Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Incarnation.

I've thought a lot lately about the incarnation. The word become flesh. My faith and my dogma were separated a good little while ago. My dogma got ran over by life and experience and even common sense. Raised in the bible belt in Northeast Alabama in both the "city" Gadsden and the "country" Altoona. Church was a place to be both scared to death and to feel like I belonged to something bigger and greater than the world I grew up in and just couldn't feel quite at home in. Scarier like the time my grandmother took me and my sister and a fire and brimstone preacher had an alter call. "Somebody here tonight has had their last chance, they have heard their last gospel." Man, folks (in my memory from childhood, so I'm sure it's different from the memory.) But folks jumping toward the alter and the tears and the forgive me Jesus flying. My little self asking my grandmother what it meant and did the preacher mean somebody was gonna die tonight? Fiddling with the radio to try and find a radio preacher (yes, back in the early 60's you could find one in the bible belt) so I could be sure it wasn't me that had heard their "last gospel." On the other hand the comfort of going out to my back yard at a different time and after another sermon in a different church. Praying to God and hearing in my mind the words of hope and strength that would last me a whole lifetime. I could "hear" in my mind the Holy Spirit saying "Relax, I know you from the inside out and not the outside in." "I know your heart and I"m the one that answers for you." I want go into detail but believe me it saved my young sanity. The night I was baptized and had a cold and a stuffy head and when I came up my head cleared and I was breathing better. Coincidence? Selective memory? I don't know , but I do know it felt like the baptism took. Later in life going  through a period of questioning everything and feeling like most "smart" people couldn't possibly be Christians. The guilt and the closed minded bigotry and the dogma's of the fundamentalist
Now, I'm older and I have my own life experience and my own ideas about God and the universe. I have had a good dose of evolution and the facts of brain chemistry and I don't believe in fairy tails and bodies being reconstructed from dust and atoms reforming in the ground. However, I also don't believe that all life is an accident and that the evil of Hitler is no more than the life of a cockroach. I don't think the love of a mother for a child is no more than the life of a fruit fly. Dead is dead, no, I don't buy that. I've seen enough to believe that life and death have purpose. But, I'm also honest enough to tell you that "The bible says it and I believe it" isn't enough for me. Now, that will make some folks mad and I understand that. But, unless you were raised "in the church" then you have no idea how hard it has been to be honest enough with myself and my God to admit my doubts out loud or to even think them. But, this has become too introspective and much to self serving. So, let me get to the point of what I think of when I think about the incarnation.

 It occurred to me at some point that love isn't always about "rescuing" or "saving" people. Sometime it's about dying with them. Real love isn't rushing into the burning building and pulling somebody out and giving them mouth to mouth resuscitation. That's great and it's heroic but it's not always love. No, real love is when you rush into the burning building and realize that you can't get the "victim" out. So, instead of rushing back out you set down with them. You stay in the burning building next to them and accept the same fate. That's love and that's what the incarnation is to me. It's not Jesus with an "S" on his t-shirt. It's God made flesh and setting down beside me and loving me enough to die with me. Loving me enough not to go running out of the building and not dragging me out. But, to stay there and suffer and be willing to suffer the same fate. That's love.
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Election 2012

