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Showing posts from June, 2004

Back from the Dead

I don't really have a lot to say post dead show, except that it was not all that strange an experience. True, it was a mixed crowd, some full-time deadheads and lots of old and now working deadheads who probably drive audis, but even while I certainly saw people, young ones mostly, either looking for lsd (holding up their index finger and walking around) or clearly already in the 'land,' it was really a very peaceful place.

I saw a lot of punk bands in the early 90's, and those shows never scared me, but they certainly are more scary than a dead show. And I've sat at my share of hard-drinking bars, and those are much more volatile places. Even the kids who were dancing around with that empty eyed look, clearly on acid or something close...those kids seemed quite harmless. When I think back to the 60's I think of the failures, that guy getting stabbed at the stones show, or the dark side of the counterculture (which was certainly real) but truthfully the mov…

Waking the Dead

Tonight Steph is taking me to see the Grateful Dead (now just known as the Dead, sans Jerry) in Sacramento. I've never been close to anything like this. I mean, when I finally made it to the Haight in 1992 there was a Ben and Jerry's.

And I am post-hippy era. What did Sid Vicious day, he couldn't remember the summer of love because he was playing with his g.i. joe action figure? Me too. I was entering Kindergarden.

But I do remember the things my mother told me about hippies. I can remember this guy hanging out on a corner of our street right around that time, I was four or five, and he had long hair (which then really was like a purple mohawk now) and was wearing an army jacket and he had a sleeping bag rolled up. And he was just sitting there, doing nothing, on a corner of our little suburban street for much of the day. Why? Trying to catch a ride to S.F.? Maybe. Or just moving through. I'll never know (and how wierd to think that that guy, if he is still…

Thoughts on Guts

What kind of a title is that?

I just wanted to say thanks to all of you who responded to my 'from the gut' post, and I can say I'm doing better. My marriage is doing better, or at least I'm feeling better about it. I know these things take years to work out, but I have to say the special kind of therapy I'm doing for my ocd has been very helpful (I, of course, have to practice) and I have felt closer to Steph lately, though issues remain. How priceless serenity is; how priceless it is to love and feel loved, even for a few hours.

The vicious terror circle of the ocd is relenting, right now anyway. And I thank God for exposure response therapy (the only thing I've tried which works) for my therapist, and for all of you.

Someday I'll blog about my climb out of major depression, the other great demon of my mental life (well, maybe I'd come up with more than two if I really thought about it, but those are the biggies); and what a climb that was, crying …

The Widow of Saint-Pierre

My wife and I are great netflix fans. Our small town does have a video store, but nothing that compares to netflix. I can pick from thousands of dvd's, and there are no late fees! Commercial over. If you watch a lot of films, I recommend checking it out.

We just watched a movie called The Widow of Saint-Pierre. Do I recommend it? Loosely. Thumbs sideways pointing slightly up. The film is about capital punishment, really, and I'm glad my wife and I didn't get in too deep a discussion after. She is an ardent opponent. So much so that she has told me if she is ever murdered, she does not want the killer executed. Impressive, almost unbelievable, to me.

And there's the issue: I don't actually have a position on capital punishment. I've never had to think about it much. Students have written pro and con papers on the topic many times over the years (one advantage of teaching Freshman composition: I get a varied education reading those essays) but I&…

Blogger Love

Thanks to all who have said nice things about the bloggage. You can tell the weekends my wife is working twelves because that's when the posts shoot up! Now what about that laundry...and finishing the hardwood floor I've been installing for ten months...?

I've put a couple other links to the right, links to skeptics magazine and the secular web. Why not? Why become insulated with authors who only say what I want to hear? Good arguments deserve to be heard, as well as not so good ones. It's just that I'll be darned if I'm going to use apologetics like a miracle sign: ah, that was a good argument, now I can kick back and smugly ignore the rest.

No doubt, apologetics can become a replacement for a personal and living faith (which the righteous really do have to live by); same with evangelism; these can be a compulsion even, a way to provide a feeling of certainty and order where anxiety exists (see Schermer's story at skeptics mag; he also columns in sc…

Christianity (from the inside) 3.0

So, what will I do with my blog from now on?

I don't know. I love writing here, and I love reading other blogs. I have neither the time nor the intention to create some kind of apologetic database (check the links at the right for two guys who've already done this) but I would like to use this space to work out issues in the faith I struggle with or (think) I've worked through in part.

As I begin thinking along these lines, I realize I've made some leaps myself, meaning I've come to conclusions, or dismissed objections, based on brief examination and not detailed analysis. I was drawn by the Voice of Christ in the gospels, the force of his personality, the content of his message, once I established parameters which allowed me to believe the gospels were at least partly true. Do Mormons say the same, the burning in the bosom? have I not met people of all religious faiths who felt drawn to their sacred text in the same manner? yes. This is universal relig…

Avalon

I can't believe the people that have contacted me over this blog thing. Mike Marano, a guy I've wanted to connect with for years (which is hard because we live hundreds of miles apart) even Steve Ficke...how is this happening? I'm really quite amazed. I guess they're linking from scooter or Dave T., but whatever, I now have a readership of six.

