Re-launched, but still slightly under construction. :-)

Friday, April 29, 2005

By the Power of Greyskull

Scott: “My back hurts so bad.”
Me: “I’m sorry. Is it worse or better?”
Scott: “I don’t know.”
(pause)
Me: “Maybe it’s one of those things where it hurts a lot but then gets stronger like Superman. Maybe you’ll get X-ray vision.”
Scott: “You know, I already felt like I could see things with my back.”
Me: “Really? And soon you’ll be able to shoot laser beams from your ass.”

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Politics As Usual

President Bush was on TV last night. I don’t care about his politics. I just can’t stand to hear the man speak. A monkey could do a better job.

So I went to take a bath. I relaxed in the water. I washed, scrubbed, shaved, and moisturized. But I could still hear the president’s yapping.

I added more hot water to the mix. I deep conditioned my hair. Meh, he was still talking. I stayed in.

I talked to myself. I wondered where my new book had gotten off to. I hoped Scrabble didn’t eat it, like he does Scott’s socks. Soon I looked down at the now lukewarm bath water and noticed it was an unattractive grey color. The bottom of the tub had grown gritty with almond shells, or whatever exfoliant I had used. I shivered a little.

But I could still hear the president talking. If he weren’t talking, I would get out of the tub. Suddenly, I realized I was involved in a one-woman protest.

It must be against dirty politics.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Not Judging Their Beliefs, I Promise. I Just Always Sound Snarky.

o2grok1: What does Pentecostal mean? five something? Five what?
Ptrend: I know what Pentecost was...but not the etymology...sorry
o2grok1: what was it?
Ptrend: Here we'll hear from Merriam Webster

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English pentecosten, from Late Latin pentecoste, from Greek pentEkostE, literally, fiftieth day, from pentEkostos fiftieth, from pentEkonta fifty, from penta- + -konta (akin to Latin viginti twenty) -- more at VIGESIMAL
1 : SHABUOTH
2 : a Christian feast on the seventh Sunday after Easter commemorating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the apostles -- called also Whitsunday

o2grok1: Okay, but that doesn't explain why they call themselves that.
Ptrend: Because they are a group that believes all their meetings require or call down a charismatic possession of the holy spirit just as was experienced by the apostles that first time
o2grok1: oh.
o2grok1: oooOOOOOhhhh..
o2grok1: Thus the speaking in tongues and epileptic fits
Ptrend: exactly
Ptrend: I actually have been to a Pentecostal funeral once and seen the alleged speaking in tongues. Very weird! not my cup of tea
Ptrend: I like writing to you in Times...I think I'll try that for a while.
o2grok1: except I don't recall the apostles doing that in the Bible. Does is say something like "And lo, John was visited by the holy spirit and he did pick up a serpent and drink its venom, and Jesus spake: 'Ye shall ingest venom and it shall not kill you, though nonbelievers will think you nuts,' and Paul said, 'Lord, why hast thou forsaken us,?' and Jesus replied, 'Wherever there is a gathering of two or more, there shall I be, and there shall be fainting and ye shall froth at the mouth.'"
Ptrend: ha...yep I think you missed that Book of Viper Kissers
o2grok1: Your typing is very large. What's up with that?
Ptrend: Sorry....
anyway...the way the rest of us Christians usually interpret Pentecost is pretty simple.... the city was a crossroads of the world, cosmopolitan Romish city state stuff and all that... so God suddenly gave the apostles the ability to speak in the various languages of the people there so that they could hear and understand the gospel and spread it among lots of nations etc...
Ptrend: how about this font
o2grok1: gorgeous
Ptrend: or this one
o2grok1: they look like the same font to me.
o2grok1: was that it? the thing about the various languages? that's the explanation?
o2grok1: how about I write in this one? That's a more daring font choice
Ptrend: got it
o2grok1: so is that it? cause the way you explained it, people could actually understand them. What changed? It's not like they're speaking Aramaic
Ptrend: that's my question too. Now they say they are speaking in "heavenly languages only our spirits know"
o2grok1: Hmm.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Good parenting

Overheard at an education tour for 2nd graders:

Little girl (jumping and shrieking): "Caitlyn took some candy!"
Mother: Heather, no one is interested in your tattling. Caitlyn will make her own choices, good or bad.