I can't help but notice a depression among some the past few days. I wanted to let an old conservative friend who I have certainly shared some great conversations with, share a little of the thoughts of a moderate left (formerly conservative) liberal and a "progressive" (formerly conservative) Christian. But, I decided instead of a letter I would just write a blog about it. This is what I would have said if I had sent him the letter:  I know you think at this time that the nation has deteriorated into a cess pool of godless socialism. I understand that the world you grew up in doesn't look much like the world you see now. I know the feeling well. The world as I had alway's known it shifted under my feet in increments until some of the bedrock became floating patches of land that I had to jump on and quickly jump to another to reach solid ground again. It's still wet and muddy for me but I keep going. I hear a whole lot about how the republicans are friends of the military. However, I still remember working on a military base during the Bush years. Fort Carson Colorado Child Development Center. I still remember being told that the kids in the age group I was head of couldn't get anymore food for lunch than what they were already offered. One serving per child. I still remember having to tell the classroom staff that toilet paper was at a premium. I still remember Donald Rumsfield asking "What am I doing running grocery stores?" Well sir, you had shipped the momma's and daddy's off to war and the families still had to eat. I still remember the hollow eyed children coming into the center after spending one last night with mom or dad before they shipped out. I still remember the sobs and the anxious looks at the t.v. screens as a young wife or even young husband said "Hey, that's our unit." when a report of war would come in. I still remember that most of that military was black and came from poor cities in the rust belt and the rural south. I still remember that many were white and came from the south and were trying to save enough to go to school or make it in the world once they got out of the military. I still remember the billions and billions a day being spent on two wars. Fact is that Obama isn't the problem. The policies of war and big coorporations who profit off oil and war are the problems or at least a big part of it. Still, Obama could end it and he really should. I'm not here to beautify Obama for sainthood. But, many of those patriotic Americans that you guys love to talk about would and did vote for Obama. The world (to borrow from my favorite author, Stephen  King in the Dark Tower) has moved on. The jobs that some conservatives talk about that you can pull yourself up by your own bootstraps? Those went to China a long time ago. The fact is that America looks a lot different than it did in 1950 or 1967 0r 1975. The fact is that we are not a evangelical Chrisitan nation and truly we were not founded by evangelical Christians. However, we were founded by people that had faith and fortitude. But, they were also slave owners and felt that black folks were only partly human as far as voting rights and women were somewhere below that. Did the democrats take God out of schools? Well, if they did then he isn't God with a big "G" but is god with a little "g." It's funny how conservatives are so sure that the government should stay out of things like taxing people and regulating business. But, should dive head first into marriage and abortion and prayer in schools. It's amazing that government shouldn't make sure that insurance companies stop adding to run away inflation and shouldn't make sure that health care is a basic human right and need. But, government should by all means be allowed to send son's and daughters off to war. What happens when there really are more black people and Hispanic people than there are white folks. What happens when the majority of white folks are just as poor as the black folks? There are many now, but what about when there are just as many or more? The republicans honestly need to wake up and stop sending dinosaurs into battle. Abortion? I hate abortion. I think if you are going to get pregnant then you should be willing to consider the responsibilty of what and who you are. On the other hand if men had babies then abortion wouldn't even be an issue and we all know it. It would be a stone cold fact. But, my feelings on abortion are from my worldview and everybody doesn't share my worldview. So, a young woman has to decide for herself if she is going to nurture that life or not. The truth is that the Holy Ghost didn't come down from a throne on high and plant that seed in that woman. It's a flesh and blood reality and it has to be dealt with by flesh and blood people. Pro choice people should stop telling women that abortion is some kind of holy female right of passage. You are killing off a part of yourself that nobody else will ever be able to replace in your life. Anti abortion people should stop saying life is sacred while it's in the womb but once it gets here unless it's one of "us" then it isn't worth our effort or assistance. Finally, I did indeed vote for Obama. Not because he is of mixed race and I could get a tingle up my leg for voting for a "black" guy. I voted for Obama because I'm not rich. I voted for Obama because if something did happen to my job I might need to go to the doctor before I get another job with insurance coverage. I voted for Obama because I have seen first hand as social worker the treatment of poor folks on Medicaid when they go to the doctor. It ain't pretty. I didn't vote for Romney because he flip flopped on health coverage and he seemed to be willing to be a progressive if that's what New England needed. But, if the south and the mid west needed an evangelical conservative well, he was the man. I'm not sure of Obama. I'm not sure he can find his butt with both hands. But, at least he admits he has a butt and doesn't flip flop all over the place. So, ya pay's yer money and ya takes your chances.  I am sure that republican or democrat we do have some issues and we are divided. We do need to make sure there is a path to working and paying taxes if you are here illegally. We also have to be aware that if you keep straining the social services system it will break sooner or later. But, throwing folks back across the border over and over and over again is simply not working. I am not an atheist. I don't think all life is a accident with no more meaning than a roach bug at the end of it. So, I do believe in taking care of each other. No, not all are going to be worth it. No, we shouldn't be housing people to set on their butt and drink and watch soap operas all day. But, we should take care of the elderly and the disabled. We should take care of the children and the unemployed and the folks who are trying to make a better life. Is there no middle ground? I look in the mirror and I'm so unsure of myself. I'm so unsure that "I" have the answers to life the universe and everything. Maybe some of you are not. Maybe you truly are the chosen few. But, is there no humility left? Is there no sense of "reasoning together" left? Anyway, as always. If you have read all of this then I thank you for taking the time and giving me the honor of your consideration for my thoughts. Agree or disagree, thank you for reading my latest rant.

