Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Endings and Beginnnings.

 I'm a Seinfeld fan. I'm a Christmas fan. So, as a fan of comedy and also a Christian (some might dispute this last part, but it is what it is.) I used to both laugh and cringe a little at Festivus  for the Rest of Us. If you are a fan of the show then I don't have to explain it. If not then let's just say "Frank" had a personal take on the holidays that was hilarious. :-)

 Anyway, I have my own little personal New Year's Tradition. It started around the late 70's or early 80's. I would go into the woods with a stick or something to prod the weeds and trail and talk to God. It was my way of ending the old year and giving the hopes and worries of the past year to God and asking for "stuff" I'm American ya know ;-) for the coming year. But, it was also a great time to get quiet and really try to listen to that still small voice within.

My favorite place to do this was Noccalula Falls in River City. River City is my name "sometime sarcastic and sometimes fondly for the city of my birth." Gadsden, Alabama. I didn't always go to the falls but it was a great place to walk along Black Creek and under the falls and really commune with my spirit and talk to my maker. I would start at Jack's and get coffee and a biscuit. Then I would walk over the bridge and toward the campground and find the trail off in the woods down to the creek. Cold and clear and if it was high babbling comfort for my meditations. Also, jumping rocks and plowing through the woods. Anyway, I would then talk about my hopes and my failures and my anxieties and my unlimited future. I was a young man and I was trying to grow up. Anyway, over the years that walk was done in Altoona, Gallant, Gadsden, and all over the area where I could get into the woods. I have even tried it later on the beach in Hawaii but nothing was quiet as peaceful as the area of my raising. Be it in the woods in Gadsden or the woods in Altoona or around Gallant. Noccalula was my favorite spot but not my only spot.

 Anyway, this morning while my family slept I went out to my back yard and walked down the private road a little way. The private road leads to houses that are back in the woods and I have talked to a few of the folks back there so there was no problem with walking a little way down the road. I thought about the past year. It was a mixed year. I thought about the good and bad the right and the wrong of the past year. It wasn't the all day walk of my youth. But, it felt good. It was a release of my spiritual "cache." :-) There's a modern word that I would not have referenced back in 1978 or 1985 for that matter. Anyway, it was short but I enjoyed it and felt better for having done it.

There will be New Year's Resolutions aplenty I'm sure. I more than likely won't make many of them. But, I do hope to manager to listen more this year. To find a sanctuary either at home or work or play to get in touch with my source. I no longer think of prayer as a magic bullet or of God as an angry old man in the sky who reads my mind. But, I treasure and find hope and sanity in my prayers. No, I'm not a church going devout evangelical. I don't think I will ever be that again. But, I have always found hope and guidance in prayer and meditation and sometime just in asking.

So, Festivus for the Rest of us. But, the personal tradition of the New Year's Prayer Walk for me. I hope you are blessed.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Life: Past, present and future.

  I had a kind of strange experience the other morning. Now before I start I do want to say this. I understand the concept of the faith "Christianity" which I was raised in. I have said several times that while I have not abandoned the faith of my youth I have certainly had my dogma run over. So, the following account will seem foolish to those who believe that we are nothing but the chemical processes of a organ in our skull. It will seem heretical and even deceitful to those who believe that the bible is the inerrant word of God from on high with no need to know the original language or circumstance or methods in which it has come to us over the centuries. It will seem like wisdom to those who are pie in the sky new age folks that just pull whatever meaning to life they need out of their butts. :-) But, what it is, is: ;-) an honest attempt by a human being on this earth to find the quiet place within and attempt to get in touch with the true nature of my own being. So, if I haven't completely bored you yet, here is what happened.

  I wake up at around 4:30 AM. I don't always wake up unless it's to stumble to the bathroom and try not to completely wake up while actually hitting the target and then going back to bed. :-) Women, (my wife) seem to make a big deal about toilet lids and guys being careful. But, I digress :-)

Anyway, I can't sleep so I get my second favorite gift of this Christmas season ( a recliner being the first.) My new Kindle Fire HDX or whatever it's called. I put in my ear buds and pull up Doctor Brian Weiss on youtube. Now, Dr. Weiss is a very highly trained Psychiatrist who discovered past life regression some years ago. You can find his story by googling his name if you are interested. I am not searching for guru's at my age and I don't claim or mess with people who do claim to have all the answers. But, anyway having an interest in relaxing my mind as well as an interest in the concept of past lives I thought I would at least give the 30 minutes it would take to close my eyes and see where the video would take me.

I got quiet and said a little prayer and prepared the volume. I will give one spoiler here. I did not (and didn't really expect to) discover a past life. I did however go back to my childhood which is of course past life of a sort. This is where it gets a little intense for me.

I listened to the meditation. I felt the tension in my neck and shoulders and relaxed and released it from the soles of my feet to my neck, shoulders and concentrated on my breathing. So far so good. Might not discover I was Joan of Arc's lover from back in the day but I was relaxed. The doctor then said to float above a scene from my childhood. I then thought about a Christmas in Gadsden, Alabama on Chester Street in Walnut Park. I was very young. My grandparents had come by to visit. I don't know why but this was the memory (and I have always had this memory so it wasn't something I had pushed down or lost the memory of.) But, I could see the little boy that morning. It was as if I were looking at him (which was me) from a different perspective.

I was detached but felt intense empathy for him. He was so small and so innocent and I started to weep. I was crying for him (me) as if I were watching a different little being than myself. I guess I may have been crying for the years and the bumps and bruises and betrayals of the innocence that he (I?) had at that moment. I honestly don't know. Anyway, it really touched me and caused me to ponder and kind of go inside myself this week. I think it was Monday morning when this occurred.

The other thing I got was this. I have often thought about my life and some of the patterns of my life. Did I do something in a past life that I have paid for in this one? One of the things I came away with was this. I don't know if there is anything to the concept of past life's. But nothing I am going through today good or bad is the result of something I did in another existence that I have forgotten and am paying for now. My life and the responsibility of my life is  what I do with it now.

Anyway, it was a very intense and personal experience and I just wanted to write it down. I have done that. Thanks for the time and in the words of Bernie Leadon of the Eagles from back in the day. "I wish you peace when the cold winds blow. Warm by the fire's glow.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Journey

"Oh bless thee continuous stutter
Of the word being made into flesh..."

- Leonard Cohen
 I think a lot these days about the flesh and the spirit. I look at life gone by like it all happened yesterday. I remember when I was young. I thought when I got old, there would be this long, long corridor of memory. I would sit in my chair and think wow, how long ago and far away it all is. But, it doesn't work that way at all. Not at all. Instead, my childhood and my teenage years and my young adult hood and the present "crows feet" around my eyes all happened just yesterday. 
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;...William Butler Yeats.

I still look at life and feel wonder and excitement. I look at it more as one eternal moment than a series of separate moments.  I don't know for sure what comes after this part of the journey or what came before. I'm not one of those who find any comfort in oblivion.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.. Dylan Thomas
I also am not so sure that the light will die.As a matter of fact I don't think it does.

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting And cometh from afar; Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness, But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home: -William Wordsworth
I knew a girl back in the day. She was not my "true love." But, she was a friend and a soul mate along the journey. She was the true love of a friend of mine though. I had a hard time thinking of her passing. But, we get older and the "Emperor of all Maladies" You know the C word tends to take the body out before it seems the spirit is ready to go. There are other things and circumstances and we don't all get that rocker on the front porch to look back at life from "old age" whatever that is.
I saw her not long after she left this mortal coil. Now don't call the men in white coats just yet. I don't mean I saw her at WalMart.
But, I had a dream and she was smiling. There was a glint of mischievousness in her eyes. She looked young and was moving around with the energy of youth. Just a dream? I don't know but I'll take it and raise a hope that it was more than "just" anything.
I was raised to believe in God and although I call myself a Christian Agnostic on my good days.  I still believe we are more than brain farts.
For all the years that I've traveled some signs still take me home. There's a cross that one of the church groups put up along my route to work. It's a simple looking cross and there is a purple swatch of fabric draped across it. I've had a long year and a really long "October." But, I look for that cross while I go to work. I see that simple sign of my faith. The faith that I don't quite fit into these days. I see that purple cloth and I hear in my head "It is finished." I think about that when I'm down or troubled. Somehow, I know that even any present trouble or anxiety is already finished. The outcome isn't in doubt. Not really.

"And then I saw Him in the crowd
A lot of people had gathered round Him
The beggars shouted the lepers called Him".... Queen
I developed an interest in reincarnation during my journey through life. It started for real sometime in the eighties if memory serves. It didn't develop into a dogma or a religion "Thank God" but it does have a certain resonance with my life experience and my journey. Who knows? I don't, but I suspect.

A dream as the thunder wakes her
And her highwayman disappears
On a life already lived before
In eyes welled with tears ...Stevie Nicks
So, here I am. Not old enough to be elderly and to old to be young. I'm ready for the next part of the eternal moment. After all..

." I gotta keep breathing. Because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring? "..Tom Hanks in Cast A Way.
  I really do think life is an adventure. I also think there are signs along the way that touch us and remind us of something we've forgotten. Some part of our nature.

A gathering of angels appeared above my head,
They sang to me this song of hope and this is what they said,
They said come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me lads,..Styx
One day it will all come together.

Oh Wow!....Reportedly Steve Jobs last words "on earth"

I will make a pillar in the house of my God, and he will go out no more...Revelation 3:12

It's good to have hope. It's what gets me up in the morning and lets me sleep in the night time. 

So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key... Eagles

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The occasional life of Steve Snead

Wake up! Hard to do since I've been asleep as long as I can remember. Hard to rouse myself up so why don't you just tell me what's real and what isn't. Early memory: Looking up from a crib and seeing a smiling face with a hat on. Later will find that to be granddaddy. Big building with revolving doors and people in big coats. Later it would be called Cleveland, Ohio. Went there to visit my biological dad as a toddler.

