhood. I think I can say for a fact that he has grown in his faith in the facts of God and Jesus, while I have grown in faith in the indefinableness of spirituality the world over.

I am not an atheist, but I am agnostic. I do believe there is some form of "God," whether that be a sentient being at whose whim we live and breath, or whether that be a nonsentient, great blob of antimatter that puked us up one day from it's deep dredges. I certainly tend toward the side of pretty spiritualness, but I can't say for sure, as one thing I think anyone will admit from learning, it's that you really know nothing.

I am sure the Christianity, and it's close brothers Judaism and Islam, have some truths and also some great proverbs to live and learn by, some of which I hold very dear in my own spiritual life. Some may view them as just simple axioms for a good life, but one thing I hold in high regard, almost as my reason for living, is "Do unto others as you would have done unto yourself." Am I perfect at this? No, but that's a discussion for another time.

I do believe that by giving of myself, my time, and my money whenever possible, even when I don't want to, is of utmost importance. Why? It does come back to life's value. I am not good and kind to others because I have to be, or even because I think someday I might get a pat on the shoulder from the great god in the sky, but because I think that life deserves it, just in being what it is. Where would I be without people having shown me kindness and love even when they didn't have to? Where would anyone be? It's so simple, but it's something so many people miss in its simplicity. And no, again, it's not out of guilt, or some sense of responsibility. It's simply because it is.

I remember a few years back, Tom and Mike (older and younger brothers, respectively) had a discussion on why Mike does good things for others. He does it because it makes him feel good about himself, which Tom pointed out as a selfish reason to do something, and to a certain extent, I agree. Doing something simply for the fuzzy warm is selfish, maybe the worst kind of selfishness through selflessness there is. Granted, sometimes the fuzzy-warm could be considered simply a "side-effect," or an "unintended consequence." But those should not, in my belief, be mitigating factors. You should do right by others simply because they are there, and, though I hate this phrase, it holds truth around the god-speak, "There but for the grace of God go I."

My main issues with Christianity? I'll sum them up here, and maybe in later posts, when I feel so inclined, I can expound on each one individually:
  1. Virgin Birth
  2. Heaven will be perfect
  3. Free will vs. God's plans
  4. Eternal damnation
  5. Sin as usually defined

And my beef with other organized religions runs along the same path, with slightly differing dogma's for each. Again, this is not to say that "religion" has it all wrong, but they certainly don't have it all right, either.

Let me also interject at this point that I don't think that Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, or Hindus, or anyone else for that matter, is on a "wrong" spiritual path, in spite of their "religions." If god created such a diversity of life, why wouldn't he/she have many ways to reach the end of that life? This is just common sense, if you ask me. And while there are certain things about certain religions that I don't believe are right, per se, I don't think that people will end up in a hell of any kind. Or even a Purgatory, for that matter!

But what are my answers? What do I hold to? What's my reason for being here? How do I explain the great, unanswerable questions of Life, the Universe, and Everything? (Hint: 42)

I don't know if it is our place to even know, or try to answer, these questions. (9 times 6) Is there a god? Who knows... Does he/she care about what goes on in our daily lives? (Babel fish?) Don't know. Does this god expect me to accomplish certain things, act certain ways, hold to certain rituals? Don't know (and sometimes don't care to even think about it). Why are we here and what is our purpose in life? ("I wonder if it will be friends with me?") Don't know.

What do I know? Here's what I believe:
  1. Life is sacred, with or without a benevolent creator.
  2. The past may or may not hold answers, and to that I leave the scientists (I know, I know, how gracious of me!)
  3. Shit happens.
  4. And on the verso, Fortune happens.
  5. If anything out there is worthy of the title "God," I won't worship one that also created hell.
  6. Sometimes karma works, sometimes it doesn't. (Sorry, Earl!)
  7. I am content.

I know this doesn't work for a lot of people, and that my sense of spiritualness will continue to evolve. I know that others may think this too simplistic, and that's no way to live. But I hold simplicity and directness in high regard, for the most part, and hope that, in this crazy, chaotic world, if a creator were trying to get in touch with us or affect us somehow, he'd try to be as direct and simple as possible. And time and more study may lead me away from this in an entirely new direction. Who knows? It may even lead me back down the old ones of my childhood.

