Thursday, October 29, 2009

Catching Myself in a Classic Lie, Part 2

Continued from the previous post: Why did I write “He paints the sky with stars” on the Facebook page of a respected non-theist who died earlier this year?

First off, the line comes from the title of a song by Enya. I listen to a lot of Enya, on Rhapsody and Pandora, as well as in the car. There are days when a good dose of “Only If” is the one thing that can ward off creeping depression. Enya is the sort of music you either love or hate. It’s perfectly formulated, commercially viable Celtic/New Age. It does exactly what the genre is set up to do. It calms, it soothes, it puts your mind at ease.

During my days as a believing Christian, I heard plenty of ominous statements about New Age, mainly that it was a “gateway” to occult or satanic practices. People like Bob Larson said it was “trance-channeling” music; he linked New Age with Hinduism, Buddhism, transcendental meditation, mind control, brainwashing and subliminal programming, all of which – and much more – are believed by fundamentalists to be in direct opposition to scriptural Christian doctrine. The list goes on and on.
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Catching Myself in a Classic Lie, Part 1

Note: The quotes contained in this post are not verbatim, but accurate enough to convey what the speaker was attempting to say.

A very unscientific survey seems to confirm that 2009 has been a year of loss for a lot of people. We’ve had a rash of very high-profile celebrity deaths, and the pattern seems to be present for many closer to home, myself included.

In addition to my brother-in-law, who died about six and a half months ago, there have been numerous passings at the Unitarian Universalist church I attend. Shortly after I joined, the minister said to a group of us, “These next few years are bound to be tough ones for this congregation – many of our most active members are also our oldest, and I anticipate conducting a continual series of memorial services.” That prediction took a couple of years to come true, but now it has. We’ve lost close to half a dozen this year. It’s stressful for everyone.

One member whose death has especially touched me was Bill, who would have been 81 today. Bill’s passion was membership, though during his many years, he was a willing participant in nearly every aspect of church life. Bill was invariably the first person a visitor would meet, as was the case with me. Even though it was summer and the minister wasn’t there, Bill was, in his requisite tweed blazer with patches on the elbows. In a place where many attendees arrive in shorts, flip-flops, and kilts, piercings and tattoos blaring forth, Bill was always impeccably groomed. In spite of his relatively small stature, his bearing was one of authority and dignity. Bill knew everything there was to know about making a good first impression.

“What did you think of it?” he asked as I stood in the fellowship area with my coffee cup that first time. When I replied with my favorable views, he smiled and said, “Well, just keep in mind that it’s going to be a little bit different every time you come here. You won’t be bored.”
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Sunday, October 25, 2009

New Meme

Bad-Tempered Zombie, Professor B. Worm and Wandering Coyote have all stepped up to the plate on this meme, which comes highly recommended for People Who Can't Think of Anything to Blog About.
This may also come in handy as an insomnia remedy. You never know:

50 Things I Have Never Had:
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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Too Compulsive? Not Enough? Hell If I Know!

I spent about an hour today with this little red notebook I have. It's spiral-bound, lined, perforated and hole-punched, and I've had it for about 2 and a half years. My goal was to record daily events and also to house keepsakes such as movie tickets, programs, etc. to keep sort of a 3-dimensional record of my daily activities.

Today I decided to ditch the scribbles and just use it as a scrapbook.

A quick side-note: People either love scrapbooking or hate it. Those who love it are among those who turned "scrapbook" into a verb not all that long ago. I personally have no time or use for the type of activity that involves buying little cutout frames for a scrapbook.
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Monday, October 05, 2009

I may be wimpy and inarticulate, BUT...

...I can still promote better, braver bloggers here.

Better, Braver Blogger #1: P.Z. Myers tells us why he's not about to become a "nicer" atheist:

Better, Braver Blogger #2: Lugosi
Actually, I got braver than usual on Facebook this weekend and managed not to back down from a controversy.

Lugosi posted this great satire on the healthcare debate, including a reworked version of that infamous "Obamacare" witch-doctor poster.

"Reworked version" is in bold italics because, when I reposted it, a friend glanced at the picture and made the assumption that I was presenting from the "anti" side of the room. It was the most controversy I've ever had on my Facebook page -- it was so exciting!! In the end, everybody blew air kisses and made up and had coffee, and the best thing was, people read the piece and laughed and learned. Great way to start out a week.
I hoist my coffee mug to the better, braver bloggers I'm privileged to know.
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