Wednesday, December 26, 2018

New Years Walk!


To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven…The Byrds

 

I remember around the late 70’s or early 80’s I started a personal tradition. I called it my End of Year Prayer. I would take an early morning walk in the woods every New Year’s Eve. My favorite spot was Noccalula Falls in the city of my birth Gadsden, Alabama. The falls are a 90 foot waterfall and the park and campground surrounds it In the foothills of the Appalachian Mountain chain. Last time I was up there the city had of course screwed it up. But, back in the day you could go up under the falls and you could follow Black Creek and explore and when the water was rushing the narrow creek made a really impressive noise as it rushed ahead to the falls.

 

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep…the Byrds

 

Back then I was struggling with whatever young adult males struggle with and also with my own unique struggles and journey. So, I would take that day to look back at the year just past and look forward and make my case to “God” for the coming year. I saw some things as incredibly important back then that I can’t even remember now or I assume they were important since I say I can’t remember. I was still learning that there would be a time to plant and a time to reap. I’ve never actually killed a human but I’ve had relationships die and wither on the vine while I passed the time.

I really did find a time to heal back then. My worldview was different and still being established and even now is in flux but I do have a more steady philosophy of life than I did then. Prayer has always been important to me. It’s how I clear my thoughts and my head. It’s how I find balance. The particulars have changed. I no longer have such a fundamental Christian view of the world. But, the healing and the real experience of prayer now combined with meditation has kept me sane. Kind of odd when you read and hear about the religious excesses of people but the truth is I became more spiritual and less religious through prayer. I stopped taking the bible as the absolute text book of God after I read it. Sometimes it just works that way.  I’ve found different  times to weep and different times to laugh. I sometimes mentally tremble at how blessed I am. How many bullets I’ve dodged. I also struggle at times with how much I’ve gone through and especially when I hear some millennial idiot of about 25 years tell me how “privileged” I am. I always think “Child if you had of had my life your young ass would be over in the corner in the fetal position instead of standing there making sure you are counted as a victim of oppression. Which of course doesn’t negate at all the fact of people who have been oppressed throughout history from slavery to the holocaust and beyond. It’s just that some people try to make excuses for being angry by playing on the misfortunes of others. But, I don’t really want to get in a discussion of the pros and cons of political correctness. Because both pro’s and con’s exist. I think it’s wonderful that some words that defame others are no longer accepted in society. But, I also think people need a little thicker skin and less “safe places” to deal with the world.

 

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven…The Byrds

 

I really do think there is a purpose and a reason why we take this journey. But, I also believe shit happens. It’s how we deal with it and how we bring meaning between ourselves and our own spiritual connections or how we choose to look at life that matters.

 

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace, a time to refrain from embracing…The Byrds

 

I think in the end we each have to be honest with ourselves. If you love then say you love. If you hate then admit you hate and take it to your own source be that God or scream at the sky or whatever works for you. But, don’t wallow forever in the hate. It can cause you to wither from the inside if you let it.

 

To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it's not too late…The Byrds

 

I’ve tried so hard to be things I thought other people needed me or wanted me to be. One of the good things about getting past the big 6-0 is that I no longer worry much what everybody else thinks I should think. I’m not trying to step on anybody else to get up the ladder. I’m not trying to get the girl or impress the preacher or the boss at work. I’m kind of looking at things from a little more mellow perspective. I’m thankful for the years in my face because everybody doesn’t get the privilege of growing old. Not that I feel old but the road behind me is now much shorter than the road in front of me. At least where this life is concerned. So, what’s beyond the next hill or the next curve?

 

To be or not to be.  To die — to sleep. To sleep — perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub!...Hamlet (Shakespeare.)

 

That’s always been the point of it to me. What is over the next hill? I’ve always felt and still do. That this world with all of it’s beauty and tragedy is just a pale imitation of my real home. If I could just meditate hard enough or look more clearly at the world that I could see the real world right there at the edge of this imitation one. I know I may sound a little loony tunes there. But, isn’t that what faith is about? The hope of an eternal home after the wandering through this land?

 

 

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Warning: Not rated for general audiences.


WARNING:

If you are my friend and a conservative republican just skip this part. It will only anger you and cause you to either unfriend me or at the least think of me as a vulgar little left wing commie:

God! Dear GOD! This fucker works for DHR as a food stamp worker and pastors a church where he will proclaim the love of Christ. The other one is a staunch republican and loves the reason for the season!  Both of them are as mad as wet hens (as my grandma used to say) because the state is giving poor families an extra $700 dollars in food this year.