Tom, in your comment under "Lesser of Two Evils," you implied that I sound angry. Do I sound angry? In most of my posts, unless I specifically say I am angry, I am truly meaning to come across as matter-of-fact with hints of sarcasm and wit sprinkled throughout... am I failing in that? I really don't have anger at Christianity itself, just the "moral majority" who are in it. And most of that I worked through years ago... :D

Losing My Religion...

Okay, so I must be honest about a few things... I used to be one of those damn conservatives...

[Gasp!!! No!!!! Goodness gracious!!! The horror!!!]

Please, please calm down everyone. Granted, I finally dumped it after dropping out of Appalachian Bible College in 1997, when I realized that there was no way, after 16, 17 years, that God wasn't suddenly going to make me un-gay. But I think I gave him a fair shot. I mean, hello? How many times do you have to berate yourself, cry yourself to sleep at night because you hate who you are, lie to everyone, and consider suicide before you come to terms?

I was sitting in my apartment (okay, okay, trailer, if you must know) that I was renting in West Virginia at the time. My sophomore year had just ended. I pretty much had broken off my third quasi-engagement (I was trying really really hard to not be gay). It was dark, I had just gotten off work at Walden's at the local mall. The stars were gorgeous, and (as a side note, I have to say that even though West Virginia is beautiful, there's always a mountain in the way, no matter where you're going or what you want to do, there's a mountain), staring at the stars on the gorgeous fall evening, I realized the thing that made me evil, the thing that made me hate myself to no end, wasn't going away.

I was raised by really conservative parent's. Myself and my four siblings went to a private school that taught God created the earth, he loves everyone, oh, and here's a story about how he smote the Philistines because they were squatting on the Israelites supposed land. But he loves you, don't worry. He killed his kid so that, if you give him enough props, he'll save you from eternal fire and brimstone. Of course, don't give him props, hell it is for you. But, oh yeah, he loves you. He also let's people kill others in his name, maim, torture, lie, extort, rape--all in his name. He loves you, though, so don't take any of it the wrong way.

Within all this evilness, I had what I realize now was my first crush. His name was Ryan. He never made fun of me, always asked how I was. Didn't make fun of the way I ran (like certain brothers who shall remain nameless), didn't make fun of how I couldn't hit a baseball to save my life (like certain gym teachers who shall remain nameless), didn't mind that I liked to draw instead of run on the playground. He even asked me to draw him a picture once, and I did so--very willingly.

Once we each in turn hit seventh grade, my parents sent us to public school, as private school is really expensive. I never saw Ryan again, and public school was a complete culture shock for me. I had never heard of MTV, or anything remotely like it. Rock music, as I'd always been taught, was from the devil. Oh, and so was alcohol and dancing. I became shy, overweight, and generally introspective. I had crushes on boys come and go, but I always made sure to ask a girl out, just so I could say I had one. I didn't even have the balls to kiss a girl until tenth grade, and that was only because I thought people were talking. Of course, I realize now, everyone who didn't fit in back then was called fag and dyke. They didn't know my secret, the secret I wouldn't even admit to myself. But I was afraid they did, and tried my best to hide it.

I had an uncle named Tim who was gay. He was kicked out of the family by my great-grandfather. I only ever met him once, I think when I was about 10, maybe 11. He was dying of AIDS, and that was back when not to many people knew what it was. I remember my grandmother making him eat on paper plates, drink out of paper cups, and then throw away his own garbage. She didn't want the "gay disease." That made up my mind there that I wasn't going to be "gay." I started praying for my evil sin to go away.

I joined the military right out of high school, which shocked the hell out of my father. I was the only boy he had that didn't like sports, was very anti-violence, never rough-housed with my brothers, but rather, enjoyed redesigning the layout of my sister's Barbie house, building homes with my lego's, and such. (I'm still surprised that they didn't know before I did.)