First grade: Walnut Park Elementary in Gadsden, Alabama. Shiny and new desk and a big ole chart with the ABC Song led by my teacher. The desk reminds me of syrup and pancakes for some reason. It's the color and my imagination I'm sure. A is for the Apple that hangs upon the tree.
Phone call from school: Your son Steve just walks around during nap time. No, he isn't mean, but he keeps getting up.  Naptime. Put our towels and blankets on the floor. My friend Larry is laughing in the bathroom. "What's going on?" Well, he says I heard a word last  night that my parents repeated. They got real mad when I said it. Really? What was it? Well it starts with an "f" and well I'll tell you. ....Really? what does it mean? "I don't know but they got really mad at me."  Later in the occasional life. A big church bus comes through Walnut Park. Kids pack on. I'm getting Baptized at Cherry Street Baptist. Wow, I had a stuffy nose a minute ago. But, now I'm standing here wet and yet my head is clear. I'll remember this for a life time. That is on occasion. Later, there will be enough fire and brimstone and hypocritical adults that I can go back to sleep.

Sixth grade: Kids from all my childhood and the last year at my neighborhood school. My teacher is black and the first black teacher in this world where the only black people I've seen so far have been marching on t.v. Still, she has this way about her that just seems to exude a presence of acceptance and concern and even love. Not what I had been told that black folks were like.

General Forrest Junior High: It's so big. Who are all these people? Why are those black kids and white kids over there shoving each other? Where are my friends from the park? I just don't know about this. I think I'll keep my head down. That kid over there? He seems to really hate me. I don't know him but he seems to really want me to know that I have a scar on my face and he doesn't. I think I'll just keep down for a little while.

Emma Sansom High: We are going up to Sansom today to register for next year. I'll register for 10 grade. But, my mother has just said she is divorcing my stepdad. I'll be going to live with my grandparents in Altoona, Al. But, I was born and raised in Alabama City. How can I not go to Sansom? Well, at least I'll escape that stupid bully since he won't know where I went anyway. But, I'll miss the kids I grew up and went to school with for 9 years. Most of them have been a little distant since Walnut Park though. Oh well.

West End High: It's so small! The whole class together isn't as big as one home room at Emma Sansom or Forrest. Still, the kids are a little more laid back. They seem friendly enough. I think I hate school anyway so I'll just put my head down and wait for it to end.

This is adult hood? I'm gonna have another beer and another joint and I'll do something else tomorrow. I'm only a kid so it's not that big a deal. That's what one of the adults just said anyway. Later: Why don't you get a job, you bum. "Wait, didn't you just tell me I was just a kid yesterday?" What? Where did the years go?

Look in the mirror and wake up for just another minute since I'm in my late 20's. I think I'll finish my education or get a job or do something. Getting high and strung out was fun a few years ago but not so much now. I don't like the way people look at me and I don't want to be the town drunk or druggie.

Education. I get to teach at a private school while taking classes at Jacksonville state and I have a 2 year diploma from Gadsden State. I even started church again. Waking up a little but I'm not really sure of the fire and brimstone stuff. I think I'll just go to work at the county tax appraisers office.

Married? Well, I had thought about it but I didn't really expect it. Still, seems like it might work out. Still, it seems that other people have baggage too. Who knew? It's hard but we are going to Hawaii. I know I might be crazy but I'm not sure of just what works and what doesn't. On to Colorado. A son? I look at the sonogram and I bless him in the womb. I'm awake for a minute.

Why is she having such a hard time and seeming to be in so much pain. I see his little head and it doesn't look that big. WHAT? That's the head? OK, I'll never call women the weaker sex again. That would have killed me.

But, he is beautiful. I can't wait to hear his first words or see his first steps.

Work, it's what I do. No, I'm tired and besides I'm off and I just want to chill. I'm not thrilled but at the same time I'm just gonna keep my head down.

Change? Not yet, not again! This is hard and my finances aren't perfect. What if, what if what if?

End? Not really but kind of an


Dream from several years ago. Wow, how vivid. There's my body back there. What a vivid red landscape. Who's this beside me? Seems like he could tell me anything I wanted to know. Well, I want to know about life and death and God and meaning and who am I and where did I come  from and where am I going. So, I turn and ask. But as always in dreams I don't ask word for word as in waking life. I ask "What is the dream?"
He says "you ask too much."
A single tear runs down my face and I wake up.
A single tear really is running down my cheek.
So, still I ask What is the dream? Maybe one day!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Religion, Evolution and me.

Here I am getting ready to attend my first Alabama game in Bryant Denny Stadium. My wife can't go and my friend says it's just not gonna work with his schedule this time. My nephew can't go because it's such short notice. So, I'm going solo. Should be an exciting interesting and hopefully a fun day. Anyway, I wake up this morning around 4:00 AM. Excited about the game? Not really. I mean I look forward to it but I'm not 13 years old anymore. Life has gotten a little more complicated and my thoughts are more on the economy and my job and health and the hope that my son has a good life. So, of course I started to think about my journey and decided to write another blog since I'm up!  :-)

 I was reading some on the interwebs (Thank you Al Gore and Bill Gates and all the ships at sea) Anyway, I digress (when do I not?) When I came across an article about one of my favorite NPR programs. "On Being" with Krista Tippett. She interviews people from the Dali Lama to the leading scientist and other religious and new age and cutting edge researchers of the day. I have been known to take a break from Art Bell or Coast to Coast podcast and download one of her interviews for my daily walk. Anyway, she was talking to some young people of today who have left the faith of their parents and their youth. Former Christians who have become atheist. To be honest (here's the cranky old guy part) I didn't read the article because (A)  I had a LOT of living and experience to go through when I was 18-25 years old and didn't really think I needed to read the "wisdom" of those kids. (B) See A.  :=0
Yeah, I know that I don't know but since I was playing the cranky "older" card I went on my way. Or so I thought.

Now, I started to think about my own journey this morning as I am trying to get back to sleep. I think about that article and then my mind goes into that thing where it's like a snake that is eating it's own tail and before you know it the morning is in gear and I might as well get the heck up anyway!

 So, I decided to write this blog. It goes something like this. But, first the following is Not meant to deride, cast stones or claim any kind of authority to tell you ultimate truth. The following is a short allegory of some of my experience going through life. Names have been changed and people places and things have been combined to protect the innocent. :-)

 So, here you are ( I am) and you're just a kid. So, this grownup says "Ya know God is a father in the sky and he loves you." But, he also is angry and will punish you if you don't do what the (church,synagogue, Mosque, temple) says. So, there ya go and you are doing fine and then you meet up with a person with authority and knowledge that you don't have. So, this guy, girl, woman, man has something else to tell you.

Well, ya know the concept of a big daddy in the sky is a very superstitious way of looking at the world. See these bones and the way evolution works? You don't need or have a god. Evolution explains (it doesn't) the reason for life. Also, see this picture of a chocolate cake? Well, your brain just lit up and that's why you want the chocolate cake. See? that's all it comes down to and we will "One day prove by science" that you are nothing but a chemical by product of the glorious evolution that will one day end in oblivion of mankind.

Huhh? I know you are smart but that doesn't even make me feel better than the mad ole man in the sky from my youth! ;-(

 So, here I am thinking (again) that somewhere somebody is missing something. So, where does that leave me? Well, I have to go to my lifelong inner dialog. I have had dreams that actually told me something that would and did happen in my "waking" life. I've had synchronicity where I've thought of a phrase or a person and turned on a radio or gotten a call or put a cd in the player and there is the song or the words or the thought that I was just having. I remember an angel from years ago at my bedside. I didn't bother to look over because I "knew" and went to sleep and was/am protected. I have had my own encounter with spiritual experience that I can't really explain. So, no I'm not an atheist.

But, I do understand where those young men and women are coming from. They are caught up in the information age. It's great in many ways. But, it's also a culture of soundbites. "Got'cha" moments and information overload without any real digging or thinking past the blurb or the "Press this part and the brain lights up" stuff. But, still I understand. No longer can Brother Bob of the "Temple of the redeemer and Holy Ghost with Signs Following" tell people what's real and what isn't. That's a  good thing.

But, I worry about other authority figures. What if Brother Dawkins tells them they are no more than a brain fart and are superstitious idiots if they dig any deeper?  What if Brother or Sister Clinton tell them that to question the democrats or liberal will make them a hay seed redneck racist southern backwoods idiot? What if Brother Limbaugh tells them that all liberals are godless communist baby killing scum that shouldn't even be allowed to teach or talk? What then?

 Well,, right now that looks a lot like 21 century America and the world at large. So, yeah it concerns me. Anyway that's my thought for the morning. Sun's coming up and I've got a big game to get ready for.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Tea Party vs Christians.

Last week I found a wonderful blog. It gives me hope that Christianity really will grow and expand instead of dying on the vine with the Pat Robertsons and right wing zealots of the world. I see where some young folks have not abandoned the faith of their youth but are transforming it from the dry and dead bigotry of their elders. Anyway, I posted a link because it made some points wonderfully. Points about giving and caring for the poor and all that "hippie Christian stuff" that the right is so sure is sinful and communistic and heretical. Anyway, I posted it because I really like it and like most humans on the planet I agreed with it so I called it good. ;-)

However, to be honest apart from the linking of other post I am worn slap out by the state of American politics right now. I see people who truly need health care who can't get it. I see people who are slaves to a coorporate mentality who can't follow their heart because if they lose their job they lose their health care. I see politicians getting a pension for life after retiring from "serving." Lawd, I wish I could "serve" somebody for 150,000 a year and get a pension and take tax funded trips to Europe. But, anyway with that I also see the nation giving billions of dollars out like candy to "Muslim Brotherhood" and to Israel's defense and to ram a government that they don't want down the throats of people in the middle east. I saw a president start two wars and there was nary a peep from the good tea party type folks that we were wasting billions and billions of dollars a week and destroying untold lives with bombs and bullets. Both ours and theirs. Then the other side once they "own" the bombs started talking about how we needed to start another intervention. For the good of humanity don'tcha know?