They were not just irritated they were MAD! They were trembling in the hall with rage that people who got food stamps would sell them. Now, I’m not saying some people don’t sell their stamps. I’m not stupid and I may have rode in on the turnip truck. But, I came in the cab. I didn’t fall off the back. But, really if you have 10 hungry children and three  adults sell their stamps for money but the 10 hungry kids get fed then yep I’m good with that. If you begrudge the poor but you voted for a man who has paid women to get an abortion and evicted people and not paid his taxes and not paid his debts then what the fuck is wrong with you?

I pointed out to the good reverend that Gov’na Bentley and the GOP machine for the past 8 years regularly used state money for trips to Vegas for Bentley’s mistress and made sure her and her husband had cushy taxpayer funded contracting jobs for hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. But, that didn’t’ bother the good reverend because Bentley is anti abortion don’tcha know? Doesn’t matter if poor people go hungry as long as we don’t allow even one or two scum bags to sell their stamps. By the way I’ve been on food stamps in my life and I needed them to feed my family. But, ya know what? I was desperate and yes I did go back to work and I was blessed to get my state job again. But, what if I hadn’t? Should my child have gone hungry?

Look I understand getting mad about welfare cheats. I understand that we have to have borders in this nation and I understand we have able bodied people on disability. But, most of them really are not able to find and do 40 hours a week and feed themselves and their families. Do we begrudge the next meal a child gets because of some scum who abused the system?

My main issue was that these right wing gawd lovin folks were not mad at government abuse or waste. They are not trembling at congress having lifetime benefits and a huge pension for the rest of their days. They were trembling (and I’m not exagaratting) in rage because a poor hillbilly from North Alabama or a person in the hood in Tuscaloosa was going to get a little extra food this year.

Finally, using God’s name in vain is not saying G…amit. God’s name in vain is getting behind a pulpit and preaching the love of Jesus while begrudging the food a poor person puts in their mouth.

Jesus Wept!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

American Pie.


Mae West — 'I've been rich and I've been poor, and rich is better.'

 

I tried to post something on my facebook wall that while political was also from the heart today in regard to poor folks and refugees. I thought at least it would cause some folks to think and maybe talk about issues with real human consequences. Sadly the first comment I got from a born again Christian had little to do with the gist of my post which was how sad it is to be poor and alone. Instead it focused on a hobby horse of CNN (which I didn’t mention) and how the church feeds the poor. Which I didn’t mention.

Honestly, it’s hard for me to engage people in political discussion on facebook. It’s draining because if somebody can’t frame a good response to your argument then they just ignore what you really said and attack on things that you might have meant. The other way of course is to attack grammar, punctuation and spelling.

Dropkick me Jesus through the goalposts of life
end over end neither left nor the right…Bobby Bare

 

See, I always was raised to think that Jesus was the template for how we should treat others. My first real lesson in how much things have changed happened on a forum that my hometown newspaper used to run on the web several years ago. I’m from Gadsden, Alabama and at one time we had quite a little community of posters on the website. People like me that had moved away and still wanted to catch up on the old stomping grounds. Other’s who had discovered the Queen City on the Coosa River and moved or retired there. Many who had been born and raised there. We even had a Canadian who was just fascinated with small town or small city Americana. I think the beginning of the end was when somebody posted “hey let’s all meet up in downtown Gadsden and put a face to these post.” Sounded good for them as an idea but they found they didn’t always like each other in the flesh. People. Go figure.

Charles Schultz — 'I love mankind ... it's people I can't stand!!'

 

Anyway, there was a young man who was a committed and outspoken atheist. Actually, for an almost sterotypical southern town there was a diverse group of people interacting fairly peacefully online. Just don’t get em downtown together. But, I digress.

 

Eat my shorts!...Bart Simpson

Anyway, one day as conversation was going along and people were posting why they believed in God or didn’t believe in God or spelled God with a big “G.” or a little “g.” The young man said something about Jesus that while it wasn’t horrible it also wasn’t overly respectful. I knew one of the posters from real life because we went to church together way back when I was still a resident of River City as I playfully call my hometown. So, I thought “Oh boy, this committed Christian is going to tear this young atheist as we say in the south “A new Butthole!” But, crickets! Okay, I thought. Maybe I misjudged the response and even the quick wit of my old friend from back in my church days.