And of course, this move was to reassert my manliness (the joining of the military), that I wasn't what all the boys in the locker room talked about, a "fag." And of course, the land of "don't ask, don't tell" is where I had my first real homosexual experience. Ironic, isn't it? His name was ... well, I won't out him, just in case. Anyway, he was from Idaho, a real farmer's boy, and the body of Zeus. I had lost a good share of my baby fat and water weight, and wasn't looking to shabby, if I do say so myself. See, exercise is good for something. :D

I dove into church after that, head first, convinced that maybe I hadn't really gotten "saved" the first two hundred times I had asked Jesus to "come into my heart." I knew it was my evil nature that had made it happen, that it was my "inherent sin nature" that caused me to sin so badly. I signed up for Bible college. I would become a pastor.

Of course, my parents were thrilled. As were their parent's. I was following in the footsteps of both my grandfather's, one a Baptist preacher, and the other a deacon for a Protestant church. Two years of studying the "word of god." You learn a lot about the Christian mind set, let me tell you. Of course, I already had the mind set. I had been raised on it. Even when in public school, it was church twice on Sundays, Wednesday's, and youth group stuff any time it could be fit in.

I should have known bible college wasn't a good idea during orientation. Not only because of "Jason," the hot guy on the soccer team from the meet-and-greet crew. But when the Dean of Men got up and laid out the rules for dorm living. The one that really got my goat was "no beards." It may seem like an innocuous little rule, considering there was "no pre-approved CDs," no talking to girls between certain hours and in certain locations, no pre-approved off-campus destinations, no movie theaters, no playing cards, no dancing, no radios, no pets, no anything pretty much. But "no beards" got me. I raised my hand.

The dean looked up, all smiles, and said, "Yes?"
"Why no beards?"
"Some people just don't look good in beards."
(And this part was totally out of character for my shy, inward, self-loathing, self-esteem self, but basic training had done a lot for me.) I said, "Yeah, and some people don't look good in pink shirts. Should there be a rule against wearing pink?"
There was silence. A clearing of the throat. None of the other guys seemed to now want to be associated with me, as chairs shuffled and people leaned back at my table.
"Well, no, that's doesn't seem necessary." And he moved on.

But I was peeved. But I swallowed my anger, moved on. I spent the next two years sneaking in movies, sneaking out of the dorm to try to figure out what my life was and was going to be.

I called Rachel and broke up with her that summer of '97. She didn't handle it well. But I knew nothing would be changing about myself at that point. I called my parent's and told them I needed to move home. They were down the next weekend. I never told my landlord I was leaving, but I'm sure by now he's figured it out. (This was in 1997, so I really do hope he has figured it out by now; of course, this was in West Virginia... No offense, Tammy :D)

I didn't do so hot after that for a while. I transferred my job to the Walden's up that way. I was lonely. I was too afraid to go out anywhere as I might run into someone I know. I had a few one-night stands (and thank my lucky stars I didn't get anything--I was so young and stupid!) I moved out of mom and dad's house 3 months after moving home. Unfortunately, I could not afford my own place in the suburbs of Philly--standard of living or something. So a church friend and my older brother moved in as well, and we all pretty much kept to ourselves.

The first person I came out to was my sister Sylvia. She was having a rotten time of it. She had just given up her child for adoption; she was working part-time at the video store; and she was being ostracized by the church for not only being a teen pregnancy, but then giving up Sam and not "dealing with her sin." It was awful how mean they were to her. The pastor made her get up in front of the church and apologize. APOLOGIZE!!!!!! for being a bad witness of Christ. Assholes.

Anyhow within the comfort and tranquility of a booth at Michaels Diner, she was lamenting about my perfect life, and so I opened up to her (I thought confidentially). When I went home that night to my apartment in Allentown, I was feeling pretty good that, even though Sylvia had been shocked and awed by the awfulness of my "sin" compared to hers, I felt good knowing I had alleviated her sense of aloneness in the world.

I get a call that night, like 3 a.m. or something. It's my stupid brother Mike.