That's going in my "things to say" parenting file.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Apologies, in advance, for the ranting

Jesus built my hotrod

To the person with the nasty commentary today: I wish it had been directed at me. I would like to have bound you, gagged you, and told you this.

There is room on this planet for all faiths. There is no proof of the existence of any God, much less the single one in which you believe. I respect your beliefs. I admire anyone who is able to commit to something intangible. Myself, I need a spreadsheet of progress, a balance of cost vs. income, some hard proof of efficiency. Basically, I want a religious system of gold stars for good behavior. The night sky just isn't enough for me.

Kudos to those who have found a faith that fulfills. But let's be clear that it is what it is. It is faith. A system of belief not founded in fact. If a god is what the word implies, he or she defies facts. I can dig that, and that is why I remain open to religion, despite my skepticism.

However, when you spout off Bible verses to nonbelievers in an attempt to prove to them that they have chosen either the wrong course of action or (and I wouldn't be surprised if you picked an argument with your VCR user's manual) picking the right course of action for the wrong reason, you come from the point of belief that the Bible is a sacred work written by man, directed by God. Note that I said the point of belief, not the point of proof. Not everyone believes this is true. To many, it is much like saying: "My Aunt Edna says..." You give a certain amount of credence to the statement out of respect, but with the knowledge that everything Aunt Edna says doesn't always make sense.

There is nothing inherently wrong with religiosity, and I am not one of those people who buys into the subjectivity of morality. I think there is a certain value in evaluating others' conduct and finding it lacking - respectfully, of course. Like you, I believe in a universal code of conduct, and not just to avoid a "Lord of the Flies" kind of society. It is because I believe in (though I cannot prove) the existence of the concepts of "right" and "wrong."

But I know that my belief in the rightness or wrongness of an action is still rather nebulous for me to define. There are qualifiers. Murder - usually wrong - can be justified (just try to get near my daughter to hurt her). Charity - usually right - can encourage laziness in someone unable to find their own independence. But I take on faith that my personal code (which, admittedly, I have violated with poor judgment from time-to-time) is adequate, and in fact, right.

It is a leap of faith, and that faith is tested when people who act in a manner I find abhorrent seem to prosper and succeed. We use the phrase "leap of faith" so easily, in such a casual way. But Kierkegaard (ack! My kingdom for a spellchecker with that name in it) coined the phrase in talking about something much more profound. He was talking about the spiritual, intellectual, and emotional leap from the edge of the cliff of factual analysis into the pure, clean air of the faithful. He was talking about taking a real risk with your soul, with your emotional stability, and with your sanity.

Does that mean that I truly believe in my tiny simple little list of rights and wrongs when I am so upset by others' non-adherence to my system? And that is what you, Mr. and Mrs. Traffic Cop in the Highway of Life, must ask yourself. How much faith do you have that it makes you nuts when someone else chooses another set of beliefs?

I doubt that you have the propensity for that kind of questioning, although I suspect that at one point in your life you did. It is primarily the "born-again" who react with such vitriol, studies have shown. I don't know that the studies have answered why that is. Perhaps embarrassment at what you see as years ill-spent. Maybe fear that those years have doomed you... although why you would then choose Christianity is beyond me, given its system of forgiveness... unless you don't truly believe in it, and then don't get me started on hypocrisy. Anyway, this anger and venom you show - is it really directed at others, or are you talking to the parts of you that still crave sinful behavior? Regardless, here is my final inquiry: Do you, Fishers of Men, honestly think anyone is attracted to Christianity after watching you, red-faced and sneering, intentionally try to insult, intimidate, and frighten another person? Do you really believe you are bringing more lambs to the fold?

I call bullshit on you. You represent everything I find repulsive about church. Nothing has ever been less attractive to me than your invitation to join you at your church. I hope that if I ever find what you call "truth" that I am a happier person for it. Knowledge of the nature of god and insight into the order of the universe should bring joy, serenity, and peace.

Now I will untie you, and let you be on your less-than-merry way. I hope one day that you find faith that makes your life worth living, and subtracts the impulse you heed to make others' lives less enjoyable.