The difference is that this president (love him or hate him) did listen and he backed off the war drums at least for now. Anyway, the folks who didn't think it odd to spend billions on bombs and bullets and giving money to other countries think it's horrible to even think about giving a child or an old person or even a young person access to health care. You can always justify it but you better not think too deeply about it.

Anyway, I got a response from two types of friends. One I could understand. I disagreed but I still got it. One was raised in an upper middle class family with cousins by the dozens and a supportive family. No knowledge there of wondering if there was a can of tuna in the cupboard growing up to fix a sandwich with. That type person I can at least understand feeling like they do. They were born on third base and think they hit a triple. :-)

It was the other friend that I lost it with. I admit it. I gave a snarky ugly reply and acted like a jerk. Why? Because I was just so damn tired of the far right attitude toward people who disagree with them. So, tired of people claiming Christ and acting like Ayn Rand. Also, this particular friend is not able to work and has several health issues. If not for the "liberal" hippie types he wouldn't be able to get medication. He is also is trying to get disability and Medicaid insurance and basically be able to live a better life. I truly hope he makes it. But, at the same time there was this nasty "stupid liberal" theme running through his post that I just lost it with.

I finally ended with the comment that for somebody who needs Medicaid and health care and food, to vote conservative republican is like a black person joining the KKK. Should I have said it? No, I wish I hadn't. Do I believe it? Yes.

The one thing I do wish the Christian church would do? Well, if you are gonna say "we shouldn't use the government to feed and clothe people" then at least be consistent. You also need to say "we shouldn't use the government to tell people who they can marry" or to tell a woman what she has to do with her body. Not that I like abortion, just that it is not my call. At least not outside the religious community. But, I digress.

Anyway, agree or disagree I am honored that you took the time to read this. I'm afraid my friend won't see this one because (and I really can't blame him) I wasn't very graceful the last time somebody "posted" on something I wrote. I'll try to do better.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

War no more!

I am against war as a matter of principle. I remember thinking as George Bush got us into two wars at one time how damn stupid it was. Just from a military standpoint alone it was stupid. But, from a human standpoint. I remember thinking "this isn't a video game." The bombs were real. We were going to win the hearts and minds of people who hated us by blowing their homes to hell and back. The other thing I remember? Most of the victims of the "freeing of Iraq/Afghanistan" were poor people and women and children and elderly people. They were the ones getting torn apart by the bombs. Oh, and our own young men and women. Mothers and daughters and fathers and sons were coming home with missing limbs and PTSD. I worked for the army on Fort Carson. I still remember the kids worrying if mom or dad were part of the news story about casualties. I still remember the chapel and the funerals starting up. I still remember civilian staff on the base catching their breath and running to the t.v. every time another report or bulletin would flash on the screen.

It just seemed wrong to me deep down in my spirit to think that bombing and maiming and carnage was going to "fix" something. I feel that feeling every time I hear of another "freedom fighter" or Muslim Brotherhood or Arab Spring or African conflict. I know that somewhere a daddy isn't coming home and a mommy isn't going to fix her daughters hair for school anymore. I know that somewhere a bomb is destroying a home and a person is losing an eye or an arm or a leg. War, what is it good for? Ask the politicians and the Enrons and the stock brokers.

Now, that I've said that I need to say this. Those of us against war for any reason are often asked "What about Hitler?" What about the holocaust? What would you have said back then? Would you have been saying "Don't go into Berlin?" Honestly? I don't know. That's the problem with absolutes and zealotry. There are always questions. Always, wondering "is it right?" Did I do the right thing? People getting poisoned by chemicals and I say we can't go in there. I have to look at that and ask myself am I sure. But, where did the ones who used the chemicals get them? How did they get them? Who will the bombs fall on? Just the ones who used chemical weapons? Or will they fall on husbands and wives and children and brothers and sisters? How deep in the bunker will the bad guys go before they are finally dealt with? Who are the bad guys by the way?

Rumsfield dined with Saddam and Kerry dined with Assad. Who foots those bills? The American military and their families mostly. The poor folks in Iraq and Syria and other places mostly. Always seems that way doesn't it? Maybe, we could try to get the U.N. involved for a change. Maybe we could just not be the first ones in and the last ones to leave for a change? Maybe? What if we continue to pressure Russia in the arena of the U.N.? What if we continue to push for economic sanctions on the money of the Syrian leaders. What if we don't blindly go in and shove a government of the U.S. choosing down the throats of the people?

I still remember the billions and billions of dollars that Bush wasted. Yet, the conservatives didn't worry much about the deficit. Hmmm. I still remember Obama getting a little peace prize. before he had done a damn thing. Might be good for him cause he sure wouldn't be in the running right now. I'm so sick of it. My nation is being torn apart by idiotic choosing of "our" team instead of holding people of both parties accountable. Funny, how if I say "Why don't we have health care for everybody, so that nobody has to be a slave to a corporate health plan" I hear "We can't pay for that!" Oh, but we can pay for the bombs and the life and limbs. That's no problem. That's the cost of freedom.

I also noticed something else when I worked for the army. The soldiers dying? They were not all 1950's blond haired blue eyed all American Christians. There were blacks and whites and Hispanics and Asians and women and men. Thing is they did have one thing in common. They were mostly from lower middle to lower class America. They needed a job and training and health insurance. Oh well. It is a complicated matter. I honestly don't have all the answers and I don't know if I'm right or wrong with a certainty. But, I really would like to give another way other than war a chance. Just once.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Stairs of Life.: Science and the Fuzzy Thinker.

Stairs of Life.: Science and the Fuzzy Thinker.:   I must be a fuzzy thinker. I get bored easily with the "Laws" of physics or the dogma of the bible. I like to think that reality...

Science and the Fuzzy Thinker.

  I must be a fuzzy thinker. I get bored easily with the "Laws" of physics or the dogma of the bible. I like to think that reality is something more glorious and bizarre than we can ever imagine. :-)

  I started a blog. I was going to write about ufo's and the paranormal. Movies and politics. Books and sports. All the cool stuff including music and pop culture. But, somehow my 50 plus year old self just keeps coming back to themes of life and death and reason and that kind of stuff. So, here goes another blog of "Steve's midnight thoughts" :-)

  I think too much. I know it sounds self serving. But, on the other hand I have often envied the folks who just say a certain authority (bible, science, guru, expert) says it and I believe it. After all I am skeptical about my own skepticism. I have always read and I still don't know how a human forms a world view if he/she never reads. However, I also have seen people who read an article or a book (heaping teachers to their own ears) and never question the agenda or look at the world view or follow the money of the author or publisher.

So today I was reading a blog and a young looking author (Lord, when you pass fifty everybody 35 and under suddenly looks like a teenager to you) quoted a talk by Bertrand Russell. Now, I have a lot of respect for the intellect of Mr. Russell. For those who haven't heard of him give a google. :-) He was an atheist but a thinking person and not the angry snarky Richard Dawkins type. At least I don't think he was. As a matter of fact he came up with one of my all-time favorite sayings or quotes:

“The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”

I love that quote because there is so much truth in it. But, anyway the young author of the blog I was reading was quite taken with Mr. Russell and his writing on "Why I am not a Christian." The author of the blog seemed to want to hit the idea of god in the name of 'Science." Sigh, here we go again. So much so that he asked a one word question: Is he right? Then answered it with one word: "Yes." But in the words of Lee Corso (he of ESPN College football) before he debased himself with that nasty Notre Dame suit last year before the national title game (but I digress) :-) Anyway, as Mr. Corso used to say "Not so fast, my friend." :-)

Now, I could write my own article on why I'm no longer a conservative Christian. I could start with the idea of an angry old man in the sky and go straight through gay marriage ( I think everybody has the right to marry who they want to marry, consenting adults that is)  and feeding the hungry and having compassion on the sick and the poor. But, that's not why I am writing this blog. (as my conservative friends, IF they read this, grind their teeth at my liberal foolishness.) :-)

No, I am writing on "Why I'm still" (though some would argue the point) a Christian. Or at least why I still believe in "God." Being a reader I also had many lessons in my youth. Just because you put it between a cover and bind it, doesn't make it the "gospel truth." No pun intended. It took me a little while to find my feet and my voice. I finally realized that just as a preacher couldn't sentence me to hellfire with his words. Well, I also found that an atheistic "intellectual" also couldn't sentence me to oblivion just because they wrote bleak, stark, so called "rational," prose. But, why in an age of science do I still believe in a personal creative loving presence? Well, for one thing I look at what is called "Science."

Science is a wonderful "tool." I am able to  drive a car because of the obvious"mechanical, engineering" science. Also, because of medical,vision science I am able to see to drive. Now, for those of you with lifelong strong eyesight that might not mean much. But, I am one of those folks that (even in my youth) couldn't see or tell a truck from a tree or a house or a car coming down the road. :-) So, I am very thankful that I can put a small frame on my nose and see where I'm, and also where you're going. I also am benefited by blood pressure medicine and cholesterol medication and I even will use the occasional Melatonin (it's natural and over the pharmacy counter) to help me get sleepy. My child was born with Asthma so I am very thankful for medical science.

However, with all that said above, there is still one question. Where is this entity that so many (mostly young, but many older) atheist use that goes by the name of "Science" that has slain the old man in the sky? Seems to me that I see a lot of human ability to learn and create and even help others. Now, you can say "where's god in that?" I would say "Look in the mirror." := )

Words, words, words. Everybody has em. But, that's all I have to take your heart away. :-) But seriously, as I get older everything seems to be defined by one old rock song or the other from my youth. But, let me say this. I've known folks or at least read about folks. People who used to be Christian. The more fundi the former Christian the more fundi the new atheist. I've thought about it myself. What do I truly believe in? Who cares? :-) Well, just in case some where some how some intrepid archeologist is digging through the rubble of the late 20th or early 21st Century and wonders about how much we worshiped celebrity and money and gave our minds away to politics, religion and even scientific dogma (because I don't think we have even approached the tip of the vast knowledge that we can research with the different sciences.) I would like to at least add my .2 cents worth.