Friday, November 2, 2012


  The song from Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon" keeps running through my head. I saw a news story about an N.B.A. player getting 80,000,000 to sign with a team. $80 million dollars! Wow, how many clothes and how much food would that buy? How many doctor's appointments would that pay for? How many dental visits and other needs would that supply? Now, I'm a sports fanatic. I was raised on Alabama football. I went to my first Atlanta Braves baseball game at 11 or 12 years old. I watched and cheered as Alabama made it's first trip to the NIT in basketball. This was way back in the early seventies when going to the NIT meant something. So, I do have an appreciation for sports and the entertainment that it provides in this nation. But, 80 million dollars. Wow, the other day I had to call some local church and other agencies to try and get a referral for a winter coat for a child. I watched as an older African American woman lived in a bad part of public housing and was afraid to go outside. I saw Jessie Jackson say he would like to cut Obama's nuts off and Al Sharpton primp for the t.v. cameras as he led another "cause" for the downtrodden. I throw up a little in my mouth when I hear the likes of Sean Hannity and Ann Coulter talk as if health care is a privilege instead of basic human need and right. Bible thumpers who don't want to let a woman choose what to do with her own body and want to pass government law or amendent to tell her what is legal. Yet, when I say what about feeding and clothing  and health care? The answer is "That's not the governments place and they shouldn't interfere." Let the church take care of it. Ya know what? There are some great church groups that do indeed try and take care of the poor. But, they run out of money and funds. They depend some on federal assistance in order to help the poor. We have a really weird society. One group loves ya while you are in the womb and protects the hell out of you. But, once you get out of the womb they say "let em eat cake." The other group treats you like you are no more than a "procedure" while you are in the womb. But, once you get out "IF" you qualify they will put you on a check and defend your right to laze around the rest of your life. Where is the balance? Where is the common sense? We honestly have enough resources right now in this nation to feed the poor and clothe the hungry and treat the sick. We also have enough laws to address discrimination and bring justice. But, it looks better politically to say one group is more precious than another. It's a hate crime to kill one and a simple ole "mistake" in judgement to kill another. I think all crime is a hate crime. Especially crimes of violence. We honestly should provide a way to let workers come across the border and get legal. We should also put illegal gang members and those who commit crimes under the damn jail. One side thinks that simply throwing human beings out will cure the problem. The other side doesn't seem to understand that you can't keep throwing more and more stress on the social resources without exhausting them. One problem is the two party system in this nation. I think we might do better with a parliament. Anyway, here's the trick to political power...or at least one of em. Pit one group against the other. Call one poor and downtrodden the other evil and an exploiter . That way you can breed resentment among the middle and lower classes. You can talk about the evils of abortion while you bomb the hell out of children in third world nations. You can ride around in a limo and talk about the evil "white" men who are destroying a culture. All the while branding anybody who thinks the culture is destroying itself a racist for bringing the subject up. You can talk about trickle down theory while the middle class trickles down to nothing. You can talk about restitution for past wrongs while letting people die in poverty. What's the answer? I don't know. But, I do know what the answer isn't. It's not blindly supporting a political party as if it were no more than a sports team. It's not demonizing any one group as if they are the sole problem of the world. It's not removing hope and faith in God from all aspects of public life. It's not imposing a belief in any one religion on people who have no faith or religion. These are all silly little ploys to keep peoples eyes off of the men/women behind the curtain. Anyway, rant of the day....Thank you for reading and I respect the right of all people to think for themselves. It took me a long time to be able to express my opinion without worrying about what the "church" thought or what the science teacher at school thought or what somebody else thought.

What you would not have done to you...Don't do to anybody else...The Buddha

I'm not a religious man..but if you're up there, save me Superman... Homer Simpson

Monday, October 15, 2012

Halloween Traditions.