And Scott, yes, I have gotten transparent here, more than ever expected. But hey, that's the best way I know out and up. And living in the mountains makes it very hard. I don't have the kind of support and meetings I used to, so I have this. Recovery meeting and self-publication press all in one. Those that don't like will read and leave.

I really do write for myself mostly. Even the theological diatribes. Those are things it feels good to get out of my head and onto paper. I'd like to write a full response to Hume's On Miracles eventually, but for now I have lots to say in and outside the faith.…

From the Gut

My son, Michael, is taking his scuba class this week and next week I'm driving him to So. Cal. to dive off Catalina next week (I hope). I haven't travelled much, but I know no place I love more than the Island. A few days in the sea does wonders for my constant tension. And this is a very cool father/son activity. Mike spends the summer with his dad in Long Beach, and this will be my last chance to spend time with him for about another month when we'll dive again off Cat.

I hardly have time to blog, and yet I need to. I'm actually typing while my son is next to me taking his scuba final.

Hardly two weeks ago I didn't even have a blog, and then I thought blogging would be fun as I babbled about fitness and whatever else for my readership of one: scooter, my old friend who was also blogging. Now I'm linked at Colors of Long Beach. Wow. I'm very flattered, but so many feelings have come pouring up, like burning water. You see Dave works at the chu…

Cutting

I want to lighten things up a bit and discuss something not so critical: cutting weight. Cutting, for bodybuilders (a group I haphazardly consider myself a novice member of) means losing fat. One of the coolest things I learned when I started lifting weights was that I needed to eat more. Oh, man, I love to eat. Pile it on. Bodybuilders try to eat lots of protein, clean carbs (less simple sugars) and generally low fat, but they eat. You can't gain muscle unless you gain weight; and you can't gain weight unless you take in more calories than you expend.

I was very into this. Instead of eating a salad and climbing on the stairmaster for 30 minutes, my past perception of getting into shape, you lift big and eat eggs, steak, milk, chicken. And it's a great feeling. If I overdo it a bit and think, man, today I really shouldn't have had that second helping at dinner or that burger at lunch: well, so what, I'm sore all over and the calories and protein are all…

Christianity (from the inside) 2.1

What the Gospel is Not (chapter two)

How did I end up turning my blog into a soapbox of this nature? Truthfully, I have no idea. These are ideas which have been turning around in my head the last few years, and I just want a place to put them. Scooter (and Dave) thanks for reading.


Earlier I said the gospel is not sex, nor sexual abstinence nor asceticism; I also think that applies to all kinds of ridiculous moral laws which do not stand up under the law of love. Christianity, above all things, is not a code of conduct. It's not about making us feel squeaky clean or pretend we are so. Does that mean God doesn't care what we do? Please. Both the ot and nt, and certainly Jesus, say otherwise.

I bring in this point because that was a central way I approached my religion before my conversion. I can remember having a good time with my discipler once; in Christianese that's a guy, in this case actually the college pastor, who met with me to help me understand my Christi…

Christianity (from the inside) 2.0

What the Gospel is Not (chapter one)

I hope all these chapers and parts aren't confusing. I'm trying to figure out how to organize myself, with marginal success. The following is part (chapter) one of what I intend to be a two part post on What the Gospel is Not. I will learn to link back to my earlier posts but if you haven't read them, you might want to do so first.


How could I possible have gone to church all those years and not really been a Christian? I ask myself this, of course. Think about it: I was President of Campus Crusade (briefly) and emceed their weekly leadership meetings for several semesters; I was a member of a Christian fraternity; I was discipled, officially and by good men, more than once; I was baptized in a church that won't baptize you until someone finds out if you are actually a Christian (and I snowed that speech, sadly, to a good friend); I taught in high school class and college group from time to time. I ran more than one bible study…

Christianity (from the outside) 1.0

Looking back over my last post, I have to say: it is possible I was a Christian earlier, in my churched days. But I surely didn't understand the historical personality of Jesus. Whether I was brought into the faith for the first time in 2000 or brought back in, only God knows. I still believe the former.

But since that time, I have continued to question. Perhaps my doubt is just another symptom of my obsessive self. Perhaps I still fear drawing close to God on an emotional level. Perhaps I'm afraid, after my life experiences, of being let down one more time? The biggest let down of all: you know the universe, which you thought was managed by a loving creator who sent his Son to die for your flaws? well, guess what, it really is an absurd and accidental whirl of gas and matter. Like that.

But whether my need to examine my faith is a weakness or a strength, I continue to look at Christianity 'from the outside.' The way a non-believer, or better, an objective (…