I think about my life long inner dialog. I have prayed and talked with God in my own way since I was able to comprehend the concept of reason and being. To be honest if I were to become an atheist at this point in my life. Well, I'd have to conclude that I was bat-shit crazy for 56 years. I mean, I'm not a big church goer. I don't think the source of all there is, cares much what kind of fabric you wear What kind of food you eat (although I think there is concern that some have food and some don''t have enough) But, this inner dialog I've had has kept me through so much insanity.

It's this inner dialog that allows me to go to a funeral and not totally lose it because I didn't say all the things I should have said or said something I should not have said to a loved one. It's this inner dialog that allows a young mother to bury a child and yet have hope that through the grief and through the pain, there will yet be a reunion. It's this inner dialog that we have that allows us when the bump isn't a just a mole or the cough isn't just a cold to cry and cuss and sweat and scream and yet have hope. So, no I'm not an atheist. Because to be honest? The glorious evolution of the species doesn't mean squat to me if my own evolution ends up being dead as a doornail (as we say in the south) :-) So, no I"m not an atheist.

Finally, I hear people say "If there is a god, then how could he let......" Fill in the blank with some of the worse things you can think of. But, my answer is if there isn't a reason or purpose or spirit then how can you not go insane at the rape,murder,molestation,disease,injustice of the world. I'm sorry but at those times the great entity called "Science" is just a piss poor god. So, again am I anti intellectual? Heaven forbid. Do I believe in evolution? Yes! Do I frickin love science? I love computers and tv's and pods and pads and I love my glasses and my clothing. I take my medication and I go to the doctor. So, there's a very soft place in my heart for science as the collective tool of the human mind.

But, late at night. When I have to prop my head up because my 50 plus year old body doesn't breathe as well on my back as it did in my youth. When my heart races or I notice a new "mole" on my head or back. When I really, really hope that I have a little indigestion or heart burn because, the other possibility is that I need a doctor or the emergency room. Well, at those times I'm really glad that I have my "inner dialog" and my hope. Just in case. Because there is a country where even science and toys can't follow. :-)

Also, I miss my Grandparents and uncles and aunts and cousins and friends and all the relationships that worked and didn't work and even have hope for some that didn't happen. I'm with Helen Keller on this one: Death is simply going from one room into another. But, it's different for me..in that other room I'll be able to see.
Now, I am not blind (physically anyway) but I do think that this world is a pale reflection of the reality of my home.

So, why did I write this blog? I just like to put things down and see how they look. I like to read back over it and see if my worldview (while not perfect or complete) can at least pass the "crazy as a loon" test. :-) So, far I don't think I'm nuts. I'm not sure I'm right. (there goes my natural skepticism again) but at least I know why I believe what I believe and lean where I lean.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


 I was thinking today about what it would have been like to go to ancient Israel. I guess many of us who were born and raised "Christian" have thought about it. My way of looking at reality has changed and evolved over the years. But, I  can't help but wonder, what if I really could?

 The road is dusty and it's summer. I'm from Alabama so it's not bad on me. Ala-what? I'm from no-place and everyplace. I"m here. I hear somebody laughing and there appears to be singing. Those people? Who are they? What are they doing at that little lake? I didn't think I'd see that in a dry and rocky land. Well, it's not the Coosa River but it's water. :-)

He doesn't look very sorrowful today. Not a very card board cut out either. No staff and no long beard. No blue piercing eyes either. They look hazel, and full of laughter. Although there's something in the way he looks over their shoulders that gives me pause as I approach him.

I didn't know he actually "put you under the water himself." WOW!

Questions? Oh yeah, I said I would ask the big ones. But, .....well. I think I'm supposed to, that is I think I can listen. Just listen for a little while.

the dance begins:
 Wake up to light and sound and emotion and expectations and. Big people with smiles or frowns , hugs or hits. Fathers become god's and mothers are oracles. Listen: it's us vs them. authority vs desires. need vs truth. Listen.
Touch: warmth? if you deserve it. Withhold it if you don't. love if you are worthy apathy or worse if your not.
See: who is like "us" you have a scar. He is not clean. She is trash. They are not worthy and here is the truth.

Speak: Be careful what you say. This one will be angry. That one will hurt you. how dare you. You may speak, but speak correctly.

You are not clean. they are not cleaned but you are  "loved" if you comply.
life: It's ours. Good of our nation. War:  God's will be done and they must be stopped. Never, ever defile the womb. But they are not our responsibility. The bombs will kill the "leader" the children will go to heaven anyway and the others hate us. They hate our science, prosperity. "They" are enemies of God. 
 Listen: We are right, and hope is only our right and inheritance.

Death: will happen to them. we will live. If you die then your are just gone and we will evolve.

Love: There is a river. The way is not blocked. The water is cold and the yet I am elated.
 The body "dies" yet my fear turns to "unspeakable" "joy' "life."

You? You have followed me to the pits and to the heights. Are you?  I Am. I didn't realize that they were still precious. They mocked me you know, and caused me great pain. I tried to see you in them but I was afraid.

The sights went so fast. Time is just illusion. I woke up and breathed and then It was done. I still don't understand it. Why am I here? I think I remember, yes. I've missed you and I missed her and him and them.

Laughter: It's time to go back. I'll forget where I've been. I'll struggle and prospser and die and then:
Wake up:

light, sound, smiles and frowns, where am I gong ? where have I been?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Short, crazy dream.

  I was reading the news this morning when I remembered a "crazy dream" I had. In the dream I remember people wanted justice and truth to triumph. It didn't matter if a republican or democrat was talking. It didn't matter if a person was black or white or male or female. Rich or poor. Everybody was accountable for their actions. The politicians had tried to separate folks but the rich and mighty and influential decided that everybody was equal and deserved dignity under the law. Black people decided that white people getting killed was just as much of a hate crime as black people getting killed. White people decided that young black people dying in the streets was just as much of a tragedy as white people getting killed in an accident or being murdered.

I know, crazy huhh? Also, people decided that just because somebody didn't have proper grammar or couldn't read or write that didn't mean that they were evil or wrong for speaking up about what they saw or heard. It even meant that just because somebody wore a hood or smoked a joint it didn't mean you had the right to chase them down and kill them. Wow, it meant the person who was actually "on trial" had to stand or fall on the facts and not on the white vs black demographic. Unreal, I know!

Then in this "Krazy Dream" people stopped demonizing other people for who they decided to marry or leave their worldly goods to or put on their insurance at work. People decided that the church and religious people had a perfect right to their belief system without being called idiots and bigots and unfairly depicted as fools. Also, people decided that putting a "price" on the welfare of a human life for insurance purposes was not only immoral and heartless but also "Anti-Christian." People decided that their leaders could no longer talk about "serving." At least not while they were earning pensions and insurance and living in mansions provided by the people.

Anyway, then I woke up and read the news and decided that I must have been crazy to have dreamed such a foolish dream.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Coffee, Ipods, and "I Am"

First let me say this. This is how I release some of the day to day "chatter" that goes on in my world. This is not a claim that the eternal source "God" of all life actually has spoken the literal words I attribute to "him" in the following exchange. I hope some of it is "inspired" of honesty and maybe even actual understanding. But, I make no claim that you will find the "truth" of all life or the "one way" in the following.

  I forgot my Ipod this morning! There I was counting my change that I had scattered around my truck so I could stop bye Panera Bread and get some coffee and play the aging "yuppie" is that still a term these days? By hopping on the internet with my Ipod and watching Laurel and Hardy on Youtube or Madmen on Netflix or reading Page Six on the New York Post. But, I had walked out without the Ipod. Now what?

Well I ended up doing what I often do when I'm without any other course of distraction. I had to "think" and meditate and talk to God a little bit. Here's how that went:

Me: You know I've been doing this for 56 years now. I've talked to you as my savior who actually walked the roads of the Middle East around/over 2000 years ago.

God: Yeah, that's true and I've given you an anchor when things seemed wierded out on you.

Me: Then again I've talked to you as if you were an angry old "Zeuss" type figure ready to strike me down for the sins of my "thoughts and deeds."

God: Well, you know even that had some positive things..not that it was or is true literally. But, it did give you a certain sense of boundaries in the time of youth and experimentation with the world.

Me: Hmmm, yes it did at that. Ya know I also have talked to you as the "Holy Ghost" who was really, really sensitive and easily offended and I worried that one "out of place" word would condemn my immortal soul to eternal hell.

God: Well, ya know it's all part of the journey and at least you didn't forget completely who I really am.

Me: I also have talked to you the way I do now. As "Holy Spirit." It works better for me. It has a better sound to it and sounds more "intellectual" than Holy Ghost.

God: Well, that's not actually the best or even a good reason to use the name now is it?

Me: It has (for me) evolved into the way you have presented yourself in my life. Not as an angry old man in the sky, or a angry "ghost" but as my ultimate and eternal source and reason for being.

God: Now that's better.

Me: Oh look! Isn't she pretty? If I were 25 and single instead of 56 but there's no harm in looking.

God: Focus!

Me: Oh, sorry. I have a hard time in this world focusing on my prayer life and my inner life. I am so taken up by the day to day stress and who likes me and who hates me and what about that bill collector and that debt?

God: Yes,. There is a place for taking care of day to day things. You do it day to day and moment by moment. But, not in one big anxious gasp and grab.

Me: Help me to listen. It's hard to hear sometime and it's hard to trust.

God: Just "BE" and take a breath once in a little while and I"ll be there. Not, as Cosmic Santa but as peace.

Me: You know, the road in front of me is shorter than the road behind me.

God: It is! But, on the other hand remember what Jesus said. The kingdom isn't out there somewhere. The kingdom is always within and is here now.

Me: Thank you Father.

There was more to it and it's still ongoing. But, a wise woman once said to me: Steve, don't tell anybody but God everything. Peace. :-)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Wild God!