I love Halloween. In my youth it was  1. Christmas 2. Halloween/Thanksgiving. I have certain personal things that I like to do around this time of the year. I watch an old favorite horror movie or read a favorite novel or short story collection. Last year I chose watching "The Haunting" Not the modern remake but the original 1963 version that scared the yell out of me as a kid. The Julie Harris version:
[voice-over] An evil old house, the kind some people call haunted, is like an undiscovered country waiting to be explored. Hill House had stood for 90 years and might stand for 90 more. Silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there... walked alone.

There's also a great scene where the "cleaning lady" says "I won't be here after dark." No one will come..after dark" Or something along those lines. Also, a great scene where the female characters are in bed and there is a booming or stomping sound in the hall. The room is dark. "Stop squeezing my hand so hard"  Then from the other side of the room you hear "I'm not squeezing your hand." I know corny now but you watch that at 6 or 7 or 8 years old and see how corny it is then. :-)
 Anyway, this year it's reading Salem's Lot by Stephen King. I was in high school in 1975. The world was certainly different. I remember picking up this paperback in the Gadsden Mall bookstore back then. It looked interesting and the person behind the counter said that this "Stephen King" guy is becoming really popular as a writer. I bought the book and was transported to a small Maine town. The characters the young writer drew for the younger reader took me inside myself and I was hooked. This "New England" town reminded me so much of small town rural Alabama. I never forgot this book. I have read it at least twice over the years. But, it's been quite a while since I read it. The scene of the young vampire tapping on his brothers window asking him to come out and play. The character that gave up life in an instant so that he could preserve his soul. The character shooting rats at the town dump. The likeable characters getting picked off one by one by the vampires. Scenes that seemed to jump out. There are others but I don't want to give away the whole plot. But, my other question was "Will the story hold up 35 or 37 years later." Although, the writing isn't quite as incredible as it seemed in my youth. You can tell that the future "Master of Horror" was still refining his trade. I find that the story and the book still hold up well. I'm going back to Salem's Lot tonight and the next couple of nights to finish the tale.
 If you are looking for classic and yet modern chills this Halloween I can certainly recommend a trip to a small New England town.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Morning thoughts.

  Yesterday I was really feeling as if there was a load that I was carrying around. It's a fine line between intuition and superstition at times. I've always been struck by times when I just "knew" or "know" something and yet you have to be careful that you don't project too much onto things. Sometimes a duck really is just a duck. Anyway, for some reason today that feeling just lifted. Not into a state of euphoria, just lifted as if a weight was gone. Anyway, on the trip to work I started to think about the things I actually believe. I remember seeing an old video on youtube with Carl Jung. The great psychiatrist said in answer to what he believed. "To believe is to not know." I have been blessed/cursed all of my life with a mind that wanted to "know." So, the bible says it I believe it just never worked for me. Science has "proven" also just never worked for me. So, what I "believe" has always been something that I didn't "know." I do have some things that I "know." They are not things that I can give you a rock hard stat in order to prove. They are not things that an appeal to an ancient writing has given me. They are things I have perceived and thought about and yes prayed about all during my life. I "know" that I am a part of the consciousness of being. I know that life has a purpose and that how we treat other people is the most telling and important bench mark of who we are and our closeness to the "One with who we all have to do." I don't think that god is an old man in the sky that reacts to our life with anger or anxiety. That might be Superman with the emphasis on "man" but not God. I also don't think that all life and meaning is simply a happy/sad little accident on a journey to oblivion. I can only sadly imagine such a dead soul as to crave or defend "nothingness." On the other hand I do understand that we are on a journey and this is not the final destination. There is an old Buddhist koan: "What was your face before you were born." I can remember when my son was still in the womb. I actually felt his presence during my walking and waking hours. I was walking down a street in Fort Carson, Colorado and thinking of him. Now, we had already decided to name him "Fox" after our favorite show the X Files. I look up and there is a Fox on the other side of the street walking down the sidewalk. Wow. Now in Colorado there are of course foxes and other wildlife and I'm not acting as if that was an impossible thing to have happen. But, still "Wow" So, I do think there are more things in heaven and earth. But, I only "know" a few of them.