Mike: Hey, Jay, what's happening! (He sounds slightly drunk)
Me: Dude, it's three in the morning...
Mike: How come we never talk?
Me: What? (I try to rub the sleep from my eyes. When Mike gets drunk, he also gets long-winded)
Mike: How come you never talk to me about ... stuff?
Me: Mike, I have no idea--
Mike: You know, about stuff?!?!
(Fuck! No-no-no-no-no-no, goddamn Sylvia!!! I am wide-awake now, but just want to get off the phone)
Me: Listen, Mike--
Mike: No, it's all cool! I just want to know why we don't talk?
Me: Listen, it's 3 in the morning, and I have to be at work at eight, okay? So we'll talk later...
Mike: We'll talk later?
Me: Later! Good night!
Gradually (and by gradually, think 2 days), everyone but my dad knew. And that's only because my mom told me not to tell him. She would do so when she thought he could handle it.

I, of course, threw myself into dancing, drinking, and socializing, convinced I would never hear from anyone in my family again. I knew the horror stories, both from my own families experience and from others.

But this post is getting really, really long, so I'll save that story for another time.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Why Do We Hate to Hate?

So, I don't know what got us started this morning, but we drifted into the whole "Hate is just passionate dislike" conversation.

Most children are brought up to not show extreme fondness for certain things. I remember as a child, we were taught that you shouldn't hate, or even say "Hate," but to say "Don't like," or "Dislike." And while hate could be categorized as "passionate dislike," what is it about the word hate that makes people shudder?

While there isn't much I actually hate, or even moderately dislike about my life, there are times when I am extremely unhappy about something. And I think to water it down by saying "dislike" is a problem.

Not all things, of course, are discouraged to be passionate about. Sports are almost always encouraged in families, whether through participation or fandom. And in sports, an extreme amount of emotion gets invested on both the part of the watcher and the player. And there is some type of movement right now, I believe, in the fines of showboating and such, to dissuade this passion that seems to take over, but even so, what is it about the passionate feelings of love and hate that scare us?

We all know hate is very closely related to love. They are not polar opposites. One can very easily change from one to the other overnight, in an instant even. But while love is celebrated in ads, commercials, movies, books, and such, hate is shunned as a general rule. Granted, if you are a member of the Nazi party or the KKK, hate is very encouraged. (In my opinion, misplaced and mistaken hatred, but encouraged by those in those groups nonetheless. It is very easy for persons to hate other types of people, but simple efforts to understand a differing culture or point of view very easily wipes away this type of hatred, usually replacing the hate with apathy and/or understanding and tolerance.)

Could the very presence of these types of groups in human history, even present day, bear the responsibility for our shunning of hate?

I know hate is often viewed in a negative context. Hell, hate very often is an ugly thing when misdirected and misplaced. But then, who am I to say where hate should be placed in the world view? Certainly if someone were to say, "I hate what is going on in Sudan and Darfur!" people would say, "Good for you!" and get persons talking about what they can do to alleviate or even eradicate this type of society that allows for such genocide to happen.

But if someone says, "I hate it when people don't signal before they turn!" (and I do hate that!), people tell me to calm down and take a chill pill. (Hehe! I said "chill pill." That's another phrase growing up we were told not to utter!) So why can I hate genocide but not lazy-ass persons who don't signal?

Granted, in terms of how each relates to the world at large, genocide certainly pales in comparison. Until you factor in how many people have caused accidents or even death by not signaling, but even then, whole-scale death and one-death-at-a-time-but-still-not-always-killing-someone isn't quite the same thing.

I really am not sure if I have a point here. But I feel that hate, in and of itself, should be acknowledged. Feelings are valid, emotions have a reason for being. Poo-pooing hate simply because we don't like it's ugly side won't solve anything. But acting responsibly can take many things we hate and turn them into productive things we could end up loving.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

The Lesser of Evils...

So I know this is an old conundrum in Christian circles, but I pose it here for a point I might feel like making if I don't think anyone will jump to the obvious conclusion. Which is worse? To steal bread or let your family starve?

Invariably, almost everyone, except the store-owner (and maybe even he), would agree that letting your family starve is by far worse than the simple stealing of bread.

Now, let's change it slightly. Which is worse? To kill before you are killed, or to let yourself be killed to prevent yourself from killing?