 I'm now going into or am already into my later 50's. Some memories and some of the journey sticks or makes an imprint and this term has certainly stuck with me over the years. "The Wild God," I was reading my hometown newspaper "The Gadsden Times" which I would devour for the comics and the sports section. But they would also have a column or article on religion or "This Strange World" or something like that. :-) Anyway, the title of the article was "The Wild God."  I was a kid raised in the Bible Belt and I was a voracious reader. I still don't really understand how a human being can develop a worldview without reading. Now, don't get me wrong. Just because a word is on a page and bound in a book doesn't mean it's "right." for instance if you are reading Richard Dawkins to discover the worth of spirituality you need to stop or at least understand the "agenda" behind what you are reading. If you are reading Pat Robertson to find out the wisdom of the Buddha then you need to stop! Or at least understand the worldview and motive that the writer is coming from. Now that doesn't mean that if you read  something or believe in something that you should constantly go back and forth between two extremes debunking one and proving the other. that could go on forever. But, you should think and understand where somebody or something is coming from that claims any kind of authority in your life or makes any kind of demand on who you are as a person.

Anyway, I thought I knew who God was and he certainly wasn't "wild." He was securely between the covers of the King James Bible and the hyms of Cherry Street Baptist Church or The Church of God of Prophecy. I went to Cherry Street on the church bus that would come through my neighborhood of Walnut Park. I went to the Church of God of Prophecy with my grandmother who truly lived the teachings and believed absolutely in her faith and the religion of the church. So, God couldn't be wild! He was who the preacher said he was on Sunday. He was my sky daddy and he was also angry at my "sins." I had a lot of sins. :-) I read books with monsters and ghost in them. I loved comic books. Raquel Welch and others made my "body" feel funny. I thought of "bad words" in my head. So, I had no room for a "wild god" since I was already trying to tread water with the love/wrath of the God of church.

 Now, don't get me wrong. I remember my baptism at Cherry Street and the warmth and wonder that I felt when I came up out of the water. I remember praying and feeling a peace and a protection many times in my youth and even now in my life. It wasn't all fire and brimstone and guilt. I thank my grandmother for the gift of prayer that has steadied me all the years of my life. So, this isn't a brick through the window of the "church" or a rant on the faith of my youth.

 I did however, lose my dogma as I got older. It wasn't the hypocritical actions of church members. I didn't lose my faith because a preacher slept with a woman or a church member went to the beer store. I lost my faith because the dogma just stopped making sense to me. I read some of the history of how the cannon of the bible was approved. I also used my own mind and some of the bible just didn't make sense to me. Still, the thought that every thing we are or have done is just an accident and we are nothing but brain chemicals didn't make sense to me or give me any hope.

The term "The Wild God" stayed with me. What if God really was able to draw all things unto him/her/universal self? What if love really was true? What if we were really the only ones who are responsible for what  and who and the way we react to the journey? Also, what about the prayers I had prayed the dreams I had/have and the relationship I have with my source. With the "Holy Spirit."

No, I couldn't believe and don't believe that "love" could ever order the slaughter of all the women and children in a village/camp. No, I could never believe that a "man of God" could ever dash a baby against a stone. No, I can't believe that wearing a wool shirt and a silk scarf could be an abomination to the Lord. :-) But, I could believe and do believe in a "God" who would come and take part in the human condition.

I've said it before and I'll say it now. To go up to a burning building with a fire hose and put out a fire and rescue a human or even a pet is a wonderful thing to do. It's heroic and it's admirable. But, love real "Love" doesn't just pull you out of the fire. Real love sees you in the fire and comes and sits down beside you. Real love isn't just being strong enough to pull you to physical safety. Real love is saying if you are going to go through the fire then I'm going though with you.

That's why I still call myself a Christian. Not because the bible says it and I believe it. Not because of virgin births and talking donkeys and bodies coming out of tombs. I still relate to Christ because he sits down with me and waits with me. I'll never be the fire and brimstone Christian of my youth again. I'll never be able to relate to the old time religion and the absolute "word" again. But, I do know that I have a "Journey Securely Bound." That's enough for now. It's all I know.

Note: The Journey Securely Bound is from a wonderful lady I knew back in the Gadsden Vinyard named Debbie Handy. The thoughts and words I have written are my own and they are not the blame of anybody else. But, that beautiful title "A Journey Securely Bound" belongs to Debbie and a book she put together of poems and writings many years ago and shared with the church. My theology isn't her theology. So, if anybody thinks this is heretical that's fine. It's the way I feel at this point in my journey.



Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Dear Ms. Obama.

  Dear Ms. Obama,

As an American and a voter who supported Barrack Obama this past election I feel I have the right to speak on something that happened the other day. First I have to tell you that I am a middle aged white southern male and lean just a little to the left on social issues. I think everybody has the spark of the creator and therefore we as a society have a moral obligation to feed the hungry and clothe the poor and heal the sick. I feel with all my heart that how we treat others is not only the "Golden Rule" but the only real and absolute mark of where we stand before the great I Am. I honestly feel that two people who are adults and pledge their loyalty and intent and love to each other have the absolute right to join in a union, marriage or partnership. If the quickie Las Vegas weddings and the preachers with three ex wives and politicians that leave their mate to die haven't destroyed "godly unions" then I don't see how Bob and Tom have a snowballs chance of destroying it. :-) 

 I also have to tell you that I heard you're former preacher say that Hillary didn't know what it was like to be called the "N" word. Except he didn't say "N" but I've got to tell you. I do know a little of how that feels. Ya see I was born with a cleft lip and pallet and I have been called enough names and been left out of enough "reindeer games" in my youth to have a good idea of how that feels. So, I'm talking  to you as a voter, a man and a fellow traveler in the realm of the "outsider" at least to an extent. For some reason as I got older I felt less and feel less an outsider. I think it's called growing up.

Now I admit that Barrack has done some things I don't feel comfortable with. I'm not sure of just what happened at our embassy and I'm not completely comfortable with the answers from the I.R.S. But, then again I wasn't comfortable with Bush and the Saudis and letting the Bin Laden family fly home after Americans were murdered by their backers. I wasn't comfortable with Reagan and the South American slaughters that went on either. So, I understand how crap happens and sometimes presidents do things out of a misguided sense of honor and sometime just out of greed and politics. Humans!

But, you did something the other day that really troubles me. You silenced a protester. Now, on one hand I felt a certain sense of "You go girl" at the spunk you showed. But then I really started to think about it. One of the greatest freedoms we have as Americans is the right to "Speak to power" without being intimidated or shushed up by the authorities. It's what separates us from regimes like the Soviet Union or China or the monarchy of the past.

One of the things that make me so proud of being an American is the right to speak and assemble and protest without being afraid of the police or the military showing up at my door. Did you see the recent pictures of North Korea? A horrible man finally had to go and meet his maker. Some of those folks must have been thinking "good riddance to bad rubbish." But, they couldn't say that. The military was looking and the camera panned them and they dare not look up with a dry eye at the camera. They had to mock rend their clothing and cry tears and wail. Why? Because if they didn't they would be marked and dealt with.

One of the reasons I respect the flag of the United States and still in all the cynicism of the age feel a little shiver up my spine at the raising of the colors is the freedom it brings. The fact that I have the right to spit on it just makes me love it all the more. That's freedom.

So, that's why I am so taken aback by you and the "in your face" tactic you used with the protester. You are one of the most powerful and influential folks on the earth right now. That should make you proud and yet should also make you tremble at the awesome meaning and responsibility that comes with it.

Anyway, that's it for now. God bless and take care.



Thursday, May 30, 2013



When I applied to the School of Social Work to get my degree I had to write some reasons that I wanted to be a Social Worker. Now, in all honesty I certainly used my gift for gab to write words, words, words. :-) I did want to be accepted after all. Not that I didn't believe everything I wrote.

It's just that we emphasise certain things at times to make a point or to sway the "powers that be" to our advantage. I can't remember everything I wrote and don't even need or want to remember everything I wrote. But, one thing that I talked about in passing is something that I absolutely believe in. That's hope.

Hope is what separates sanity from insanity. It's what gets somebody through another day of the same old same old

. One of my favorite scenes as far as a "eureka" moment for me occurs in the movie "Castaway" with Tom Hanks. When his character is asked how he got through his stranded existence on an island he said:  "Never give up because you never know what the tide will bring in the next day.”  I used this quote (not as a manipulative thing but, as an attempt to help) with some of the folks I worked with in my job in Colorado at a behavioral health hospital. Something, to help or at least cause those in depression or stress to grab onto and to hopefully decide to keep going forward.

 Hope is one of the experiences that distinguishes mankind from most of the other creatures on the planet. You can take a dog and put him in the back yard. Put up a fence and give him a bowl of water and feed him everyday. Go outside and pet him/her and run around and throw a ball or a stick. After a little while you will have a happy pup!

But, you take a human and give him/her food and water every day. Shut them in a closed system and give them the same old same old to do everyday and you will have a miserable creature. Now, there are other things that can account for this along with hope. But, that person will "hope" everyday that something will change or that they will plan or find a way to change their circumstances.

 I remember seeing something on youtube a few years ago that was really great. OK, I admit for an older person, I think youtube is one of the greatest things in our modern world. :-) Classic rock concerts, old sports footage, Laurel and Hardy and Amos and Andy and Stephen King interviews. I love youtube. But, I digress.

There was a youtube interview with the great psychotherapist and psychiatrist Carl Jung. Very rare to see one of the historic figures and architects of thought in an actual live flesh and blood appearance. Anyway, Jung (who was very elderly himself at the time) was talking about his elderly patients He stated that he was struck by the "hope" they had as he interviewed them. At the end of life they still had a hope and looked forward to something more once this life is over. Hope!

Now, I'm not as "sure" of my faith as I was in my youth. Life and circumstance and situations have caused me to question many of the old standards that I was taught as absolute in my childhood. Sometime when you research something or read about something, you find that it's not quite as black and white as you were "told" it was. But, this isn't about theology or quantum physics or even the reality or non reality of spiritual existence. I think of those things and I am planning on rambling on about some of those things in my blog posts. But, this is about hope.