Friday, September 7, 2012


I was on a page and about to share a link concerning what kind of reader are you on facebook. But, I got carried away and decided that some of my thoughts belonged on a blog post instead of a facebook link. I have read since I was young and I can't imagine a really developed worldview if you don't read. I know it sounds kind of snobbish but honestly? If you go to a church or you vote for a political party or you join an organization then, you owe it to yourself to educate yourself. That's what reading does and has done for me. Now, I don't believe everything I read. I wouldn't read Pat Robertson to try and understand the benefits of Buddhism. I wouldn't read Richard Dawkins to learn about the reality of the comfort and hope of prayer. Always, be aware of the motive of whoever you read and understand that everybody (as a certain ancient text says) Heaps Teachers to their own Ears. Anyway, here is the short facebook blurb that turned into a blog:

 I can't imagine anybody even having a world view that doesn't read. It's gotten me into trouble over the years. I question everything and read about the things I'm interested in. I don't read as much as I once did but the following folks have certainly kept me enlightened and entertained since my youth: Get ready for a "nerd" werd blast.
Stephen King, C.S. Lewis, James Thurber, Barrie Wood, Alan Ryan, Charles Grant, M Scott Peck, Anne Rice, Dean Koontz, Robert Mccammon, Ray Bradbury, Shirley Jackson, Dan Jenkins, Shirley Mcclain, Whitley Strieber, Ruth Montgomery, Manly Wade Wellman. I've read books as a child about Bear Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Bart Starr, Jim Thorpe. I've read ghost stories ordered from my Weekly Reader from Walnut Park Elementary in Gadsden, Al. Graduated to Stephen King in my later teens and early twenties. I've read inspiration by C.S. Lewis and been taken on a mystical ride by Shirley MCclain. I've found Semi Tough to be the funniest sports novel (Not the turkey of a movie) that has been written. I've been inspired by M. Scott Peck. Shirley Jackson's the Haunting (book and original 1963ish movie are both great) I read Salem's Lot when I lived with my grandparents in Altoona, Al and was amazed at how much a small fictional town in Maine reminded me of a small actual town in rural Alabama. I was back in Gadsden when I read "IT" and was amazed at how a fictional town in Maine reminded me of a similar sized actual town in Northeast, Alabama. Maybe I just relate to Stephen King stories. :-) Anyway, I don't read as much as I once did. I also love movies. I'm easy when it comes to movies. Just give me a laugh or a startled yelp or eye candy special effects and I'm good. But, with books it's a little more personal. I live a book and I devote my inner life to it. So, it has to grab me and I have to think about it during the day. Otherwise it just isn't worth it. If I don't find myself thinking about the characters or the point of a book at sometime during my day then I know it isn't working for me. I love books but I have sinned lately. I have been downloading them to my Kindle Fire instead of the old tried and true method. There is nothing like hoisting a good thick book and diving into it. But, as my eyes age and my attention span seems a little shorter (damn you internet.) :-) I find myself preferring the comfort and the convenience of an e reader. It allows me to turn off the lights for one thing so I'm less distracted. But, I still love books and going to a library or a book store. I've just downloaded the newest Robert Mccammon book in the Mathew Corbett series. But, I'm still reading (again) through the Dark Tower saga by my favorite author. :-) Plus I gotta check my facebook and it's football season again. But, I'm sure I'll be getting back to my first love (books) before you know it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


  I actually stay away from politics on most of my conversations on social media. That's because like my faith, my politics is kind of complicated. No one size fits all for me. But, I do have some thoughts as we enter this political season. I was born and raised in the bible belt. Etowah County, Alabama. I came to earth in the Baptist Hospital in Gadsden, Alabama in 1957. Born to a young mother still in her late teens and a father who was in Ohio and a step dad who was just as immature as my mother. But, my grandmother on my mothers side was committed to the church. I was raised Christian and I mean bible thumping hell fire and brimstone Church of God of Prophecy and Southern Baptist (Depended on which side of the family you were on) Baptised at 12 or 13 years old at Cherry Street Baptist Church in Attalla, Alabama right down the road from my home in Walnut Park. The years have not been kind to my dogma but my faith in Christ is like an old sweatshirt and pants that I pull on. I may not go out and make a scene in em but they sure do feel good on a cold dark night. Anyway, this is where politics come in a little bit. I honestly wish the world was a conservative shangri la. I wish that all people were equal and that no matter where you were born or what color you were or what sex you were that all you had to do was sweat enough and the money and living and good stuff would roll in. I wish Jesus did send a mighty guardian angel to slay the bad guys if they tried to harm a child or smite the people who would rob the elderly or rape a woman or kill a man. Sadly, that's just not the way the world works.
 Now in all fairness that's what Jesus tried to tell em, but they (meaning we) don't listen very well. The take up your cross and  Father let this cup pass from me and the rich man through the eye of the needle and the teaching of "What you do to the least of these you do to me" somehow got lost. Somehow, it became "God want's you to be rich" and "God told me to tell you to give my ministry $100 tonight and your bills and food will be taken care of brother/sister. Ever think how funny it is that God never seems to tell that preacher that he/she should go downtown and give the first homeless person they come too all the money in their pocket or bank account? Heck, God don't even tell ole Bro Swaggart or Robertson or Baker or Crouch to visit the local soup kitchen unless it's a photo opp for their ministry. Things that make ya go hmmmm. But, I digress.