 

All Politics is local!...Former Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill

So, the young atheist then said something derogatory about the GOP. Just something kind of thrown out that was not pro republican. Woah! The committed Christian was wide awake now boy! It wuz ON!

 

You shall have no other God’s before me…God “With the big G.”

 

So, I thought it’s now more important to defend the conservative political movement than to stand up for the actual morals and character of Christ? Okay. New world.

 

Mark Twain — 'Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.'

 

So, I try not to get really in to politics on my facebook page. People can get nasty. Sadly, if Obama had of treated veterans and disabled and handicapped people the way Trump does the conservatives would be up in arms. But, now? All you get is a but Hillary this and Obama that. Jive and dodge and avoid the real issue.

 

Whatever you do to the least of these you do to me….Jesus.

 

So, no I don’t expect anybody to just agree with my version of politics or religion or life or anything else. But, it pains me to see otherwise good people who say they love humankind dodge and weave and even show coldness to the poor and needy and vulnerable just to make political points.

 

Full Disclosure: I’m not a born again Christian. I used to be and I have the T-Shirt. But, I do still have my relationship with  Spirit and I still believe it matters how we treat others. Listen, I honestly don’t care who you vote for. Well, that’s not quite true. I would love for you to vote the way I do. But, I don’t expect it. But, even though I no longer subscribe to hell fire and brimstone I still think it matters how we treat others. Especially the weak who can’t give us any power or any favors in return. I still think we are accountable as to how we spend this life but I’m not sure how to keep score. Except to follow my gut. My gut tells me to speak out once in a while. But, it’s exausting. Especially when people yell at each other and take things out of context and put politics ahead of human deceny.

 

I beg your pardon
I never promised you a rose garden…Lynn Anderson.

 

So, life is kind of hard at times. I have honestly found that money can’t buy happiness but it sure can make the misery a little more bearable. I was a late starter and but for the grace of God I would and could maybe even should have been one of those who are struggling to eat and sleep in a warm place. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and some of them are known only to me and God. And I hope to keep it that way. But, if you can look at a poor child or even a poor adult and see the despair and the poverty and the tragedy and you don’t have a little inner shudder and a knowledge that “it could be me.” Then you are one stupid human.

 

Peace.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Not attending arguments.

😈 
You don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to.

  I thought of this today as I was scrolling past facebook news feed. It’s a very liberating thought. I can actually look at a comment and disagree and still keep moving on with my life. Who’d a thunk it? This particular comment that I scrolled past wasn’t even a political or religious comment. Just a random posting about ebooks. The person commenting was saying how much they hated ebooks as opposed to print. My first reaction was to justify my own liking of ebooks due to the ability to adjust the font and the background light and as my eyes age it gets easier to read text I can adjust. But, then I thought “So what?” Why do I feel this intense need to explain myself to a stranger on the internet? Do I need their approval of my reading habits? Does it make me right and them wrong if I can provide the most links or win the argument? Am I that fragile in my own outlook that the only way I can feel comfortable in my own mind and spirit is if I batter the opposing view into submission? If so then what does that say about my own views and beliefs? Of course this was on something really minor but it fits with politics and religion and most every other stance that we have.

Now, that doesn’t mean that some things are not worth taking a stand on. It just means that if what you believe depends on silencing critics or gaining the approval of everyone you come in contact with then you are in trouble. Maybe you don’t really feel deep inside that you have the high ground. I see it everywhere these days and it is especially true of political and religious conversations. It’s kind of like the grammar Nazis or the spell correctors in our midst.

Do you really think that the people you are talking to actually formulate in their/they’re /there own minds the correct spelling of their, they’re, to, too, your,you’re or where to put the fricking comma when they are speaking? Yet you will stop a whole online conversation just to say “gotcha” over a misspelled or misused word and think your argument is superior because you know the difference in spelling of to and too and two.

People talk at people and not to people these days. I can honestly say that I have never to this point been converted by people yelling at me and calling me a libtard or a communist or a homo or a devil worshiper or an inbred hick or saying I worship a sky elf or the spaghetti monster. I have never once changed my mind when people have unfriended me or blocked me on facebook or made physical threats to me. So, even  though I honestly think Donald Trump is an idiot I don’t waste my breath yelling at people I otherwise like and even love trying to convince them that I’m right and they are wrong.

They are though. Wrong I mean.

So, here I am trying to be honest and civil without being a pushover. Once in a while I do post something political. But, to be honest I feel very, very liberal when surrounded by conservative talk and I feel conservative when surrounded by liberal talk. But, left to my own devices I’m a moderate Southern Democrat.