It's one of the main reasons I'm not an atheist. It's just not logical to me that all the hope and love and hate and flesh and blood and mental and spiritual and life experience of a human is in the end about nothing. But, that's a different argument for a different time. It touches on this but I'm not really wanting to go there today. I mainly was thinking about hope.

In 2008 or so the media and the world seemed to go a little bit crazy. Every time I turned on a t.v. or listened to a radio or read a paper I was hammered by "RECESSION" SLUMP, IMPENDING DOOM! Or it sure seemed like it. :-) Now, I'm not a pollyanna by any means. But, it seemed to me that we were (not in a grand conspiracy ) but just as a society being led down a certain path by plans made by the money holders and we honestly did seem to be getting programmed to behave in a certain way as a society. Even in my job I would hear "well, we're gone" We will be laid off and the whole system will go up in smoke. Now that could have happened and it may still happen for all I know. But, I never stopped "hoping" that something good would happen.

I was talking to a person in my job one day. That person said "a therapist or social worker had told them that everything was indeed getting harder" My answer was that it cost exactly the same to be optimistic as pessimistic. Neither one is absolute and neither one cost you more money than the other one. So, you can decide to say "well I'm doomed" or you can decide to say "I'm hopeful this will work out" and either one is a choice you make. So, why not at least "hope."

So, if like me you are dealing with bad or just unwise choices in life. Looking at the economy or your own personal issues and wondering when it all will change or if it will. I can't tell you it absolutely will. I can't tell you it will all work out the way you or I would like it to work out. But, I can tell you that "hope" will cost you the exact same amount as gloom and doom will. Or as a wise man/God once said. "The evil of the day is sufficent, don't worry so much about tomorrow." Or something like that. :-)

So, with those old folks of the past that Carl Jung counseled. With the people who waited to see the Berlin Wall finally come down. I hope.  Knowing that mankind is capable of great evil such as slavery and the holocaust. But, also knowing that there were some who sacrificed their own life to rid the world of such great evils. I hope.

Again, I go back to a certain old book or collection of ancient writings that are sometime thrown away as myth and sometime, I'm afraid worshiped as god But, always if you look "full of hope."

A certain young woman was a queen and her king had decided to allow the murder of her kinsmen. Her uncle came to her and asked that  she speak with the king on behalf of her people. She was afraid and said that she might be killed just for speaking up. Her uncle told her that for all she knew "the very reason she was raised up as a queen was for this very purpose." She did speak. Justice was served and wisdom prevailed.
I try to remember that. Maybe some of the things I go through and experience were already planned for me and maybe they all are part of my life's plan. Yeah, "stuff" happens. But, I still "Hope" that once God does balance the books, that I will see my hope end in sight. Both here and forever.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mars Attacks!

I have always loved the weird and off beat and good popcorn movies. A movie doesn't have to move me with a deep message. It can but I don't require it. As a matter of fact, I ask less of a movie than I do a book. With a book if I haven't wondered what happened to a character at least once during the day then it failed me. I immerse into what I read in a way that I don't with what I watch. The world in my head is somehow more immediate than the world "out there." A movie simply has to make me laugh or cringe or say wow! I love old horror such as Shirley Jackson's The Haunting and the movie from the 60's based on it. I like to watch it every 3 to 5 years just to remind myself of what an actual horror movie can be. Of course watching it for the first time when I was around 6 or 7 years old is more than likely the reason it is so scary and embedded in my head. I also love the old sci fi stuff. The Amazing Colossal Man 1957, The 1958 Steve Mcqueen take on The Blob. The 1955 movie based on the Jack Finney novel The Body Snatchers. I also like some of the more modern stuff. I love to pop up some popcorn and watch Mars Attacks with Jack Nicholoson and a cameo by Tom Jones directed by Tim Burton. I liked Independence Day and I liked the First X Files movie. The second is a damn shame but I digress. I love the old Art Bell Coast to Coast Am and I enjoy downloading a podcast to listen to while I walk around the track. I enjoyed The Fog and also watched it with the John Carpenter commentary. The Exorcist, which to be honest wasn't that scary to me. Well, I did see the uncut version and that was scary. The part where she spider crawled freaked me out. The original Halloween and Friday the 13th are fun. I liked the Lost In Space movie of some years ago. I knew it was gonna get killed by critics when I read the first review I saw. It started out with the reviewer saying "I don't really like sci fi or horror movies." Really? Then shut up! It did what I wanted it to do. It had cool space scenes and was a little campy. I liked the original Scream and enjoyed Ringu or Ring the Japaneese horror movie. The girl coming out of the t.v. is great. I can't watch the original Alien at night because I fall asleep. It's so dark that I just never got through it. By dark I mean the lighting and background not the atmosphere of the story. But, I did watch it early one evening and finished it and liked it as much as I can like a slow building hard sci fi type movie. It is good, it's just not really my thing. I know that's like a classic rock fan saying they don't like Bruce Springsteen that much ( I Don't) but sometime it just happens. I loved the X Files and we even named our first and only child after the main character. I liked Fringe for a while but I kind of stopped watching. Might have to pick it up again. Millinuem is a really good and under-rated series that my wife and I watched. I actually get my love of horror from a strange place. My mother raised me on watching old sci fi and horror movies. We had The Rebel Drive In right in our neighborhood growing up in the sixties and early seventies. When they had a Christopher Lee or Boris Karloff or Vincent Price marathon (Dusk Till Dawn) we were there. I can still see Dracula turning to dust right on that giant full color screen before my 7 or 8 year old eyes. Vincent Price running through the rubble and chaos as The House Of Usher fall. :-) A movie called "She" and we even saw a killer Santa one holiday season. I sometime feel bad for folks this generation. They have some splendid toys that we couldn't even dream of. But, they have no idea what a 20 foot tall Christopher Lee looks like as he bites the scream queen on the neck.

 Man, I wonder if maybe I can talk Cindy into putting our 9 year old in front of the computer and shutting the door and popping in a horror movie this weekend? So sue me I love my child but he will enjoy playing a video game. His mother will get me but if I can talk her into it. Pop some popcorn and kick back and watch one of the classic ones like Soylent Green or a little more recent one like Predator. Or maybe more of a horror theme like The Fog or Creepshow. Anyway, I have a sudden urge to eat popcorn and chill out in front of a giant screen for a couple of hours this coming weekend.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Ufo's and Aliens.

  I have always loved off beat stuff. I am a Stephen King reader and loved Dark Shadows and the Christopher Lee Dracula and Vincent Price Edgar Allen Poe movies as a kid. I would search my Weekly Reader back in the sixties at Walnut Park Elementary in Gadsden, Alabama for Ghost stories. The occasional football, baseball or basketball book but, mainly goblins and things that go bump in the night. I grew up loving to read horror novels and I remember when I was working at the Gadsden Public Library. The head librarian of the Children's Section ( I worked with the computers and they were in the children's section) Anyway, Ms. Margaret Mquire (one of the smartest and finest folks I've had the pleasure of working with) would always joke with me and ask me what "one" word horror novel I was reading this time. Many of the old 1980's horror novels were "One or two word" titles. :-) Ya know, like "The Haunting" The Stand, Ghost, Mystery and so on. Anyway, I loved stuff like that and even though I don't read as much horror these days (unless, I'm reading the news) I still find it an interesting genre. I also loved to read "true" accounts of the "paranormal." So, ufo stories caught my attention fairly early. One reason I first started this blog was to explore my interest in all things wierd and off beat and especially ufo and paranormal stuff. But, I kind of got caught up in religion and politics and other more immediate concerns of life and so most of my blogs have been a little on the serious side. Matter of fact I felt my last blog on religion was a little over the top and heavy handed so I wanted to step back and breathe and have a little fun.
 Now, full disclosure here. While I love the pop culture and the Grey aliens and the movies and shows and books that talk about them. I am absolutely NOT a believer in space aliens or ufo's or the space brothers. Now, I have seen a ufo or two in my time but it was truly ufo Unidentified flying object with the emphasis on the Unidentified part. I don't think it was a craft from Venus as cool as that would be. :-)  I am also not a believer that the space aliens are actually demons from the pit of hell come to deceive the elect or that Jesus will come back riding a space ship. Silly? Not if you've followed this stuff on the internet like I have. You would be amazed at some of the theories and arguments that people get into.
But, I don't discount that something might be happening. I also don't discount that some people have had encounters that are not simply products of their imagination. But, ufo's are something that I don't completely throw away. But, I'd have to see it to believe it. Then even if I see it I will have to be closer than just seeing a light in the sky. It's kind of like seeing anything out of the ordinary. You might see it and I might know and trust you. But, until I see it myself it won't be real to me. I can identify with Thomas. It's nice to be able to believe something. But, being able to touch and feel and "grasp" something for oneself is still the best and most convincing evidence there is.

Now, to my own UFO sighting. A couple of years ago I was in my back yard one early evening in Northport, Alabama. I noticed what I thought was a plane moving somewhere in the Northwest sky. I think that's right, I'm not much of a compass person. :-) Anyway, the craft was moving and I didn't see the red lights of a plane or hear the "chop" of a copter. Still it was a little way off and I thought maybe that was just due to wind and distance. But, then it just stopped! Now, I could think it was a satalite or a planet or something like that if I hadn't seen it moving from one spot to another. But, It just stopped in the sky. I looked at it and called inside to my wife to come out and see this. She said "I'm watching something right now." " Tell me if it's still there in a few minutes" or something like that. I kept watching and I still tell myself the following happened because I shook my head or something caused me to move my head. I tell myself this because I can't believe what I saw next. It looked as if it actually "zig zagged" in the sky. Left to right, up and down. Then it moved again and I think it just moved on off to where ever it was going. Anyway, I"m sure there is a rational explanation for this. I didn't call the news and I don't intend to write a book about the space bro's. :-()  But, it was an interesting experience and I still look toward that patch of sky when I'm out at night.
 So, I do enjoy talking and reading and even going on message boards and reading what others have to say about the subject. I do know one thing the "de-bunkers" have wrong. Some of us who have seen a ufo don't automatically start blabbing to the press about a false sighting of Venus. We actually or at least I actually try and find the most rational and mundane explanation.