I honestly think it's vulgar, obscene, satanic, nasty, pitiful that in a nation as rich as this one that health care is a "privilege" of the people that are blessed by the insurance companies as long as their premiums are paid up. I honestly don't see how you can love a child while it's in the womb but cast it and it's young mother aside once it comes onto the earth. I understand about working hard. I understand about standing on your own feet. I don't have a problem with telling a gang banger or a drug abuser or a person that will not work to either shape up or ship out. I do understand that borders are part of being a nation. But, can't we have a humane system of dealing with people who really are trying to take care of their families? Now, this administration does indeed do somethings that irritate me to no end. I also hate the bullying crap about not being critical of the president because that would be racist.

We need to stop the silliness and hold everybody accountable and not worry about race or party. But, on the other hand we have people caricaturing him as a communist that hates America. The fact is that America is changing for better or worse. I worked for the army in Child Development Services for a few years. Many of our servicemen/women were single moms and dads, African American, Hispanic and Asian. Also, Irish and German and Italian. A great melting pot and the myth that all our servicemen/women are true blue conservative republicans is just that. A myth.

 In real life good people don't always have the most money. Good people are not always poor either. But, health care should be about having a healthy society and taking care of all of the people who need it.
One more thing that I wish my conservative friends would think about. I often hear that Obama is spending too much. We can't afford this or that. Yet, where were those folks when George Bush was bombing two third world countries back to the stone age and spending Billions (Not Millions) Billions, everyday?

Take off your blinders folks. It's not about abortion. I love life and I think it's wonderful for a woman to bring a child into the world. But, if men had babies there would be no abortion debate. It would just be a settled fact and most of you know it. If you are gonna demand a woman have a baby then you need to put your money and service where your mouth is. It's not about the deficit. Regan and Bush made a cottage industry of not worrying about the deficit. It's about us vs them. It's about greed and control. The Bush family were in bed with the Saudies and everybody knew it. The Nazi's were helped with Bush money for a short while before World War 11. John Kerry went down the middle of a river in a war zone and was called a coward while George Bush flew jets over Alabama and Texas and was called a hero.

I would love to vote for a good solid republican conservative. My blood and my heritage is God and Country and good Southern stock. But, I'm afraid that I can't do that this election. You see, while they have been telling you to stop the godless commie abortion mills, they have been turning the plowshares into swords. While they have been telling you that health care is a privilege, the middle class has had to mortgage the future to pay for illness because the insurance went away when they lost their job. I honestly don't care if you are republican or democrat. But, please think for yourself and don't get so caught up in the us vs them fools game of political parties.

No we can't feed everybody and we have to have borders. But, we should have a humane way of treating those who come across just to make a better life. We could also have less prison overcrowding if we had more truth in sentencing. Drink a few beers and get caught starting a fight? Well, we will either take you home or put you in the tank for a few hours and turn you loose. Get caught smoking a joint in your own home? We will lock you up for that and you will be in jail a lot longer than if you had robbed or hurt someone. What ever happened to community service for non violent crimes? What ever happened to prison for violence and not giving parole once you take a life? Also, how about every crime is a hate crime? See, I told you I wasn't a knee jerk liberal :-) I think it's just a much of a crime for a white person or a male or a Christian to be killed as it is a gay person or a black person or a Muslim to be killed. We need to value all people equally and knock off the victimhood.