I honestly don’t see how anybody can call life in the womb sacred and then vote to cut health and shelter to young mothers and children and old people. But, I’m through yelling at people about it. I come from a very humble southern background. My roots are as my maternal grandmother once said “Shanty Irish” and my maternal grandfather was Black Dutch and Cherokee. But, don’t worry I don’t claim Native American status and I’m not going to make up a story of my dark skinned momma being shunned by her inlaws. Actually, she was a little dark in her day but still very much a white person. My dad’s people were Irish and British Iles in general decent. But, me? I’m like most people in this nation a mix of different people that came before me or even after me since I lean towards reincarnation. But, speaking of controversy I won’t go there right now.

I have had dreams in my life that were prophetic and I have heard some scientist explain dreams away as if they were nothing but the debris of the previous day. I don’t feel the need to argue because I have experienced the reality of dreams. I have also experienced the times when they are the debris of the day. Maybe that’s the thing with reality. Maybe one size isn’t supposed to fit all. We all wake up in our own skin every day and life is an individual journey that is shared with others but ultimately our own spirit and life lesson is primarily meant for us or me and you as individuals.

So, even though I was born and raised in church and have the t-shirt being yelled at about what the bible says doesn’t change my own inner journey. Being told I’m a naΓ―ve hick that believes in a sky daddy also doesn’t change what I have experienced myself about the Divine in my own journey.

So, I am trying not to yell at my facebook friends about politics and religion and other matters although they are important to me. Just know that when I hear a person say “trump is a godly man” I throw up a little in my own mouth. But, I’m not going to yell at you about it. I’m just going to see if we can talk civilly and if we can’t then Imma leave you alone about it.

Peace

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

This Life.


This Life:

What is life? I remember a dream I had maybe in the 80’s or 90’s. Anyway, been awhile. I was still a young man and I was searching for the truth. I was a “Christian” and yet I was also very skeptical of Christian and other just so stories. But, I was trying. I read the bible and listened to the preachers and mixed it in with skeptical authors and new age authors.  After all I really wanted to know the truth. Life was hard and a little lonely at times. It was also wide open and “tomorrow” everything was going to come together.  So, I was searching and waiting and reading and living.

My uncle by marriage was a father figure to me growing up. For some reason we were at the Altoona/Walnut Grove, Alabama Cemetery. Generations of his family and my family and small town folks were buried there. My uncle was not a “sensitive” type. He cussed like a sailor but, of course he was a sailor USN WW2 and proud of it. He hunted and blasting a small furry critter and throwing it in a pot to eat was not a moral dilemma for him. He was born country and hunted and fished all of his life. He would mockingly but kind of fondly call me Professor because I was a bookworm.

But, on this particular day he looked out at the cemetery and said “I wonder where they are.” I don’t remember what I said in reply. I had a friend from back in those days and a little before. He was younger and wilder and was a really good musician. By the way it was hard to be wilder than I was but some folks were. But, this particular friend was even more out of place than I was in this small Northeast Alabama dried up coal mining community. He was flamboyant and I remember one of his favorite lines when people would get on his case. “Fuck em if they can’t take a joke.” I loved that line and honestly? I still do. I think it sometimes now when people are butt hurt over something I do or say. I can’t say it much since I’m now in my mature 60’s but I think it. At work, at play, in social events or even online I think “Fuck em if they can’t take a joke.” It’s a very rock and  roll attitude and it’s kind of like turning up my stereo in my old truck and blasting Foghat or Queen or even Kiss. Watching the looks even from young people as this little old dude is rocking out in the vehicle beside them.

But, anyway my friend said years later as he was dying and we were talking on the phone. I hadn’t seen him in years and even though he told me he was going to die my brain just wouldn’t accept that. The guy with the shoulder length hair and the wicked smile and the killer guitar wasn’t going to die. That  was silly. But, I was seeing him in my mind’s eye and not the older man with cancer ravaging his body. But, we talked about what life was. He had gone from being raised Christian to becoming a rabid atheist and now had come back to a more spiritual outlook on life. We talked about reincarnation and possibilities and old times. He invited me to share a doobie (marijuana) if I ever got up to Birmingham or we could even meet in Altoona or Gadsden. But, one thing he said was “I like to be.”