 After all I like my things that go bump in the night to fit securely inside a Stephen King novel or a movie and not at the foot of my bed. :-)


Monday, April 15, 2013

The Devil went to Heaven!

 I created this blog to express my own thoughts and feelings. I understand that my thoughts are not all that urgent to others. It's like on facebook when somebody says "Wow, I ate chicken last night!" Really? OK! But, if it does find somebody who reads it and finds any part of it wise or silly or helpful in any way then that is great. If not, then I still have a place to ramble. So, here goes.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. - Hebrews 12:1-2

 The great thing about the verse above (to me) is not the "sin" aspect. It's the thought that the very foundation and maker of being would love me enough to clothe him/her/itself with flesh and participate in the life, death and desperation of the human experience. That is love. Not a superman who saves us from ourself. But, a mother, father, brother, sister that takes the journey with us.

  I have said in other places that I call myself a Christian Agnostic these days. By that I mean the faith I was raised in still has relevance to my journey and I have not jettisoned every aspect of faith. I have always had an inner dialog with God. I have also always been comfortable with the "picture" in my mind of the Judaeo-Christian way of looking at God. By that I mean that I have always separated the aspect of God into three persons. OK, that's more of an evangelistic Christian way of looking than a Jewish way. But, still most will know what I mean. Picture a little boy raised in the south of about 11 to 13 years old in the very late sixties to very early seventies. Now, this little boy has been brought up by his grandmother who is very devout and very pentacostal. My grandmother on the other side was very devout and very Southern Baptist. So, I (uhh, the little boy) :-) was thoroughly versed on being a born again Christian. Now, this little boy is at a sermon at Cherry Street Baptist Church and the preacher is not as firey as the Pentacostal preacher but still not a wall flower either. :-) Nobody does youth church with the drama and guilt and intensity any better than the Southern Baptist do. I speak as a family member here so don't get mad and think I'm bashing somebody from the outside. I'm just sayin. :-) Anyway, this was not a youth service but it was a Sunday sermon. The preacher says "Anybody who sins against God can be forgiven. Even if you sin against Jesus. But, a sin against the Holy Ghost will NEVER be forgiven. It's unpardonable. Now, this little boy was a voracious reader and had quite an active mind. There was an intense attack mentally on this boy. Call it psychological if it makes you feel better intellectually. If you feel better with the "evil demon" way of saying it then call it spiritual warfare. Or if like me you kind of look at it holistically then call it a little bit of both.
 So, this young boy goes out into the back yard when he gets home and honestly although he doesn't hear audible voices, Thank God. (No pun intended.) He does have very real thoughts that seem to be out of or beyond his control to stop. Now, picture a new thought and a new inner dialog opening up. It would go something like this "I am the one who made and knows you." "I am not outside looking in like a fortune teller." " I am not shocked or angry at you." "Since the voices or thoughts are talking about me and asking about me, then just relax." "There is a room and a couch for you to relax on. See the door? I will answer it." Peace was there and although there were other times and years of inner turmoil the boy never, EVER forgot this moment. It brought comfort whenever the "thoughts" came back. So, I say that, to say this. I am not an atheist. I am not ready and do not intend to throw away my spiritual identity. But, I can't ever be a fundamentalist anymore either. It just doesn't work for me. The bible says it and I believe it and that settles it just has never worked for me. Now, let me relate one more experience or thought about religion here.

Imagine a Supreme Being. Now, this being is all knowing and is the actual ground of all reality. Not only is "he,she,it,they" outside the universe but he actually is the only "real" and absolute reality there is. Now, imagine a being of flesh and blood. Subject to chemicals and hormones and death, decay and disease. Imagine this creature who has no real knowledge of this Supreme Being except for his own intuition and dreams and apart from that some writings and visions from some people give who say they are prophets and seers. Now, imagine another being. This one shines like the a billion stars! Son of the Morning! This one was present at the very morning of creation of the flesh creature that is little more than a naked ape in relation to him. It would be like taking a 45 year old scientist and having him talk to a 6 year old child. It would be even greater than that. So, these are the players. Now, lets look at the following scenario:

  The Supreme Being to the Son of the Morning.  "See, those creatures down there?" I breathed life into them. They carry my spirit in them. But, on the other hand I am an Angry God! I get pissed off really easily when people disobey me." Now, on one hand I do love them but on the other I discipline them harshly when they get out of line. So, I'll tell ya what I'm gonna do." "I'm gonna send part of myself down to them. I'm gonna love them and live and even partake of what they call death."

 Well, says the Son of the Morning, you didn't even give me that and yet you offer it to them? That's fair. (rolls eyes.)
"Wait, says the Supreme Being. You haven't heard the good part yet." I'm gonna send myself in a clay vessel and I'm gonna go to a little corner of the world." Now, if they can figure it out no matter where they come from and worship me then I'm gonna bring them into my kingdom." "But, I'm gonna give you the chance to fool em. If you can fool em then I'm gonna burn em up for ever and ever in eternal fire."

"Wait a minute" says the Son of the Morning. "You mean to tell me. All I have to do with my great knowledge and power and influence. All I have to do is fool those little naked apes and you will burn them? "Oh, My God, that's rich!"  "I don't even have to reveal myself?" "You will take away all real knowledge of who they are and where they come from? "So, unless they happen to stumble into the right church or hear the right minister then I can have em? "Excuse me God but, that's a Hell of Deal!" "I'll take it"

 So, there you have it. On one hand I absolutely will never turn my back on the source of my hope and sanity. But, I will also never understand the silliness of the dogmatic religious person either. I can't even begin to think of how somebody who thinks we are nothing but a chemical by product of the brain can walk around this world with no hope of ultimate justice and the peace of knowing the universe is ultimately true, just and loving. But, everybody wakes up in their own skin everyday. Until they don't. :-) But, on the other hand I can't believe the people who think the very source of love would be so flip and random with his children that he would allow even one to be forever lost because of some religious dogma. As a wise poster used to say in a forum I visited. "My bag!"

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Review: Killing Kennedy

  Looking up at my mother crying over my 6 year old body in an ambulance. That's my answer to the question "Where were you on the day  President Kennedy was shot?" I had crossed the road in my neighborhood in Walnut Park in Gadsden, Alabama and gotten hit by a car. I think I read somewhere that C.S. Lewis also died that day. At any rate the assassination of President Kennedy scarred this nation's psyche like no other single event until 9-11 in my lifetime. So, it was with great interest that I read "Killing Kennedy" by Bill O'Reilly and historian Martin Dugard. I had already been surprised by how much I enjoyed reading "Killing Lincoln." I didn't think I could have enjoyed a book by Bill O'Reilly since I'm not a real zealot when it comes to picking a political party. I have my opinions but I don't see it as good vs evil. More like bad vs badder. But, back to the topic.
 I enjoy a good conspiracy theory and I don't get real worked up or mad about "proving" one right or wrong. So, I have read a few articles and started a few books that dealt with the "conspiracy" to kill the president. I put them in the category of u.f.o's and psychics. Interesting but ya got to wade through a lot of b.s.  I knew this book wouldn't be that type and would stick to more of the facts as they are known. It really brought the president and those times back and gave a "human" face back to Jackie Kennedy and to the president that some of the glitter and pop culture had taken from them. The background conflict between Bobby Kennedy and L.B.J. was also interesting as was a cameo or two by Herbert Hoover and Frank Sinatra. Marlyn Monroe and Greta Garbo. John and Caroline Kennedy and the baby Patrick that died shortly after coming into this world. The war experience of J.F.K. and the time his ship went down and he took charge to get him and his men rescued while behind enemy lines in the pacific. But, it wasn't fluff and also showed the hesitation at the Bay Of Pigs in Cuba that cemented Castro's power. Kennedy had some reservations about Vietnam but was still of the mindset that we couldn't let it fall to the communist. The civil rights movement and Martin Luther King as well as Birmingham are touched on. Also, the famous photo of the Buddhist Monk who set himself on fire in Vietnam is touched on. If you were born in the late 50's or early 60's these were themes you knew well from childhood and school. It also goes into some detail on the famous Cuban Missile Crisis and the president stood his ground and we are all better off because of it. If you were born before the 50's you lived these times as a young person or an adult and it is indeed a glimpse of history. I can easily recommend this to history buffs and especially American history fans such as myself. But, I do take some issues. While I admire the fact that the writers don't try to completely discredit all the questions surrounding the possible conspiracy talk. They don't always make the full case that Oswald had the proper motive. On the other hand how can somebody really ever know the "motive" for killing another human in cold blood? They do go to pains to point out that Oswald did indeed have the required "skill" to make the shot and also make good case for the so called "Magic Bullet" that some have used to discredit the lone assassin theory.
 Still, I remember seeing a documentary not very long ago on the assassination. It was fascinating to me because it had a wealth of archival footage even down to a local Dallas news crew. That documentary quoted a Dallas police officer on Jack Ruby. Jack Ruby is of course the nightclub owner that killed Oswald. The book "Killing Kennedy" states that Ruby had motive because he was patriotic and cared about Kennedy. But, according to the documentary I saw the Dallas officer said that if you knew Ruby then you knew that he didn't do it because of patriotism or loyalty to the nation. So, I guess you can take that for what it's worth. I just think maybe the authors didn't bother to do a whole lot of homework on the assassin of the assassin. There are some things we just don't know. Anyway, all in all a good quick read about a period and a man in our history that still has an impact on people of my generation and the generation before us.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Custer and Sitting Bull

The Last Stand by Nathaniel Philbrick:

  I have always been a voracious reader. So, here is a book review from an ebook I read on my Kindle Fire. Ebooks don't have the same satisfying heft and smell to them. But, they seem easier for my 50 plus year old eyes to adjust to these days.

 This historical account is written in a similar style to "Killing Lincoln" by Rill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard. Both books are excellent by the way. The Last Stand uses letters and accounts and memories on the people who were present at that time to re-create a narrative that is both historical and reads like a semi-biography/novel. "Hey, did I just make up a new term?"