Oooohhhhh, didn't see that one coming, eh?

The bible says "Thou shalt not kill." Of course, God told this to Moses before he sent them out to rape, kill, plunder and destroy other people who were living in the so-called "Promised Land." But then he set up that whole system of one lamb sacrificed for this, two calves sacrificed for that, and so on and so forth, and blessed be another victory except for the breaking of that one commandment thingy.....

Some have interpreted "Kill" to mean "Murder." Others, any kind of "Killing" meets the meaning of the commandment. 'Cause if it's only murder that's forbidden, no wonder Paul thinks so highly of the soldier that he made a whole Christian analogy thingy in the new testament. But if it is killing in general, the bible has bigger problems than just how a couple of loaves and 2 fish fed the multitudes, let me tell you. I'd have to go back and look at the Hebrew to know for sure, but I'm feeling pretty damn lazy today.

I think everyone knows by now that the death penalty is not a deterrent. I mean, if it were an actual deterrent, people would stop being murdered, am I right? But then the argument follows that, "But at least that murderer won't murder again." True, but then, hasn't the state become the murderer? "But the state has an interest in protecting its citizens." The murderer is a citizen too. "He gave up his rights when he took someone else's life." He did? What if it was self-defense? Or an accident? "Well, in that case..."

So would state-sanctioned murder fall under "Kill." Do two wrongs make a right? Does it even matter?

Guard #1: “Who goes there?
Arthur: “It is I, Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, from the castle of Camelot. King of the Britons, Defeater of the Saxons, sovereign of ALL England!
Guard #1: “What, ridden on a horse?
Arthur: Yes.
Guard #1: You're using coconuts!
Arthur: What?
Guard #1: You've got two empty halves of coconut and you're banging 'em together!
Arthur: The swallow may fly south with the sun, or the house martin or the plummer may seek warmer climes in winter, yet these are not strangers to our land!
Guard #1: Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?
Arthur: Not at all. They could be carried.
Guard #1: What, a swallow, carrying a coconut?
Arthur: It could grip it by the husk.
Guard #1: It's not a question of where he grips it. It's a simple question of weight ratios. A five ounce bird could not carry a one pound coconut! [...]
Guard #1: Listen, in order to maintain air speed velocity, a swallow needs to beat its wings 43 times every second, right?
Guard #2: It could be carried by an African swallow!
Guard #1: Oh, yeah, an African swallow, maybe. But not a European swallow, that's my point.
Guard #2: Oh, yeah, I agree with that.
Arthur: Will you ask your master if he wants to join my court at Camelot?
Guard #1: But then, of course, African swallows are non-migratory.
Guard #2: Oh, yeah.
Guard #1: So they couldn't bring a coconut back anyway.
Guard #2: Wait a minute! Supposing two swallows carried it together?

The above is more along the lines of my thought-processes today... :D

I'm just rambling here. Let me know what you all think...

How Weird is That?

You Are 50% Weird

Normal enough to know that you're weird...
But too damn weird to do anything about it!

I Passed 8th Grade Math (Barely)... Could You?

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 7/10 correct!

How Do You View the World?

Your World View

You are a happy, well-balanced person who likes people and is liked by others.
You question whether many conventional views on morality are valid under all circumstances.
You are essentially a content person.

Sometimes, you consider yourself a little superior.
You are moral by your own standards.
You believe that morality is what best suits the occasion.

How Evil Are You?

You Are 28% Evil

A bit of evil lurks in your heart, but you hide it well.
In some ways, you are the most dangerous kind of evil.

Poor Jill Can't Get a Break from Religious Idiots...

As you all may have noted, I have three blogs listed on the right side of the screen under "Blogs I Don't Agree With." The following link to Mass Media Deception is why: Jill Carroll committed treason of the United States

And may I say, after having tried to follow the link provided by Mass Media, I can't find the actual video clip he's all enraged about. I also think I have a hard time believing a video clip when all their main sponsors have "XXX" beside their names....

What Do Robertson & Falwell Have to Say?

I know, I know, like anyone truly cares...