I have now gone through my own medical trauma and in the long run I don’t know how my health and life will play out. But, right now I’m good. Right now my heart beats steady in my chest and my lungs inhale and exhale. I have a new Aortic Valve (pig and cow) I do still like a good steak or a ham sandwich but I try to make sure I don’t forget to give a little thanks in my own mind when I eat these days or when I catch a great big wonderful lung filling breath.

But, I like to breathe. I like for my heart to beat and my body to not tire so quickly. Mostly, I like to be.  God knows “I like to be.” 

One reason I’m not an atheist is that it has no purpose. I know the humanist arguments and if they give you peace then peace be upon you. But, for me a pointless race to personal oblivion means the universe is at its core insane at worse and just not all that important at best.

One reason I’m not a fundamentalist Christian is that a big daddy in the sky who puts a little naked ape on a planet and then turns to a being of light and high intelligence and says: Listen I’ll make you a deal. See those little beings down there on earth? I’m going to send you down there and I know that will make you good and angry. If you can fool them then you can burn them in a pit of fire for eternity. But, if they figure it out and say the sinners prayer before they die then they win. Also, some will win the sperm lottery and some will be born into horrific poverty and slavery and even be born in Nazi Germany and be called Jews.  Believe me you will have plenty of carnage to enjoy then.

So, no religion is missing something. Common sense for one thing. So, I’m not an atheist and I’m not a fundi so what am I?

I started this blog talking about my search around the 80’s and early 90’s. Around that time and it may have been the mid to late 90’s but I think it was closer to the mid to late 80’s. I don’t know. I’m getting old. “Hey you kids. Get off my lawn!”

But, anyway I had this dream. But, before I tell about the dream I’d like to say something else about why I’m not an atheist or a secular humanist.

I’ve had dreams in my life that have come true. I have heard some people with lots of letters after their names. Phd, Msw,Bsw,Clinical this and that and even crusty old magicians and philosophers who say that “science says seeing the future is impossible since it hasn’t happened yet.” I’ve heard “well, if you have physic powers then tell me what I ate for lunch or how much money is in my pocket. This is like the old childhood taunt. Stop me if you’ve heard this one. “ Can God do anything?” Why yes, says the little church kid which would have been me. “Okay, if God can do anything then can he make a rock so heavy that he can’t lift?” Mind of church kid blown! If he can do anything then he has to be able to make a rock so big that he can’t lift it. If he can’t make one that he can’t lift then he can’t do everything. But, if he can make one that even he can’t lift then he can’t do everything. It’s silly and theologically silly and misses the larger point of being and faith and hope but it is effective in a very simplistic knocking down strawmen type way.

So, having had dreams on more than one occasion where I knew something before it happened. Not often but some over my life. Having had a vision or two or three and even having interaction with others  in lucid dreams I knew that the materialistic view of life was wrong. But, on the other hand I didn’t know which view was right. It only takes one white crow to prove to yourself that all crows are not black. I’ve had more than one white crow in my life. But, I can’t tell you what that means for you or even what it ultimately means for me. Except, it gives me hope.

I went to an ARE symposium in Montgomery, Alabama in the early 80’s. ARE is the organization of the late Edgar Cayce. If you are interested in him then you can google him and Association of Research and Enlightenment. I’m not pushing  their agenda. I’m just providing information and I don’t want to bore you with details of a person or organization that you may not even care about. But, anyway I took my little born again Christian self to Montgomery and attended this seminar on reincarnation. I was searching and this was part of my search. A young woman walked up to me. In those days I was a young man so this was not entirely out of place.  Anyway, as she came up I have a thought in my head “she’s going to say I was a warrior” talking about herself. Now this was a very attractive uh, full figured brunette and for me to have that thought while she was walking towards me was a little odd. But, then again I wasn’t at Cherry Street Baptist Church or my grandmothers Church of God of Prophecy  so it was an odd vibe anyway. She walks up and say’s “I was a warrior in my last life.” We talked a little and she said she was also attending by herself. I told her that people at church would call me tampering with the devil and she said people at Auburn University (where her husband was a professor) would also frown on her attending and so both of us were kind of out of our social element.

Anyway, just another little signpost along the road to Enlightenment or Shambala or oblivion or bliss. But, anyway along that time I was really interested in the concept of reincarnation. I have some spotty memories from my childhood on that may or may not be part of a past life. But, I don’t know and really at this stage I’m open to the possibility that reincarnation is as real and natural as physical evolution but I honestly don’t know.