 Anyway, I have recently started reading a lot of Rock biographies from the "guitar hero's" of my youth. But, I have always loved history and in particular American History. So, this book was of real interest to me. When I think of the Little Bighorn I think of a single cavalry troop running into a large group of Indians and getting slaughtered. Anyway, let me hit some highlights that I feel really make this book interesting. First the author writes from the perspective of the 1800's and not from a modern politically correct place. So, the term "Native American" isn't ever used. To be honest I don't think most Indians of that time would have appreciated being called "American" anything. Sorry, it's just true. Also, let me say that my Granddaddy was part Cherokee and I don't mean a blued eyed "Hey, I have Indian Blood in me." I mean a high cheekboned, dark skinned person. Not, full blooded but you could see the influence. I say that so if anybody reads this they will understand that I am using the term Indian the way the author did and not out of disrespect.

 Custer: I knew very little of Custer outside of the pop culture and some mention in history books of my youth. He does appear breifly in the "Killing Lincoln" book but not as a main character. This book talks about his relationship with his wife which seemed to be strong and she was indeed a proctector of his legacy. It also shows his ambition and disrespect for some of his fellow officers. He rubbed some the wrong way because of his flamboyance. Some of them rubbed him the wrong way because of his ambition and apparent lack of concern for anything other than his "career." But, the main thing that I was taken with was his disrespect for the Indian tribes.

He (if the book is correct) had no problem at all in taking women and children hostage and using them as pawns to lure the warriors into his web. He also had no qualms about taking an Indian woman for himself. It was also evident that the government of that day with Grant as president had little reguard for the treaties and welfare of the Indian. They kept coming west and kept taking land and moving the Indian to the reservation especially if that land had minerals and water that would bring more booty into the coffers. Sorry, it's just true. Some of Custers fellow officers were ambitious and jealous but also felt he wasted lives with his wild and overreaching tactics. I was amazed to read accounts of officers drinking hard both before and during a battle.

There is an account of one of Custer's officers going to sleep in the midst of gunfire around him. Not, so much because of drink but because he was emotionally worn down. He did wake up and faught bravely once he rested up. Matter of fact it was kind of brave to be able to sleep in the midst of that. Having worked as a civillan for the army and had a spouse in the army. I was amazed at how "loose" the U.S. army of that day was. I was also amazed at how close to the 20th century the U.S. west remained a wilderness and unmapped uncharted territory. Now, this more than likely not the most accurate historical account. At least it's not a text book account. Too many accounts taken from years after the battle from people with their own agendas. But, it is a fascinating look into a time gone by.

Sitting Bull: There is a place in the book late in the book where the head of a government agency says to Sitting Bull "You scared us to death" According to the book the chief replied. "Had you not come onto our land you would have no reason to be afraid."

The Indian tribes in this book are not on the offensive (depending on your definition of offense) but mainly trying to hold on to a way of life that was being yanked out from under them. They were not a "united" people and not used to working together outside of their own tribe or people. So, the core was not going to hold long enough or strong enough to stop the inevitable. But, I got the feeling that if they had of been united the westward expansion of the U.S. would have taken much longer and been much harder. It was hard anyway.

 Sitting Bull also had a vision which seemed to show him what was about to happen before the battle. To the authors credit he doens't try to downplay or over play it. He just reccounts it. Sitting Bull seems to come off here as more of an older uncle or even father to the people.

 He does get them together one last time. He does indeed unite a large (largest camp the U.S. Army had ever witnessed up to that time.) But, reading between the lines the hold was tenacious at best and the center was holding mainly because of the young warriors agression and anger which would have eventually broken the "alliance" anyway. The Indian also had their inner drama and ambitions. It was also amazing to me to see how the Indian Scouts for the army had no qualms about killing their own "kind" off. It was also amazing at how the same indian warriors that were fighting at Little Bighorn would go back and forth from the reservation back to the camp. Sitting Bull was eventually killed by "Indian" police and not white men. This also touched on the Battle at Wounded Knee as a pay back for the Little Bighorn by the army. The accounts both from the indian and the soilder and even some of the wives of both sides read like a good novel.

I highly recomend this book to anybody who is interested in American History and in particular "Cowboys and Indians" I don't mean to be flippant because this isn't a flippant subject. But, many folks my age who grew up with accounts of the civil war and of the later cowboys and Indians and Roy Rogers and Jesse James and Wyatt Earp and of course General Amrstrong Custer will find this riviting and interesting.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Past lives?

Warning: This particular post will absolutely offend some of my oldest friends and family because of very real and intense religious convictions that they hold. It will also make some of my friends who are not into any kind of religious or spiritual talk uneasy. Of course they don't read it any way so I'm more than likely good there. :-) It is a very self serving and mainly venting post. Oh, and it will also make some folks think (if they think about it all) that I am full of uhhh, crap. :-) That said if anybody is still here then here we go.

 Why as a Christian born and raised in the south and in the church do I have such an affinity for the concept of reincarnation? I'm not sure. I still identify as a Christian. I heard the famous or infamous (depends on your point of view I guess) atheist Richard Dawkins say that if there is a God and he meets him in the afterlife that he will ask him "Sir, why did you hide yourself so well?) Now, I don't agree with Mr. Dawkins. Every breath I take, every scientific advance I read about, Every birth and every death says God to me. The very reason for living says God to me. Still, I thought about the way he said it and I have my own simple (and his reasoning for all his intelligence is simple in this regard) statement. When I die and if God comes to me and says "Ya know Jesus wasn't exclusively the savior and all religions are equal" I have a similar statement that I might say. I might say "Well, if they are all equal (and I did respect each one as far as I was able to understand them) But, if Jesus isn't who he said he was then why did you make me the way you did and birth me in the place and time that you did? I'm a Christian the same way I'm southern or American or a man. It's in my blood and my DNA spiritually to be Christian. My dogma got ran over a long time ago. I have real doubts about the theology of the "Church." I don't think the bible is a science book or a history book or a way to judge gay people and Muslims and Jews and atheist. I don't think it's a silly collection of fairy tales either. Ah, but I digress. My thoughts today are on a different "heretical" subject. The truth is that I am 75% convinced (well I had to use some number) that we reincarnate. I have felt this since I was a youth on some level. I wasn't raised to believe this. But, I had some memories that I would drive my mother nuts with. She was not and is not a believer in the concept of past lives. :-) I had really intense dreams about people that I had just "met" in grade school. I would lie in bed and faces would pass before my eyes of people I seemed to "know" but they were not part of this lifetime. Now, all this faded over the years and I can't say I am remembering everything the exact way that it happened. But, I'm older now and past the point of trying to be "accepted" by a church or a cute girl in church or making my adult relatives happy and be accepted. I don't spout this stuff at work or talk to my oldest friends about it much. I discuss it on internet message board and facebook pages that are devoted to it but never with most of my day to day relationships in the "real world." My wife doesn't share my interest and even my little boy (did I tell ya he's gifted and I'm awed by his intellect) :-) Anyway, even my 9 year old son rolls his eyes whenever he hears me mention it. So, why am I doing a blog about it? Purely for selfish reasons? Well, yes and no. I need an outlet and a blog is a great way to just put it out there. Nobody has to listen or read it or be bothered by it and I get a release. On the other hand I'm honored anytime someone does take the time to read it. But, the real reason I'm writing it is I had one of "those" dreams last night. It was filled with symbolism from my day yesterday so no big deal there. But, in the midst of it there was a thread and a "relationship" or experience from the days of my childhood running through it. I'm not gonna go into it but I just needed to write this blog today.

For anybody still reading I do want to say something about life after death and life before life and my way of looking at life. I have gone through many stages in my 50 plus years on the planet. I have been born again and baptised and I will never forget the sanctity and the feeling of my first baptism. I have a pretty good liberal arts education and have wondered how and what could possibly survive the death of the body. I'm meditated and have tremendous respect for Buddhism. But, I'm not Buddhist. I have looked into psychics and think most of em are full of crap and many are self deceived. Still, there are times when I know or have known something and I can't say there is absolutely nothing to it. I have thought of atheism and have to admit it has it's place in the pantheon of thought in my life. But, I remember writing a paper back when I was getting into the school of social work. I had to tell my instructor why I thought I should be a social worker and why I was drawn to this discipline. Well, I couldn't say "I suck in math and I'm not real good at the hard sciences so this is a good way to get a degree and go to work" :-) So, I had to think about things that I really feel are true. One of those things is that humans need hope. You can take a dog and feed him/her. Pat them on the head and let them run in the yard and give them water. That dog is really happy and will always be loyal to you. But, a human is unique in some ways. We are restless. We can get our dream job and have sex with beautiful people. We can build houses and kiss our child. Our team can win the National Championship (Roll Tide.) :-) But, there is always an empty space and boredom will nudge it's way in. Also, we are always aware of death both ours and the ones we love. The one thing that a human has to have is hope. I saw an old video on youtube with Carl Jung. Jung said when he talked to his elderly patients who were dying they still had hope. The still had something they were looking forward to. It was as if they were still getting ready to go somewhere. Hope. So, no I'm not an atheist. That is the ultimate absence of hope.

I also was never that moved by the fire and brimstone fear of my youth. I always (and it has been my experience in life) felt that as long as I have "being" that I have hope. Even though I rise to the heavens you are with me. If I descend to the lowest pit..you are there.

Oblivion however, now that was and is scary. In the teeth of that Jung's patients still had hope. So do I. To me reincarnation answers some questions.  (cue my wife here with this statement: "That's convenient.") She didn't say it nasty because she's not a nasty person. She just said it matter of factly and I agree. Still, down deep I honestly think it is a legitimate possibility If we are spiritual beings then we have to exist in some way outside of space and time. I don't think the brain produces consciousness or that the sperm and egg produces spirit or soul. So, that's kind of where I am right now and tomorrow I might be somewhere else.

As always, thank you if you have read this far. If I'm the only one who ever reads it then that's OK because that meant that God is aware of it.