 My main worry is the decline of the middle class. Make health care available to all and you fee up a man or a woman to find a job and work from a place of peace. Right now we are working to try and make sure that if that chest pain turns out to be more than heart burn or that bump turns out to be more than a mole or skin tag that our family and our finances won't be completely devastated.

Anyway, that's my rant for the day and I'm honored if you took the time (agree or disagree) to read it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Keith Richards: Life.

  I recently read the autobiography of Keith Richards of Rolling Stone fame. As I get older I'm finding that reading about the icons of my youth is a great way to ponder where I've been as well as catch up on those that inspired or repulsed me or entertained me along the way. I am always pleased and fascinated by the way different types of artists and music inspire creative people. If you were to simply think about the Rolling Stones as caricature you would think of them as a bunch of shallow silly rock stars. While that would not be entirely untrue :-) it would miss the mark as most generalities do. Richards talks about every kind of artist and writer from Motown to Nashville and it's amazing how diverse the results and the inspiration is. I have a album of Hank Williams covers and Richards is doing "You win Again." He is at home with Rock, Country or Reggae. I listen to the radio (not often) at at times these days and I feel kind of sad for this generation. I know I sound like an old fart. But, hear me out. Back in the day when my old home town, Gadsden, Alabama and nearby Birmingham were playing what would become "classic" it was very diverse. We might hear the Eagles or Zeppelin or Grand Funk and then hear Gladys Knight or Otis Redding or Willie Nelson or Linda Ronstadt next. These days everything is segregated. I wonder if we will have anymore Richards, or Dylans or Al Greens. At least for a generation or so. Because there seems to be no real appreciation for the common thread of the roots of music these days.

 Anyway, I realize I haven't really reviewed the book I started out talking about here. I do recommend it to all the classic rock fans of my generation. Also, to younger folks to see how much interaction and inspiration a diverse group of people had back in the day. :-) There are times when the book could use a stronger editor and it seems to kind or wander from time to time. But, overall a good honest look at the life and times of a "Guitar Hero."

Thursday, August 2, 2012


When I was a child I had a dream that I have never forgotten. So, to start this experience in the blogsphere I thought I would relate it. First let me say this. My only dogma is "To treat people (all creatures really) the way I would want to be treated." Since, this dream has Christian themes I did want to say out front that I am not a fundi of any kind. If you are then that's fine. If you don't believe in anything, that's also OK with me as long as you don't come at me with the condesending smirk that some atheist have these days. No, it doesn't make you more scientific to spout jargon and act as if going to doctor is hypocritical for people who believe in God. Yes, I am well educated but no, that's not why I'm still a believer that we are more than chemistry of the brain. Also, if you come at me and say "God is an angry old daddy in the sky" then you will also be angry at me. I don't know for sure exactly what/who "He/She/Spirit" is. But, then again I don't really know what I am. :-) I appear to be in human form at this moment. But, am I in the brain? Am I the foot? Am I the liver, since it has chemical reactions as well as the brain?" Anyway, back to my first post and the reason I call this blog "Stairs of Life." 

I am 55 as of this writing so I don't pretend to completely remember a dream from early childhood. But, this is the part that has stuck with me over my lifetime.
I am at the foot of some stairs. There is somebody with me. This person with me says "Walk up the steps and every time your foot makes a mark you are that much closer to God." I started up the steps and would look down as I walked. I would see a "mark" or a footprint every time I took a step. I was getting closer to God. I made it to the very top and heard (as I remember) If you make a mark here then you "belong" to God. I stepped up and looked and I saw the footprint.

This dream has never left me. I have not been a saint and have been drunk and dirty and stoned and a lost puppy many times in my life. Especially my youth. I have doubted (still do at times) if there even is a reason for us being here. But, I hold to this dream and this assurance that I do belong to God. It holds me when fire and brimstone preachers call me a sinner or an enemy of god. It holds me when "skeptics" say I'm not logical and dead is dead. It holds me when I think of the people I've lost and the people I wanted to connect too that I just didn't have the opportunity to really know in this lifetime. Anyway, if anybody reads this, then thanks for taking the time. Hope to see you around cyberspace. :-)