Earlier I mentioned a dream I had from back in the  day. This dream is now several years old and I wish I had written it down when it happened. As my wife Cindy says “memory is not an exact science.” But, here goes to the best of my recollection.

I’m in a really red landscape. Some years later I would see pictures of the planet Mars on TV and think that the landscape I was walking in was similar looking. I look back at my body and it’s safely in bed. I realize there is a figure beside me. He has a robe and I know that he can tell me everything I will ever want to know about my life. God, the meaning of life and what happens when we die. All of it. So, I ask “What is the dream?” Which I know means what is the answer to all my questions about existence. He says “you ask too much.” I feel extremely sad at this. I want to know and I really have a right to know don’t I? Do I? But, I have a tear running down my cheek. I wake up and there is an actual tear running down my cheek.

Since then I’ve told this dream to different people with different answers depending on their own religious belief. Some said I was talking to the devil. Some say I was talking to an angel. Some said God wouldn’t withhold that answer from me. But, I think they were talking about Christianity so they already  thought they knew the answer I guess. Some said it was just my own mind making it all up because it wasn’t logical otherwise.

But, the dream has had a very big effect on my life. Since then I’ve felt even stronger that this life is a pale reflection of a larger and more real reality. I think of this life as “The Dream.”

I really don’t think it matters what you believe or don’t believe as much as it matters how you treat other people along the way. How you treat all creatures along the way. My only real religion these days is “Do unto others  as you would have done unto you.” All the rest is window dressing. All the rest is a dream. I pray and hope to wake up on the other side of it one day. Maybe one day soon. But, I hope it’s years from now. Many years from now.

One reason I don’t fear fire and brimstone is that I honestly believe I have been watched over my whole life. I’m very precious to somebody and I believe that is the point of the dream. So, even if I mess up and die in fear or vulgarity or if I die without saying the sinners prayer with my last breath. I have so much belief in my source, in my God that I honestly feel that as long as I’m me. I Am. That he will find me.

That’s why “I like to be.” As long as “I BE” I’ll be safe in this (as a gracious lady once said) Journey Securely Bound.

7Where can I go from your Spirit?

Where can I flee from your presence?

8If I go up to the heavens, you are there;

if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

9If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

10even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast…Psalm 139

Peace!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Prayer, nuts and common sense


My job is like a baseball game. I’m in the outfield kind of looking at the sky when all of a sudden somebody hits a double and I have to run like “h-e-double-toothpicks “ to get to the ball and try to stop the baserunner that was already on second base from scoring.  Then I can go back to patrolling the outfield until the next time somebody gets a hit. So, I’m usually either running full out or not running at all. Sometimes during the lull in the action I have time (although limited when you count the documentation I’m already behind on) to write a little on my blog. Back and forth during the day or all at once depending on the length. 

 So, that brings me to today and right now I’m just kind of waiting on the next pitch so I have a minute to write. Two things caught my eye today. One was a friend posting about the local school system not allowing a prayer before the football game and the other was a wild eyed tax dodger evangelist who has migrated across the state line from Florida to South Alabama.  Lawd, don’t Bama already have enough nuts?

The thing about the prayer before the football game kind of struck home. I’m born and raised in the vicinity or at least the part of North Alabama the issue is being raised in. I remember countless football games from my youth both as a small child and during high school and it was a tradition and honestly a bit of a comfort for the local Baptist or Methodist or Church of God preacher to pray the Lord’s protection over the players and for the safety of the crowd on the way home. I don’t know how many if any injuries were actually avoided by the prayer but the minute of stillness and recognition of our own human frailty before The Deity always seemed comforting to me if I thought of it at all. At the most it was as I said a comfort and at the least I just waited patiently for the adult to finish his or her prayer so I could raise my head and get on with the night. No harm at any rate and so I would never have thought anything about it.

Now in all honesty my faith and my beliefs and worldview have undergone a lot of changes since my childhood and teenage years. Even from my young adulthood. I no longer feel that one size fits all when it comes to religion and I understand that not everyone is going to agree with the concept of God or meaning in the universe or if Jesus saves. I get that. I am uncomfortable at work when during an office lunch somebody say’s let’s bow our heads for the blessing. It just seems phony on some level and a bit oppressive on another. I personally do bless my food. I do it quietly between me and my Source (God) and move on. Others don’t do a blessing at all and some are atheist or agnostic or maybe even Pagan or Wiccan or Buddhist. I have come to a place where I understand the bible is not some holy book that was written by God and personally handed down from an angel to mankind. It’s a collection of wisdom and holy interaction and myth and politics and war and slavery. Much of what the “church” now considers scripture was given by Rome and sanctioned by Rome and interpreted by Rome and others for a specific agenda. So, when you hear actual scholars (not Dallas Theological Seminary or Lee College of the Church of God in Cleveland, Tennessee) talk about the actual meaning and culture and time and place then you realize that some people are trying to judge other’s and modern society based on 6000 year old Jewish dietary laws and 2000 year old stories that may or may not be literal.