But, I mean, I, as a homosexual, was personally to blame for the 9/11 attacks, the hurricanes in Florida and New Orleans (okay, the New Orleans one wasn't Robertson), and I'm sure the list could go on and on....

Now we hear about all these tornadoes in the midwest... You know, the supposed heartland of America that votes Republican and goes to church.... Did they do something to piss off god? Why is it that I get blamed for anything that happens in a democratic area, but when it happens in a red state, it's simply "nature"? (BTW, Tamie, if you're reading this, e-mail to let me know you're okay!!!!!)

Make sure you all donate blood in the coming days... I mean, you should all be donating blood anyway regularly, but if this freaky weather continues, the Red Cross is gonna need it.

Back to the subject at hand: Who actually listens to the likes of Falwell and Roberts? Or even Ann Coulter, for that matter. Does anyone know anyone? I know that you, my millions of adoring fans and readers, must know someone who listens to them.... cause I certainly don't... Of course, would anyone with a lick of common sense listen to someone who says: "“I know one man who was impotent who gave AIDS to his wife and the only thing they did was kiss."--Pat Robertson

Ooops! Scratch that, I think my grandmother watches the 700 club. Of course, she loses out on the "lick of common sense" prerequisite. I'd call her to ask, but I don't feel like dealing with the drama. Maybe I'll send her a letter... or maybe god will le her know I thought about her by sending a tornado her way...

I mean, hell, if I'm going to be assigned superpowers by Falwell and Robertson, I may as well use them for good, eh?

In other news, I'm really bored right now, so I'll sign off. Have a great day everyone!

Saturday, April 1, 2006

To Pollute, Or Not to Pollute... Shouldn't That Be the Question?

Okay, so I'm on my way to Scott's house to finish watching the Firefly series and also to watch the sequel Serenity movie. I'm listening to NPR, and this is the story I heard:

The basic gist is this. Dancing Monkey says that, even though we are "addicted" to foreign oil, and his so-called standards for the automobile industry to make cars get better fuel economy--though laughably easy for the industry to do--he says that the federal government's new rules for these regulations cannot be made harder, or surpassed by the states. And get this, not only are the states not allowed to exceed the federal government's regulations (a really idiotic thing any way you look at it), 12 states ALL READY DO SURPASS THE NEW REGULATIONS!!!!.

So riddle me this: We can all agree pollution is bad, right? And whether you think pollution and global warming are caused by humans and their machines (like I and most of the rest of the world do) or whether you believe that this is just another cycle of the earth which has nothing to do with people (as Bush and Oil and Auto industries would like you to believe), can't we all agree pollution and global warming are bad? And that any kind of regulation to curb, lessen, or eradicate pollution should be good, despite the actual causes of global warming and/or pollution? Even if you don't believe global warming exists, wouldn't you agree that the less pollution the better?

So WHY--WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY-- would you say that these new regulations are tougher (which they aren't), that they'll cut pollution down (which they won't, even slightly), and then say states can't make tougher guidelines? Anybody? Anybody?

Money. For those who will lose out on oil revenues and auto revenues, Bush still fucking protects big oil industry. I mean, am I the only one who laughed when he said in his State of the Disunion address that he was going to lead the way for a cleaner earth? For breaking our dependency and "addiction" to oil?

And now he wants to make sure the states aren't tougher than his fucking stupid wet-paper-bag standards...

This man pisses me off so fucking much!!!!!!!!!!!

In other news, Firefly and Serenity are freaking awesome! Great writing, great character development (if you watch them in order, unlike how Fox aired them), and superb direction! Joss Whedon rocks! I highly recommend watching the whole series and then watching the movie Serenity for the best possible experience, especially this summer when all the crappy reruns will be on, and you are bound to have rainy days...

My first flowers bloomed this morning! One daffodil and all my crocuses... YEAH! Spring is finally here! I'm going out to do yard work now! Catch you all later--and make sure you call your representatives to stop Dancing Monkey and his horrible plans for killing the earth faster than it's already dying.... I know I sound like a tree-hugger/hippie type, but I mean, come on, people, tell me you don't see the idiocy of his plans...