Please don’t misunderstand. I absolutely have no regrets at all for the times I prayed at an alter in my youth or attended the Church of God of Prophecy with my Grandmother. I cherish the night I was Baptized at Cherry Street Baptist Church in Attalla, Alabama. It gave me a foundation and a parameter for my life and the gift of prayer . I was once asked by a fundamentalist if I thought I could take part of the bible and leave part out. Well Yeah I can. Because the “bible” isn’t a single book written by a single author. Honestly, I have more respect as a so called heretic than I had in my fundi days. Because then I was “believing” because I was told what to believe. Now, I can be honest with myself about what I do think and what I don’t accept.

But, anyway considering the prayer at a football game.  I firmly believe that a community has the right to have a prayer before a game. Most of the time the people protesting are from outside the community and are trying to impose their power and will on others. It’s not done out of love of country or fellow men. It’s done out of bullying and silliness. Because if you don’t want to pray or bow your head then don’t pray or bow your head. If you want a Buddhist prayer or a Wiccan prayer or a different prayer then get enough people together and have your prayer or invocation. We seem to have lost all common sense in this world.

But, also if your “God” can be kicked out of schools or ballgames or anywhere else then maybe it’s time you spelled it “god” instead of God.  J I don’t like forced prayer and I don’t like public prayer that assumes that I believe or live just like the speaker or the preacher. Seems hypocritical to me. But, I also don’t like somebody coming in to a small community and disrupting the peace just to make a point. The prayer of the local minister and the community isn’t going to hurt you and it isn’t going to oppress you unless somebody is standing there forcing you at the threat of life and limb to take part. So to the atheist and the secular folks (who I would otherwise agree on some points with) get a life. Sheesh.

The second thing I saw today was a nutty dude who started an anti evolution theme park in North Carolina but he migrated south (Lawd, why do the idiot snowbirds love South Alabama and Northwest Florida?) So, he now having served time in prison for tax evasion Are ya listening Donny Trump?, is now of course asking the “children of the lawd” to help him fight Satan and pay off his bills and support his anti evolution and 6000 year old earth idiocy.

I have a friend who is always going to be a religious person. I actually miss talking to him but I don’t miss the blind acceptance of religion. Every once in a while he will post about a “ shortened leg growing out after a prayer.” Or a drug user getting off drugs and delivered praise da Lawd. I’m so sorry and it’s not because I’m an atheist because I’m not an atheist. But, stating stuff like this without any proof at all is not helping the cause of Christ. (bring the doctors xray before and after as proof) As a matter of fact it’s just providing more fuel for the scoffers and the so called unbelievers. Now, I know another friend who has a ministry to the drug addicted. His method is longer and harder and more effective because he’s working in the trenches and understands that a quick “Help him Jaysus” might not be the cure all for a lifetime of excess drug and alcohol use.

So, people like this nutty preacher trying to dumb down the flock are doing a great disservice to people who might otherwise need a spiritual foundation. But, unless they are totally unwilling to look at the age of the earth (it’s ancient by the way) and the fact of change over time (which is evolution) then only a few misguided zealots will be parted from their money by this dummy.

Anyway, that’s my two cents.  But, let me say this. When I say something about the south it’s not from a perspective of hate or wanting to put it down. I’m southern to my core. I love the south and it’s people and I think it’s the greatest part of the nation except for some backwards political junk.

When I talk about the church please understand. I’m born and bred in the church. I still have a prayerful foundation because of the church and I wouldn’t trade it. So, right  or wrong when I speak, I speak as family and not as a hater of the faith or religion. But, I can’t pretend to believe something I don’t just to get a pat on the head and to not offend people. Some of the people that this will perhaps  offend (if they read it which most of them don’t.) are my childhood friends and kin and people I’ve loved all my life. I have no desire to push away the connections that I’ve been blessed to rekindle on facebook and the memories I have of Walnut Park in Gadsden and Altoona from back in the day.

But, this is my take on this at this time. Life is a journey and a marathon. Not a 50 yard dash. Although, there are times when it seems like a 50 yard dash. It’s awfully short and fast. So, that’s all I got to say about that.

Peace.

Friday, September 7, 2018


I grew up on music. First my mother sang Country and Western and my step dad played it on his Martin Guitar. 🎻🎸Now, I hated it back in the day mainly because it was a parent thing and for other more personal reasons. However, as I got older I developed a taste for Willie and Waylon and Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash.  But, country wasn’t my youthful choice. Like most kids from my generation Rock was my choice.🎸

So, I was just thinking today about which music makes me smile. Small disclaimer here. I play the guitar (not well but I do play) I’m self taught in plunking out chords (however badly) on a piano. But, I’m not a huge music listener. I go through phases of listening but I don’t have and don’t want to have 2,500 songs downloaded on a loop.🎢 If you do that’s fine. I have really great friends that do. I just don’t. But, when I’m in the mood then I really do love to crank it up.πŸ”ŠπŸŽ§πŸŽΆ

I really enjoy a guitar riff and I can play air guitar even better than I play my actual six string. πŸ‘…  I can remember when Birmingham, Alabama had an album station. The D.J.  would call out the menu like a waiter. Very few to no commercials and I can still hear the menu. Tonight we have some Foghat followed by Jackson Brown. A little Molly Hatchet and some FleetwoodMac. Some Eagles and we will follow that with some Led Zeppelin. Finishing off with some Lynyrd Skynyrd and Marshall Tucker. I mean it was all night long and commercial free. The station was even written up in The Rolling Stone in what was then a major honor.🎹🎢

I really loved Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris and I enjoyed hearing Alice Cooper as he belted out some really good summertime lyrics with “Schools out forever. School’s been blown to pieces.”  But, some songs just made me smile. Ray Stevens had one called “Ahab the Arab”πŸ‘… and no you probablycan’t play it today. Matter of fact when I was really young back in Gadsden, Alabama there was a rock and roll song called “I want my baby back.” Complete with the lyrics of describing his baby after a wreck complete with sound effects. The singer wailed “There was my baby” and “over there was my baby.” And “Over there was my baby”

Baby had been really messed up in the wreck don’tcha know. The end had the sound of a coffin opening as the singer said “I got my baby back.”

So, even though I didn’t party to a lot of parody songs and that particular one was out when  I was a very young child. There are songs that still make me smile. So, I thought I would list a few albums. These aren’t parody songs however. But, it’s either the kick ass guitar or the lyrics on some of the songs that still make me smile a big ole “Lets party like it’s 1976 grin.” πŸ‘…✌🍺🍻

These are not my favorite albums of all time. As a matter of fact one of them by Kiss is really not very good at all musically or skill wise. At least my older self doesn’t think so. But, they did make me smile and party on so here they are.

1.       Nazareth “Hair of the Dog” 1975. This one has it all. Whiskey drinking woman. Love Hurts and my favorite is the title song “Hair of the Dog” with the really cool lyrics of “Now you’re messin with a son of a bitch. I love this album and if I’m anywhere near it then I  don’t need my hearing aid cause I’ll turn this sucker up and as we used to say in the 70’s “Tear the knob off the radio.”

2.       Foghat “Fool for the City” 1975. “Slow Ride.” It’s the perfect song for my little long haired hillbilly hippie soul. It starts out with steady beat and guitar and the singer gets into the high pitched rock and roll throaty heights. I used to sing along and since I have a naturally higher than it should be voice I was able to hit the notes back in the day. Loved this one and still smile when I hear it. I’d listen to the whole album just to hear Slow Ride again. The rest of the album isn’t bad either.

3.       Kiss “Destroyer.”  “Detroit Rock City” complete with the sound of a mighty gas guzzling 1970’s engine along with rattling keys and a screeching car wreck with “Rock and Roll All Night” playing on the car radio in the background. “God of Thunder” Which I really loved and of course the raspy slow rendition of “Beth”  in the midst of all the guitar and drums that preceded and followed it.

So, after a week of politics and hypocrisy from the left and the right i'm off. I no longer grab an 8 pack of Pony Miller's 🍺 or smoke a 🚬 or other things πŸ˜‰πŸ˜ˆ. But, somewhere I like to think my teenage soul will be fulfilled and maybe on the flipside there may really be a version of Rock and Roll Heaven. 

"Oh, give me the beat boys, and free my soul I want to get lost in your rock and roll and drift away."